We live near the Swedish national soccer stadium, also home to Sweden’s most popular (though far from most successful) team, AIK.
On game days, the lads start drinking early, at the tables outside our apartment building and in the park across the street.
Swedish soccer fans often go bad, fights, violence, the whole bit. Attendance is crashing across the country because of the rowdy behavior. We have had cops chasing hooligans through our park, the bad guys hiding below our balcony. There was a brawl just last week.
But on a cool and sunny morning, like today, there is no trouble, just two guys drinking and smoking on a bench … and watching me dig in the sandbox with NK.
Later, as NK led me up the hill at the park, carrying rusty screws she said were “food,” we walked past an empty vodka bottle. And we threaded our way between groups of guys, with the occasional woman, sitting in the sun and drinking beer and waiting for the game. They ignored us, and we ignored them.
So today went well, though I also had no desire to go back outside with NK, which is not good. And when I did walk the baby to sleep and pick up Thai food for dinner an hour later, I heard the singing of soccer fans in the background and a roar, and I sighed.