Blame it on the Swedish summer, or what’s known as sommarlov here. I got busy sometime in May with some work and personal obligations, we traveled and worked in June, and then summer vacation snuck up on me. Everyone left town for their summer homes, or for vacation spots slightly sunnier and warmer than Sweden (like Greece).
We had a picnic with friends the other day who were just back from five weeks of whirlwind travel. One commented: Swedes say you need six weeks of doing nothing, sitting at your cabin in the woods or on the water, recuperating, before you are considered ready to go back to work. The first two weeks are spent talking about summer vacations over fika anyway.
One of my favorite stories that a Swede has invariably told me around the beginning of summer: an employee from a Japanese firm calls a Swedish manufacturing company in the middle of July, where the sole employee present picks up the phone. This de facto secretary, covering for their Swedish colleagues, says, “ah, we might have that product you need, but everyone is on vacation right now. Please call back in August.” And the person at the other end of the line in Japan (or the UK or India or Australia or wherever) gets insulted and assumes that this is the company’s way of telling them they don’t want to do business.
We did relax, some; for about a week, I channeled the feeling of being retired, puttering in the apartment, exercising midday, wandering around town on small errands. But we might have also traveled too much, or at least, not sat around enough.
Now, as August starts rushing by, I and my colleagues are trickling back into the office. The work flow is finally picking up. But summer isn’t over yet! The Stockholm kulturfest is this week, the berries are still ripening in my friends’ gardens, and it’s still warm(-ish). There’s still time to play!