I was introduced to one of my least favorite Swedish traditions long before I moved here.
On my 23rd birthday last spring, when Amanda and I lived in downtown Sacramento, she woke me up ridiculously early with presents and a breakfast tray in bed. It couldn’t have been 6 a.m. Whatever the time, it was much earlier than I wanted to be awake, especially on my birthday. I’m a night owl. Always have been.
I soon learned that all Swedish birthday celebrations start at the crack of dawn, and that’s just the way it is. I was going to have to accept it.
I went to bed a little earlier than usual Wednesday night in anticipation of another early wakeup, but it did little to lessen my crankiness. I opened my eyes halfway and devoured my French toast.
On Thursday evening we took advantage of the nice weather to grill and I got this spirited rendition of “Ja, må du leva,” our “Happy Birthday” song.
“Ja, må han leva, Ja, må han leva,
Ja, må han leva uti hundrade år.
Ja, visst ska han leva, Ja, visst ska han leva,
Ja, visst ska han leva uti hundrade år.”
“Yes, may he live, Yes, may he live,
Yes, may he live for a hundred years.
Oh sure, he will live, Oh sure, he will live,
Oh sure, he will live for a hundred years.”
After two long trips back to California in the last couple months it was nice to spend a low-key birthday back home in Falköping.