Imagine a Canadian university having this on their website (translated from Swedish using Google Translator):
Question: What do you do in your spare time in Hällefors?
Answer: Eg go to the movies, sports, play bowling, practice on the Health House (J: I think this translates to exercising, gym?), visit the bath in Fillipestad, associations, etc. You can also interact with other students in the municipality, ex. the student union building in Grythyttan (Örebro University), Hällefors Folkhögskola (J: adult continuing education). Do you like nature, with healthy walks, fishing, canoe trips, etc.? Yes, there is much to do!
Exercising, going to the movies, bowling, and walking outside? That is lots to do? I kind of get the opposite impression when they promote such simple things that available just about anywhere, that there must not really be much to do! Of course this is due to my bias of living in a city where there are far more events going on than I know about. I can just hear the Swedish IKEA guy asking, “Do you like nature?” (listen here for hilarious commercial)
When you get to Lunnevad, near Linköping, and Mjölby, will you also to the Stergötland’s cultural landscape where it is as beautiful, just in the border area between forest and plains. A lush environment that invites physical runs or long walks and who gives silence when you need studier.
My reaction to this is just to laugh! But when Per read the exact same thing, he thought, “ah, how nice! Sounds like a wonderful place!” I think Canadians don’t exactly have “access to nature” as a criteria when looking for schools, which is why no Canadian school would even think to have something like this on their website. Could you even imagine?
Per sent me photos of Linkoping a few weeks ago, and I was shocked to see how green, lush, and full of bloom it is there. Wildflowers everywhere. Asparagus and rhubarb coming up in Per’s backyard. Grape leaves forming on the vine. Compared to here, where we’re just coming out of brown grass still. And flowers? Do they even grow wild here? Never seen one in the city that wasn’t planted by someone.
I finally understand why Swedes live for summer, having experienced grey, dreary, monotonous November / December skies, and extremely short daylight hours – hours that were usually grey still. Once a week Linkoping would be blessed with a day of blue skies, and I reacted just like most Swedes – rushing outside desperately trying to take in the sun while I could. Seeing the dramatic transformation into spring, I see more and more, how important the seasons and nature are to Swedes. And why when summer comes, everyone goes nuts! I heard it several times, how important nature is to Swedes, but until I saw it with my own eyes, I didn’t completely understand it.