With my friends (Hari, Huy, Priya, Hui Hui), and mom and sister (Michelle), we celebrated midsummer in Dalarna, more specifically, Leksand and Tällberg. A truly unforgettable experience, and one of the best travel trips I have ever done.
Nevertheless, I am starting to regret planning such a trip for my mom and sister. Despite having enjoyed ‘Jersey Boys’ and being part of the medieval Tudor role-playing in London; despite having visited Uffizi gallery and its world-famous Borticelli paintings, being awed by Siena’s Duomo and drowned by the Tuscan sights of vineyards and poppy flowers; despite the fact that we were walking to St. Peter’s Basilica, my mom couldn’t stop gushing about this special trip to Leksand in Dalarna, the most Swedish of all Swedish municipalities.
Without a doubt, it was indeed special. The weather was good to us. Sunny blue skies accompanied by slight drizzles that were not as frequent as we thought they would be. And, oh, the company I was with made it all the more interesting.
My mom was constantly amused by Priya’s wit. Michelle was intrigued by Huy’s reflective and introspective mood, which Hari had termed ‘aeroplane mode’. And, Hari’s calm and laid-back nature was like Yin to my Yang (I’m a person who fidgets if I am not doing anything).
My mom kept telling me how smart of me to invite guys to Dalarna with us. But, having grown into an independent young woman in the past two years, I sniffed and bristled at that remark. My mom tends to think that I’m still her weak little princess who can’t do anything on her own (which I proudly proved her wrong just yesterday in Rome). Still, I have to express my gratitude to Hari and Huy who were the strongholds who helped us carry the groceries, cooked and started the BBQ, and gave cycling lessons to Michelle and Priya. Thanks, guys!
A brief story of our travel trip to Dalarna:
- We ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ as we watched the tallest maypole in Sweden being lifted up.
- We laughed heartily as we leaped and danced around the maypole.
- We boiled, BBQed, picnicked, and pan-fried food for our starving stomachs.
- We braved through the uncompromising sun and vicious Swedish mosquitoes.
- We cycled several kilometres a day, with a gear-less bike with no hand brakes.
- We hiked to the highest point in Tällberg to see a splendorous view of Lake Siljan.
A particular memory that I hold very dear to my heart was us cycling back to our cabin in Leksand. We were cycling in a single line and I was in the middle of the group. In front of me was Hari and Huy, cycling side-by-side. Hari was cycling with one hand while his other was holding on to the harmonica. Listening to the random spurts of music produced by Hari’s harmonica and the chatter of my mom, Michelle and Priya behind me, while cycling through the uncrowded streets lined by typical Swedish wooden houses and greenery, I just stared at the blue sky with enormous white cumulus clouds and thought to myself, “Isn’t life just wonderful? To be able to enjoy nature, to enjoy company, without the slightest worry in the world. Isn’t life just wonderful?”
This trip left me with a good feeling that I will return to Sweden. The next time I return to Sweden, I would have obtained an international driver’s license to explore its ruins, its castles, its beautiful outdoor trails.
This trip to Dalarna opened my eyes to an important fact that I seldom let myself go. I’m always high-strung and if I am not doing something, I would be like a restless worm, anxiously squirming and fidgeting. The people around me commented that this was because I demanded too much from myself. Too much, too much, too much, to the point that sometimes it gets unbearably painful when I can’t live up to that impossible expectation. This is a part of me that I won’t be able to truly let go, so, I will have to learn to embrace this nature of mine who continuously struggle and strive to be the best I can. All I needed to do is to be more realistic about my expectations and enjoy the process of realising my dreams.
Lesson learned from this midsummer trip: To just let go and to be myself, I can live life like what I had in Leksand anyhow, anywhere, and anytime.