Monday, July 25, 2011


It has been an unusual, wonderful, fabulous week for Sarah and me. We have experienced so much in the last 7 days, it is hard to even summarize all the experiences in one post.
The one that sticks out the most is how lovely it is to be surrounded by family once again. It is that oil that makes you going. Our stay at grandparents' house outside Oslo was a brief one, but still memorable for Sarah. She discovered a love for picking red currants, and wild flowers. Walking through the forest at night picking blueberries and wild strawberries was another highlight.
We then traveled up to Lappland in Sweden to a tiny little place called Vojmån where my grandparents and dad with his 6 siblings grew up. It was a 15 hours car ride, so we were mighty tired when we arrived late at night. The sun was still up when we arrived, so there was no feeling of going to bed! I simply love that light at night. It is a one of a kind.
I don't even know how to start describing this old yellow wood house up in the middle of nowhere. It is the only constant in my 40 years life, a place where time simply stands still. The smell is the same as you enter the kitchen, and walk through the house. The sound of the kitchen clock sounds the same as well as the squeaky wooden floors throughout the house. This is no place to hide - you will hear every step! The layout of the house hasn't changed. The curtains and the old furnitures are the same. The taste and color of the tap water is the same. The candy bowl is in it's place, always filled up with all sorts of goodies! The feeling of valuaing down time and relaxation come with the house and the surroundings. It was fascinating to rediscover this place after having been gone for 10 years. A place that I visited multiple times each year as I grow up.
And then the summer party! My dad had been firm that this was not a party to celebrate his birthday, but to simply celebrate summer! It doesn't matter what we call it, it was a blast! I sure have relatives who know how to party! The food was excellent, and we had a lot of fun preparing it all. The drinks were plenty and excellent, and always accompanied by a snaps visa (snaps song)! These guys don't shy away from a heated discussion about politics! It was very refreshing. They all know how to argue their case.
There is no party in Vojmån without a good soccer game after a lot of food and alcoholic beverages! It was great to see my soon to be 70 years old dad score a goal! The game is all or nothing!
We got around to taking family pictures around midnight. It takes a lot of time to prepare them, who should sit where, and who should do what in the pictures, so it was definitely past midnight before they were done. I am glad we did it, since it is not as easy to get all siblings together these days.
We then started a game guessing the weight of the salmon my dad received as a gift for his birthday! It was the biggest fish I have ever seen in my life! We all took our bets, and the winning bet was 7.2 kilos!
The party was all about good conversation, laughter, food and alcohol! It truly brought back many good memories from my childhood when we always found an excuse for a summer party. It is a memorable night independently if you're the oldest or youngest in the gang.
The day after everybody sticked around. They all worked in the house and in the yard. Sarah got to go for a boat ride on Vojmån (the river outside the house), bbqed hot dogs over an open fire, sorted cloudberries, took walks with various dogs, and played, played, played! We got to have another big meal together before it was time for Sarah and me to get on the bus that would take us to my hometown Stockholm overnight.
I am so very happy that we took the time to reconnect with all the relatives on my dad's side. Their sincere kindness is what sticks with me now - and as a child.
Today we arrived bright and early in the capital city of Sweden, Stockholm. After we had settled in my cousin's apartment (thank you, Petra!), we decided to do some sight-seeing. We went to the Old Town, the castle, the parliament, and some other beautiful tourist sights of Stockholm. You are never far from water wherever you go in the city.
We also went to the Finnish church. I wanted to show Sarah the church where my parents were married as well as her own mom and dad. This is also the church where my grandma had her memorial service, and where Sarah was baptised. Many memories from the Finnish side of the family. We also got to remember our dear friend Heather's daughter Samantha who passed away a year ago today to mitochondrial disease. We lit a candle for Samantha and her family, and took a moment to cherish her life.
Sarah is in deep sleep tonight. We have many plans with family and friends in the coming days, and we will enjoy every bit of it. At the same time, we know that we will be ready to go back to Joakim and Jacob in a week again.
Jacob is doing well at home. He was fighting a cold when we left, but he miracously got over it. He is having a good time with dad at home!
With that I think it is time for me to go to bed. Tomorrow, we will go to the archipelago with friends. That will be another unique experience for Sarah. She is loving every second of this stay, and her Swedish is coming along nicely after a week being surrounded by Swedish relatives.
Glad sommar!
Love, Maria.

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