Wednesday, April 19, 2017

First Impressions

Stockholm is an elegant city, a regal city, that incorporates space well into this urban planning. Buildings are strong and resilient and are brightly colored. The building have endured many snowy seasons and they will last into the future because of their noble features. The tops of many buildings have domes, crosses, or steeples. Height and space is worked into buildings and urban spaces deliberately.

Stockholm is clean and tidy with well-mannered people. It is situated on a series of islands that acts as a natural fortress and it enjoys a healthy relationship to the surrounding waterways. Statues within the city speak to the people's need for spiritual uplifting rather than having any need to tell visitors something about the people's spirits.

The King and Queen are a prominent part of city life. On the island nearby the Jesuit community, the Royal Castle, still houses the Royal Family. The flag is displayed so we know the King is in residence. The noble court people mingle with the common folks, but they are set apart by custom suits and fancy hats. Most of the people try to blend into the urban life; it is against their custom to stand out in particular ways.

Sweden has a proud history and I'm ashamed to say that I know so little about the nations. In the ninth grade, I wrote a paper on Norway, but that was certainly superficial. People talk about their historical monarchs and the royal family very easily, but I have no idea their significance yet. For instance, when I asked about Saint Erick, they queried, "Which one?"

It is light by 5:00 a.m. and it is bright until 8:30 p.m. In June, daylight will be present for all but three hours. Conversely, it is very dark in the winter.

People are polite. I have not been bumped into once. Few people smoke cigarettes, just a handful of young women and the new immigrants. Society is wrestling with the changes these new immigrants bring. They smoke without regard for laws, their child-raising techniques differ from other Western Standards, and they have a two year waiting period before they know if they are incorporated into the civil society. They have basic funding, but they do not have jobs.

I passed by the shopping mall, Ahlens, where the recent terrorist attack occurred. Apparently, it was not intended to harm Swedes because it was in the heavily touristed area. Piles of flowers stand in memorial to the deaths and injuries.

With a foreign language and little ability to communicate, I feel comfortable and relaxed in an amazing country. I will have to learn more about this people's history.

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