Yesterday, Izzy met her friend Evelyn at the Mystic Seaport. Evelyn and her mom were going to the seaport for the Fire Fighter Festival and to see the fire boat use their water cannons. The Izzy and Evelyn haven’t been able to see each other in over a month, and Izzy has been really missing her friend. We arrived around noon, and enjoyed three hours walking around in the hot/humid weather.
I’m entering my second week here in Sweden. We have settled into the annex/guesthouse at Susanna’s parent’s house in Sävsjöström, Sweden.
On Saturday we took a pretty easy day and enjoyed the nice weather. In the morning, Susanna, Izzy and I did the short loop down the lake to the cabin and back up the road.Susanna’s mom, Charlotte, and I took a longer (5km) walk through the woods in the afternoon, passing an old tar-production pit on the walk. That afternoon we went to Susanna’s sister’s house for dinner, and for me to setup Minecraft for Isabella’s cousin on the laptop. This will hopefully allow them to play and talk online when we return to the US.
Sunday we went to an Allsång (sing-along) in Åseda to watch Susanna’s uncle, Johan, sing. An Allsång is a concert where the audience members are encouraged to sing along with the songs, and although I didn’t recognize any of the Swedish songs, there were a few in English that I had heard before. It was a fun afternoon and Susanna’s extended family was there. We finished the evening with dinner at a Thai restaurant in town and took Izzy’s cousins (Olle and Ebbe) back with us to spend the night.
Olle and Ebbe stayed with us on Monday. Susanna’s parents watched all three grandchildren for the day, so Susanna and I had the chance to go out together for some sightseeing. We visited the oldest fully wooden church in Sweden, Granhults Kyrka, and had lunch back in Åseda at a very nice cafe, Linas Butik & Café. We then went home and enjoyed a quiet (as quiet as possible with 3 kids) afternoon.
Dan and I took a walk around his property before dinner. We have always taken a walk though his woods when I’m here. Some day I’ll be able to easily tell the difference between the tall (pine tree) and gran (fir tree), but not today. We walked through woods with 100-year old trees and woods that he and Rebecka planted not too many years ago. He pointed out possible building sites with a view of the lake, and we talked about Susanna and I possibly buying a plot of land for a summer home from him. I think we have agreed on a spot across the road from his house and up the hill a bit, and will look at 3-4 hectares. This is part of Susanna and my plan for my retirement – a move to Sweden after Izzy finishes 8th grade in the US. We shall see about the land – there is still a bunch of years before I can retire and we need to think about it for a year or two before we buy land.
Today, Susanna, Izzy and Susanna’s mom took the train to Stockholm. They are going to a music festival tomorrow. Izzy’s favorite artist, Alessandra Mele, is playing. Izzy is fanatical about Alessandra, who represented Norway in the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest with the song, “Queen of Kings.” Everyone in our household has heard that song way too many times.
I took the day to drive to Kalmar and walk around the town at my own pace and take pictures. The weather was partially overcast which made for great lighting for pictures. I returned home mid-afternoon and enjoyed a ride down the lake and back with Dan on his boat.
I’ve been in Sweden for a little over a week, and am almost half-way through my vacation here. Until yesterday, the weather wasn’t very pleasant (cold and rainy – I left summer in Connecticut for this weather?). But yesterday afternoon the rain stopped, the sun came out for the first time in a while, and it warmed up enough I didn’t need a sweater.
The first few days I spent in Stockholm. Susanna reserved a room at the Haymarket by Scandic hotel for last weekend. It was to celebrate our 10-year anniversary, and to go see Håkan Hellström play a concert at Stockholms stadion. I’m not a big fan of the music, but he puts on a good show and the venue was pretty cool (built for the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm). I had more fun that I had expected and would be willing to go again (just don’t tell that to Susanna).
Despite the weather, we had a great weekend. The rain held off for the concert and we enjoyed good food and visiting Susanna’s sisters. We spend on day taking a boat tour of the Stockholm Archipelago and several hours walking around the city.
On Monday, Susanna and I headed south to Alvesta. Her dad met us at the train station and took us to Växjö to pick up our rental car and then to meet her mom to pick up Izzy from her first day at 4H Camp. We have been spending the week at Susanna’s parent’s house in Sävsjöström on lake Alstern.
Izzy was signed up for summer camp for the whole week. On Tuesday Susanna and I looked at neighborhoods in Växjö before picking up Izzy from camp. We are planning on moving out here after I retire and before Izzy goes to high school, so we are starting to talk about what that would look like. Right now we are leaning towards a small two bedroom apartment in the city and a small vacation home here in the country if we can make the two places work.
By Wednesday, Izzy was tired. It was raining in the morning, so she asked to stay at home. I took her into Växjö to walk around at the mall and do some shopping, though she is saving her money for next week (she is going to a concert in Sweden with Susanna and Susanna’s mom). However, Thursday morning she was rested and enjoyed the last two days at camp (the improving weather helped as well), and has made a friend at the camp. We will see if she keeps in touch after this week.
On Thursday and Friday, I helped Susanna’s dad and uncle install windows in a house in Älmhult, and today I can barely move. I’m not used to so much physical work, but I enjoyed doing something different. We even had lunch at the IKEA Museum in Älmhult, which is as much of the museum that I have any desire to see.
If the weather had been nicer this week, I would have probably picked up a paddle board and spend time exploring the lake. Maybe next time!