First, the good: the cake. Henri's mom turned 60 this past weekend and she threw a completely lovely party. Wanting to try out my new baking skills, I made my go-to vanilla cake, but tried a new filling: homemade raspberry sauce. The cake was topped with homemade buttercream icing and a thin layer of fondant. Then I marbled yellow, red, and brown fondant and used some chocolate frosting to make an autumn tree. It tasted great and was a huge hit. I was proud.
Onto the bad.
There's no ten thousand spiders in every shop. No "Halloween Stores" like the ones we had dotted all over Salt Lake. No Starbucks with pumpkin spice lattes. No prominent pumpkin displays in the store at all--I noticed a few pumpkins hidden in our grocery store yesterday and seeing them tucked away like an afterthought made me really sad. No horror movie marathons, no community affairs, no friends planning Halloween parties. Honestly, seeing how Sweden handles October has been my biggest challenge with living here. Not owning guns irked me, the high taxes scared me, the prices on things like clothes and food were hard getting used to. But I just don't know if I can call a place home that basically ignores my absolute favorite time of every year. So yeah, I've been a little depressed.
But, I've been coping. A few things happened. Alicia sent me some pumpkin spice coffee creamer!! It has been ten months since I've used any kind of coffee creamer, and so this was an amazing treat. I actually broke down and cried when I opened the package and saw that familiar Nestle packaging. Thank you so much, Alicia! Then today, I got a package from Derik. He'd included a card, an adorable Trick or Treat gift bag with lots of Reese's and Skittles (two candies Sweden doesn't have) and a pumpkin necklace and bat ring. Yes, again I broke down and cried. A lot. Sometimes you don't realize how homesick you are until you see the things that used to be commonplace to you, and you see how strange they look now. What a feeling.
I know I'm being a big gloomy loser but of course I want to take the time and thank my friends for being so considerate and looking out for me, and knowing just what I need. There's more fun stuff planned; a big gang of us are going to a bar/restaurant this weekend with a costume contest--and yes I plan on winning it--and my boss's older kids will be here on Halloween night, and I get to take everyone (four kids total) trick-or-treating.
I hope by the time all that rolls around I will feel more at home and at peace with the incredibly creepy side of myself that needs ghosts and goblins and all of those things to feel at home.