Here in Sweden, the days between Christmas and the new year are called the mellandagarna, the “middle days.” I tried to go back to work a bit, but I (and most of the rest of my colleagues) were still in that drowsy vacation state, which meant our offices were pretty empty.
That also meant that the skating rink was pretty full, when Matt and I went a few afternoons this week to stretch our legs. And all the stores seemed rife with sales, so some of them were fairly crowded as well. (I know this after having braced a few in search of a cute top for myself and some gifts for friends.*)
But on New Year’s Eve, somewhere at around 5:45 pm, the ice was empty. The lights were out. Only the red glow of the time winking on the scoreboard, and a few streetlamps at one end of the rink, lit the ice.
Matt had just readjusted his long-blade skates and was itching to try them, but we had come to late! Or so it seemed — the gate to the parking lot was wide open, and we could see that it would be easy to walk down and around the temporary fencing and out onto the ice.
As we decided to go for it, two teenage boys walked towards us, and we thought they were about to scold us. But we kept walking, as did they — straight over to a garbage can, where they lit fireworks and ran, right before the *boom* that exploded the can. (These explosions broke the night until the very early hours this morning.)
We figured we were going to be in less trouble than they were if any authorities came to scold us for skating while the idrottsplatts was officially closed. We made our way down onto the ice.
Skating in the cold semi-dark was so exhilarating! And by the end of half an hour, I was hungry, hungry enough to head home for our traditional new year’s eve supper of Swiss fondue. We even managed to stay awake until midnight, with the help of some asti spumante.
*A small digression: While the big brands were having sales during the mellandagarna that tempted me, I came away from several stores empty-handed, unable to find something on which I really wanted to spend so much money.
Part of my gut feeling was that I would pay too much for low quality, despite sales prices, or too much for something that I wouldn’t really love. Also, I had just experienced how cheap similar goods are in the US, where I was spoiled last month. And of course, my favorite store here, Myrorna, has also spoiled me, as I can find similar brand names for less — though not a lot less, it turns out in some cases. And rarely the right fit: The H&M blouse I tried on at Myrorna the other day, several sizes too big but the right color, was only about half the original price when it was new in the store last season. I couldn’t bring myself to pay that much. I ended up in H&M yesterday, buying new at almost the full store price — and just as poorly made and ill-fitting, but cheap and cute and “good enough for now.”
Which brings me to my last point: I don’t need any of these items I’ve examined over the past few days. I was out for a treat, a little gift for myself. I have a stuffed closet. “First-world problems!” as Matt says.