Sweden | Part 1

Aug. 30
”Oh my soul is so happy.
We just arrive at the most delightful lakeside cottage near Vastervik, Sweden. Cecilia (our host), met us at the gate with an arm full of sheets and blankets. She and her her husband Gregor live in a rambling, red house covered in vines. Just outside our cottage is and old wooden barn (where the outhouse is located), an outdoor shower and two apple trees. The peacefulness is overwhelming - .”

“Sigtuna is the oldest town in Sweden - established in 980 AD by vikings. We admired quaint houses painted in pinks and yellows and greens. We found rune stones on every street corner and old church ruins standing magnificently even after many centuries. Most of the ruins date back to the 11th century. NBD. What a crazy thought - that this town has been in operation for over a thousand years and uses the same streets vikings once walked on.”

“In Vastervik it was bitter cold and pouring down rain. I wanted to go swimming, but Charlie convinced me to go hiking instead. We might as well have been swimming - we were soaked through before too long. I was too happy to notice and Charlie was too busy looking for rune stones. He never did find any. But he did find a few unimpressive piles of stone which I’m sure were ancient monuments. Charlie’s trail map wasn’t very clear. And we didn’t know what “fornlämning” meant at the time.
By the time we reached our car, we were chilled to the bone. We rushed home and showered in the ice cold, outdoor shower before curling up inside with hot chocolate and soup.”

Sep. 1
”After visiting the castle in Kalmar, we drove over to Borgholm and parked near a beach. Together, we jumped into ridiculously cold seawater, thrashed about to prevent hypothermia, and scrambled back onto the dock to dry off. I had a couple of flashbacks to swimming at Onset Island….
Next, we combed the beach for anything of interest. Crabs - none. Shells - none. Moon jellyfish - 1. Seaweed - plenty.
Charlie found a plastic cup halfway buried in the sand and used it to scoop up the jellyfish. We gently stroked the top of it’s soft, jelly body and watched it swim about. I don’t know why, but that moment is one of my favorites from the entire trip. I guess I’m grateful to have a husband who loves the small moments as much as I do.”

The boat on the far right was our home for three nights.

The boat on the far right was our home for three nights.

Sigtuna, Sweden. EST. 980 AD

Sigtuna, Sweden. EST. 980 AD

A quaint alleyway in Sigtuna

A quaint alleyway in Sigtuna

homemade Swedish crepes for brekky? mmmm yes please.

homemade Swedish crepes for brekky? mmmm yes please.

hiking in the pouring rain

hiking in the pouring rain

A giant snail I almost stepped on. They were EVERYWHERE.

A giant snail I almost stepped on. They were EVERYWHERE.

A hen house that was converted into an Airbnb. Tiny and sweet and comfortable.

A hen house that was converted into an Airbnb. Tiny and sweet and comfortable.

Me. In front of Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home in Vimmerby.

Me. In front of Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home in Vimmerby.

we didn’t get very many photos together - but this one is a favorite of mine.

we didn’t get very many photos together - but this one is a favorite of mine.

like a comfy old chair

How simple is the careless freedom of summer. Happy little ducks on the pond. Cutting the grass with a temperamental push mower. Picking fresh cherries for a pie. Lighting sparklers for Independence Day. Camping in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of Oregon. Small moments and exciting events alike accentuate the goodness of this season. 
A couple weeks ago, Charlie and I celebrated our second year of marriage. We both had to work long hours on our anniversary and then rush across town for Bible study. But afterwards, we made a point of eating a good meal and building a campfire in our backyard. Mosi slept in my lap while Charlie roasted some old-fashioned frankfurts and kept the mosquitoes at bay. Of course we looked back on the past two years and laughed at the seasons we've been through and the things we've done. We were living in Nebraska during our first anniversary, which is crazy because surely that was many many years ago!? 
"Remember when we climbed the water tower with Greenville friends?" Charlie asks. Of course I do. Someone had called the cops on us and I ran into an electric fence multiple times trying to get to our car. 
"Do you remember the first breakfast we ever had as man and wife?" It was at a very mediocre Bob Evans in southern Missouri. Even as newlyweds we seemed like an old married couple. To this day, we play scrabble and cribbage. I collect houseplants and Charlie is always puttering around the house. (I've seen him more than once, walking across the backyard with drill and hammer in hand.) We've changed a lot in the past two years, (hopefully for the better), but I pray we will always have a sense of laid-back coziness in our marriage. Kinda like an comfy old chair you can sink into. 
 

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oh deary

(Right now I am reclined on my peacock blue love seat, wrapped up in a fleece blanket with Mosi sleeping beside me. Sunday morning couldn't be cozier!) 

Sometimes I wish I could stay home more often and lead a slow, unhurried life. I wish my mornings were focused around meditation and quilting. But wishing is not going to change anything. As it is, we wake up at 5:30 AM to do the chores and pack lunches. I drop Charlie off at PCEI and drive over to the Credit Union where I work. (Someday I will start my own business and devote all my energy to creative projects.) We work all day, we make the commute home, and for a brief couple of hours we garden and catch up on housework before bed. 

I'm not intending to sound negative or complain. Truly, I am extremely thankful for jobs that are both challenging and enjoyable. The paychecks we get make it possible to travel and host family and friends. And for the first time in our rambling, roving life together, I can feel a sense of permanency and contentment - our roots are growing and deepening. 

And oh how I love our little home! It is so perfect for the two of us... (and perhaps a future Baby Herrick if the stars are so aligned.) Chickies and duckies live very happily in the backyard, eating worms and chasing moths. They know Charlie is the food-provider so they follow him around the yard like the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Mosi has learned not to stalk the birds or she will get sprayed with water, but she still loves to sit under the lilac bush and watch them from a distance. All-in-all our home is a peaceful, happy place; a space to decompress and relax after long work days, which is something a home ought to be. 

(The pictures below are from this spring.) 
Lilac Lemonade
Crab-apple Blooms
Mosi's Loveseat
Picking Flowers
Three Little Ducks

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duckies