We get off the train at Malmö Central Station around midnight on Friday, and head straight for the Old Town.
Waves of people are walking toward us. It's the final night of Malmöfestivalen 2007 and the headline band has just finished playing the last concert on the big stage at Stortoget (Central Square).
Apparently, Sweden also does nice sunsets. This one's from the rooftop terrace of Spoletorp, the student residence that I now call home.
But for us, the evening is young - even though it started some six hours prior.
It began with the going away party for Ruth, our Tasmanian roomie (of two days), on the rooftop patio of my residence. I left early with Jess, my Canadian roommate, to attend a Swedish garden "pre-party" gathering for my international student mentor group.
"Party whore," Ruth accused.
Well, yes. I suppose she had a point.
In Malmö, it's a group of five, and an eclectic one at that. The cast of characters?
- A Swedish-speaking Finn, with stereotypically stunning blonde hair, icy blue eyes, and a stoic poise to match;
- A goth-artsy German, who wears black lace, fingerless gloves on her small hands;
- A petite, cute-as-a-button Scot, with a friendly and optimistic disposition;
- A shy, six-foot, French teenager, who speaks in broken English; and
- A Canadian who writes for a bear.
As we make our way down the busy, litter-strewn street of Södergatan, we can hear a DJ's drum 'n' bass from across the square.
"I can feel the rhythm," says Josefine, the Swedish-speaking Finn and the only one of us who can get away with saying something like that and not be uncool. She beckons toward the open-air, cobblestoned dancefloor.
Eleven years ago, when I knew more, I would have been too sure about everything to let myself have any fun. But, in my old age, where nothing seems black and white anymore, it's different this time.
These days, I tell myself this is what I do, and then I do it.
And onto the dancefloor we go, until the wee hours of the Swedish morning.
St. Anne Gatan, Lund, Sweden. (2007). Preachy starfish and waffles: the here and now is important. No matter who or what you're looking for around the cobblestoned bend, don't forget to smell the hollyhocks right in front of you.