It's hard to believe, but I am writing my last dispatch from the road. Tomorrow I head to HerrŠng, Sweden, for a week of nothing but Swing Dancing. My endurance is low, I fear, but my spirit is willing! I am looking forward to reunions with friends from across Europe, as well as far flung Seattle! It occurs to me that the all night dances are roughly on the same schedule as daylight in Seattle, so in the interests of beating jet lag to the punch, I plan to party all night long!
The week started for me in London. Brie and I saw a musical together: Notre Dame de Paris. Now, I'll be quick to admit that I don't like musicals, but Brie was quick to admit that this was not a typical musical. Which may explain why I liked a lot of it. There was much energetic dancing and acrobatics, including people swinging madly from large bells. Some of the singing was quite good, with the hunchback sounding like a Joe Cocker/Tom Waits type. The staging was minimalist, which kept the focus on the dancing. Later, Heidi and I saw a student production at her old drama school. It was a drawing room farce with slapstick, puns and double entendre. Of the three plays I've seen, this was the best. It was also the only one that was not a glossy mega-bucks production (surprise, surprise).
I went dancing once more, but had to cut it short, as one of the other visiting Americans decided to spread talcom (sp?) powder all over the floor. Even those of you who don't dance can imagine how slick this can make (an already slick) floor. I was appalled that she was spreading it around while we were dancing. If I hadn't glimpsed her out of the corner of my eye, I could've been in for quite a spill! Not wanting to risk an injury before HerrŠng, I retired early. The people who run the dance swept up as much as they could, but there is only so much one can do. They were unamused - score another for the Ugly American Myth!
Wednesday I flew to Stockholm. London Heathrow is one huge airport! The flight was nice, and I chatted with a Swedish woman returning from a term abroad in Scotland. There is something cool about a Swede who speaks English with a Scottish accent!
Stockholm is a beautiful city. The subway here is called the "T", which nicely fills the gap between Germany's "S" and "U" trains. I spent yesterday in the sunshine shopping for dancing provisions. Today I will focus more on exploring and discovering photo ops. I have been blessed with some fantastic dinners here, although nothing comes cheap. Tonight I am having dinner with Jennie Lšbel, who dancers will know as a local swing vocalist. I count myself as a fan, so I am excited.
After a month in the UK, it is fun to again be guessing at what menus say. I know three words in Swedish: Hi, Thanks, and Sale (thanks to my shopping in sale season). I'm getting by with those, but I'm going to try to learn more.
This has been a period of reflection as I look back on my adventures and try to decide what it all means, and what the heck I'm going to do once I'm back. I'm home on the 17th, and hope to see everyone soon.
What have I learned on this trip?
*I now know what a mummy feels like (yikes!)
*Swing is (almost) universal
*If I can live out of a pack for four months, there's a lot of crap at home I can throw out!
*People are friendly everywhere
*There's no problem a credit card and/or a glass of wine won't fix
*I've got it great in Seattle, with a super circle of friends!
See you all soon!