my first birthday in stockholm.

I will never forget my first birthday in Stockholm.

It has not been easy to start a new job and move to a new place at the same time. In a country that is still foreign (at times) to me. What I decided to do for my birthday this year was to plan to have a little theme party (The Roaring 20s) and just see if I could bring a little of my old life into my new life here. To finally host some people again. Have them in costumes and put up a couple decorations. Serve some drinks. If 5 friends came, that was okay. I knew life was too busy to try to plan or expect too much. All I wanted was to feel a little bit of a sense that I can make a place for myself here, to be the friend to my friends here, that I used to be to my friends in California.

When the 30 or so guests gathered around to sing the Swedish Happy Birthday song, I was more than moved. I was just thrilled to see so many friends in one place, in my place. I'd already had some dear friends help me set up the party and get ready and give me some amazing presents already. Then after the song, I was given a card. On the outside, it said, "Vad vore livet utan vänner?" (What would life be without friends?) At the top, on the inside, it said, "Som utan cykel?" (like that without a bike?). A key fell out of the envelope. I looked up in shock.

"Go see if there is someone waiting for you outside your door!" I was told.

I went to the door, everyone following, and opened it. A brand new black bike sat there, with a pink bow on it. I couldn't even touch it for a minute, I was so moved... I had to turn away from everyone to compose myself. It was one of the biggest surprises of my life, and so generous... several of my friends had collaborated to get it for me. And they were so happy to see me receive it. Any loneliness or stress or concern about my present and future in Stockholm evaporated in an instant. The message was loud and clear, on my friends' faces and in this tangible wheeled representation in front of me: We care about you. We're so happy you're here. We want you to enjoy your life here.

Thanks to everyone, in Sweden, in the States, and elsewhere, who made this a wonderful birthday.


  1. Well first of all, you look adorable in these pics. And second, I think you have amazing friends because you are one! It warms my heart thinking about your Swedish pose. Yay for the Sweds!

  2. Yay! Warms my mother-heart that your friends made you feel so loved.


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