Friends with benefits, yes, but I mean it in the literal sense. Now that we’re adults, we’ve developed useful skills. For example, as a pediatrician, Mandy regularly gets questions from her friends who have children. Each person’s skill set is of different value to different people, but with Karolina and Henrik we struck gold.
Henrik is a chef and an importer of fine foods (see previous post here), which meant their apartment was overflowing with delicious treats.
Mandy and I were in culinary heaven. “Try this cheese,” Henrik would say. “Could you help taste test the burrata?” he asked. We were digging in before he finished the question, despite not yet knowing what buratta was (answer: a solid shell of mozzarella filled with rich cream – delicious).
On the other hand, Karolina is one of the top stylists at the salon Corinne and Friends. She has cut Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s hair (one of the best soccer players in the world) among others.
“Do you think she would cut my hair?” Mandy asked me, over a year before leaving on our trip.
“Maybe,” I said, before adding, “just don’t annoy her.” As it turns out, Karolina was happy to cut Mandy’s hair and I became the annoying one, asking her that day if she would cut mine too. We probably would have been more reluctant to impose had we known exactly how skilled she was and how much time she would invest.
Most Swedes were gone on their summer holidays. There were only two girls getting their hair done when we went into the salon. They looked up, smiled, and said, “Hi”, as we walked past. Then Karolina got to work: shampooing, massaging, chopping, and styling and, voila, super sweet new ‘dos. We left to meet Henrik and Samuel at Skansen.looking GOOD.
Skansen is a park, zoo, and history center on another of Stockholm’s islands. Historic buildings from all over Sweden, some that are hundreds of years old, have been transported to Skansen where they have been preserved and put on display. Additionally, there is food, rides and a small, but nice, zoo. We spent the afternoon there and as we left, we passed through a huge crowd that had gathered for a concert there that night.
We grabbed some Chinese takeout on the way home. While we ate dinner, they turned on the TV to show us the concert at Skansen. The band playing was the popular Swedish duo, Icona Pop. She told me to look closer and I realized it was actually the two girls from Karolina’s hair salon earlier that day. Mandy and I laughed. It was getting late and it was our last evening in Sweden — everything from the apartment, to the food, to our trip to the archipelago had been perfect. Haircuts with rockstars — it was a fitting end to our time in Stockholm.