I would actually have been surprised if Matt HADN’T forgotten his passport and missed his original flight to Sweden. Even after he got on the next flight, I was certain he missed his new connection, was detained in security with his precious ice-pick, or had accidentally booked a flight to Switzerland instead of Sweden. So I was delighted to see those curly locks and cowboy boots burst through Arrivals only a few hours late and in full form, despite being a mere 20-hour journey removed from Harvard law exams and a total move-out from his house.
For the past week and a half, I got to hog Matty Boy all to myself and share with him a little segment of the road I’ve been traveling since we parted last summer. We had a lot to celebrate (our reunion, his second year of law school in the books, my continued Watson Fellowship, and summertime, to name a few) and decided that we should live up our reunion to the max. And that we most certainly did.
On the front and back ends of his visit, we steamrolled around Stockholm and filled each other in on all the juicy G (gossip, that is) we knew. The Nielsens kindly let us stay with them during that time and pointed us in all the right directions for our explorations.
Matt and I also poked around a few more cities on a very mini Scandinavian adventure. We spent two nights each in Copenhagen, Denmark and Gothenburg, Sweden, with an afternoon in Malmo on the way. We squeezed in as much sight-seeing as we could…
We probably spent as much time in transit as we did in each place, but those train rides were good for deep chortles and deep thoughts, courtesy of Matt’s unrivaled social commentary. That guy has a way of finding the funny in every situation, even those that make my blood boil, and I think that’s one of the many reasons that he makes friends quicker than the sample lady at Costco.
I also took advantage of my brother’s humor, logic and wisdom en route to a 75-mile week of running and the official start of his September marathon build-up (on the condition that he could end every run at a bakery of his choosing). It was so awesome to test out new trails together and introduce him to the Nielsen’s forest, and our conversations always left me feeling like I could take on the world. He’s way too nice to ever acknowledge it, but I attach such weight to his thoughts that I badger him with questions about life and everything in it, and our runs are the source of some priceless advice.
In addition to running for our own enjoyment, Matt and I also made some progress on my Watson project during his final weekend in Sweden. Brian hooked us up with a hotel room near the site of the Skarholmsloppet (an annual 5k road race) and let us take part in the build-up and race action. I’ll explain the event and our involvement in my next post, but I thought it was neat that my brother contributed to the mission that brought me here in the first place.
All of that sight-seeing and running around was very demanding on our energy stores, so we had no choice but to load up on lattes and pastries all week long. We also taught some lessons to a few hotels with sub-par amenities but free breakfasts, and learned a few ourselves (namely, eggs don’t travel well, sandwiches are very difficult to pocket, and it’s kind of embarrassing to be seen smugglin).
Let me take you on a ride through one of the more outrageous food sprees I’ve been a part of, topped only by Matt’s quests to eat/drink a gallon of ice cream in one sitting and to polish off an entire table of chicken nuggets with a few buds.
I will admit that we got a little reckless with the pick-and-mix candy, but with flavors like bumlingar jordgubb and skumsvampar, how could we NOT grab two of every different type and synchronize each nibble?
It was hard to see my big bro hightail it back to Texas just in time to start his summer law internship, but after such an awesome reunion with him, I can’t complain. It’s also comforting knowing that I’ll never again go that long without seeing him or my other siblings if I have anything to do with it, and that there’s an awfully good chance our next adventure together is just around the corner.
…but I will say that Matt would be an easy choice for my Oregon Trail team, and everyone knows the seriousness of that statement. He’s as great of a travel companion, running partner, and life guru as he is a brother, and between this romp across the world and his numerous self-funded trips to NCAA Championships and the Trials, need I say more?