August 1st, 2016



Did you miss me? I missed me! I missed you, too! It's hard to believe that it's been a month away and now we're back. It was full on summer in the States but back home in Sweden, I feel we've landed in the early onset of autumn and I have to say I am SO GLAD. I never do well in heat and humidity and we had enough of it this past month to last me a lifetime. There's a lot of reasons why I love living in Sweden, but cool weather and no humidity trumps just about everything.

I didn't actually take a lot of photos myself during our epic vacation month, but everyone else did, and Martin managed to fill the card on his new camera with over 2000 of the things! :O I will post some selected images once I get a chance, and have recovered from jetlag.

We had a fantastic time. I got to see great old friends, like Kathey and Russell, Julie & Benny, and more. We got quality family time with, well, just about everyone I'm related to. We stuffed my entire first family into my mom's house, after we got to Michigan and then promptly broke apart for a week, while my family went to visit others and my brother's family went to a beach house. The best way to stay together is to take time apart, haha!

The list of things we did and places we went is long and intense...I need a vacation from my vacation! The family party was fantastic, with three days of chaos, laughter and hugs. My grandmother turned 100 in style :)

  • Day in Boston with Sarah, Tom, Danely, Bryce, Kathey & Russell: Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library, Freedom Trail, Old North Church (complete with live recitation of Paul Revere's Midnight Ride), Paul Revere's House
  • Day in Hartford with Sarah and Danely: Mark Twain House and Wadsworth Atheneum Art Museum while Tom, Anders and Bryce went mountain biking. (K&R went to visit her cousin)
  • Real American 4th of July with everyone including K/R: hike in the morning for intrepid explorers and then a day complete with picnic, public park celebration and fireworks
  • Day in New York City with the whole gang: Grand Central Station, Times Square, Central Park, Chinatown, shopping, Statue of Liberty, 9/11 memorial, One World Freedom Tower Observatory, High Line Park, Chelsea Market
  • Tom, Anders and Kathey went mountain biking while the rest of us had fantastic local dairy farm ice cream (red raspberry with dark chocolate and butter crunch, yum!)
  • Building a giant jigsaw puzzle of the United States given to us by K&R with each state's flag, flower and bird
  • Going to see Finding Dory in an all-recliner movie theater
  • Driving to Albany with Sarah, to spend the night with Aunt Joanne
  • Picking up Uncle Sam's car and heading to Michigan, via Canada. Arrived at mom's for dinner. John, Simone, Sammy and Jakob had arrived the day before. Sarah & co. arrived the day after we did!
  • Visiting my grandmother
  • Shopping, shopping and more shopping!
  • Beach house hang out
  • Day on Upper Straits Lake with the entire family at my cousin Beth's with all 4 of her kids: boating, kayaking, paddleboarding and jetskiing, plus bonfire and s'mores
  • Introduction to Rum Chata thanks to my Uncle Mike :)
  • Celebrating Karin's 17th birthday!
  • Trip with our family to Traverse City to visit Aunt Judy and Onekama (Portage Lake) to visit my college roommate Julie and her husband Benny
  • More shopping, a massage (for me) beach house, bonfire, s'mores, party prep
  • Visit to Detroit Zoo, more shopping and hanging out with cousins
  • Celebrating Sammy's 5th birthday!
  • Family starts arriving from out of town
  • Memorial gathering at the Bad Axe cemetery to celebrate my Uncle Sam's life and memory with extended family members. Weiner roast with...surprise! s'mores! back at the house
  • Huge family party with 63 relatives, catered food and tons of appetizers, tent, etc. 4 generations of cousins, aunts, uncles, etc., tons of photos and fun
  • Celebrating my grandmother's 100th birthday with 30+ relatives still in town, more food (SO MUCH FOOD)

  • Visit to E. Lansing to meet with my friend Michelle (who used to live in Sweden) and give Martin and Danely a tour of the Michigan State University campus. Lunch at The Peanut Barrel!
  • Going to see Ghostbusters in an air-conditioned (!) all-recliner movie theater
  • Trip to Somerset mall: finally got my new Coach purse, yay!
  • Day at the beach house, relaxing, final shopping spree, returned to house to find Anders and Sammy had been attacked by wasps during a misfired soccer game in the front of the house (all well!)
  • Waiting until the very last minute to take family photos, of course. Drive back through Canada to New York to spend the night with Joanne
  • Picked up rental car and drove to Boston by way of Springfield and a stop at the Basketball Hall of Fame (for Karin who is currently obsessed)
  • Flight left Boston at 10:30 p.m. on Friday, via Frankfurt, arrived in Copenhagen on Saturday afternoon at 2:30. Collected bags and went downstairs to the train platform only to discover when Anders opened his backpack to pull out the passports that it WASN'T HIS BACKPACK. :O Aaaaagh.
  • 3 more hours at Copenhagen airport trying to track down the owner of the backpack and get ours back, with stops at the Information Desk, Lost & Found and Danish Police. Text messages finally reached the guy who was nearly home. He turned around and headed back to the airport, and another hour later we were again on our way, completely wiped out. Planes, trains and automobiles later: HOME SWEET HOME in Sweden
Now we're home and I, at least, am zombified, thanks to jet lag. Anders and I went back to work today, though I left early, lest I start stalking my co-worker's brains. We're caught up on housework and laundry but not yardwork. Martin has an interview for a tutoring job and today was offered a part-time position at a cafe and apple orchard working weekends (!). Karin is already hanging out with friends all evening and sleeping all day (school is going to be a rude awakening in a few weeks).

The weather is lovely: cool, crisp, sunny and rainy in equal proportion, but best of all NOT HUMID...have I said that enough? I can't say that enough. And I was super pumped tonight after dragging my (fat) ass (I ate ALL THE THINGS, all month) to WW to find I have only gone up 3 kilos. Score!

I miss my mom already and my grandmother, whom I realized as I was saying goodbye that I might not see again. I miss my sister and her family, even Bryce who is finally human and was my favorite child for much of the month. Never thought I'd say that, haha! I miss my brother and his family, even though Simone kept making the rest of us look bad. I miss Michigan, but there's these in the world: Michigan Homesick Candle. I miss my cousins and my aunts and uncles because you know what? There is never enough time to spend with people you love.