Last month was midsommar in Sweden. The Scandinavian country’s official tourist site Visit Sweden says “Apart from Christmas, midsummer is the most important holiday in the Swedish calendar. For some, midsummer is the most important.”
It’s hard to imagine that I was in Sweden 11 years ago working on a 6 month visa and experiencing my first extended stay abroad. The weekend I arrived in Stockholm was midsommar, and I ventured to Skansen, the world’s largest open-air museum, to experience this celebration firsthand. Imagine people dancing (around what I thought to be a May pole) in traditional costumes–I even created a floral crown and wore it throughout the day.
That summer was magical–from the nearly 19 hours of daylight to exploring my neighborhood of Södermalm. I fell in love with my summer city, especially daily walks to explore nearby kyrka (churches with stunning architecture) and museums like Vasamuseet. I happened across festivals, met up with visiting friends, and became a huge fan of toast Skagen (prawns on sautéed bread).
While my visit was brief, the cultural–and personal–impact this summer in Sweden made upon my life was profound. I adventured, navigated, and journeyed (often alone), which was the beginning of visiting places around the globe fearlessly.