32 unhappy hours in Stockholm

This one is filed under awesome memories. And super long posts. And idiocy. See, it all started when my BFF in Sweden kidnapped me to come to some guy’s birthday party right across the street. It was late already and I still needed to pack for a trip to Stockholm the next morning; my first trip to the country’s capital that I had planned with my room mate and three other friends. I was wearing an old sweater and had my dirty hair in a ponytail, ready to turn in for the night, but couldn’t say no to my friend. The guys across the street had wonderful authentic Indian and Turkish food and great music. And whiskey. I’m not a drinker at all – I drink maybe once or twice a year – but I won’t turn down a glass of whiskey. As the night wore on and the first people started to leave, my mouth burned from the spicy food, my mind hazy from all the joy and the bourbon, the BFF and I somehow got talked into driving into town.

Now, let me just complete the picture for you: this is Sweden, in late November. It’s easily -20°C (or, -4 F) at night. And the bus ride into town took 45 minutes each way. Still, it seemed like a great idea to leave for the city at midnight. We – meaning the BFF, myself, and three guy friends of ours – followed another friend’s friend to some other guy’s apartment right in the city center. I didn’t know any of the guys, nor did I ever find out who the place actually belonged to. But it was small and cozy and, most importantly, warm and dry. Someone had a guitar and started singing, beers were passed around, and the BFF and I squeezed into the corner of the couch and tried to figure out how we had ended up in an apartment filled with beautiful Swedish boys.

At some point, we left the apartment and walked to a nearby club. Apparently, the BFF and I kept falling down in the snow and then couldn’t get up from laughing. I don’t actually remember that (or much of what happened after) but WE’RE A CLASS ACT FOR SURE. I was thoroughly drunk by now but so was everyone else and- you know how it goes. The club was dark and smoke-filled and loud, and all I recall are colors and things happening in slow motion. I had more beer, finally sat down in a giant comfy armchair and drifted in and out of sleep. Within seconds or maybe after half an hour, one of the security guys said I wasn’t allowed to sleep there and pushed me out the door. Again: CLASSY. Our little group stumbled down the sidewalk, the boys holding their liquor significantly better than the BFF and I, towards the bus stop. I sat down somewhere and threw up, and heard the guys make a very firm decision that it was truly time to go home. The problem: we had to wait 40 minutes for the 3am bus. In snow and -20°C, mind you. I sat at the bus stop, eyes closed, a friend on either side of me, wearing a hat and gloves that weren’t mine, and they took turns rubbing my shoulders and legs – scared that I would tragically freeze to death right before their eyes, I suppose. They later said that they were genuinely worried but I remember feeling nothing but warm and loved.

I don’t remember the drive home. I do remember a handful of insomniacs at the house we all lived in still roaming the halls and concluding falsely that something terrible must have happened to me because the heavy snow had smeared my mascara and they had never seen me drunk ever before. I also remember the warmth of my BFF’s room, where they told me to sleep that night.

At 7.30am sharp the next morning, my real room mate knocked on the BFF’s door. Then she sent texts to my phone, then she called. Then she knocked again. Then she got someone else to knock, someone clearly much more determined. I heard all this but I couldn’t possibly move. An hour went by, and finally the BFF let people in. What followed still makes me cringe because it was hardly my proudest moment. My room mate, ready to leave for Stockholm, was worried – she freaked when I wasn’t in my own bed that morning, and she didn’t understand at all what was going on. She kept saying they would wait for me to take a shower and pack, not understanding that I just wanted to sleep all day and forever. She didn’t want me to miss the trip because she knew how much I had wanted to go, and she kept trying. She made me tea, she calmed our other friends. She packed some of my stuff. (She is a saint and all-around superwoman.)

Getting wasted the night before a big weekend trip, I should say, is not smart. Especially if you know the trip is very important to your room mate and when it means taking a five-hour car ride there. I don’t know that I have ever felt as terrible as I did those five hours. Stockholm was rainy and cold and foggy and dark by 2.30pm, and everyone was on edge. I ended up skipping a visit to the famous Ice Bar with everyone else and slept for 16 hours at the hostel instead – half the total time we had in Stockholm. I also forgot to take my camera so all I have are these two cell phone shots:

I wrote all of the above over a year ago. I’m going back to Stockholm this Saturday and will meet up with the BFF mentioned here. She didn’t come to Stockholm with us then; she nursed her hang-over at home, as one should, instead of in a tiny rental car on icy roads. I’m stoked that we’ll get to do Stockholm together now and do it right – with more time, warmer weather, less whiskey.


One thought on “32 unhappy hours in Stockholm

  1. I am so glad you get to go to Stockholm and actually experience the city this time 😉 Yeah, drinking the night before you go on a trip is not the smartest idea, but it makes for a good story (a year later ;)).

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