Sweden 2007, part 3


We stayed for a few days in Finspang with Siw and Eilart, friends of Carina’s mother. On Sunday morning we had coffee with Eilart’s wife and her husband while the twins played for a while with Rebecca, one of the granddaughters of Siw and Eilart. Again I was struck by how welcoming and gracious everyone was, and it was relaxing and refreshing to have a great conversation over coffee and snacks. Sunday evening we went to visit Ulla Brit, Carina’s aunt. At her house was her daughter Gunilla, and Carina’s cousins Michael and Nicholas (whom we had previously met in Boston when they were visiting their aunt Birgitta). The evening was filled with comfortable, familial conversation and more coffee and snacks.

Monday morning we took the twins to two Swedish schools. First was Corrin’s class of 10 year olds. In Sweden, 10 year olds are in 4th grade, and they start learning English. The class was very excited to get a chance to speak to native English speaking kids their own age, but they were all terribly shy. So too were our girls! I tried to encourage them to speak – after all, they had an interested and captive audience that would have enjoyed almost anything the twins would have said – but they only demurely answered questions asked of them by the teacher. Both Carina and I were particularly interested to see that each child had a votive candle burning on their desks. It was dark in the morning, and the candles gave a nice warm light to the classroom. I don’t think many schools in the U.S. would permit 10 year olds to have lit candles on their desks, which frankly is a bit of a pity. After a brief conversation, we then moved on to Rebecca’s school, and her class of 13 year olds. Rebecca was extremely excited to introduce the twins to her classmates, and she gave a nice short speech in English. Her class wasn’t nearly as interested as the younger class, though, and they quickly ignored the twins. I could tell that the twins felt very intimidated and out of place, but Rebecca did a fantastic job of asking them to participate in the lesson on which she and a few friends were working.

Monday afternoon we went to Linnkoping, where we stayed in our first hotel of the trip. The afternoon was spent at Bus fabriken, another giant indoor playground. The kids had a lot of fun, and so did I. After a few hours of releasing energy, we met Michael for a brief tour of the city of Linnkoping. Of particular interest were the church and the public library, both of which were gorgeous.

Tuesday morning we took the X-2000 train back to Malmo for a few more days with Helena and Mickey. We watched movies together, and generally relaxed in an effort to save up some energy for the travel to Ukraine, and for the festivities of my sister’s wedding.

I didn’t see as many sites in Sweden as I would have preferred, but we made some great connections with family and friends, and I’m looking forward to seeing all of them again!

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