I have a family in Stockholm. A bonus family that I found in Mozambique. My best friend, sister and great inspiration, and her two children whom I adore to little pieces. Ava sometimes says “My mom is your big sister, and I’m your little sister, isn’t that funny?” And it’s indeed the best possible set up I can imagine, I’m getting the best of all worlds with these three.
I only had two days in Sweden after our return from Jordan and before having to move on to Poland, but I had to squeeze in meeting my favourites. So I did. A very pleasant six-hour train ride and two days of shared time, complete with playing, loving hugs and a long proper talk. Moments that nurture the soul.
I got a Whatsapp message from a primary school friend: “Hey! Heard you’re in town! We’re organizing a surprise party for Vladi on Saturday – would be great if you could come. Hope to see you!”
Vladi is a friend I’ve known since first grade, we were buddies from the beginning and somehow almost always ended up in the same classroom while switching schools, all the way up until high school. We’ve managed to keep in touch throughout the years, 22 years to be exact, and I visited them just before leaving to Belize. Vladi has also been great at keeping the relations with many of the rest of our primary school friends, the friends from the neighbourhood, the people we grew up with, people from primary, middle and high school.
So, his girlfriend – and a girl I much liked to play with on the school yard, had organized a surprise party inviting all of Vladi’s friends to their apartment – and Vladi had no idea at all.
We shouted surprise, exchanged hugs and continued mingling in what for me was a nostalgia overload of faces and interesting life stories, people I knew as primary school kids were now talking about their parenthood and boyish faces had grown manly beards. In between the “this is sick!” and “wow, 7 years at least!?” greetings and hugs, there were laughs, some dancing, and a selfie stick that got to be the ultimate centre of attention all night. It was a great party, and I was very happy to be there.
Happy Birthday once more, Vladi! Thank you, Nilo! And the biggest of hugs to you all.
Here’s some added goodies from the archive. Wish I was at home right now so I could share some more!
A couple of days in Malmö with much enjoyed meetups with old friends and new little people. I was completely in awe to meet one of my best friend’s new baby, ever smiling little Benjamin, and also stumbled into the local Women’s Day celebrations. Love!
Or at least a fake YouTube fireplace. :)
Been rediscovering Malmö these past three days in Luc’s company and it has been lovely.
Less than a week left now, and then I’m moving my entire life again – far, far away – off to the other side of the Atlantic ocean, off to the Caribbean, back to Central America all over again. Back to an office, responsibilities and fun.
It’s soon time for Belize City.
Sunny Saturday breakfast with my beloved friend Belma and little baby Benjamin. Love, love, love!
Met up with Avina and friends yesterday afternoon for after work and then a nice Thursday night in her company and new apartment. It was a short meet up, but great fun – and now I’m on the train back to Malmö.
Hanging out with Maja, Ava and Zacka for two days was also wonderful. I got to read bedtime stories, I got to be a mouse/elephant/dinosaur, I got a beautiful session of exchange of ideas and feedback on thoughts – and an enormous feeling of warmth, trust and love. And fun.
I’m happy that I managed to find time for some of the people who matter most to me, and despite it being a very short Stockholm visit, it was a very rewarding and necessary one.
In 10 days I’m travelling to Belize for my new UNICEF contract.
Before leaving, Ava asked whether I would come soon again, or whether she could come visit me in Belize. I explained that I would be travelling 36 hours to get there, (that’s a day and a half!) to which Ava responded that she unfortunately won’t visit me. “That’s just too far and too many hours in airplanes, Caroline.”
I understand Ava’s difficulties with travelling to the Caribbean to visit her big sister, and we promised to Skype – but I do expect some of you darlings to come visit.
There will be palm trees.
Stockholm and my favourite little people in the world.