As I type, it is almost exactly twenty four hours until I depart for Heathrow and begin my Swedish adventure. This evening, I have been for a farewell meal with my parents, grandparents and two of my cousins. The result of this was me being the biggest sponge, as my family kindly all chipped in for my meal, gave me the £5 change (which we laughingly decided will probably equate to about half a pint/a small tube of cheese in the notoriously expensive Scandinavian country for which I am bound) and my grandparents presented me with a generous financial contribution in the twee-est of envelopes. I feel that I should be at least a little emotional after these most generous of goodbyes yet I am not upset in the slightest because, quite simply, I don’t yet really believe that I am actually going.
This disbelief is perhaps rooted in the fact that I have not yet even begun to pack, that I’ve not sorted any insurance/finances/medical details and that it has been less than twelve hours since I returned from a fairly raucous fortnight in Zante. I am exhausted and, in all honesty, all I want is a day in bed to catch up on the two weeks of sleep and trash TV that I have missed. I do, however, realise that this mindset is both completely ungrateful and unhelpful so I have scoured the internet for things to get excited about. (This is the kind of great prioritising you’ll get used to – despite an endless ‘To Do’ list of administrative nightmares, here I am blogging and Googling. It doesn’t bode well.)
1) Friday Nights. Apparently on the fifth night of the week, when you buy a drink, many bars provide free food. Firstly, as an avid eater and a terrible financial manager, I am never going to turn down free food. Secondly, this uncannily resembles ones of my favourite Plymouth institutions which was, of course, the free barbeque at Ride on a Friday evening. And thirdly, well, I don’t need a third: Free. Food.
2) The Röhsska Museum of Fashion, Design and Decorative Arts. As a self-confessed, and probably slightly pretentious, lover of fashion and novelty kitchen items in equal measure, I am very keen to visit this place, which sounds like utter heaven. My slightly dubious online information source also promises a vast collection of restored knitwear. Shoes and food gadgets and textile creation all under one roof? Please, just get me there now.
3) Christmas. I love the festive season even at the very worst of times, yet I have high hopes that yuletide in Gothenburg will be amongst the most magical I experience. It’ll be properly cold, meaning the opportunity for proper festive knitwear, the lights are apparently spectacular and then there’s the famous Liseberg Christmas market, offering up large glasses of glögg (mulled wine) all round, or so I hear. Goteborg.com also refers to itself as The Christmas City and, I promise, that is more than enough for me.
There are, I'm sure, many other attractions and traditions lurking within Sweden’s second largest city which I cannot wait to discover but, for now, simply the promise of food, fashion and festivity has stirred some excitement and that is all I need. Now, it is time for goodnight and soon for goodbye, to England at least.