This post is a part of the writing project called Stories from the West that I started with Christa. We’re both currently living on the west coasts (Christa in the US, me in Sweden), hence the name of the project. We both want to share our experiences living as immigrants, and every month we’ll write a post each with the same topic. The topic for this month is ‘summer‘. Don’t forget to read Christa’s post, Summer Activities.
This is my second summer in Sweden, and I don’t know what to expect.
Last year we had an extremely rare hot summer which stretched for 3 months, with way more sunny days than the rainy ones. It was glorious (but also scary because the climate crisis felt truly real for the first time). I wrote a little bit about the early days of summer last year, and a recap at the end.
But now I want to share a little glimpse of the summer in Sweden, from my (limited) experience.
1. People are happier
Much happier, and noticeably so. There are a lot more smiles and everyone’s mood is A LOT better than the other 9 months.
2. Festive midsummer celebrations
The midsummer here is celebrated with such gusto I’ve never seen anywhere else. People do the frog dance around the pole (called små grodorna, literally means ‘the little frogs’), while singing a song about said frogs. Potatoes with dills and pickled herrings are among the traditional delicacies eaten at this time, as well as strawberry cakes.
5. Beer gardens and rooftop bars come to life
Beer garden in front of the art museum.
They popped out overnight, it seems. Suddenly there are beer gardens everywhere, one would never be short of options. These beer gardens and rooftop bars are always buzzing with activities, especially in the late afternoon and evening.
3. Everything slows down in July
This is the time where most people take their holidays, and many of them take the whole 4 weeks off between July and early August. Business slows down if not paused, public transport has different schedules (less frequent, of course). If you have paperwork, doctor appointments, etc., try to get it done before this time.
4. People go home early
For people who don’t take holidays during this time (and trust me, there’s not a lot), they go home from work early, and go directly to the park, beach, lake, or just hang out somewhere in the sun. Because who wants to be stuck in an office when you can enjoy the rare summer heat outside?
6. More outdoor activities, more active life
Naturally. But truly, the stark contrast with other months makes people go all out to enjoy the warm weather; not just for fun stuff like kayaking, picnic, barbeque, or even swimming in the lake, but also races. Throughout the summer, there are a lot of races to choose from; from Göteborgsvarvet, Midnattsloppet (the midnight race), Tjejmilen (the girls race, 10k), and even half Ironman.
7. The sunset is magical
One thing I’ve noticed when I moved to Sweden is how the sunset here is much more stunning than anywhere else. But in the summer, it’s just on a different level: magical and surreal. I always think the later the sunset is, the more beautiful it is, and that’s definitely the case here during the summer time.
How’s the summer in your country?