Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What And Where Is Home?

It’s been bugging me not knowing, isn’t that kind of a human right thing, to have a home, a place where you belong?

Well, I’ve thought so and I’ve felt very rootless for a while. The place you grew up is usually where you consider home, right?
What about my kids then, where did they grow up?

My oldest, beautiful girl, was born in Michigan, moved to Louisiana before her second birthday, lived there until she was 12, moved to Arkansas for 5 years, and then to Colorado for almost 3 and now she’s been in Ohio for almost 2 years.
What is home for her?
Louisiana where she spent a good part of her childhood, or Arkansas where she had most of her High School and teenage years, or Colorado where she graduated HS?
I have to ask her where she thinks home is?

What about the other kids, they were born in Louisiana but have no memories from there since they were just 2.5 and 6 months when we moved to Arkansas.

My boy is in 5th grade and this is the 4th school he attends. He has been in school in 3 different states and 2 different countries. What does he consider home? I know where he thinks his home is.

My youngest, she adapts so easily it seems, she gets friends where ever we move, after just a few months in school here in Michigan she has people to hang out with, but she misses her dearest friends she connected to in Sweden the most and I know that’s where she thinks home is.

Funny really, a year in Sweden, new traditions, new culture, new language and that becomes home?
I tell you what I think it is; Family.

The overwhelming feeling to belong, to be a part of something, to never have to try to fit in, you just do, without trying.

We tried to make a living here in Michigan, we really did. My father in law passed away during our time here and we’re so happy we got to spend time with him.
We’ve applied for at least 100 jobs each and none of us have had any luck and we’re having a really hard time making ends meet for much longer.

I did an experiment and sent off 4 applications to different nursing jobs in Sweden, and I got 3 of those jobs in less than a week.
 I start my new job May 6th.

Nothing is promised yet, but we have high hopes, that maybe hubby can get a job to when he gets there too.

I know this comes as a surprise, or maybe not, you are maybe already used to hear from us moving around like crazy, and you’re just shaking your head in disbelief that we are doing it again.

But we need a HOME, and we believe our home is in Östra Ryd, Sweden.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Finally in an apartment

So many things have happened since I last had access to the Internet and could write some blog notes.

I’m in the apartment finally and I think we have got settled in pretty good.
It was some very intense days; I got the day off from work last week I could get all the stuff in. My mom came out to help me get the stuff organized, she’s very good at that. I had a trailer at my cousin’s that he took over here and helped me carry the beds, book shelves and a dresser up the stairs.

The kids got a bed each but I’m still waiting for mine so I’m on a mattress on the floor for now.

We could probably need some small stuff for here and there but it’s quite livable as it is.

Work is hard to say the least. It’s been so difficult to not freak out and panic of all the things I don’t know and not be over whelmed by all the things there is to learn.

Friday last week I had a little mental break down, getting lost in my own country and not feeling like it’s not my home at all is hard. I have been homesick and missing my hubby, Sisso and all my friends back home.
All that is familiar, where I know what’s on TV, what to buy at the commissary, what kind of light bulbs I need, what authorities to call when I need something, who to call when the kids are sick, and all those small things that I took for granted back home in the US has now in my original “home” turned in to something I have no idea of how it works.
It gives you a sense of being lost and that has been really hard. But it’s getting easier day by day I tell myself. And I think as soon as Dale comes, things will be better.

Erik and Syssa are having a great time in school though. Fritis (before and after school care) is maybe not the most fun they’ve ever had but on the other hand, they serve homemade rice pudding for breakfast that the kids think is the best food in the whole world. They have fun talent shows, art and crafts, and lots and lots of PE every day after school. The problem is just that it’s tiring for them to be so long hours. I drop them off at 6:30am and don’t pick them up until 5:30pm, so of course they’re tired.

