October 28, 2013

Be careful what you buy in Sweden

The last day of my moms trip here we went to a tourist shop. The shop was filled with every tacky but kind of cute stereotypical 'Swedish' trinket you could imagine.

My mom saw two mugs that said 'In Love in Sweden'. They had two moose on them kissing with a little heart above them! We thought they were tacky cute and would bring back fond memories of Sweden down the road. 

As soon as they were in our basket, the shop worker came over and offered to package then for us. How polite, right? 
Looking back now there were other more fragile things in our basket that should have had priority packaging. 

That night my mom gave them to Sam and I (in front of my grandma) and Sam instantly had a big awkward smirk on.  Everyone else still had not noticed anything. A few minutes later I received a text from Sam. It said something along the lines of, look at the pictures on the sides of the cup. This is what I saw. 

They even put a nice picture inside for you to see while taking a sip. 

Needless to say, it's a very inappropriate cup for my mother to give to her future son in law.  My mother had previously told us that they would be "cute to show to our grand kids someday!" When that time does come, I think we will just keep them in the back of the cupboard... 

Just wanted to thank my mom for her thoughtfully inappropriate gift! 

I think the best part of the gift was the laughter of first Sam, then me, then my mom and at last my grandmother discovering the real meaning of 'In Love in Sweden'! 

October 23, 2013

A year ago yesterday..

October 22, 2012, I was lead by Sam to the Oskarshamn Arena. I was under the impression we would be meeting our friends Evan & Maddison to skate. When we got there Sam said something came up and our friends and they wouldn't be able to make it.  Sam and I went on the ice and skated for about 5 minutes.

Every time we had gone skating in the past I like when Sam pulls me 'really fast' around the ice.  Sam was doing this when he turned around and stopped both of us center ice. He dropped down to one knee.  He pulled out a ring & asked me to marry him.  I said yes, dropped both hockey sticks I was holding and we had a very happy kiss as I put on my ring! A few minutes later he asked me "You did say yes, right?" Apparently I was so shocked I must have whispered it, but it was written all over my face. ❤

We skated off the ice to the bench. That is when Sam told me that the whole thing had been recorded. Evan was actually hiding in a box the whole time with a video camera & Frederic (Sam's Oskarshamn Coach) was also recording it on Sam's phone. Now I can relive that moment forever.

We tried to get ahold of our family members immediately! To tell them the news! The time change can make that a little difficult but we got to talk to everyone on  Skype.  Except my brother who was in India at the time.... He found out over Facebook message! Oops  

I cannot believe it has been a whole year! The absolute shortest, longest year ever! Wedding planning took most of my time this summer & a lot of my moms too!  Every day now is one closer to our wedding! Sam and I are both so excited & more in love than ever. I only have 234 more days to wait! Not that I'm counting ;)  

Photo taken just moments after!! ❤

October 20, 2013

Vasa Ship


       On 10 August 1628, Vasa set sail on get maiden voyage and sank in Stockholm harbor. 
      The wreck was salvaged in 1961 after 333 years under the sea. The reconstruction vessel, 98 percent original, is splendidly adorned with hundreds of carved sculptures. 

Museums are not usually my favorite place. This one was different because it was all about one object. One huge beautiful, slightly overwhelming, old object! 

The restoration and presentation of the ship was very impressive. The film we watched beforehand was informative and  so were the models of the sinking.  You could tell there was a lot of time and passion that went into saving this ship.  This ship is the worlds largest wooden museum object! 

A close up of some of the detail that was ALL over the shop 

The size of the ship was hard to capture in a picture. 

When the ship was made the sculptures all over the ship were brightly colored like these replicas are today.

Grandma with some more replicas. 

Model of how they slowly raised the ship to be restored. 

They found skeletons on the ship. Along with these they found objects that allowed them to know quite a bit about each one. They all had names, why there were on the ship, dental & health reports, social statuses, and ages.  That part was pretty interesting. These heads however, were a bit much. Quite creepy if you ask me! 

I would highly recommend this museum to anyone coming to Stockholm! 

Goodbye too Soon

Puppy saying goodby to Mom in her new favorite outfit! 

