Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Wedding in Sweden

Roger and Caroline live in a small town of Klippan, where their parents and grandparents have also lived. Roger's grand-uncle builT a dance-hall and restaurant on a nice viewpoint of a hill above the farming area that Klippan is nestled in. The original building burnt down about 15 years ago, and the local equivalent of a Rotary club got together volunteers to rebuild a community hall of sorts in its place. Roger and Caroline booked this spot for their wedding to take place.

On Friday after breakfast, we headed up to the place that the wedding was to take place, helping set up the tables and prepare some of the decorations. Elwyn and Alden enjoyed setting out little colourful Ikea beads and candles on the tables, just like any kids would, and the place looked beautiful when it was ready.

We headed back down the hill to buy shoes for me in Klippan and then to Roger's house, where we joined another family of Canadians, who are also staying with Roger and Caroline for their wedding. They have three kids, 7, 5 and 1, so Elwyn and Alden were fully entertained by Veronica, Ryan and Emma. Had a nice supper and visited late into the night before heading to bed to rest for the big day.

Saturday was the morning of the wedding. Caroline needed to have a bracelet picked up at the jewlery store in town, so after breakfast we headed into Klippan to explore a little. Enjoyed a few little shops and a bakery, before headed back to Roger's house to get changed for the wedding. My new suit looked fine, and fortunately didn't need any alterations. Elwyn and Alden wore their new shirts from Paris, and Karen her new jacket along with a particularly beautiful shirt she has.

We arrived at the wedding site shortly after three to find Roger and Caroline and Roger's youngest sister Fredrica all making final preparations. The wedding was perfectly planned, with about 65 guests (11 from Canada, a family from Germany, and the rest, from what I could gather, were local folks from Skåne). The 5 Canadian kids and Elsa were really the only little ones there, and on the whole were independent and well contained.

Roger had asked me to be his witness at the wedding, and Caroline her long-time friend Annette. We stood to the left of the gragarious municipal official who married them, with Roger and Caroline standing on the other side. The vows were quite brief, from what I could gather only really requiring that they explicitly agree that they would be together in sickness and in health. The family and friends all looked on, as we stood outside in the courtyard of the dance-hall, overlooking the farmland and wooded vistas below. The marriage official, after the wedding chatted Annette and I up a bit, telling us about how he had lived in Toronto 40 years ago, working for International Machinery. The crowd looked awkwardly on waiting to greet the new husband and wife. Annette finally clicked in and said that we needed to go congradulate them first, before everyone else would come. We did that, and the wedding party really began in earnest.

After about an hour outside of sipping elderberry juice, we were called in for supper. The caterers had prepared a three course feast of (1) a fantastic greek cheese and basil salad, (2)a main course of potatoes, green beans, and either pork roast or a yummy vegetarian dish called Korn in swedish, but made of mushrooms, and (3) a cake of local swedish red currents, some kind of fluffy cream, ice cream and a chocolate nut crust. It was all excellent.

Sweden has a Zero tollerance drinking-and-driving law, and pretty well everyone, as far as I could tell, respected that rule. We danced and enjoyed conversation all night before turning in around midnight (though the party went on for a few more hours=. Amazingly, the kids made it through almost all the way.

The next day (today, Sunday) we had a very late start (no surprise there), and we had a modest plan of having all the Canadians with Roger, Caroline and their 1 year old daughter Elsa head to the beach. there is a fantastically sandy and large beach in the nearby town of Ängleholm, which is only about 20 minutes away from the house. We made it there at around 2, and spent the days, packed in with all the young and beautiful Swedish crowds, ordering pizza on the beach for supper and coming home at about 8pm. It was a lot of fun for the kids, and quite relaxing for Roger and Caroline, who have been in super-prepare mode for the wedding. Came home and the boys went to bed with Karen by about 9, while I stayed up and chatted for a few more hours.

Really enjoying hanging out with my old friend Roger again. I only wish I had at least another week to spend here, just hanging out with our families. Like I said in my speech at the wedding, I think Skåne is very luck to have Roger back.

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