The Thursday activities at school are fun, they spend the days in the woods, grilling hot dogs for lunch, having hot chocolate and sandwiches. Finding mushrooms, lingonberries and all kind of animal tracks is fun for them. The best way ever to learn science, social studies and everything worth knowing about their surroundings!

I’ve tried to stay active when I’m off work, it’s hard because I don’t want to do anything but sit and just close my eyes after work, but I’ve gone for long walks for about an hour at least 3 days a week and then there’s a aerobics class that I attend on Sunday evenings at the school’s gym.
That plus the change in the way we eat have resulted in about 10 lb in weight loss since I came to Sweden! Not bad!!!!

Have I mentioned how absolutely awesome the nature is in the fall here? It rains a lot, and I mean a lot, but the air and the freshness in it are so amazing I can’t have enough of it. We’ve been going in the woods as much as we can find mushrooms and just watching the wild life around us. There’re hedgehogs, squirrels, cranes, ravens, woodpeckers, badgers and lots of deer all around. And the leaves are turning colors and it’s just so beautiful!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Just Waiting...

The apartment I've been promised to move in to is still not available... Drove by there yesterday and it looks like the girl who lives in there now hasn't even started emptying it... I called the landlord and he said she's on her way and it will be ready for us here soon... I'll let you know he told me and hung up!!!
Well, while I'm waiting I've bought lots of stuff to fill the little apartment with. Beds for the kids, chairs, stuff for the kitchen, lamps and tons and tons of small knickknacks one needs.

Lamps are a funny thing. In the US lamps come with the purchase of a home or is included in the rent. I thought it was weird at first when I got there, but it actually is quite smart, at least it's not pitch black when you move in, right?

Here in Sweden, all kitchen appliances, washers and driers and are included but you have to get the lamps yourself!

Since two of my cousins work at two different second hand stores it has given me a chance to go in there and pick out what I need for a bargain unheard of!!!

So even though we went to IKEA to pick out lots of other things, I didn't have to spend that much money there. All I need now is a couch and some rugs and I'll go back to IKEA for that when I get the keys to the apartment. I have no where to store a couch while I'm waiting.

Went by work on Friday, it was fun! Most people are still there from when I used to work there 12 years ago.
I realized how very nervous I am about going back to work. I don't remember half of what I used to know and people who remember me from when I used to work kept saying; well you're smart and a quick learner, you'll have no problem at all getting back to where you used to be.
Well, that's the problem!! I've lost a good 50% of my brain capacity from back then, I don't have the fire and enthusiasm I used to, and I'm scared they will realize I'm just a dumb fool these days... pretending to know things I don't.

Also, I've never worked outside the home in a different environment than where my kids are. In AR I worked at the same pre-school where the kids went. I worked nights during the weekends at MOLEX while Dale or Alyssa were home, and in CO I again worked at the same school where the kids were at so I never have had to leave them at day care early in the morning and pick them up late in the afternoon as I will have to now starting Monday. That's scary as well, both for me and the kiddos.

What if I forget something to send with them to school one day? will they think I'm a worthless mom? What if I can't make it to their soccer game in time? Or to the parent teacher conference on Tuesday? Thankfully this is just until Dale comes back in November. So for two months I have to try to do what 1000s of single moms do every day...

so If you know any single mom working full time, give her a hug and tell her I'm her biggest fan!!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

quiet days

It's been awhile and I feel like almost nothing has happened worth mentioning.

But then I was thinking and maybe something has happend after all...
For example I'm now a mom to a 20 year old.... can't believe it, but Alyssa actually turned 20 last week and that makes me feel OLD! Luckily I'm also a mom to an 8 year old, so that should even things out a bit ha ha!

Last weekend we went to Smedjans Dag at Hävla. It's an old community built around a black smith mill. They renovated it some and keep it open as a museum and one Saturday per year, people dress up in old clothes, they get the old mill going, they talk about the old time, and keep the house where the workers and their families lived open.

