Lucia 2012

I've always been a bit of a sporadic journal keeper - I'll go through spurts where I wrote nearly every day about each insignificant thing that happens to me, and then long periods of silence. Then once I do sit down to write again I struggle with where to begin - do I quickly recap all of the big important things that have happened? Do I dive right in to what is fresh on my mind?

 Case in point - January 1, 1995 I wrote in my journal: "Yahoo it's New Years. Oh it's Sunday too well we are doing the same old thing as most Sundays, watching football, Nils playing Power Rangers, and guess what on October 1, 1994 my baby brother was born his name is Anders, he weighed 8 pounds 13 ounces."

 Now, setting aside the horrible grammar and how apparently we spent Sundays watching football back in the day, you can see that this is a problem I've long struggled with. So how do I handle these situations on the blog? Should I recap our December, our holiday season and trip to Utah for you, dear reader? Or do I skip straight to the most recent fun thing to happen to me?

 Let's go with a little December. The inaugural ball will have to wait - perhaps this will be a little advertisement to make you eager to come back for more.

 While we were planning to move to DC, there were a few concerns that came to mind about how life would be different. Honestly, one of the first ones I dealt with was "How will I celebrate Lucia?" I kid you not, I was online over the summer searching for the most beautiful Lucia celebration in the DC area. Fortunately there were several to choose from, so my moment of panic was brief.

 I think Lucia has become something far more serious to myself and my brothers than my parents anticipated. Is this due to our being in a sometimes high-stress and extremely serious (not really, but treated that way by many) Lucia program while growing up? They'd send us off each Saturday starting in October to practice songs, be yelled at for our pronunciation and provoke Vivianne into banging on the piano. My brothers willingly wore white dresses (robes, if you ask Nils) and we've mastered the art of breaking pepparkakor into 3 pieces with a single tap. It was this great bonding experience for us. Nils and I had a CD with Newsies songs on it that was the exact length of the drive to practice that we would belt out to warm up our voices. We had these friends there that we only saw at Lucia ever, but considered good friends. I wonder what ever happened to them.

 This year on St Lucia day my mom told me that she did not wear the Lucia crown or wake up any of the boys with singing. She said she still make saffransbullar and set the table out all nice, and she couldn't understand why they were upset. I was not surprised. I could have told her that would happen. Lucia is serious business. When I was a sophomore in high school, I left for school much earlier than Nils and Anders even got up, so I did not wake them up on Lucia. When they woke up and realized this, they cried. We don't mess around.

 I snapchatted Anders a picture of me in my Lucia crown to try to make amends for my mom's neglect. I hope it helped.

So, after researching the possible Lucia programs in the DMV area, Jeff and I attended what I thought would be the best. It was held in St James Episcopal Church in Potomac, MD and was very beautiful.

Best part? Their Lucia wore real candles on her head.

All of the girls also carried real candles, and blew them out at one point in the program. Then they began singing Nu Tändas Tusen Juleljus (which is my favorite) and relit their candles from Lucia's, one by one down the row. Simply gorgeous.

There was no Viking's Feast catered meal, but they did have some good dancing around the Christmas Tree that we were thrilled to join in.

When we got into the church and found a place to sit, an older lady in front of us turned around and began speaking Swedish to me. I actually understand what she said - she asked if I spoke Swedish - but I felt flustered and explained (in English) that I spoke very little Swedish. She looked a little miffed and said, "Well, you look Swedish." I quickly explained about my heritage, but she was not interested in continuing a conversation with me in English. However, at the end of the program when they sang Stilla Natt (Silent Night) they invited everyone to join in, and I did so confidently, which she and her family remarked on afterward. They looked at me with a little more respect, and I thought - that's right, lil' gumma. I may not be able to have a conversation with you, but don't think I don't know my Stilla Natt so well I have trouble singing Silent Night in church correctly.

Several of the guests were wearing traditional folk dress, and I thought the variety was so neat - I am used to only seeing the official national costume.

While watching the program, I leaned over the Jeff and muttered that some of these women looked older than high school age. He agreed. This was confirmed when I spoke later to the woman in charge of the program - they have no age limit and will take anyone who wishes to be in the choir! She invited me to join them next year if I'd like. Now there is an idea. On the one hand, it was nice to just sit and watch the program - the first time I got to be at one with no responsibilities since I was 7. On the other hand, I had to restrain myself from singing along the whole time. Decisions, decisions. Luckily I have the whole year to think about it, which I'm sure I'll actually use. After all, Lucia is a serious business.

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