Not too much, not too little

I arrived in Copenhagen at 10:30am. The flight was just seven hours and relatively comfortable. I sat next to a lovely, talkative couple, a writer and a sculpture artist. I slept for most of the flight- thanks to my good friend, Drew, who makes tinctures containing herbs and botanicals that aid in various ways (immunity, anxiety, etc); the one I brought with me aiding in sleep.

 

Upon arrival, I walked out of the terminal to the train where I purchased a train (Oresundstag) ticket to Lund, Sweden. One of my best friends, Moon, lives there and is finishing her graduate degree at Lund University (one of the most prestigious universities in Europe) in human ecology while teaching yoga and learning Swedish. She is brilliant, resourceful and a great inspiration. She also happens to be my half aunt which is a complex dynamic many can't wrap their heads around starting with our closeness in age and difference in appearance (she is blond and blue eyed). Thus, saying we're friends is typically the less complicated choice.

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Lund was quiet and charming. We met a few of Moon's classmates at an organic, vegetarian Indian restaurant called Govinda's; where they served us beet salad, lentil soup and yellow curry. The interior was adorable and bustling, humbly decorated with a friendly, joyful staff- a true, local favorite. Once finished eating every last bite of our meals, Moon and her friend, Nora, walked me through the cobblestone streets explaining the history and culture of the little town. We stopped by their historic church and Raja Yoga Lund, where Moonie teaches yoga. They exclaimed that it was the warmest day Lund had seen, coming in hot at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It felt so strange to see more bikes than cars. I observed that the Swedish people were kind, humble, ethical, careful and uniquely concerned with the greater good. It was refreshing to see a society function efficiently as a whole. Moonie told me of their philosophy called Lagom: a Swedish idea or feeling of not needing to be the best, but to be 'just right'. There is no precise English translation which I find fitting. Lagom indicates balance, just enough, fair share, making sure everyone has food and drink at every table. Swedish contentment...sign me up.

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That evening we considered Malmo where they have typical Swedish baths- you lie in a sauna and then jump straight into the Baltic Sea and back and forth. Apparently it's 'a Swedish thing' but I imagine any culture would practice the same routine if they had a sauna overlooking an ocean. We also considered a farmhouse out in the country. Unfortunately both were too far for my one night stay so we decided on another 'Swedish thing'...beer. We met with Moon's Chicago born friend, Rachel, at a bar called Inferno. It was packed and lively with an array of beer selections, my favorite being a Danish dark, full-bodied amber called Pistonhead. One of the best lines of the night came when a guy tried to engage with us in a conversation about American politics. In a bitter, condescending tone he said, "I mean really, how do you all feel about your current political state? Do you feel proud?" Moonie looked at him with a sigh and said, "I feel too tired to have this conversation right now." It's so nice to have a friend who says what I'm about to say for me.

 

That night, after returning home and after Inferno had closed, I realized I left my camera battery charging in the bar. FAIL. I kicked myself until the next morning, when I found a shop that *magically* carried gear for my Fuji. A whopping 449 kronas. So I lied. I'm still kicking myself.

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Around 8am, we took the bus into Lundgarden where we stopped for breakfast at a quaint, timeless cafe called St. Jakobs Stenugnsbageri. (Say that three times fast.) The cafe smelled of fresh bread, sugar and coffee and it was nearly impossible to choose just one thing...so I chose two, a typical Swedish pastry (essentially a cinnamon roll) and a sandwich made with in house bread. Freakin' delicious. Moonie had just received a prestigious internship at an environmentally conscious firm focused on finance in Korea. Yeah, that's my friend. The mood was happy (besides me still kicking myself over the battery). Leaving wasn't so bitter since Moonie and I will be reuniting again in Amsterdam in just a week. We stopped at the pharmacy for some powerful Swedish vitamins that help protect immunity (Berocca) and spent a few minutes frustrated at the station trying to figure out where and when the train was departing. Moonie told me of the one time she had to catch a 6am train, didn't realize the bus wasn't running that early, grabbed her bike, pedaled fast into town in the dark (but only crashed once!) before barely catching it. She always finds a way. We said our goodbyes before I made my way back to the Copenhagen airport where I took a flight to Geneva, Switzerland.

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