The soundtrack of my worlds

October 21, 2017

in Living abroad

Stockholm Above/Below My view looking toward the Stockholm Above/Below 8K race.


There is a running race going on in my backyard today. As we live in a city apartment, it’s not really my “backyard” in the true sense of the word, but there is a big park directly behind our building. So I feel like that counts as my backyard.

Born to Run is blaring on the loudspeakers and I am laughing. I’ve been transported to my parent’s living room where I am 12 years old and trying to watch Scooby Doo with my younger brother after school. But we can’t hear a thing because our older brother is upstairs with his stereo playing The Boss with the volume turned all the way to the right. The TV can’t compete with the booming bass of the stereo.

Yelling at Jeff to turn it down does not work as he can’t hear us. Pounding on his door won’t work either because he will happily ignore us, as we experience. So being the younger and thus powerless siblings, we move closer to the TV cabinet to watch Scooby and Shaggy with Bruce Springsteen providing the soundtrack.

Now my Stockholm backyard race is playing Break on Through by the Doors. That song was also played at full volume throughout my childhood, but it could have just as likely been my brother or my Dad playing that. To this day, my 79-year-old father is still likely to turn the volume as high as he can to enjoy the full force of his Bose surround-sound speakers.

But now Bada Nakna (swim naked) by Samir & Viktor is on.


Just like that I am back home in Sweden. Because yes, the song is in Swedish and it is so very Svensk with its catchy tune and lyrics about living life on your own terms. It was also a Eurovision song and there is no way that would have ever been heard in my childhood home.

Nonetheless I am still smiling at the luxury of having two different worlds collide and merge into what is my life now. Anyway it’s sunny and the water is shimmering. That makes up for the fact that it is breezy and 8 degrees C (46F). So I am making like a Swede and have bundled up in layers with a big sweater and a polar fleece blanket wrapped tightly around me to sit on the balcony.

After 13 years in Sweden, I’ve learned that you have to enjoy the gift of “good” weather when you can. Living this far north at this time of year, a day with sunshine feels like a bonus even if it does not exactly qualify as warm in my vision of a perfect world. After about 30 minutes though, there is not enough warmth in the sun to offset the chill in the air that has been transferred from the aluminum of my MacBook Air into my fingers.

Back inside, I am enjoying the sun through the windows. And I’ve found the perfect thing to enjoy with a cup of tea to warm me up: The last packet of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies. My mom sends them to me every spring and I hoard them in my freezer to enjoy in moments like these. It’s a wonderful thing to savor the rich layers of  life.

writing life I huddled up on my balcony couch until my fingers were too cold to type anymore.



1 James October 21, 2017 at 21:36

Love the contrast between Springsteen and Samir/Viktor. Lovely piece of writing.

2 Sandra October 21, 2017 at 21:44

Thanks James. It was just one of those days where I was noticing the contrasts.

3 Lou October 31, 2017 at 11:19

‘you have to enjoy the gift of “good” weather when you can’ – so true! Lovely view from your apartment – suns out today, better go out and grab some rays…

4 Sandra October 31, 2017 at 19:06

That’s certainly true, Lou. And thanks! Really good to hear from you again, by the way. Hope all is well.

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