The worst part of a trip is saying goodby. This particular goodbye is one that marks the longest time I will ever have spent apart from my mom.  It was also so hard to say goodbye to my sweet grandma, so happy she got to come!! This morning we had a nice trip concluding breakfast before we headed off to Arlanda.  The checkin went quickly, too quickly... then they were gone. Maybe I shed a tear or two.. Maybe ;) 

My grandma and mom arrived on Thursday the 10th in the evening and left on Sunday the 20th, today. With just 9 of those being full days, we accomplished A LOT! 

Just some of the things we did: 
- Drottningholm Palace
- Walking in Gamla Stan (so many times!)
- Gripsholm Castle 
- Driving to Ormsjö 
- Saw the birthplace of my great-grandpa
- Visiting/Meeting Relatives in Harnosand, Enskede, Solna & Nockeby 
- Swedish Ballet 
- Nordic Museum
- Skansen 
- Archipelago Boat Tour 
- Some Crazy Driving Experiences
- Vasa Ship Museum 
- Fika in Gamla Stan
- Royal Palace 
- Lunch in a 700 year old prison & lunch at a bunch of great places in Stockholm! 
- Two hockey Games 
- Went to Mass at a Swedish Kyrka 
- Many Games of Rummy
- A few trips to ICA  
- Thousands of Pictures 
- Endless Memories 

I am probably forgetting a few things. As you can see, we were very busy & did as much as we could in the time that they had here! 

My version of America/Swedish breakfast 

Cute Grandma writing about the trip 

The last picture I took as they were heading through security! 

The next time I see my mom will be March/April, I hope it's not too hard!! I am so grateful for Skype, and her, and my grandma.  

What a wonderful trip! 


Look what grandma got me!! :) Yay finally I have one!

October 16, 2013

Swedish Heritage!

I have always known I was part Swedish, but I didn't realize my grandmothers father was born here in Ormsjö. It is a small village on a beautiful lake just north of Dorotea. We have been in contact with our Swedish relatives for years and they have been to Minnesota many times. So we were lucky enough to be in contact with the owner of the home (Bertil, one of my  grandmothers second cousins) where my great grandfather was born and even got to go inside. The place seemed untouched by time.

My mother, grandmother, Raylan and I headed up on Monday.  We drove to Harnosand (4.5 hrs) and stayed with & got to meet my grandmothers second cousin Eva-Lisa & her husband Lars-Olaf there. Initially we had booked a dog-fiendly hotel in Harnosand but Eva-Lisa called and told me I must cancel it because we were staying with her. I am glad we did because not only was the food DELICIOUS, but the pictures and stories she told us were invaluable. She even had pictures of my grandma from Minnesota visits from forty years ago!! 

We left early Wednesday morning to get to Ormsjö (another 4 hours each way) and see everything and then to get back to Harnosand before dark. The roads were not exactly big and straight. 

My mother and grandmother had some trouble deciding what kind if excursion to do on this trip to Sweden. We were thinking London for the longest time! Then Sam said we had to take my grandma to her fathers birthplace. He was speaking from the experience he had when he went to Charlottenburg the first time. Where he met even more-distant relatives and saw the land where his relatives were from.

 Yes the drive might be far but it would be worth it! Sam emphasized this for quite a few days, so it was decided. We looked into trains & flying & nothing really worked out. We also had to take my puppy Raylan, so car it wasWe were going on the 850 mile, 18 hour drive to Ormsjö! 

The drive seemed to go quickly & Raylan was a trouper! 

I took many pictures of the home and the view of Lake Ormsjö from the house. 

Just so you have an idea of how far it was! We were the little blue dot. 

The cute entryway to the house. 

The old original window. The whole home is the process of restoration, so these will be gone soon. However, Bertil is doing and amazing job and is replicating very well!

This is the window he replaced and replicated! Amazing!!

Every detail in the home was beautiful and so 'Swedish'! They had paintings like this on many windows.

The room in which my Great-Grandfather was born 1906! 

Old fireplace in the room.
In the room. The two portraits are of my great great great grandparents. The man on the left was remembered as 'The stubborn one' and still is to this day! 

Upstairs there was a room that was unfinished so you could see all of the exposed wood. The lumber they used was so huge and strong. This house is not coming down anytime soon!! 

  This house is 160 years old! It was an amazing experience to be in it. How many people get to stand in the room that their great grandfather was born in, in his home country! Even more special was my mother to be in her grandfathers birthplace. For my grandmother to be in the place her father was born was the most marvelous of all. 

What a beautiful view from the front porch.  How could they leave somewhere so beautiful??

