(I will get back to post 3)
The conference is ending, and I am leave right before the final dinner. Vans take us to the train station. I plug in my ticket confirmation number to the machine to get my ticket printed. (Someone points out the little British flag, so it displays in English.) However, I can’t read my ticket – which word is train car and which one is seat? No matter, someone is always around to help kindly with these things. I sit in a strange glassed in area of first class. In my compartment at the table is a gentleman from Switzerland who works with an international labor organization, Mertin. He was raised in Bolivia, schooled in Germany, and now lives in Geneva. We talk all the way to Stockholm (over 2 hours). I learn all about his organization, his travels, and his city. We discuss thrivability, microfinance, and effective training and development programs (on and offline).
I arrive in Stockholm around 7pm. I am tired. Not as tired as you might imagine I would be, but tired. I have not prepared. I don’t have a clear map to Nadia’s place. My phone isn’t working properly. I give up calling her, and I take a taxi to her address. However, ringing her doorbell has no effect. I sit on my luggage looking around at this strange city. My technology is failing me. Foreign rates on data while roaming are significant, so I don’t turn data options on. What to do?
I pull out my computer and search for free and open wifi. Luckily, I find some. (You usually can in residential areas – some kind soul leaves it open.) I use skype to contact Nadia. She comes to the door apologizing for not giving me the code to get in. And immediately everything feels in flow again. We drop my stuff in her place before going out to eat. The restaurant she wants to take me to has a sign saying “gone for long weekend” on it. So we head to our second choice. Huh, gone for long weekend? What a quirky place! I like it. We eat Indian (although they say they are about to close, they stay open for us).
I met Nadia about a year ago. She wrote the page on Power in the Thrivability book. I asked her to write to that because when I met her, it was so evident to me that she exudes it and understands how it flows. She studied user interface and design, and that makes total sense when you get a sense of how much she understands about cognitive science. She is brilliant, beautiful, charming, and funny. We talk about Swedish politics, mutual friends we adore, generational change, and human dynamics. We dig into each others stories as dessert. We have drinks in a place where all the customers are women (accidentally).
We stay up until 3am laughing and talking in her apartment. When we awake in the morning there is just enough time for a shower and walk before I head to the train again.
Off to Malmo. But first, a walk by the water. Stockholm is a city of water – there are many islands. We walk past a military fort where soldiers in odd costumes (like band uniforms) march in a line while people lounge in the grass on the other side of our path.
The grass is full of sunbathers of all ages, gazing out at the water where many boats float. One boat has a set of couples eating pretty formally at a table. It is so picturesque.
We walk too far, and we are pressed for time getting back. Instead of taking the subway, we order a taxi. Nadia sees me off at the train station once she has fixed the ticket. (I could not buy the ticket in Sweden – something about them knowing it was a US buyer…ordering from a Swedish IP?) So Nadia had bought my ticket for me, and there was some trouble transferring it from her mobile ticket to a paper ticket for me. We work it out though.
Now I have a 5 hour train ride to Malmo….