People ask me all the time, "Have you acclimated to living in Sweden?" It's a hard question to answer when you still find yourself missing certain things. But I'll say this, it was forty-six, degrees Fahrenheit this morning and I road my bike to work wearing jeans, a tank undershirt, a three-quarter, sleeve blouse and a light-weight, wool jacket. It was a little chilly in the beginning but I warmed up before I was even half way to the office. I think I've acclimated.
Two years ago, you wouldn't have caught me dead on my bike at forty-six, degrees Fahrenheit in Sweden. Heck, even three years ago when I lived in Dallas it would have taken a great deal of coaxing to get me out on a bike in that temperature. Now here I am, riding around without gloves and wearing only a simple jacket, with no lining or wind block. In all fairness, I probably could have traded my blouse for a sweater this morning and been more comfortable but never-the-less, there I was riding my bike to work along with the thousands of other commuters on their bicycles.
My perspective changes when I am riding my bike. I see so much more of the city's quirks and beauties. Perhaps a little too late in the game I had the thought that it would have been fun to count all of the other bicycling commuters I passed who were heading in the opposite direction. I would guess that I passed easily a hundred or more people. Maybe I'll count them on another day.
I knew it would be colder in the shade, so I chose a different route for my ride this morning. On previous mornings I've ridden along the west side of Kungsholmen, down a street called Kungsstrand, which runs along the water but is completely shaded the whole way. Today I decided to ride along the southeast side of the island along the street, Norr Mälarstrand, which goes along the coast as well, only it would be in complete sunshine. It is amazing how much warmer it feels in the sun. It was completely pleasant and lovely and made a huge difference.
I took my time riding while most everyone else was racing to get to work. Not me. I enjoyed listening to the birds chirping as I rode along. Glancing across the water to Södermalm, which is the island where we live, I saw the sunlight glowing on the buildings and boats. It made me smile in anticipation of the warmer days ahead when we can go swimming and have an ice cream.