I AM RETURNED, TO DO AN EPIC UPDATE. I'm taking a quick break from Facebook as I just uploaded ALL MY PICTURES and am getting about 20 notifications per minute, which is flattering but exhausting.
The beginning
Anyway, the bus to the station on the way to my holiday decided to troll me by not turning up. I was able to get one 20 minutes later, but then I missed the train to the airport that I was intending to get and had paid just £4 for. I had to fork out £24 for a new ticket and had a panic about whether I'd make the plane in time. With a bit of running, I did, hurrah. And I proceeded to Copenhagen airport without a hitch and there was reunited with little Iona. We then proceeded to Sweden where- hurray! Rhian and Pelle and a u-boat poster were awaiting us.
Rhian and Pelle have recently acquired a tiny kitten. This causes mixed emotions for me. I'm a 5 year-old girl (when I'm not being a 88 year-old grumpy man), so I find everything cute:

cutecat
However, I'm extremely jumpy and nervous as a person, so if the tiny kitten moved too quickly, I was a bit like this:
hellcat
Yes, I'm afraid of a kitten, and I do not mind admitting it. But by the end of the week, Custard (for that is his name) had become my friend and kept sleeping on me and I miss his little furry face already, although probably not to the extent that I'd get a cat of my own.
Also we went to Norway. WARNING: please skip the bit in italics below if you suffer from emetophobia/don't like tmi.

Little Iona had been sick on the first evening in Sweden. I was concerned for her, but she appeared recovered. Then, to our collective horror, little Rhian fell ill on the morning we were due to catch the ferry to Oslo. And was not able to come with us to Oslo, for she was busy chundering. I felt horrifically guilty about leaving her alone with only a potentially psychotic cat for company, and was also concerned about how the rest of us would cope without our designated responsible adult. It was OK. We made decisions and found our way to the ferry and everything. All was well. I ate a massive Danish salad for my tea, while Iona and Pelle photographed, then devoured, their sandwiches. Then Pelle started to feel feverish, in an apologetic manner, and Iona felt tired, so we retired to the cabin at around 7pm. I was quite happy cwtched up on the top bunk with my excellent book about endangered languages, while vaguely hoping my cabinmates weren't in any way dying. Then I tried to sleep. Then I changed my sleeping position, for this is something I do about 10 times a minute when I try to sleep. Then my stomach went ARGHGHGHGHGHGH. I clambered awkwardly down the ladder and, in the bathroom, was reunited with the massive Danish salad, looking much like it had always done. I was struck by terror that I might have woken my ailing cabinmates up with my tropical chunder. Once everything had, how we say, left the premises that make up Katie, I felt OK again, although I didn't feel like eating for the following day.
Oslo
Oslo looked a bit like Slough, which my mum said sounds like the worst recommendation of any place she'd ever heard of. That's not totally fair, though. Much of it was being rebuilt, and there were some older parts that were really pretty, but it cannot be denied that quite a lot of it looked like Slough, populated by cheerful Norwegians who will happily pay around £12 for soup in a cafe. We were only there 5 hours, but managed to fit in going to a cafe to inject some coffee into my ailing veins, and going to a FREE MILITARY MUSEUM that was really really good and you got to try out guns and stuff.
The return
I was lucky enough to travel with people who cope with 32 hours at sea in the same manner as I do: by going totally insane. On the way back we founded our own religion, made up our own kind of sociolect and spoke almost exclusively in comedy Danish accents. We became hysterical on seeing a poor Dane who was only trying to eat his huge pile of sausages in peace. Our hysteria wasn't helped by the fact that the captain's surname meant something like 'well-endowed' in Swedish, causing a high degree of humour, especially when he introduced himself over the tannoy system. No wonder the boat was so big.
Reunion with Rhian and the rest of the week
It was good to see Rhian again in Copenhagen, and not just because we'd turned into lunatics at sea. I was embarrassingly pleased to see her after being apart for a whole two days, and did a little happy dance when she appeared in the cafe. The rest of the week was merrily spent variously in Copenhagen (NACHOS), Lund (where I casually slapped the backside of a statue in a cathedral…I am an awful person), and Malmö (where I was convinced that falafel with aubergine was a FANTASTIC IDEA). Also in Malmö we went to a museum where there was A U-BOAT.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I don't need to say much more about my excitement
there.
Terrifying languages
This trip was also the first trip to Sweden after my Swedish course, which implies a certain obligation to try it out on poor unsuspecting Swedes. I managed to say three words to procure a bus ticket. It was terrifying. I have a specific psychological quirk here, which is that no person I already know who currently speaks Swedish may ever hear me attempt to speak it until I have got it perfectly right. This is something that will not happen for the next decade. That said, the written language was less alien to me, albeit frustrating because I know some of the words but not all of them. I was absurdly pleased with myself when I translated a newspaper headline and part of a packet of feta cheese. One must start small. Spoken Danish, on the other hand, makes more sense to me. I was able to understand the terrifying security people at the airport today, who made me take my shoes off and turn round (probably because I was travelling with a stuffed IKEA woodlouse in my rucksack and am thus suspect). Listening to Danish is like listening to a faulty radio because it makes sense for about one sentence (if you speak German) and then goes totally mental. And Norwegian, incidentally, sounds a bit like Swedish spoken by cheerful, sprightly mountain goats. On crack. If they could speak.
Further illness
I was deeply sad to leave, as ever. I was feeling deeply unwell last night, partly due to my unwise decision to combine Citalopram with more than two alcoholic drinks, and, later on, due to an intense feeling of panic about having to say goodbye. I was irrationally, but no less terrifyingly scared that my family had all died and everyone was waiting till my holiday was over to tell me, so as not to spoil things. My fears are idiots. After a lot of pacing this morning, I was OK again. I realised at some point this afternoon that I should've taken Propranolol, for it is made for situations such as these. But I did not think of it at the time for I am a fool. Or maybe I can ask my GP to somehow write me a prescription for 'moving to Sweden'. Fewer side-effects.
The future
I didn't mean to end my epic post on a negative note, for it was a lovely holiday with (as always) wonderful and epic hosts, plus further bonding with an additional human (Iona) and cat (Custard). I hope I am allowed to return to imbibe more of Sweden, ideally quite soon.
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