It's also the time of year where everybody has parties, to enjoy the sunshine and say goodbye to their friends before disappearing for a month or more of Swedish summer vacation. So I've had a very sociable time when I wasn't posting.
Last Thursday, some of the parents from my bar mitzvah class decided to take me and EBH (the Progressive chairman) out to dinner to thank us for organizing the bar mitzvahs. We went to a restaurant with the unpromising name of Noodle House, which turned out to be a rather nice upscale Vietnamese place. Atmosphere typical of a Södermalm restaurant, modern without being echoey or trying too hard. The staff were incredibly helpful about special diets, very happy to explain what was in everything, and prepare things without unwanted ingredients where that was doable. The choice of veggie food wasn't that great, though; I had some very nice spring rolls for a starter, and then a dish of fried lotus root, since I'd never eaten that vegetable. I am not terribly impressed with it; it was sort of sweetish, crunchy, and not incredibly flavourful, but it's a good way to provide texture for meatless sauce and makes and alternative to tofu or seitan. We saw a dessert being brought to the next table in a large roiling boil of dry ice, so we had to try that. Turned out to be really excellent crème brulée, and sure, the dry ice was a gimmick, but it was a fun one. And the price was about average for a nice restaurant in Stockholm. Anyway we had a really lovely sociable evening.
Then SA invited me to a picnic on Saturday. The thing about her is that she's lived abroad for a lot of her adult life, and now she's come back to Stockholm permanently, she's trying to build herself a social life, starting with Jewish people around her age. She also wants to get more young people involved in liberal Jewish politics (this is different from Liberal Judaism, cos Jewish community nomenclature is confusing). Anyway, we got on very well when she hosted a Friday night last month, so I was happy to join her for the picnic. It was a really boiling hot day, so we sat in a park full of half-naked people and tried to stay in the shade as much as possible. There were some of SA's cousins there, and a younger guy from shul, and we had some really fun conversation. After the cousins left, we carried on talking until it started to get cold in the evening, so that picnic turned into about 7 hours of conversation!
Sunday evening there was a sort of Tikkun Leyl Shavuot, though it ran from 9:30 to 12, rather than all night. The speakers were not particularly impressive (one of the cantors decided to talk about that bloody idiot Schroeder), but it was fun and there was cheesecake. And someone mistook SA for my sister, so hey.
Monday we had a lab picnic / barbecue, which was also good fun. My colleague thoughtfully provided halloumi cheese for me to eat as an alternative to the sausages. I had to leave early to go to a committee meeting, but that was also good fun. I think I'm going to end up running some adult education next year; I might post more about it, but it should be exciting.
And then on Wednesday I went out for dinner with SA, Joanna (and her friends who are over from the US on honeymoon) in order to say goodbye to a guy from shul who is about to go to Conservative Yeshiva for a year. We went to Hermans, since many of us are kosher enough that a purely veggie place is more comfortable. Again, it was a really fun evening; Joanna's friends are very easy to get on with, and the food was lovely, and it was really sociable and nice. Afterwards, we were walking back along the waterfront appreciating a glorious sunset over the prettiest part of the city, and decided to stop for a drink and more conversation before going home. We ended up in Torget, one of many gay bars in the old city. It is fairly camp, with lots of gilt and chandeliers and stuff. Fairly mixed clientele, some obviously scene people who were fun to watch, but also plenty of groups of friends hanging out and not making a big display out of their sexual identities. Drinks weren't any more stupidly expensive than in any other Stockholm bar.
And tomorrow I'm going on a trip with the international researchers to Mariefred, an old town with a castle. And at the end of the week I'm going to England to see cartesiandaemon and hatam_soferet and pseudomonas and my Australian uncle, aunt and cousins. Take that, evil geography! Yay for being sociable.