Remember when you were returning to school after Summer, and the first assignment you would get from your Teacher would be to write an essay about what you did over the Summer. Well, back then my reports were mainly about visiting my Grandparents in Miami, hanging with friends, having sleepovers with my cousins, getting Math and Reading assignments from my Parents, and taking extra Summer class courses. Yeah, I was a bit of a Nerd.
Well, NOTHING could have prepared me for this past Summer!
I was asked to sing the American National Anthem ( I write “American” because I know some of you thought I meant the Swedish anthem) for the July 4th Celebration at the U.S. Embassy of Sweden.
My first thought was, “Wow! Yay!” Those of you who know me, you know this is true 🙂
The first time I had this honour was in June 2013 when the U.S. Embassy had their July 4th BBQ Bash at the Sheraton Hotel. That place was filled with Ambassadors, Officials, special guests as well as fellow Americans. I was really nervous but it went well. I felt so humbled to sing the National Anthem for my Country and for the Embassy. It was just an overwhelming feeling of pride.
So, here I am again, being asked a second year in a row (Yes! They didn’t think I sucked the first time 🙂 ) to sing for their 4th of July Party. I humbly accepted, knowing that it couldn’t be as nerve wrecking as the first time. The BIG surprise. This party was going to be held in Visby Gotland during Almedalen, Sweden’s biggest political meeting place. Almedalen brings political parties, non-governmental organisations, businesses, trade unions and a host of other organisations together to discuss politics and policy through seminars and gatherings throughout the week. This is the first time the U.S.Embassy has taken the 4th of July celebration outside of Stockholm.
Once there, I stayed in the Clarion Visby hotel.
From the outside, it reminded me of a rook chess piece. The inside, much more becoming and warm with great staff and a friendly, buzzing atmosphere. This hotel is deceiving with it’s long corridors that twist and turn. I got the hang of it and only knew I was near my room from the change of décor in the hallway and the large chandelier hanging near my room door.
The Embassy staff were worker bees fixing, organizing, preparing, and ensuring all would flow smoothly for this event. Then finally it was time.. Introductions were made.
The Ambassador and Mrs. Natalia Brzezinski took their place on the podium and then I was presented to sing.
A nervous moment but I got through it with grace. You’ve never seen someone so happy and eager to step off a stage 🙂
The Ambassador then gave a speech that was full of meaning and inspiration.
The party itself was a huge success and everyone seemed to enjoy all the great music, conversations, food and even slushies!
Thank you so much Darcie, Laura, Ann-Charlotte, Steve, Jeff, Julie, Kellie, Natalia, Michael, Mark, Ken, Bob, Annika and everyone for a wonderful time. You all really made me feel so warm and welcome!
There are moments you remember all your life. This is one of those moments.