of wind and sunlight, summer camp and Sweden... of June.

I was dragging my oldest suitcase down the stairs from my apartment in Lund, finishing the moving out process, when I heard the clink of a coin as it bounced down the metal steps to the ground below. I assumed it was just one Swedish krona, but as I knelt to pick it up, I could see "Colones" imprinted along the top. Colones! I thought. Where... when... have I used those?

Costa Rica? June 2004? I flipped the coin over, and confirmed that it was indeed from that country, and laughed at how it must have situated itself in just the right place to have not emerged during any other travel beating that this suitcase has taken in the years since.

Finding that coin got me thinking about how June has often held some memorable and far away times.

Our senior trip for graduation, June 2000. Hawaii. We sat in hammocks strung between palm trees, jumped off rocks to the sea 25 feet below, and watched the sunrise over the Haleakala crater before we biked down the mountain, got fake tattoos and avoided thinking about the fact that we were all to part ways for college very soon, that essentially our childhood was over.

Then Thailand, June 2002.
I was with a group from college, and we stayed in a village in the northern mountains for a month. There were long walks through rice fields, volleyball games with the locals, bamboo housebuilding, rides on elephants and rides hanging onto the back of trucks with the sun beating down while we sped through the rolling hills beyond Chiang Mai.

In June 2004 came Costa Rica. We would often stroll through the warm rain from our host house on our way to our clifftop seaview Spanish language school, and when lessons were over and the sun came out, we hit the beach. Drank passion fruit daiquiris under the wing of a cold war era plane turned into a restaurant, danced at a club that sat right on the sand, rode horses to waterfalls, and started our going out nights at Club de Banana with the rest of our language school buddies. It was an idyllic and carefree month that served as my gateway to the post-university world, one that I had been afraid to enter, having never thought very specifically about what I would do after graduation.

Last June, in 2010, I went to Uganda.
You can read the stories from those three weeks here. The warm nights that we spent sitting outside listening to the crickets and hearing the cheers from people watching the World Cup are still fresh in my mind, as is the taste of the sweet tea we drank out in the fields of Gulu and the sounds of the schoolboys pounding on their drums during lunchtime.

June 2011. Sweden.

I could go on and on about all that I've seen and done with my friends in this month. It was one of the most lovely months of my life. And something about it didn't feel so foreign. It was more that almost every day felt warm and somehow familiar, and reminded me of one of the realizations I had that helped me decide I wanted to move to Sweden.

This realization was that I needed more summer camp in my life. And by this I mean... Simplicity. Nature. Dance. Music. Trees. Swimming. Peacefulness. Everything that made my weeks at summer camp, deep in the redwood forests by the beaches of Santa Cruz, some of the happiest of my younger life. Before I came here I could sense that, even with cold winters, Sweden held a more even balance of these things than I had experienced anywhere else, and that pulled me in. All those things I named are things I truly believe that many Swedes value, cherishing that they find quite them easily in their country, be it dancing around the Christmas tree and then going out for a walk in the snow covered forest, or singing to the guitar after a dinner of fresh potatoes and a day of soaking up the sun outside the summer house.
There's been bonfires in the rain, biking around islands and through fields and forests, swimming in the clear water that runs through and around the capital city, and dancing out in the countryside into a night where the sunset and sunrise are so close together you aren't sure which is which. Midnight twilight.

Around the time I decided to apply for school in Sweden, I wrote a blog post on my other blog about the movie "Where the Wild Things Are" and was admiring an article I'd read about it. This article praised the film for not seeming so computer animated and overly produced. It said the movie depicted, "a world of wood and wind and wave, of sunlight and stone."

I loved that. I wrote in my post..

"A world of wood and wind and wave, of sunlight and stone." I want that to describe my world. More natural, more handcrafted, more true.

There is no more apt way to describe this month of June... and for what I've found more of in so many ways while living in Sweden.


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