Spending one’s birthday in their dream destination is everyone’s wish, right? Who wouldn’t want to spend it seeing new things and traveling to new places. Luckily for me, today that dream of mine came true. Today, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend my 17th Birthday in Sweden, and it was so much better than I could have ever hoped for.
My day started off to a great start because the weather decided to clear up just for today! It has been pretty rainy and gloomy the past couple days because summer is now over and fall is beginning. Mamma and Pappa had to leave for work super early so I didn’t get to see them, but Ebba wished me a “Happy Birthday” before heading off to school.
I had to leave for school earlier than normal because I had to finish working on an assignment with a friend in my Spanish class. After we were finished, I walked to my locker and found all of my friends standing around it waiting to say happy birthday and hiding the balloons and chocolate that had covered it with! I was so shocked that they had done something so nice for me after only knowing them for a short while, it was so kind.
After I thanked them all, I quickly got my books and went into class. As I walked to my seat, the teacher talked to the class in Swedish and as soon as I sat down, they all stood up and sang Happy Birthday to me in Swedish. They had been talking about me the whole time and I didn’t even realize!! I was so overwhelmed with happiness and so grateful that I could not wipe a smile off my face, and it was only 9:30 a.m. The rest of the day continued in similar fashion, lots of happy birthday’s were said and smiles were worn. After lunch, the computer guy called me into his office and gave me what I think was meant to be a birthday present, my school computer! Now I am an official student of S:ta Ragnhild Gymnasiet!!!
The day got even better when we found out my Physics teacher wasn’t here, so the last class of the day would be an easy hour and a half of just working on problems together with our groups. In Sweden, they don’t use substitutes when teachers are gone. The Principal or Vice Principal will come in and relay the assignment for you and then leave you to do the work on your own. Again, they expect you to take responsibility to do the assignment during class and have it finished by the next lesson, even though homework is never checked!
Once school finished, there was a welcome-back-to-school party out front of the school where they grilled hamburgers and the parents met for an optional school meeting. My friends and I mostly wanted to stay for the free food but it was fun to hang out around school and play some ping pong as well! Mamma came by for a little bit to say happy birthday, eat a cheeseburger, and say hello before going back home. I stayed a little longer to hang out with my friends before we decided to walk home.
At home, we hung around the table for a little while as I told them about my day before it was time for Ebba and I to head to our first choir practice! It was only a nice ten minute walk to the beautiful church set back into the woods. Ebba and I came early so the director could hear us sing and place us in the correct vocal parts. The rest of the members got there by 6:30 p.m. and greeted us kindly with a smile and some English! We are by far the youngest members but it doesn’t matter much because each and every member was so fun and young at heart.
Ebba and I sat and watched the first half of their rehearsal just to get an idea of what it was like and when they took a break for a small fika, we decided we had seen enough to know that we would love to join so we said our goodbyes and headed back home. Mamma and Papa had dinner ready and when we walked into the dining room, the table was beautifully decorated with flowers, colorful napkins, and presents!
As I stood where I was, shocked and admiring the decorations, they sang happy birthday to me and yelled their hurrahs. I could not have asked for anything more. We sat down and had a nice and simple dinner of my absolute favorite baguette sandwiches and opened some presents. Ebba got me three pairs of earrings and Mamma and Pappa got me some very needed winter clothes, a sweater, hat, scarf, and turtleneck in my favorite colors. We finished off an amazing day with some yummy birthday cake and warm tea.
Today really opened my eyes to how amazingly nice and thoughtful the people here are. It helped me realize how lucky I am to have gotten placed with such a caring family in such a sweet school. I can honestly say that my first Swedish birthday is one I will never forget.