With the beginning of June and therefore the end of the school year in Sweden another big chapter is over and the last part of my voluntary year in this wonderful country starts.
“Förväntan” is the Swedish word for “anticipation” and thus one of my favorites. Even though being spontaneous is great to live life with lots of unexpected and unique moments, planning and organizing some bigger highlights can give this exciting feeling of looking forward to something. And since summer is coming and this new season is laying in front of us, along with changes and endings we can also await new beginnings and endless opportunities.
Even though summer in Scandinavia in general is full of highlights, right at the beginning, on June 6th, the first big happening initiates the new season. On this day, Swedes celebrate their National Day and therefore have a holiday with events all over the country. One of the biggest, or at least most popular celebrations is of course located in the country’s capital Stockholm. Since it is the seat of the royals as well as the government every year a parade with the king and its family is organized which starts at the castle, goes through different parts of the city, and ends at Skansen.
This area is located on the green island of Djurgården and has been hosting the final ceremony since 1893. It is an open air museum and family park that has opened all year long to show the history and traditions of the Scandinavian country. With exhibitions, animals, typical historical buildings, lots of cafés and restaurants, and some shops it is always worth a visit if you want to experience Swedish culture. Because of the National day on top of the usual offers they organize workshops, some shows like musicals and national dances throughout the day, and the big celebration in the evening. This was actually the main part why me and some of my friends decided to go there and it was great to combine it with a full day of new experiences.
The big concert was scheduled for the evening so after enjoying the day at the park and getting the full “Swedish cultural experience” it was time for the show. It included several artists that sang traditional folk songs as well as modern pop and some ABBA! Also did the ceremony contain orchestra music, marches, both from the royal guard and representatives from different areas of Sweden, and some speeches. The highlight was the speech of the Swedish king, which covered topics like previous events and challenges but also gave lots of motivation and happy celebration vibes. It was followed by the national anthem what was also the grand final of the day. This whole event was also podcasted on the national TV channel, so it really was the most meaningful happening in the country and therefore an once in a lifetime experience!
This Monday was followed by the last days of school for the kids here. They stopped receiving grades already one week earlier so those days were mostly for doing activities and finishing up the successful year in a fun way. In Sweden the final week is organized in a way that almost all kids receive their certificates and therefore end school either on Wednesday or Thursday. Because of that everyone has free on Friday to celebrate the seniors who are the only once that get their final school certificate on that day. Family as well as friends gather in order to give the youth the credit they deserve. It`s a fun tradition and due to the seniors` special sailor hat everyone can recognize and celebrate them. This is happening mostly during the day and afterwards many cruise around in their cars and meet up later to celebrate privately.
In Rapatac the last week of school meant also the last week of regular activities. Within those all leaders planned nice endings for the courses and the evaluation started. To give the members some credit for their participation in the activities we organized a term ending event on Friday during which some results of projects within the activities were presented. Also did the most active, reliable, and successful children get rewarded with special certificates. Closed was the show and with that also the spring term with some fun music and time for fika and chatting.
Now this chapter of the year and our individual volunteer experience is sadly over and we already had to say goodbye to some kids that travel during the holiday. At the same time it`s the beginning of summer what means a fun summer schedule full of special activities and events is waiting. Already during the last weekends there were many fests organized all over town in which also Rapatac participated. Now within the school break even more of these adventurous days will be held to give kids, youth, and all families the opportunity to have a great summer at home!
Nevertheless, this time also includes vacation and family time for us that work at Rapatac. Therefore, everyone sooner or later has days off to be on vacation and rest, travel, or welcome family members at home. I`m planning on doing all of that before soon it is time to say goodbye to our new home we created here.