My family has always went there because my moms moms dad was the very last master black smith working there and my grandma grew up in that one room apartment. So when she was still alive she met up with relatives and old childhood friends there every year. And my mom and her siblings have kept the tradition going and provide new information, some pictures or what ever needed for the museum every year.
It was fun going there again after so many years to find that nothing had changed. The old lady that shows my great grandpa's room is still there, looking fragile and so adorable you have to fight the temptation bringing her home. The fika at the little cafe is still the same, just a little more expensive and the same people and attractions are still there as well.

We left to go to a big fair/market/sale in a neighboring community. Lots of vendors selling crafts, linen, food and old stuff were there. I had to restrain myself from not buying everything I saw it was so many beautiful things!!!

No one use ice here. The drinks are served without ice and it drives my kids insane. So I found a vendor at that market place who sold ice cube making bags that you just fill up with water and throw in the freezer. I bought a bunch of them! Dale promised to look for a little ice maker back home and bring it over here.

The kids are in school and they enjoy it big time. Both of them think the woodwork/ sewing class is by far the best thing every week.

On Sunday evening I went to a aerobics class at the school's gym. It was fun, and I got to meet some of the other ladies in the community. I am still a little sore from it.

Saturday I learned that the people we're waiting for to move out of "our" house won't move until December 1st. What a bummer!!

So now we're looking in to move in to a small apartment a couple of hundred feet from here while we're waiting. It's just a one bedroom, a living room, kitchen bathroom and laundry room, but it has a covered porch in the front and a balcony in the back. 4 small apartment is in this small building and it's still very close to school for the kids and we think it might be worth it. To have to live in a suitcase for an other 3 months here at my cousin's house is feels kind of overwhelming. We're waiting for a time from the land lord.

Fall is on it's way. I packed away all the kids shorts and tank tops this morning and made room for long sleef and fleeces instead. I know most Swedes probable don't like when the days get shorter, the cold weather hits and the constant rain from charcoal clouds, but I love it. The air is so fresh, it's so easy to breathe and I just can't get enough of it.

I have to go for a walk...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Starting School

Östra Ryd’s school is a K through 6th grade school with a total of 87 students. It’s an old school with its doors open all the time.

School lunch is made fresh from start across the street where there’s a nursing home. The cooks there (three of them in total) prepare food for the preschool, school and nursing home every day. All kids come in the small cozy cafeteria and get their own plate and serve themselves what they want from the canteens. You can take seconds if you want, there’s a salad bar and a table with crisp bread and other bread with butter to put on. When you’re done you put your plate on the dish washer trays and tell the cook Thanks for the food. You don’t have to wait, you just leave when you’re done and go out for recess. But first you have to put on your shoes of course…. There’s no shoes allowed in the classroom or in the cafeteria. In the wintertime the kids are encouraged to have indoor shoes or slippers on and there are big dryers outside every classroom for winter boots and coats, mittens and stuff.

As parents you can come and go as you please and there’s no ID check or anything…

Erik’s class is a 3rd and 4th grade combined. A total of 14 students about the same amount of 3rd graders as 4th graders.

Here’s his schedule …
Monday-Thursday 8:45-2:40 and Friday 8:45-1:20

Specials are:
Monday: Music and Art.
Tuesday: Music and PE
Wednesday: Art
Thursday: Sewing class/ woodwork class, altering
Friday: PE

There’s a 20 minutes recess in the morning. 40 minutes for lunch and recess and then another 10 minute recess in the afternoon. When it’s science they spend that class out in the woods. PE was a huge hurdle for Erik because he didn’t like the idea of changing for PE and have to take a shower afterwards. But it worked out just fine!!!

Syssa’s schedule is
Mon. and Wed. 8:45- 1:15
Tues. and Thurs. 8:45-2:40
Fri. 8:45-12:10

She has the same specials but every Thursday morning to lunch they spend in the woods.

Her class is also a combined class with 1st and 2nd graders in one classroom. Only 14 kids in that class with 7 in each grade.
I have spent today in their classes helping them out when needed and had lunch with both of them.

