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Sweden: as I remember it. (or don't) THIS IS JUST LIKE INCEPTION PART 3

I'm going to skip ahead a lotttttttt to when I was at the airport with Al. And Al was standing in front of me and it was the first time I'd seen him in days/weeks/months.

now, we were flying away on 9/11 and the airport was DEAD. vacant. like a zombie movie. seriously- there was no one around

I wonder why!

"Hi," I said to Al, ready to embark on the next 11 days in his company.

From there, Al had some random problem with his carryon I forget. then we went to like some overglitzed airport version of an Applebee's and had a beer together before flying. I tried to get internet and failed. c'est la vie. how did I function?

on the actual flight to New York City, we flew basically in a tissue box that had somehow taken wings to flight. it was such a broke ass Erie-like flight they didn't offer us even newspapers on it. and it was very hot and bright, but we were in JFK in like an hour or so.

once at JFK, the crowds were significantly larger, and surprise of surprise, there were a lot of dopey American tourists (I almost typed "terrorists") on the Sweden flight. us not included obviously.

once on the flight, I found myself seated to the most adorable Finnish woman who spoke broken English. Finns like her are null and void these days. she kept pointing at a map of Nevada (she had gone there while in the States) and trying to tell me about her adventures on some ranch out west. Despite our translation differences- 

her:  "jaiejrejalrkelkajekrj"
me: "nice!"

-she ended up being truly sweet. she actually gave me her phone number and her address, so I could stay in her spare room in her mansion in Stockholm (her daughter lived in New York and modelled for Marc Jacobs). When my free Miller lite exploded on me on the flight (all beverages across-the-sea on flights are FREE, BOOZE OR NOT) she gave my replacement beer to Al and said "let the man open this up!" ha, man. I think they gave me a Heineken instead. NOT THE SAME. 

the flight was long and we watched Leap Year which I surprisingly loved. Amy Adams can do no wrong, right? ;)

then we were in Sweden and the Arlanda airport was so white and so blindingly clean; I will always remember that. it was like a near-death experience. 

"Am I in heaven?" I remember asking myself thoughtfully. "NO, SWEDEN. SO CLOSE!" 

the Swedish customs agents seemed a little confused, but delighted, by my enthusiasm. in fact, I'd sum that up as a lot of people's reactions. 

what happened in the next 11 days was a lot of dumb shit- blacking out several times, for example, my body doesn't handle strong alcohol well and I earned a reputation at my hostel of choice, THE ACCO- but so much great stuff, too. Al and I met a host of lovely people- Australians, Finns, too many Belgians, Italians, Dutch, one English book I woke up to see who the fuck he was, Chinese, Japanese (Maika!!!!) and a bunch of French people that probably would not have spit on us if we were dying in the streets (sigh). We met a random chipper American boy at the University of Stockholm, where he was like OTHER AMERICANS? OMG I'M STUDYING HERE and we were like SWEET WE'RE JUST GETTING COFFEE. Another American boy we met off couchsurfing was great- Jimmy, I still talk to him on occasion, he works for the government over there (ours). and speaking of, it was awesome that we were American citizens (um, are) and couldn't even get into our own embassy.

Couchsurfing, by the way, is an awesome experience. I highly recommend doing it (if you can find a good person). We all had good people.

two moments really stick out in my mind:  when Al was crizzzank drunk and hitting on these arguably not-so-much-hit-upon-worthy German bitches and I was sober and watching over him (fun times). then I met Enrico, my Italian friend I was convinced while drunk was from Turkey, who showed me his drawings. then this random Finnish boy showed up and we all sat in the hallway looking at them together, while Al was trying to conduct a threesome. following that, I went outside to retrieve Al, heard him screaming German at some huge Swede ("YOU'RE NOT FROM BERLIN!") the German had this little Asian girlfriend with him, too. when it was time for her to go onto her bus, she screamed "I HAVE TO GO" and I just saw her zipping down the street like lightning. weird.

the other one was my last night there, in which we went out on the town with our model-looking Australian friend. seriously, I never notice good-looking guys but I was like in awe of him the whole trip. not only was he so stereotypically attractive, but he was so nice! we walked around Stockholm with him and our other Aussie friend all day, going down to the waterfront and whatnot. even as I type this my chest sort of feels like it is going to close in because I adored that place like no other place on Earth- but yeah, we were all sitting outside the hostel our last FULL night in Stockholm (the other night was divided at Arlanda) and I started to cry because I realized something sort of shitty had happened, but the good-looking Australian guy was like BRITTANY YOU ARE A WONDERFUL GIRL and we were both drunk and soaked because of the rain so we had a moment. it was very much like, um, what I guess the plot of Pretty In Pink is.

then in the morning, he left very early to go to Denmark and mentioned his girlfriend and I, who was in love with him for three hours, was like "WHATNOWHATWHATWHAT."

our last real night in Stockholm, we tried to pick up some Finnish bitches, but Al drank their cider so we didn't get to do that. the one girl tried to friend me on facebook but never found me. :/

when we returned to the U.S., I was sore, ornery and menstruating. so going through customs and being patted down by some androgynous female security guard in Amsterdam was SO MUCH FUN (every time she hit me I was like GOD STOP STOP YOU'RE TOO CLOSE).

we had a long busride in Baltimore to DC, where I had to meet my sister after it was all said and done. of course something happened, so I ended up just crashing at Al's dad's girlfriend's place, after the longest day of my life. it felt so lonely to leave Sweden behind....the next day, parting from Al, I sat in Dunkin Donuts and sobbed like a silly bitch. my sister came and got me from Wegman's (I don't know) and I was very happy to see her, but you know.

I was on this total confidence high for a while but then I started working at Erie Insurance again and that stopped.

conclusion: Al, Finland or Montreal next summer? 


  1. Oh my gosh, I was thinking about that large German speaking Swede the other day, and how nice he was not to kick my anus.

  2. if we ever stop being friends Al I'm going to hang myself.

  3. if you go to Montreal, I'm coming, too. Ever since Bethenny Frankel went there...never mind.


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