The first snow has been falling already in Örebro. The temperature is dropping more and more. And there are just a few weeks left until Christmas Eve. While in most of the Northern European countries the families are gathering around the Christmas tree, lighting up candles and avoiding the cold outside on the other side of the world it is slightly different. Riley Johnson, 23, comes from Melbourne in Australia and is doing his Erasmus here in Sweden.
When Riley first arrived to Örebro he was wearing shorts. That’s his living. With a smile Riley says he and his family spend some time by the pool at Christmas Eve.
”Sometimes we go down to the beach and might have a surf with the cousins after lunch.”
What is for us northerners almost unconceivable is normality for Riley. Sitting at the pool and go swimming after opening the gifts sounds like paradise. Even though a well known cliché says one shouldn’t swim after a big meal.
”We cook it on the BBQ outside using my dad’s special recipe. Then for desert my nanna brings a frozen strawberry pudding with berries. We eat and afterwards we’re going for a swim.”
This year, Riley will probably be covered in snow and sit in his dorm here in Örebro. Most of the exchange students who come from far away don´t have the chance to see their families during Christmas.
”Talking about this makes me really feel home sick”, Riley admits.
Staying in Sweden gives him the opportunity to experience a Christmas Eve they haven’t experienced before. Riley and his friends who also will be staying will either experience a Swedish Christmas or a mix of different Christmas traditions from all over the world. And at least they can celebrate this Christmas with their new families – the Erasmus family.
/ Luise Röpke Skribent