Lessons in Integrating: Nordic Skiing

When Monika ( Jonas` mom) asked me if I wanted to learn how to åka skidor (go skiing) with her, I couldn’t say no. Skiing isn’t just an important part of Swedish history or a great calorie burner; learning how to cross country ski makes me more Swedish, especially in the north. At the park across the road from the Haraldsson/Strand home in Umeå, dozens of people had the same idea as us. Toddlers were skiing with their parents in overstuffed snow suits, and middle-aged women skied side by side as they gossiped.

To be honest, I was nervous when I first stepped into the skis. However, after 15-20 minutes, my strange giraffe-like steps turned into more of a graceful glide. It became even easier as the temperature cooled to around 28-30 degrees Fahrenheit. Today (48 hours after my first hour lesson), Monika and I skied around the 2 kilometer track while speaking Swedish the whole time. After my skiing adventure, am I an expert? Absolutely not. However, it was great exercise (burning almost 600 calories per hour), and I couldn’t have asked for better company or a superior language learning method.

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