If you’ve ever seen the movie, Sliding Doors, with Gwyneth Paltrow, it shows how your destiny can drastically change within a matter of seconds..
The second I landed in Stockholm, I knew I already felt at home from just the airport alone.
Setting the benchmark for my Scandinavian adventure, it was the first of five countries that I had visited last month.
It’s actually my second visit, my first being when I was with my parents as seen here, a grumpy kid lol, with my perpetually stylish mom. Sadly, I don’t recall much but this time around, needless to say, Stockholm did not disappoint.
The warmth of the Swedes more than compensated for the cold spring weather. The energy of the city had me excited knowing that I was returning again at the end of a month-long trip before heading back to Manila.
Then it happened…
After reading the news (credit here, here & here) seeing that hotdog stand nearly rammed down by the truck, it had dawned on me:
I was literally standing at that specific spot just a few days before filming a playful video on Stockholm streetfood for the vlog.
Talk about insane proximity, I was pretty much standing right between the hotdog stand board sign and the wheel of the truck!
(Credit here & here)
The photos I share here are mere screenshots from the clips I took so I encourage you to watch today’s heartfelt episode.
Here is the friendly hot dog vendor who served us that day.
From my humble comparison, the guy above was not the same man splashed all over the news, who nearly escaped death on April 7, Gilberto Rodriguez (below).
You be the judge, I could be wrong. Thankfully, he or both are blessed to be safe and alive today.
Fast forward to nearly a month later, I had returned to the same spot on Drottninggatan, Stockholm’s famous shopping street, to find a wall, boarded up to cover the damage done by the man in suspect.
Just imagine, locals walking by the same street they probably pass by everyday; day in and day out routine.
Of course there’s those tourists like myself, ticking off their list of places to visit in Stockholm. Then in an unforeseen flash of fate, everything had changed – forever.
The wooden wall of Ahlens Department Store may have been temporary but the pretty flowers, the messages of love and repose, inter-collaged by the images of peace and unity were all to be etched in people’s hearts for eternity.
While it’s stating the obvious (and even selfish) how grateful I am for not being there on that dreadful day, what really struck me to the core was knowing how all the victim’s families had no warning whatsoever. As it was just another day in peaceful Stockholm.
It is that all too familiar feeling of having no control, no sense of closure nor any time to process what had happened, knowing your loved one is never coming back.
Similarly, losing my brother so suddenly just two months ago is the hardest thing my family and I have endured in life.
So as I read the news and learned about the victims and their families, all I could think of was how deeply sorry I was for their loss and I empathize in their pain.
Evidently, no amount of words or prayers can ever suffice losing a loved one. But that shouldn’t stop the world from expressing something I feel the world is sorely lacking these days – empathy.
The rate of hate spreading around the world continues to escalate. If we think offering kindness, compassion, sensitivity and awareness to other people’s suffering cannot help heal one soul at a time, then we have forgotten what true love is all about.
Compassion costs nothing and to the person receiving it, it means everything.
I offer this special episode, my prayers and my genuine desire to try and contribute something positive to this world – via this place we now call the digital world, to all of Sweden.
My heart goes out to you. Thank you for welcoming me and my family into your ‘hometown.’ I cannot wait to go back again one day and bask in your kindred-souled-city!
Everything you need to see, feel & hear are all in today’s episode so I hope you don’t miss it!
SO MUCH lined up to share with you all about Sweden: from the food, the Vikings, the Old Town and more!
Sending out love & light,
Location: Stockholm, Sweden, Europe