Wow, I can’t believe that it is already Halloween again – which is a holiday that I have never had any feelings for. It just feels silly to “celebrate” something that was introduced in Europe from the US for mostly commercial reasons (except in Ireland from where the tradition originated). I was explaining to my Spanish teacher yesterday that we did trato o truco (trick or treat) in Sweden when I was a child on the Thursday before Easter (Maundy Thursday or Skärtorsdag in Swedish). We dressed up as Easter witches and knocked on the neighbours’ doors to get chocolate or sweets… Too bad that it seems that this tradition has been lost and replaced by Halloween, especially as people don’t even seem to know when Halloween is! Last year my father and I just laughed at two boys, not even dressed up, who came knocking on the front door on the 27th October – at least get the date right!
However, I guess that for O and I Halloween will always be a bit special as it is our WD! At this time last year we were quite stressed out over the forced situation (I needed to get an American visa) and tried to make it feel as little as possible as a wedding since we were hoping to have a so-called real wedding later on. However, we talked about our memories yesterday and our conclusion was that it was a really nice day, despite the stress and pressure.
It was a beautiful autumn day in Skåne, and the sun was shining as we drove to Malmö early in the morning to get the final paperwork done at the Tax office. It is the tax authority that issues the wedding licenses in Sweden. I had already handed in our documents a few weeks before, but since neither of us was resident in Sweden and O isn’t Swedish, he had to “come and show his face” to the civil servant who was issuing our wedding license. One of the reasons why we decided to get married in Sweden was that it would be quicker and easier to get the paperwork done there, compared to Belgium (where we were residents, or at least I since O had already moved to Puerto Rico) and Spain. Also since we are planning to have the proper wedding in Spain, it was nice that the first wedding took place in my country.
After the tax office, we continued to the local courthouse where one of my best friends work as a judge. We handed over the official papers and were told that we could come back around 3 o’clock for the ceremony. With all the administration done, we felt a little lost and nervous so we walked across the square to have a fika in Espresso House. It was just such an unreal feeling that we were going to get married in a few hours. It really wasn’t how we had imagined our wedding to be and I have to admit that I cried when we decided that it was my only chance to get a visa and join O in Puerto Rico. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to marry him, I already knew that he was the man of my life but I never thought that I would have to get married for a visa!! A few people were taken aback when I kept saying that we would have a real wedding later on but it was my way of dealing with the situation, and it didn’t mean that I didn’t understand that we were going to get legally married, nor that I don’t think that other people who have gotten married in a quick, civil ceremony are married for real…
O had requested that we would go to Ikea* during his European trip and I thought that it could be a fun element to our WD, a way to lighten things up and as a reference to one of our first dates when we ate meatballs in Ikea in Brussels! So, we drove to the big furniture store in Malmö and had a meatball lunch Actually neither O nor I remember this part of the day, that’s how stressed we were – but I know that we were there!
My brother and sister were the only guests, in their capacity as witnesses, allowed to the wedding ceremony, but before we picked them up at work, we stopped at ICA Maxi (a big supermarket). O always picks up some Swedish cheese and bread for himself and his family when he is in Sweden so we did a little grocery shopping!
We had told my siblings that we didn’t want them to dress up formally, and while I changed to a new pink top that I had bought for the occasion, it turned out that everbody else, including my friend the judge, were dressed in black and grey – quite a nice coincidence! The judge had a surprise for us; she had managed to get the permission to wed us in the Malmö Town hall where the civil ceremonies usually take place. A secretary had placed some roses on a table and lit some candles when we arrived through the winding corridors of the court house (the two buildings are connected) to the beautiful old room.
Even though we had chosen the so-called long version of the wedding ceremony (which is ~10 lines, the short one has ~four lines) and our friend added a few well-chosen words of her own, it was over in less than five minutes! I remember that O and my brother seemed petrified by the situation, while both my sister and my friend almost started crying (and then giggled) and I was looking out the window thinking that it was just the most surreal moment in my life… We didn’t really know what to do afterwards so our friend invited us for tea in the staff room – I can’t remember what we talked about but maybe about her pregnancy (she was about 4-5 months’ pregnant) and her job as a judge?
Since my sweet siblings had taken the rest of the day off, and somebody suggested getting a drink, we drove to Lund and headed to The Bishop’s Arms, my brother’s favourite pub! I was the designated driver so I just had a coke and when the second round just had been bought, I realised that we hadn’t paid for the parking – so my brother and I rushed back to the car, fortunately we hadn’t received a parking ticket, while O and my sister finished their drinks. In the evening we returned to Lund with my parents and my grandfather for a nice dinner at the Grand Hotel. My sister decided to try oysters as a starter, and O had meatballs as a main course – as a matter of fact he concluded that the Ikea meatballs were tastier than the much more expensive [Sten Broman’s] whisky-flavoured ones in the posh restaurant.
I had a surprise for O – I had actually booked us a room in the hotel for the night and my father paid for us to get the “wedding package” with champagne and breakfast in bed! O and I hadn’t seen each other for 3 months before we met up a few days before the wedding in Spain, so it was nice to have some time for ourselves before he headed back to Puerto Rico via Spain already the next day. And, as I used to work as a cleaning lady in the hotel when I was a student, I especially enjoyed being a guest for a night. The next morning we had a wonderful breakfast in our room before we packed the back-pack full of left-overs and took the train back to my parents’ house! Not much of a honey-moon but then again we got married so that we could live together in the Caribbean – not too bad, eh?
In hindsight I don’t regret our WD as it was quite a fun day, although we felt a little freaked out… Hopefully we will be able to share a proper wedding day with our families and friends in the near future in Spain!
But what about today’s Friday theme? Well, I have to admit that I hate dressing up for fancy dress parties – so I can’t imagine having to wear a Halloween-outfit every day! I have never dressed up for Halloween but I remember my first fancy dress party as a 7-year old, I was dressed as a cat (my aunt had made the outfit) and my brother as an English policeman (a so-called Bobby). Last time I dressed up for a party was a 70’s party in Copenhagen ages ago, my friend Å and I turned out to be the only girls dressed up in 70’s clothes and we got some really filthy looks from the other girls – talk about feeling out of place, ha ha!!
I haven’t been very diligent in participating in October’s Friday themes decided by Anna in Stockholm, but I will try to do my best next month when Marianne in Cairo has chosen the themes for the Show & tell:
7th November: Godis (sweets / candy)
14th November: Fönster (Window)
21st November: Smycken (Jewellery)
28th November: Julklappsbestyr (Christmas present preparations)
Check out the other Friday theme bloggers, as I am sure that they have kept to the subject more faithfully than I have: Anki, Anna, Anne, Annika, Aurorabuddha, Barbamorsan, Cecilia, Desiree, Inga-Britt, Kicki, Leopardia, Lia, Lullun, Marianne, Marie, Marina, Mia, Millan, Nilla, Nina, Petra, Saltis, Simone, Sparkling, Strandmamman, Ulrika, Victoria and 30+ kvinna in the city.
*) You see why I think he is the man of my life, a man who loves going to Ikea!! 😉