Dear friends,

Dear friends,

We have reached an interesting point in our Swedish adventure.  The economic storm that is pummeling the US is also affecting Europe, big-time.  The Volvo factory in Arvika is laying of hundreds of people in the spring.  The Volvo truck manufacturing company in Gothenberg,  that typically builds 2 trucks an hour, has NO orders.  The company that Kurt works for has been dependent upon wealthy Norwegians to buy over-priced log homes and Norwegians have pulled their heads into their shells. The log home company will complete a home soon and has no orders for another. (In comparison, last year Kurt’s employer took all of his workers to the Canary Islands as a Christmas bonus!) Kurt’s boss has held onto Kurt for as long as he can, but in 6 weeks the job ends, unless the business gets enough new orders to continue.  We hope and will continue to hope that this happens, but the chances are very slim.  I have arranged for an 8 hour a week teaching job at a local school and there is hope for another part time job to begin in January, however, unless Kurt is employed, these part time jobs will not bring in enough to live on. Costs in Sweden, food, gas and essentials, are in many cases double to what we paid in the USA.

The tricky part in this equation is that Kurt’s work visa is specific to the log company for which he currently works. He is unable to get another job with another company, without applying to the Swedish government for another work visa.  Given the number of layoffs in the region, at this time, the chances are zero.  We struggled to get that first work permit, the odds of a second are astronomical!!

We have been skating on thin ice for several months and this comes as no surprise.  This endeavor has never been financially savvy, and if the job ends, we have the choice of being poor and unemployed in a foreign country, or poor and unemployed at home.  Home has resources we have no access to here.  (Think road killed deer.) The Gustafson family (Betsey’s host family 24 years ago) has been instrumental in the success of this adventure and we love them all dearly, but we will not become a burden, (Yeah, yeah, I am thinking that too- they will come home and be a burden to their parents instead.)

If we did come home early we would pretend that we are still away from home.  Fred is renting our house and we hope that he continues to do so as we will probably not be able to afford our mortgage.  Betsey’s job at Wolf Ridge is being capably done by Lynnae and will continue to be so until August 14.  We can find a little work here and there and make it all happen…or perhaps there will be work here and we will stay. 

We think that in 3 to 4 weeks we will know what is up.  Kurt’s parents and Yarrow’s friend, Savannah, will be joining us for a couple of weeks during Christmas.  We are really excited about their visit, either way.  If Kurt is out of work and we come home early, we will probably be coming home sometime in January.  If the log company gets more house orders, then we will continue as we had originally planned.  

Our goals for this year were pretty basic.  Have an adventure, learn a new language and understand a new culture.  While we haven’t dug as deep into the language and cultural as hoped, the adventure, while different then what we had planned on, continues.

Betsey

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9 Responses to “Dear friends,”

  1. Judy Says:

    Remember….. Live each moment! When one door closes another opens!

  2. Sue Says:

    There will always be opportunities and we learn from them all, no matter where they are.
    God Speed

  3. Jenny Bushmaker Says:

    Oh Betsey! I’m praying for you guys that it all works out! Please send mine and Jasons love to Kurt, Lily and Yarrow and tell Lily I will email her when I get home! We miss you around here but pray you will continue on with this adventure!

    Love, Jen

  4. Jocelyn Says:

    What you’ve done is so amazing; you’re right to insist it can’t be diminished by shifting winds.

  5. Blind Squirrel Says:

    Who would have guessed your adventure would depend on the supply of wealthy Norskes? You had a decent plan; no one could have foreseen the collapse of the global economy. At least you have the support of family and friends. A lot of folks are going to be much worse off than you, I recon.

  6. meadsinsweden Says:

    Blind Squirrel,
    You are a wise, wise…rodent. There are others much worse off than we. Nothing bad has happened to us, it’s just that this good thing is less good.
    K

  7. meadsinsweden Says:

    Blind Squirrel,
    You are a wise, wise…rodent. There are others much worse off than we. Nothing bad has happened to us, it’s just that this good thing is less good.
    K

  8. Blind Squirrel Says:

    A double post on your own blog? Shame shame!

  9. Blind Squirrel Says:

    In retrospect, teasing about a double compliment seems a bit crass. Wise? the illusion of wisdom comes from the long, white beard. The long, white beard comes from forgetting to shave.
    BS

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