Today was just like all the others, beginning extremely slowly and well into the afternoon. However, unlike the previous days, this one was special. It was Jo’s 23rd birthday! Being the great roommate that I am, I woke up a little bit before her, and made her a surprise birthday breakfast of nutella on bread with bananas cut in the shape of a “2” and a “3”. We were supposed to go to TC sometime this weekend for a workout, so we dressed in identical black leggings, sneakers, and our new red zip up fleece jackets and started walking. Malin had given us a town map the first day here and marked on it her apartment, the volleyball gym, and the training center; naturally we didn’t really rely too heavily on this map and instead attempted to find TC using our own intuition. Over an hour later, we had managed to find our way to the church that Jo’s dad recommended to us, but not too many other things. Just beyond the church there seemed to be a large green space. My assumption: its definitely a park; Jo’s assumption: more specifically a dog park. Upon further examination, this was a cemetery. Clearly, we wouldn’t be spending too much time around there. Instead, we continued walking, only to realize that after almost 2 hours in search of the training center, we were right back at Maxi. Maxi is approximately 5 minutes from our apartment, just in the opposite direction than when we started walking.
As we finished up our lunch, we got a text from Lisa: “Hey girls! Do you have any plans for tonight? Or do you wanna party? ” To which of course we responded, “we wanna party!!!” We took turns showering and skyping (finally!) before finally getting dressed and ready to go over to meet Lisa. The night began with French kebab sandwiches for dinner – essentially just a kebab on a baguette – then pre-gaming at Lisa’s friend Emma’s house. We drank some beer, had a few shots of Mintu and then started up some drinking games. More friends began to show up and before you know it, it was a full on house party. We met another American, born in Ft Lauderdale, who has been living in Sweden for the past 5 years. It was funny to see how much English he had lost after being here so long and not able to practice as much. Many of the Swedes had better overall English than he did. There was actually one point in the conversation where he was talking in his American-English accent (its more common here to have British-English accent, so its important to differentiate), paused mid-sentence to ask his friend, IN SWEDISH, how to say – wait for it – “admit”. Now, you know you’ve been in a foreign country far too long when you have to ask the non-English-speaker how to say a word in your own first language. Later that night, we somehow got onto the topic of being circumcised versus uncircumcised; apparently if you are European and a non-Jew or a non-Muslim, you will not be circumcised. This lead to all the girls questioning Jo and I about what the differences are, if the penises look bigger or smaller, if they function differently, and the biggest question: why do it? Neither of us could provide them with a serious enough medical or cultural answer that they were willing to accept. Hysterical laughter ensued before Emelia finally suggested that we headed over to Harry’s, which would be a 15-minute walk towards the city center. Harry’s is directly next to the Hotel Terraza that we eat lunch at during the week. Thus begins the mass consumption of free drinks. Jo’s selling point: IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!! My selling point: I’M AMERICAN!!! From here, we instantly made friends with anyone and everyone in the bar. People flocked to us as if we were celebs. Literally. They walked into the bar and asked, “where are the Americans??” It was like a dream come true. Pretty sure that there was a moderate form of paparazzi snapping a photo or two. Ok, that last part was just Jo and I taking random pictures of each other at the bar. The night got a little bit crazy, with us meeting practically everyone. A Greek man bought me a drink for going to Paros, a Peruvian guy asked Jo for our number, and Emelia was making out with a rando. The bar closed at 2 and began kicking everyone out, so we decided it was time to go to sleep. This was definitely a great way to celebrate Jo’s 23rd birthday and welcome us to Ljungby.