For years I’ve made the mistake to just book every single moment up before Christmas. As a result I have blackouts from previous Christmases, and that scares me, because I usually have an awesome memory, if I may say so myself.  Also, I think I did my Christmas decoration past the first of Advent last year. That’s not okay!

In spite of my blackouts, I do recall a weekend a few years ago, when I was a part of way too many acts at the same time. Early Friday morning I first conducted a Lucia concert at the school I was working at, then ran out to the rental car and drove like a maniac straight down to Jönköping to sing at a concert called “Det klingande julkortet” Friday and Saturday.

After the last concert on Saturday night I got my butt right back into the car to drive back to Stockholm, this in spite of the very, snowy, icy and foggy weather. I had no idea it was so hard to drive long distance at night in the wintertime in Sweden. It had not been that long since my move home from Los Angeles, and I was convinced that I could drive far late at night. My poor parents tried to stop me, but I insisted it would be okay.

I started driving at 10 pm and soon realized it was a bad idea. I overate candy and drank diet coke to stay awake. I should have turned around, but stubborn as I am I kept driving. At one point I almost drove off of a bridge because it was so icy. I was on the verge of tears.  All of a sudden the rental car scared the heck out of me when it started talking: “You’re tired, take a break!” Well you’re right about that dear rental, but time is of the essence here. After about ten minutes, as I was sliding around on the road, the car spoke again: “It’s icy. Be careful”. Well thank you! I kind of noticed.

The car wouldn’t let it go. Again it said: “You’re tired, take a break”. I must have been a really terrible driver for it to talk that much. If you insist, little rental, I thought. I pulled over at the first gas station, but of course it was closed.  It suddenly spooked me out to be there, all abandoned.

As I got back on the road again, I accidentally started driving south instead of north, and of course there were no exists so I wasn’t able to turn around for about half an hour. I had a total meltdown in the car and cried out: “Why God, whyyyyyy?”

A drive that usually takes three and a half hour, took a little bit longer this winter night. I think I was home at 4 in the morning.

The following day I was rehearsing for yet another Christmas concert. As I was standing in the spotlight high up on the stairs, dressed in a big fur singing traditional Swedish Christmas carols, I felt so dizzy I almost fainted. I thought to myself: This is bad Johanna!

Sadly I haven’t really improved that much after that Christmas, but this year I want to be better. I really do! I have decided to not say yes to every single request, just because there’s an opening in my calendar. So instead of singing on the first of Advent, I decided to help my sister out with her kids for some good ol’ family time. It felt like an excellent idea to take my niece Scarlett (who’s turning 5 today) and nephew Elton, to the cute Christmas market at Skansen. The fact that it started snowing heavily in the morning didn’t change my mind.

As we drove towards Skansen the snowing increased. After we got out of the car, everything was a struggle. Immediately Elton and Scarlett kind of got completely covered with snow. A vague feeling came over me, that perhaps we should turn back. After just a few steps Scarlett tripped and fell in the snow. She didn’t really complain, which I think she was kind of entitled to. Instead she followed me back to the car. As I tried to lift her up to the passenger seat, she just passively hung on to me. She might be really light, but it was hard in the snow so we ended up almost falling into the ditch. I managed to prevent that by pushing Scarlett up towards the seat, and we ended up laying on our bellies, me on top of the poor child, towards the seat. Well, as you can hear I’m the excellent babysitter every child should have. Elton, who was standing watching the whole thing, started laughing, and I joined in, which made it even harder to push Scarlett up.

Well, this didn’t stop me. When the snow was sort of gone from the entire Scarlett, we finally walked up to the entrance of Skansen. We were already cold and covered with snow, and just gave each other a knowing look and agreed that we’d rather have some hot coco and sweets at the cozy place across the street.

After our almost visit to Skansen we were off to church. The drive there is material for another blog, but let me just say we were not on time. I have to admit; when I finally sat down at church, I was slightly exhausted from all the snow, wind, walking and driving.

I had a great first of Advent. I hope that my niece and nephew wants to hang out with my at some point in their lives again! If anybody wants me to take your children for some cultural outdoorsy activities, just call me!

Enjoy this peaceful Christmas season everyone!





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