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>My Third Midsummer in Ghana

> Today is Midsommarafton, one of Sweden’s biggest holidays and just as all the other Midsummers in my life – it is celebrated! Here in Ghana the special feel of that “finally it is summer” is difficult to bring out since the tropical weather is constant, but the food and drinks and a few songs can be arranged. Also, I have been celebrating midsummer on the blog since I moved here:

2007 I spent midsummer with some Swedish friends in Accra.

2008 I hosted a big to-do in my garden with the Swedish diaspora that was here then (and later missed home anyways).

This year, it’ll be a bit more low key.

A beer on the beach with a friend and a flower in my hair.

In the pic: A hibiscus flower in my garden.

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>Swedish Midsummer in Ghana

> Date: 21st of June
Time: 3 PM onwards
Place: My Place in Tema

We meet and cook and drink together while the sun sets. I have a grill and a lot of glasses and plates. The rest is up to you. It will be a “knytis” to create a Swedish feel to the event… Everyone with a Swedish connection is most welcome!

Just drop me an email if you want to come.

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>Midsummer update

Since today is an ordinary office day in Ghana, I will have to wait until tomorrow to meet up with the Swedish community (of four) here in Ghana and celebrate midsummer. You don’t know midsummer? It is a tradition when Swedish people gather to celebrate the ferility of the soil by making a giant fallos from flowers and dance like frogs while drink hard liquor and watery beer. This is how we’ll do it tomorrow, Ghana-style.

farsk potatis(day fresh potato)=potato
sill (herring)= Salmon from Koala supermarket
graddfil(sour cream)= yoghurt?
graslok (leek)=garlic sprouts
jordgubbar (strawberries)= mango?
pripps bla (Swedish beer)= Ghanaian Star beer
knackebrod (hard bread)= German hard bread
Snaps (traditional shots taken with song)= Absolut Vodka

Also, this weekend, I will inspect the house my bf and I have rented, already next week we’ll be moving in! I will post pics soon.

In the photo me and my bf’s mother celebrating something else.

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Low-Key Celebration of National Day in Sweden

Today is sixth of June, Sweden’s national day. National day? you say and think of parades, flags and fireworks flying about and families getting together to mark the occasion with foods and festivities.

However, it might be the most low-key celebration of any nation. Ever. Only a few years ago, the sixth became a holiday in Sweden and we Swedes are frankly still not sure what to do with it. We do not have a history of parading, as we are not a military nation and have been lucky (or aloof) enough to avoid wars for more than 200 years. Waiving a Swedish flag in Sweden is not encouraged. We feel it is somehow boastful and much too nationalistic. Fireworks would not work against the light summer skies – remember the midnight sun?

Some Swedes say that our midsummer celebrations at the end of this month is when our Swedishness really shines though: families meet, traditional food and drink are prepared and strange nationalistic behavior like building a flower pole, dancing and singing is proclaimed – so maybe that would be a better national day?

See my earlier five (!) posts about midsummer celebrations here. Typically, I have never written about the national day before.

Pic from last year’s midsummer celebrations with family in friends in Sweden.

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>Swedish Summer in Ghana

> But you always have summer in Ghana? Temperature wise, maybe. But real summer in Ghana is totally correlated with summer in Sweden. I have some examples:

Today, I am listening to the Swedish Radio program series “Sommar” as pod radio. Every summer famous people, it can be astronauts, politicians, entertainers or an interesting entrepreneur get the chance to talk about anything they want (often themselves) and play their favorite music for 1,5 hours on national radio. Here in Ghana, I have downloaded my favorites – mostly authors – and plan to listen to them just as I did when living in Sweden.

Also, Swedish Midsummer celebrations have passed in company with Swedish friends here in Ghana. It was a wonderful event, pickled herring (sill) has never tasted so good.

This week is the annual “Politicians’ Week” in my hometown Visby, an event I love because of its wonderful meet-and-greet opportunities. Everybody in Swedish politics, media and lobbying are there. Probably right now drinking rosé wine in the sunset. All of it I can follow though news and blogs. With a glass of wine, its almost as if I am there (although over here the wine isn’t free).

Personally, I have probably never been happier. Ghana is such an interesting society. Everyday I learn new things. I have an exciting job, good prospects of starting my PhD in the fall, a happy marriage, beautiful home (and plans of moving to a better one). I have cool friends and I speak to a family member almost every day on phone.

Still, I just long for the day when I can book my ticket to go to Sweden for vacation. It will definitely be during summer.

Longing for home is a demon.

Picture from the Swedish Midsummer in Ghana. Absolut Vodka and hibiscus.

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>Getting to Know My Readers

> Away from home, I have found that having Swedish friends is crucial for my well-being. To be able to fully express myself, to have fika with everybody involved understanding the concept, for a while coming down on Ghana instead of always siding with things that go on here. Those moments feel like breathing in the chilly air of Swedish autumn, Ahhhh.

Then imagine my sadness when my two Swedish companions A and J left for Sweden last week. A whole year, these two have been my confidents, my close friends and obvious plannning mates for midsummer and xmas (ok, thats not quite true, for xmas they eloped to Mali and I had herring and potato all by myself, but you get what I’m saying?)

And now it is just me and the scolding sun, thousand pairs of curious eyes and noone to share a good cup of coffee with. Until…

…I got a comment on my blog from Maya. A Swede living less than 10 minutes from me here in Tema. Hurray! We are to meet up for the first time this weekend.

And then S called. S is a Swede living in London with her Ghanaian husband and we have been in touch since a couple of months. S found my blog when researching their idea to relocate to Ghana. I invited the Ghanaian-Swedish couple over for dinner on Thursday!

So thanks to this very blog I am getting to know my (Swedish) readers, and I don’t have to feel so terribly lonely.

In the pic: Like Gulder and Star, J and I. Will miss you!

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