Tomorrow I’ll let them be by themselves and the teachers will give me a call if they need me for something. And next week they start Frita (after school care) so they’ll have somewhere to be until I come home from work.
I think it’s going to be great!!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Moving to Östra Ryd

After about two weeks with no electricity, no running water, and no bathroom or anything of what we normally take for granted it felt pretty good to load the car up and go out to Östra Ryd on Saturday morning. And since it had rained about 2.5 inches of rain the last 24 hours it also felt pretty good to get away from the constant moisture that thin walls can’t keep out in the cabin we had stayed in.

We had been invited to a crawfish party on Saturday afternoon and we also had scheduled to get a showing of our future home so after a quick lunch at Peter and Lena’s we walked over to Fridlunda.
And I had to say I was very positively surprised. I had pictured a small house with dark hallways and small rooms with a tiny kitchen and maybe very old and rugged wallpapers from the mid 70’s. But this house is nice, a few color changes on some walls maybe but that’s it.

OK, so it’s a two story house with walk outs on both levels, since it’s built on a slope. So you walk in through the front door and the house looks like a one story from that side. A big hallway and kitchen on the right. Big enough to have a kitchen table, plenty of work space and bright and airy. The living room is not huge but enough to have a sitting area and also a dining area if you want. Big windows make the room bright and the view is lots of wheat fields.

Behind the living room is a bedroom, either the biggest kid room or could also work as a master. I think it will be Syssa’s room. A hallway leads down to two more bedrooms and a bathroom. That’s it for that level. Downstairs is a big hallway that could be a landing used for a reading room, office or whatever you want. A den used as a TV room has a door to the back yard and a huge covered patio. A guest bedroom next to that and in the hallway access to an enormous walk in closet.

Further down the hall a utility room, laundry room, bathroom and at least two more rooms for just storage and stuff.

Outside, a one car garage, two additional parking spots and a lawn with thick green soft grass. The yard isn’t huge but plenty for a garden, a trampoline for the kids, a sitting area outside the covered porch and some space to just run around on.

Now, there’s just one problem, the tenants living there now still don’t know when and where they will move, just that they want to get in to town, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that it will work out fast and smooth for all.

Full of impressions and thoughts we walked back home to Peter and Lena and picked up lawn chairs and our food baskets and walked over to where the party was held. It was very nice to get to meet so many of the families out here at once, and there were a few that I know and remember from back in the days. I think it was close to 60 people there and tons of kids that our kids will go to school with so it was nice for them too to get to see some of the kids before school starts.

Even though it had rained so hard the day before and even sprinkled some earlier the sun came out and the weather really turned out great for the evening. So we sat outside eating the most delicious, huge crawfish fished from the little creek just a few hundred feet away. Ahhh, what a life!!!

How Difficult Can It Be To Get A Phone?

The next couple of days at the summer home we tried to get things accomplished at the same time as we wanted to make sure that we got time to enjoy the last few days together with fishing, walks in the woods, fikas and some good foods.
Finally my numbers got reconnected and we could go and pick up the car!!! The dealer had been nice and let us borrow a small Nissan while we waited for my stuff to go through but to get the one we had looked out felt pretty good!
Since my numbers were working again I thought we’d go by the phone place and get a phone and access to the world again. Said and done, we walked in, picked out a black iPhone 4 with the services I wanted and were about to get a contract when the sales guy says, well, I can’t get you a phone because you have not been living in Sweden for 8 months yet…. YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME????!!!!!!!!
Now I can’t contain myself and I explode… seriously? And the guy says that it’s because so many people come in, get a nice phone and then leave the country to never be seen again… sigh! He says the only way to get around that is to have someone sign up for a contract for me and I pay through them for the first 8 months. Luckily I have a wonderful family and Peter promised to be my “parent” and go in there with me one day next week and sign the contract for me.