This weekend I left Smalls for the first night of my life (!!!) and took a short trip up north to a little town called Jävle with a bunch of girls from my church (I help with the Young Women group) for a spa weekend. It was a great opportunity to explore more of Sweden and dig my roots a little deeper into the culture. I imagine that if I were asked to chaperone a bunch of teenage girls for a sleepover that required a two hour drive, a much too late bedtime, a need to pump every time I would have fed Michael otherwise, with a group of people that I virtually knew no one - I probably wouldn't have been too excited about it if it were last year. But at the moment I am all about seizing opportunities to explore and expand and experience, so I was excited.
Also, I am semi-slow and thought that we were actually staying at a spa and having actual spa personnel treating us, all for no more than what amounts to about $13. Sometimes I honestly have this problem of believing what I hope to be true instead of objectively critiquing my ideas. All I knew about the activity was what I saw on the flyer that said things like "Spa Weekend" and "top-to-toe treatment" and "massage" and "sauna". I want to say that I take things more literally for some reason when they are written in Swedish, but that isn't really a legit explanation because I've been prone to these mistakes of judgement plenty of other times as well. Like the time I went to Mexico with a bunch of college friends and somehow got the notion that we were going to some place where the dolphins were so friendly and abundant that you could just jump on and hitch a ride. Yes, I still earned a degree from BYU and taught the youth of our nation for the last 8 years.
But back to my topic.
It was basically a big slumber party at someone's house with a spa theme. Fun idea, but I was a little sad when we got to the address, it was a house, and I realized that my $13 was paying for food and not some crazy ridiculously reduced price for a full day of hanging out in a robe while being fanned with palm leaves, fed grapes, and my body being worked over.
That would have been cool.
Once I got over my ridiculous notion of what I thought it was going to be, I quite enjoyed the experience. I got out of it a chance to...
...stay at a really cool huge old Swedish house that was built in the middle of the 1800's.
...make a good leap with my swedish.
...learn that even way out here, people still turn to tacos and spaghetti (not together) to feed big groups.
...try ketchup on top of my spaghetti - something Swedes love (and they say Italiens HATE them for this transgression!)
...listen to ghost stories in Swedish and learn some different nuances of their language
...learn that even out here they sing kumbaya, teenagers write on their arms, and girls will be girls in all the same ways as I grew up with.
...discover that sauna treatment can practically cure pollen-induced allergies! I had allergies so bad for a few days that besides the sniffles and headache, my sinuses were so swollen even my face hurt. I almost let it stop me from going. Then we did the thing where you go back and forth from the sauna to jumping in the freezing cold river (See the top picture. Yes, there is still snow on the ground! Now you understand the expression on the girl's face in the second picture!) over and over, and I immediately felt a million times better. Even now a day later I still feel better than before. The sniffles are back, but my head does not hurt at all any more. (Rob and I have become HUGE fans of the sauna since moving here and use ours all the time for the healing effect it seems to work over our body and mind.)