I promised some of you I would post the story of what transpired Friday evening, the night of 13 February (Blimey! How appropriate it was a Friday the 13th!). But for fear of future background checks and possibly younger children, for whom I am supposed to be setting an example, reading this entry, I'll condense the events of the evening into two piece of advice. 1) Never drink anything described by friends as "paint." 2) Never get cocky about riding a bike. In any case, some scratches and a lost phone resulted. I'll leave it at that to spare myself any further loss of class.
Now to, as I quite appropriately described, the "subsequent recovery of dignity." It was nice to have Matt Reardon and his friends visiting from Copenhagen Business School, and although certain circumstances from the previous night – possibly having something to do with the above – precluded quality hanging out time on Friday, we did walk around Uppsala for awhile on Saturday morning. We witnessed some snowboarding on the hill below the Uppsala castle (along with collecting some free hotdogs, Red Bull, and Jägermeister apparel).
Then it was time for the highlight of my studying abroad. The Reccegasque, or reception dinner, for all new members of the nations. The new members first met at their respective nations dressed in their formal attire (I wore a charcoal suit with a blue tie) for a walk behind the nations's flags to the main university building. The assembly there was less-than-enthralling as it was conducted entirely in Swedish (with the exception of a performance by a big band of a silly song whose title and theme I can't currently recall). We members of Värmlands nation then walked back to the nation itself, where we (I'd say about 70 of us) hung our coats and went into the upstairs lobby for champagne. At 18:00 (6:00p, American style), we proceeded into the dining room.
We were seated randomly in an arrangement of alternating genders (i.e. m-f-m-f), with I being the exception to that rule, being surrounded by ladies. Gasque code requires each male to pay the most attention to the female at his right and each female to obviously spend most time with the male at her left. After the Inspector of the nation (think faculty advisor, except inspector is a full time job) was seated, the new members followed suit.
From there, we indulged in a three course meal (cheesecake and caviar followed by broiled reindeer and scalloped potatoes and ending in a dessert of white chocolate mousse and raspberry "something-or-other"), sipped on snaps (yes, spelled correctly – a traditional Swedish liquor), red wine, beer, and Bailey's, sang drinking songs in Swedish (again, one was in English), and enjoyed speeches by the nation's curators (administrators) and Inspector and performances by the various Värmlands nation ensembles. Most notably were a very funny performance by sketch comedy group Spex and an unbelievably outstanding performance by the nation's choir. The latter received a standing ovation.
Swedish (Svenska) is a very difficult language to speak, but singing in Swedish is far more difficult. Nevertheless, as the alcohol flowed, the English-speakers in the room were more willing to attempt to follow along. The only song sang more than once was a thank you song to all performers, who in turn had their own part to play in this song.
After meeting new people and thoroughly enjoying their company, as well as the new found traditions and belonging – approximately 23:00 – we left for the after party at Smålands nation. This, in my opinion, left something to be desired, but I personally had already had an immense amount of enjoyment from the evening.
Today, I booked trips to Oslo and London. I'm very much looking forward to the travels I have planned. This weekend, some of my new friends and I head to Kiruna in northern Sweden. Hopefully, we will see the Northern Lights, but if nothing else, we'll experience a new part of the country we are studying in, a definite must in my opinion.
And Boston College again shocked the world (or the small fraction of it that care) by beating #5 Duke in yesterday's men's basketball game at Conte Forum. I was following along on ESPN Gamecast, but when it was a one-point game with 2+ minutes left, I'll admit I couldn't watch. Though, minutes later I refreshed the page and we had won by 6! BC will hopefully make the tournament after a year's absence! Well done, boys.
And Arsenal. I must just say, it was an absolute delight to see Eduardo playing again. He decided to upstage his own return, though, by scoring twice. What a class act. Arsenal walked all over Cardiff, 4-0. It could have been much worse had van Persie and Bendtner converted easy chances, Cardiff goalkeeper Heaton not been playing out of his head.
Song: "Cherub Rock" – Smashing Pumpkins