Every now and then, the Swedes would want to be part of the action despite quite literally having to go outside their comfort zones. The thing about Swedes is that on the rare occasion they decide they trust you and that stoic wall comes down… they’re all in. As a Black woman living there, I didn’t experience this openness often, but on the few occasions when I did experience this, it resulted in loyal, long-lasting friendships. One instance in particular comes to mind. To celebrate the end of the school year and our birthday, Bianca and I planned what we thought was going to be a cool Animal House-inspired toga party with a few dozen friends. A few hundred people showed up. When word got out that two international students were throwing a party that emulated the American college culture that Swedes are obsessed with, nearly every student in town showed up dressed in a toga made with their favorite material, drinks and snacks in hand to share with everyone (gasp!), and some even showed up with flowers for us.

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