A little over ten years ago I married a man from Northern Sweden. Every summer I take the kids to see their family and we all spend time regrouping. I have a confession brewing here, my personal hygiene may slip just a bit. I don’t pack clothes, I keep clothes here, old Victoria Secret PINK sweatpants that I am simply too old to wear, long sleeve shirts and high waisted jeans that seem to shrink with every year that passes. I rarely wear makeup, my toes look like Fiona feet, and the hair gets a bit unruly. There is simply no one to impress. It is a bit liberating! Don’t worry, my in-laws truly love me.
This year I forgot to bring razors. My husband and I went to the grocery store and I forgot to buy them again and again. My legs started to look like my husband’s new beard. Sporting some Sasquatch style, I decided that I would join my kids for a swim in the lake on the other side of the peninsula. No one is ever there, so I wasn’t so concerned about my slipping hygiene.
It is usually very cold in the lake so while the local Swedes are sporting bikinis, my kids are in full body wetsuits and are loving life! Whereas the locals jump in and out of the water, their teeth chattering, the Lundqvist boys don’t get out of the water for hours. I am completely sold on the idea of wetsuits for cold water swimming! That is why, before leaving the United States of America, I went to the sporting goods store and bought one for myself.
Naturally I assumed I could buy a wetsuit without trying it on, I mean how hard could it be? Even if it was snug, the material stretches….right?
Putting on that wetsuit was the best damn workout of my life! The real excitement came when I attempted to pull the darn thing over my ample chest and over my shoulders. Good times, let me tell you. There I was, sweating profusely and asking my poor eleven year old to help pull up the zipper. It worked! The damn suit zipped up! Now to see how svelte I looked, I mean seriously, isn’t a wetsuit kind of like Spanx? I was ready to see my hot transformation!
I did my profile thing, you know the pose, the one where you suck it in and admire how slender you look? Yeah I did that one. It was then that I realized two things; 1) my wetsuit was gray and blue, kind of like Orca and 2) I resembled a pork sausage. Que the song Your Body is a Wonderland and start laughing. Well, I’m not one to dwell so off we went!
The water was cold and the kids and I had a blast. After about thirty minutes the broms found us. Broms are basically really nasty horseflies that like to chase and bite you. Feeling annoyed, I jumped out of the water and sat in my lawn chair. I wrapped a towel over my head so they couldn’t bite me. That’s right, Sasquatch legs, towel-wrapped head, not so svelte wetsuit me sat at the dock watching my children. It was then that a group of young twenty year olds decided to join us. The guys jumped out of their cars wearing bathing suits and carrying coolers. The girls wore bikinis, had a child and a dog in tow and they all were ready for summer fun. A third person pulled up in his jet ski, clearly there to meet the others.
“Can we join you here?” said one of the men in perfect English. How did they ever know I wasn’t Swedish?. Nodding my head, I quietly took the towel off of my head and placed it across my hairy legs. Go ahead…laugh! Then I hear something that sounded like this; “swedish words, ya ya blah blah, sing song, AMERICANSK.” I stayed for 15 more minutes and then quietly bribed my children with the promise of food in an effort to slip away.
I am so sorry. I have single handedly furthered the reputation of our country in Northern Sweden. Whether it is my arts and craft project that I described in my post How I became a Swedish fraggle or my kids cramming themselves in the bottom of a grocery cart and pretending to fly, I am just not the greatest ambassador.
Good news….I have purchased razors, but I am afraid that the damage has been done. Hope you all are having an amazing summer!