Week 40 and Counting
I broke the news late last night to Jonah. Actually, I thought he already knew. There is no Halloween in Sweden; no going door-to-door, stocking up on candy to be eaten for the next six months; no Snicker’s bars, Dum-Dum’s (who cares about those anyway) or Laffy Taffy. He didn’t know how good he had it in Cali, (isn’t that always the case), there we had neighborhood Trick or Treating plus Trunk or Treating at our Church parking lot—double the loot!
Shhh…don’t tell, but I’ll miss digging through the kids candy bags too when they’re not looking:) But what I miss even more, is the simple fact that Halloween has come to be a tangible marker of time in my life, signaling the beginning of an all-star season line-up of great holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, followed by the inevitable Diet Season, then Easter right around the corner.
I feel like I should be walking into TJMaxx right now, seeing the overflowing shelves of kitschy ghosts, goblins and witches, or what about the “kid-friendly” Fall décor—scarecrows with happy faces and wooden pumpkins that spell out “HAPPY AUTUMN.” I love that stuff, until I have to store it, then it’s a trip to Target for a large orange and black bin…yeah, don’t pretend you don’t have one of those.
Here kids won’t have time off school for Halloween or Thanksgiving. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if the entire world just celebrated these holidays? Okay, that’s a wee bit global expansionism narcissistic of me, but who doesn’t love a big Turkey with all the trimmings? I suppose I’m going to have to mark time this calendar year like the Swedes do…counting. According to the Swedes it’s week 40. No really, it’s week 40. They count the weeks and refer to events according to what week it is. Flyers come home from school with things like, “Parent Teacher Conferences on Thursday Week 43.” What??? Just give me the date!
It’s like parents who keep counting how old their children are by the months after they’ve turned 2. After 24 months it’s time to move onto year’s people…it just doesn’t make sense to hear a child is 39 months when you can say 3. Halloween is week 44, Thanksgiving is week 48, naturally, Christmas is week 52. Maybe it’s a good system, but I prefer to count time with candy, celebrations, and delicious food. And as long as we’re counting weeks, let’s just consider for a moment…it’s been 15 weeks since we moved—since I packed those 10 suitcases we’re still making due with. Yeah, um, not sure how layering t-shirts is going to help much in this weather…but I have been shopping, okay, a lot of shopping, but it’s cold. And just for fun I’m crocheting a scarf too. Expect that to be finished around week 57, oh wait, that’s like week 5, or let’s just say January.
We are still looking for a house to rent on the island…or off the island, possibly on other islands…we really don’t care where, we’d just like to be in a house with our stuff that is sitting in storage in Sweden. It sounds absurd, that we haven’t found a house yet, but it’s one of those things you come to learn here in Sweden, (along with counting weeks), that houses are virtually impossible to come by to rent. It’s the bane of the expat existence here in what U.S. News and World Report just named one of the happiest countries on earth. (Trust me, I’m not happy.) We’ve become known in the broker community throughout the island as the “American couple with the big family that wants to rent.” But so far nothing, nada, zippo has worked out. I’m hoping week 41 brings some better news, until then, we’ll keep counting the weeks.