November 12th, 2008



Yesterday, I stepped outside my regular life for a day and was treated to a "business trip" to Stockholm where my colleague (the events manager at work) and I visited several hotels and conference centers to check them out for a big event that is being organized for next year. So, instead of getting up and going to work as usual, I got up earlier, drove 40 minutes to Malmö's little airport, flew an hour north, and then took a train into the center of town, and the subway way out of it again to the other side...out into the archipelago to the Grand Hotel at Saltsjöbaden. We toured the hotel including the spa and conference area, saw examples of all the different types of rooms (including the Frank Sinatra suite*) and ate lunch in style in the French Dining Hall. I was the photographer for the trip, so I moseyed around snapping shots of the rooms and spaces while Suzanne asked questions and took notes and talked logistics with our guide.

After lunch, we took the subway back into the center of town, and visited the World Trade Center Stockholm and the Nordic Light and Nordic Sea Hotels (quite a different side of the Scandinavian experience), along with a quick peek and drink (on the house) at the Absolut Icebar Stockholm. I had an Absolut Innocent: elderberry juice, lemon juice and blue curaçao. I had to laugh because my colleague pronounced it "kur-ACK-cow" and I knew that it was pronounced "KUR-a-sow", but I only knew it because a long time ago I had a drink called a Blue Whale which was served with a huge rubber blue whale (a bathtub toy) stuck tail-up on the side of the glass and which contained blue curaçao and I made the waiter teach me how to say it correctly. /end pointless digression.

It rained ALL day and it was really dark and we were appalled to see that it was pretty much pitch dark at TWO O'CLOCK in the afternoon. And we thought we had it bad down in Skåne! Anyway, after all of our business was concluded, we ate dinner and then got back on the train to the airport and flew home.

The funny thing for me was the illustration TWICE about what a small country this actually is. I would never expect to see people I know at O'Hare Airport or ANY airport, for that matter, in the U.S. But we met people we knew while boarding the plane TO Stockholm and while boarding the plane BACK to Malmö! Two people on the way back, in fact: another work colleague that we had no idea was going to be in Stockholm the same day, and the husband of one of my best friends! I sang It's a Small World in my head all the way home.


One of the things I love best about the Internet and the blogging community is how genuinely NICE and generous everyone I meet is. People are constantly sending each other things, and it's such a lovely way to connect with people and brighten their day. Not long ago, thehula sent me a signed CD by Katie Herzig, and another LJ friend has made monster hats to send to my kids (!) and today I received a little motivational "thinking of you" moose postcard from ozswede as well as an unexpectedly large package of schwag from Laini! She had mentioned in a recent post that she was going to give away some of her lovely Ladies and I threw my name in the hat. I thought she'd send 1 or 2, maybe 3 if I was lucky, but LOOK AT MY LOOT!

It's so nice to have nice friends!

*He stayed there, but I don't know for how long. A night? A week? 5 months? How long do you have to stay at a hotel in order to have a suite named after you? If you're George Washington, I think you only have to set foot in the general vicinity.