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Modesty on a Swedish beach

  • Name: Shari Carver Belanger
  • Destination: Landskrona, Sweden
  • When: Summer, 1986
  • Hometown: Pittsford, New York
  • Organization:

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The first day I got there, they asked me, “Would you like to go for a swim?”

So, of course, I went in my room and changed into my suit and put on a t-shirt and shorts and stuff, my towel.  I remember walking out and they were all standing there like they had been waiting, like, “What took you so long?

Landskrona Citadel, Sweden

Landskrona Citadel, Sweden, Image via Wikipedia

What?  I was just changing into my suit.  But you can probably see where this is going.  We walked down to the water, and they never, ever, ever change before!  Everybody just changes on the beach and not in a cabana or anything.  You just change right there without even really covering up.  So that was hard to get used to.

I remember being like, Ooh! That’s why they thought it took me a while!

And they thought that I was weird that I would want to change before I walked down, like, why would you do that? Of course you just bring your suit.

And they always changed right back into their clothes as soon as they got out of the water, right there on the beach.  You don’t go home in your sopping wet suit, of course, you just change into your clothes.  Why wouldn’t you? I mean, older people, younger people, the topless was everywhere, and that’s just normal.

Steve: Did you ever get used to that?

Shari: I never did it myself, I never got past it for myself.

My host sister, Lotta, would just parade around house just in underpants, and like sit there shaving her legs in the nude in the room and just be talking.  Dad would come in, and would ask her a question, and she would just say “Hi dad”, you know, whatever.  They just don’t even see it.  It’s not anything sexy or provocative.  It’s just normal.

So the modesty was hard.  It was a big shocker for me.

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