Friday, August 31, 2007

August 1997

Today is the 10 year anniversary of Princess Diana's passing away. I remember very clearly where I was when I learned of her death in 1997.

I was 21 years old, and a few days earlier, I had packed a huge suitcase and traveled by plane and train from Denver, Colorado, to Uppsala, Sweden where I was to spend the next 11 months as part of a student exchange program. I was assigned to live in student housing; in my "corridor" lived 10 students - we each had our own rooms (fully equipped with Ikea furniture) with private baths, and we shared a living room and a kitchen/dining area.

Most of the other students hadn't moved in yet so the corridor was kind of lonely at this point. One afternoon I turned on the TV and flipped through the channels. They were all showing pictures of Princess Diana, but I didn't know what they were saying because at that point I didn't know a word of Swedish. Then I found one station that was showing a picture of Diana with the caption: "1961-1997". I got the details from a phone call with my mom.

News of Diana and the car accident always brings back memories of my first months in Uppsala:

- Figuring out where I could buy a bicycle so I could get around town like everyone else
- Compulsively checking my map to orient myself whenever I had to go somewhere
- Getting used to taking a number for service at places like the post office and the government liquor store
- Learning that *I* need to bag my groceries, not the checkout person (hurry up, there’s someone waiting behind you!) and if you want a plastic bag, tell them before they’ve rung you up so they can charge you for it
- Realizing the pleasure of shopping at H&M 3 times a week

It was during this year in Sweden that I developed a sense of fashion and style. In Colorado where I had been going to college, outerwear was made from one of two fabrics: Gore-Tex or fleece. In Sweden, which was equally if not more cold, I discovered you can stay just as warm in a long wool coat. This picture is from the springtime when I was visiting the town of Linköping with a friend.

Here I am with my corridor-mates teaching them how to make a popcorn string for the Christmas tree we had just got. They had never heard of this before; we had a fun time putting it together.

These were good times.

Sewing update coming as soon as I can take some pictures!


loopylulu said...

Great memories! I remember where I was too. I was camping with my family in Yosemite when I got a page from a friend telling me the news. Thanks for the good stroll down memory lane.

Anonymous said...

Northern Europe is such a beautiful place.I visited Finland about two years ago and the people are very stylish.Even coming from Europe( Ireland),the scandinavians seem so different,sophisticated and confident.I'd love to visit sweden.I remember I was at a violin lesson when it was reported that she died,I was 15, feels so long ago.

Kitty Couture said...

Christina, that is so weird! Uppsala is why we went to Sweden on holiday, because Seb had a conference there. Isn't it a beautiful town!!

renee said...

I remember going to bed that night being sure she'd be fine in the a.m. I also remember running around as a kid in my Princess Diana paperdoll tiara.

Is that you on the fr end of the table with the dark hair? You look totally different!

Christina said...

Cidell - Yes, that is me in the black. My hair is in a ponytail and this was before I realized that bangs are flattering on me.

Meg said...

Time flies, I remember where I was too plus I was heavily pregnant with my son...He is ten soon, WOW

Anonymous said...

That flashback was so great!

In September 1997, I started my first few days of high school. We had a television newscast each morning and for the first few days of school, every story was about Princess Diana.

And I didn't know that you did a study abroad in Sweden! How fun! I'm Swedish and Dutch, but I haven't ever been to either Sweden or Holland!