Get on the “mafian car”!
We are ready to go to Norrland. First stop is in Umeå and Obbola at Bojrn and Lena’s house, two of Fredrick’s childhood friends. He explains that one of the best universities in Sweden is in Umeå, where he has studied the before moving to Uppsala, where is one of the best universities across Europe. A few miles past the bridge, there is Obbola, a small island where Fredrick was born and grew up!
We have everything for the trip: a blue velvet blanket, white on the second side, a travel pillow that fits around the neck, two hot coffees, cheese sandwiches… and… shall we go?
Fredrick advised me to wear comfortable, so I decided to wear Franklin Garage shorts, even if it’s cold! I thought that the temperature would warm up later in the day, not thinking that we were going
north and that, in any case, this is Norway, cold! So I put the pillow and the
blanket over my knees; all that’s missing is the head scarf to look like Heidi’s grandmother!
Before leaving, Fredrick told me that the trip would take about eight hours; that didn’t scare me, on the opposite, longer the better: I can take the opportunity to write and improve my Swedish. In fact, my Swedish is improving day by day although I am still unable to hold a conversation. In my notebook I write down my basic questions, answers, and some words.
We stop to drink coffee, still hot in the thermos bottle, and a
couple of cheese sandwiches. Fredrick asks me to drive so he can call the
In the beginning I have some difficulty because I’ve never driven an
automatic car . First, I learn that I have to press P to park, then that the “hand” brake is really a foot pedal where the clutch pedal usually is. Cars with an automatic transmission have only two pedals: gas and brake. After several “hiccups,” the car gets rolling, but then I discover how silent the car engine is, so quiet…. Oh my God! I was going to sleep! This car seems to be a sleeping pill for me…. zzz… OH MY GOD AGAIN! I look like the narcoleptic giraffe in Madagascar. I try to stay awake with an eye open and one closed as I wait impatiently for Fredrick to finish talking on the phone. Frederick is aware of the problem since I slalom between the
right lane and the left and am often driving right on the white line. He
beckons me to move on the right side, but then, after a few minutes, I’m
back in the middle of the road as if I want to overtake cars, but there is no car in our lane. Fredrick is trying hard to relax, but the anxiety is such that he can’t keep his eyes closed. Lucky him! I stop at the first little square and he resumes the driving position while I go back to “Grandma Berarda’s” robes in the passenger seat where I take a nap .