Okay, so they aren’t really my family. But they are amazing people!
More than 30 years ago, when my mom was a teenager, she came to Sweden and lived here for a year. She lucked out and lived with a great host family, people with whom we are still connected today. Lina and Magnus, whom I mentioned earlier, are part of this family and have been amazingly supportive since the day I arrived in Sweden (thank you, thank you, and thank you again!). They have housed me, fed me, taken me shopping, given me hugs, and answered millions of questions. They also took me along to Midsummer celebrations and, most recently, a family reunion!
Last time I was in Sweden, I was only eight years old. Needless to say, I remember very silly things from my first stay in Sweden (paper-wrapped sugar cubes were exciting, as was the snow and the lingonberry jam). But I also vaguely remember the people – my mom’s wonderful host family whom I was reacquainted with this past weekend.
On Friday night, we drove out to Ekestad, a small town about 20 minutes outside of the Kristianstad area. Our hosts, Tomas and Elisabeth, live in a beautiful Swedish house (very traditional) on a small lake. Unlike our Midsummer celebrations, the weather was mostly sunny and beautiful. About 30 people were there, and we took a ride in a replica Viking boat and ate in a replica Viking lodge that our host built 15 years ago (Elisabeth is a historian, can you tell?).
I was a little bit skeptical about eating dinner in a lodge with 30 people, but we built a fire, sat on handmade benches at handmade tables, and had a delicious meal! Lina and Magnus kept saying, “I’m so glad you came – this is so Swedish!!” It was a lot of fun and I got to meet a lot of wonderful people.
On Sunday, we left the house and drove to Wanås, an outdoor art exhibition. I couldn’t really picture it until we arrived and then I realized the sheer scale and beauty of this park. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s been around for 20 years and there are sculptures and art pieces throughout the forest, lawns, and buildings surrounding a medieval castle. The landscape was stunning and, for me, easily bested the wonderful nature areas we have in the Bay Area (sorry, California… Sweden’s got you on this one!).
Some of the cool art included a giant metal spider, a mod little bridge over a creek, eight swings hanging from a tree, a crazy see-through glass mirror (hard to explain), and a four story building with a portion of the art piece on each level (including a part of the floor that spun... see pictures!)
That was the weekend. More soon on my first bike ride in Sweden and a trip to the Island of Ven on Friday!
Wednesday, July 04, 2007