What does the small village of Zipotle, located by the sea 500 km south west of Mexico City, have in common with Nogersund, a tiny town in the very south of Sweden, in the county of Blekinge?
Probably not a lot except that they both have less than a thousand inhabitants all year round. But for the last few years, a constantly smiling couple has become the link that ties the two places together.
Unless you know to look for it, you would probably never end up at Brygghuset CAFÉ & ART, just outside Nogersund. A renovated barn where one wall is exchanged for old odd window frames houses the waffle café, run by Anna and Chego. The former born and raised in that very house where her mother still lives all year around, the latter from a small fishing village in Mexico.
The chairs around the small tables scattered around the garden are filled by moms and dads and aunts and grandmothers and friends. All of them sipping coffee and enjoying waffles with whipped cream, or a cinnamon bun. Children are whooshing around the grass, swinging from the hammocks tied in the trees. A few sheep are looking at the act from the other side of a fence, slowly chewing a few straws of grass.
- We want to give everyone an opportunity to relax when coming here, says Anna. We are trying to introduce a somewhat more Mexican lifestyle to the otherwise hard-working swedes. We want to take away focus from the materialistic lifestyle, and help people focus on each other instead.
A tractor plowing a field further away is stirring up dust and the setting sun makes the entire sky look like a thick, orange mist. Through a crack in the tiny greenhouse, a twig managed to escape and are holding up a tiny red tomato towards the sun light.
Most of the material used at Brygghuset is recycled or handmade. Since the café season in Sweden is fairly short - usually from May to August - a large chunk of the year is spent in Mexico where Anna besides teaching yoga crafts jewellery and Chego wooden sculptures. Those are displayed and for sale just next to the counter, together with handcrafted blankets and hammocks made by friends back in Central America.
Nogersund is one out of several tiny fishing villages on the small peninsula called “Listerlandet”. Each just a few minutes by car from each other. Except from a now slowly diminishing culture of mink farms, fishing and farming is a great part of the small relatively small population of the area.
It does take a bit of work to get rid of the cultural jet lag when switching continents.
- Even though I like the contrast between the seasons, it unusual for me says Chego. And there’s so much laws and regulations here in Sweden. Everything is so organised.
- Chego is usually still in some kind of a meditational state for a while when we arrive in Sweden and takes everything very slowly, Anna says with a smile. That could be slightly problematic if you are going somewhere on a schedule.
Even though Brygghuset and its surroundings looks like something you would see on a picture when googling “Swedish”, the Mexican way of life most certainly rubbed off. When you’ve finished your second waffle, feel free to refill your coffee cup and relax a little bit longer.