It's crazy how fast a 3-week vacation can go, but completely understandable considering how much we packed into it. We left Sweden on December 16. We were supposed to fly from Copenhagen to Amsterdam and thence to Detroit. But we sat in Kastrup airport and watched our flight get delayed once, then twice, then again, to the point that we knew we'd (along with many others) miss our connecting flight in Amsterdam. There was thick fog there, so it wasn't that we couldn't leave Copenhagen; it was that no one could GET to Amsterdam. We were flying with KLM though, and they're great. After another short wait in line, we were speedily rebooked onto an SAS flight to Chicago, leaving 3 hours later, then routed from there to Detroit. The only drawbacks being that we had to get our luggage in Chicago, go through security and then recheck in our bags. We arrived 6 hours later than scheduled, but otherwise, it went smoothly.
I couldn't settle on a movie to watch. I started several and stopped them after a short time, giving up in rapid succession until finally landing on Crazy Rich Asians, which was cute but predictable in the extreme. Martin and my mom met us at the airport and we drove the hour home to Port Huron and crashed into bed upon arrival.
The very first day after we got to Michigan we drove to Flint for the funeral of my Uncle Dino, who was not really my uncle, but my mom's cousin's husband. He was a really great, fun guy and it was a sad way to start the holidays. The silver lining was getting to see several relatives we wouldn't have seen otherwise. I would have preferred some other reason, for sure, though. Funerals in the US are held so quickly that I honestly don't understand how people have time to get there. Dino's wasn't even a week after he passed and that was the case for the last few relatives we lost in the past couple of years. Even if I had been able to come, I wouldn't have been able to get there in time. Funerals in Sweden are often 2-3 weeks after. If I remember correctly, they have to be held within a month, unless there are extenuating circumstances.
The rest of the week passed in a blur of shopping for Christmas presents, visiting my grandmother (still going well, if not strong, at least, still going at 102.5!), getting a massage with my mom's fantastic massage therapist, and catching up with Martin and my mom. She had already put up a Christmas tree but the second night there, the kids and I ditched her and Anders to go to the movies with one of Martin's roommates (The Favourite: excellent over-the-top acting, bountiful insanity) and while we were gone, they put the lights on and decorated it. :D
We went to Martin's school and toured it so Anders, who didn't go with us 2 summers ago, could see the place. We couldn't get into the dorm but we got to go into the photo labs and all around the other buildings. We also met with his financial aid and student advisors and figured out how to keep him in school through the rest of the school year. He's dropping to 9 credits, which reduces his tuition drastically (it also reduces his grant & scholarship, but not by too much). If we calculated correctly, he should come out on the plus side. As Martin says, it seems ridiculous to pay so much money for the basic college classes, so he is going to try to just take the photography and design classes he needs for his major and then can make a decision about what to do for next year.
We met Martin's boyfriend Malachi, who seems very nice and who brought cookies he had baked himself. Anyone who brings me cookies gets a gold star, hahaha! NOM! We also spent some time baking Christmas cookies: a batch of snickerdoodles and sugar cookies, almond paste cookies and a huge batch of my great-aunt Florence's Lacy Crisps. My mom ate all the almond cookies and I ate all the lacy crisps. Yummy!
We also spent an inordinate amount of time being as Swedish as possible during our American Christmas holidays. The first week we went all the way across Detroit to go to IKEA, where we bought meatballs, herring, dill sauce, and smoked salmon for julbord, as well as Kalles kaviar, fläderdryck and polarbröd for Martin, who is a deprived and penniless college-student Swede. We had all that and more, including a delicious vegetarian Janssons Temptation that Anders made, for Christmas Eve. The week after Christmas, while out and about, we also stopped at a Swedish café that Anders had read about, and had fika there. That wasn't even the extent of our being Swedish but I have had to rewrite most of this post three times already thanks to my stupid computer crashing for no reason and with no warning, and I give up for now. More later!