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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Boat Duties, Part II

The other "duty" we have at our marina is to participate in a work evening once each summer as well. The great thing about both the guard duty and the work evening are that by the members each taking a turn at these things, our marina fees are kept quite low. Plus, it's a great way to interact with Swedish society and engage the culture on a personal level.
Tonight we had our work duty. Fortunately it was a wonderful day so we arrived at the marina at 18.00 in shorts and T-shirts ready to report for duty. It's always nerve wracking because we still feel like foreign outsiders and we get nervous that we won't be able to understand what they are asking us to do or worse yet, they will give us a horrible, dirty, awful task. Upon arrival we met Hans, an older gentleman and his wife Agneta who have been members of the Lidingö Båtklubb for years and years. He is actually suffering from ALS so he doesn't have much physical ability but he is just about as sweet a person as I've ever met. Of course, he spoke only in Swedish to us and explained our first task for us. He said he had a job just for the two of us that was to basically fix a hose holder on one of the docks that had been removed in order to be repaired. Fortunately another person helped us locate the piece, the screws and the tools and we were off! It was an easy job that didn't take so very long. It became very clear to us that there wasn't much else for us to do. He kept us busy by asking us to check all of the docks to make sure that nothing was out of order. We tightened a few other things, picked up some trash and then I went into the kitchen to help fix the hot dogs and coffee that were to follow all of the hard labor! I had a chance to chat with this delightful couple and they were very gracious and kind. I learned that Hans goes to the boat club every morning at 10.00 to "fika" (have coffee) with the gubbar (old guys). The boat club provides him and his wife with a real sense of community which is lovely given that they are failing a bit in their older years.
After awhile, the other 5 guys who were present working came in and we shared some hot dogs and small talk! The whole evening was very easy and actually quite enjoyable. I really enjoyed speaking with Hans and Agneta, getting a bit of insight into their lives. They enjoyed finding out more about these Americans who are members of their boat club. It was a good chance for me to practice my Swedish and we felt good doing our civic duty to keep our boat club clean and shiny!
We have finished now with work and guard duties for the year! Hurray. Now we can enjoy the Swedish summer while others guard the marina and take care of the business around the grounds!
I love our boat club. It's a beautiful place and I feel lucky that we get to park our boat in this wonderful little corner of lovely Stockholm.