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June 5th 2008
Published: June 5th 2008
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Dinner on the lakeDinner on the lakeDinner on the lake

Peter, where are the eels!?
A walk in the wetlands and a day in the city....a perfect example of what the Skane region has to offer, and what better way than this to fill our day?!

Let me get you up to speed....a salmon dinner on the water, a nice chilly boat ride (but we're loving that the Swedes ALWAYS have blankets!), a presentation on Skane goverment and politics, an Absolut afternoon, an evening performance (to a very receptive audience), a morning walk and birding excursion in the wetlands, a lunch time performance in the city (only 2 more left!), an afternoon in the city (love the ice cream and shoe shopping), and a night for relaxation...

Ok. Did I mention yet that our days are fully diverse and complete!?

I could blather on about the beautiful boat ride in the sunset under one of the oldest Danish built bridges in southern Sweden, but I have a tradition to share with you that's by far more unique and intriguing!

Swedish graduation celebrations! I tell ya, this little old Minnesota farm girl was blown away by the spectacle of celebration that overtook the city streets in Kristianstad today...and allegedly this mayhem is occurs throughout the country!! The gymnasium graduates (somewhat our equivalent of high school graduates) don these swanky white caps that are slightly reminiscent of the Skipper on Gilligan's Island (boy, that show keeps popping up!) and the graduating girls wear white dresses, and they literally take over the streets, alleys, sidewalks, walkways, gangways, doorways....they're all over. You get the point. Beth's host "father" showed us to the theater where the huddled masses (aka: family members of the graduates) gathered outside and stared at the majestic grand doors where the students would exit in waves of about 20, stand at the railing, sing some song in Swedish, scream and flail about in exuberance, then head into the said masses looking for their families who hold up large posterboard signs with photos of their child and token words of congratulations.

The posterboards varied as much as the shoes did, and the joyous feeling in the air was so contagious, I almost made a sign for Beth! The celebration was still at full capacity when we left the city, while the young adults coralled themselves in convertibles, tractors, trucks, trailers, and caravans and screamed, honked, and sang all about the city. They then
A fine day for a hikeA fine day for a hikeA fine day for a hike

in the wetland reserve
spend the evening at graduate parties, and Swedish friends go from home to home popping in for the celebrations...

Whew. What a day!

Tomorrow's National Day (and the tour's move to Ronneby), and although as you can see above, the Swedes know how to recognize a big event, I think this one's still in its infancy, as it's a relatively new holiday. I think the heartier festivities occur at Midsommer, a Saturday in June where snaps, herring, strawberries, singing, and dancing abound! The team will be back in their homelands by then though, so our memories of crazy Swedish partying will harken back to today's merry bedlam....

Additional photos below
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Graduation day mayhem!Graduation day mayhem!
Graduation day mayhem!

A time honored Swedish tradition.....that's unlike anything we'd ever seen!

7th June 2008

Graduation day!
You should have Dennis look into whether he can get all of YOU hats - those white Popeye ones - for YOUR graduation from the GSE program! ...I bet he owes you at least that... You can embroider an eel on it somewhere, perhaps slithering around a windmill - that sort of mottif. Or not, heck, I just think the unique experiences you've shared is fantastic, and worthy of some commemoration and celebration. You folks are terrific. I am so proud of you, and I am also so happy that your experience has been enjoyed, has been meaningful, and has been profound. Thank you for the chance to share - from a vast distance - your exchange. I look forward to hearing the stories! And I really look forward to your presentation in Minot!

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