One of the old photos Eva-Lisa showed us of our relatives. Love this photo!! 

I would like to thank Sam for pressuring us into going up to Ormsjö. You were right, it was worth it!!  I guess London can wait! 


October 14, 2013

Boating on the Archipelago

The sun was shining, so we decided to go on a boat tour. We picked the Archipelago islands of Stockholm.  Our ship was built in 1906 and the tour was three hours long. We went almost all the way to Vaxholm and then back. The boat went into some inlets but for the most part stayed on the main waterway. 

The tour guide talked for most of the time & we learned a lot! I would highly recommend this tour to anyone coming to Stockholm! We used the Stromma Boat tour company. 

Mom & Sam got sunburnt because it was such a beautiful day! 

The dock area from which we departed 
I think this is the most beautiful time of the year for a tour like this! So many beautiful colors everywhere! 

Mom and Grandma 
Grandma in front of our boat 
Sunshine! :) 

We enjoyed lunch in Gamla Stan after the tour.

This was Sam's only day off the whole time my mother & grandmother are in town. I think we made the best of it! 

October 12, 2013

Drottningholm Palace

On my mother & grandmothers first day in Sweden, we went to Drottningholm Palace. It is just 8 miles from our house and I had been dying to go there! 

Not going to lie I think I have been spoiled with European castles & palaces so I was not super impressed.  I guess one could say I'm immune. Places like Pena Palace in Portugal make it hard to appreciate the beauty of other places. I think my grandma really thought it was pretty, but she thought the gardens needed more flowers

We did enjoy our time at the palace. Even though the tour was very long & boring, I enjoyed the architecture and decor.  I liked it so much that I took lots of pictures right away! Then I found out photography in the palace was not allowed.
 What's done is done though so I'll share my photos with you :) 

Grandma and Mom in front of the palace 
Waiting room, turned bedchamber with hidden doorways to other bedchambers  
Gorgeous library  
Staircase painted to look like marble.. It was too expensive so the whole palace has fake marble that was all hand painted! It really looked real until I hear it was not!
Many of the ceilings were painted like this
Enjoying the fall day in the palace garden

In the evening we went to Sam's game and finished the evening in Gamla Stan with some drinks. 

Love having family here!! 

A little bit of information about the palace from Wikipedia:

The Drottningholm Palace (Swedish:Drottningholms slott) is the private residenceof the Swedish royal family. It is located inDrottningholm. It is built on the island Lovön(in Ekerö Municipality of Stockholm County), and is one of Sweden's Royal Palaces. It was originally built in the late 16th century. It served as a residence of the Swedish royal court for most of the 18th century. 

October 10, 2013

Our 1st Visitors!

Today, my mom & grandma arrive!! I am excited to see my mom (it has only been three weeks, so I don't miss her too much yet, but shhh don't tell her). But I am so excited to see my grandma! She has never been to Europe! Her dad was born here in Sweden, so I'm hoping this trip will give her more than a good time & pictures. I'm hoping it will be able to connect her to her heritage & to relatives she had never met! I plan on tagging along and doing the same!

The past two years my mom has also visited. The first year she flew into Kalmar, on her first flight alone! We had a great time, went to Copenhagen, Gothenburg, a game in Karlskoga, and enjoyed Oskarshamn. The second year she flew into Stockholm with my Dad and sister from Minneapolis. I flew from Kalmar to Stockholm. My brother and his girlfriend also came to Stockholm but they flew up from Brussels where they had been vacationing for a while. My brother had spent the last few months in India so my parents were missing him too. I believe it was about 9 in the morning when we all were reunited! It was wonderful!! We had a hockey game to go to that night.. at Hovet! Oskarshamn was playing Djurgården! 

This is the only picture from the game. Who would have known Sam would be playing for them this year?! 

It was such a wonderful place to meet in Stockholm! I think we all fell a little in love with the city!

This photo was taken after the game of all of us :) I was so happy to see everyone! Also I forgot to mention it was almost Christmas!! Aka: the most wonderful time of the year.

Photo I took the first year of my mom getting off the plane in Kalmar. 

The first picture I ever took of this so beautiful city that I now call home

Ok so maybe it's only been three weeks since I have see her, but I will admit. I miss my mom, how could I not!! 4:30 cannot come soon enough! 

& how cute is my grandma! Ahhh I am so excited to see what she thinks of it all :)

Xoxo one happy girl