Ladies Brunch, March 28

Easter decorations at Susan's home in the country

Easter decorations at Susan's home in the country


I sometimes run into a friend at the Arvika Bad huset workout room.  She wants to speak English for practice and I am happy to oblige.  Some weeks ago I noticed that she was speak English with another woman and thought to myself that I needed to meet her and learn what her story is.  She observed the same and we finally started talking.  Susan is from Brooklyn, New York and has been living in Sweden for 20 some years with her Swedish husband and their three daughters.  After a brief conversation in the work out room, she invited me to a brunch at her house on Saturday.  Throughout the years she has gathered together a loose circle of English speaking women friends , all who live in this area.  I was delighted to be included!  (After the invite I had to ask her her name, cause we hadn’t actually gotten there in the conversation.)

There were twelve women present at the brunch.   Tina from Pennsylvania was a foreign exchange student in Karlstad the year after I was in Sweden.  She married her host brother.  (I wonder how many times that happens?)  A nurse from Pennslylvania, married and divorced, who had been here for so long she decided to stay.  She is moving to Stockholm to be near her new grandchild.  A women from California, also a nurse, same story.  Carla from London, Canada.  Living with a man in Karlstad.  Elisbeth from Holland.  Her story is fascinating.  Her father was in the UN and they lived in Switzerland? (not sure now that I think about it) and she attended an English speaking school.  In her adult life she has lived in England, Jordan, Germany, Mozambique…  No kids but two dogs that travel with them.  Did  you know that dogs have passports?  Two very, very pregnant ladies, one from Cape town South Africa and the other from Australia.  All brought to Sweden by love of a swedish man.  The only exception there was Stacy, who came for a job but now has a sambo.  (Sambo, more then a live in boyfriend, they have legal rights etc)  A woman from England living with her norwegian man in sweden.  He wanted to move to the states but it made more sense for them to move to sweden.  He compensated by buying a hummer that is now broken down in their front yard.  

A whole house filled with English, laughter, good food and company.  It felt good.  (I arrivied at 11am and left a 5pm.  That tells you something!)

As good as a Finland MN potluck!

As good as a Finland MN potluck!

Susan and her friend who is moving to Karlstad

Susan and her friend who is moving to Karlstad




The friendship with Susan and her family is continuing.  Susan has also invited us to join her family on Tuesday night at the Central School’s Spring show.  A Prairie Home-style digression here:  We have been using Anders and Camilla’s extra TV for the year and it has slowly been sliding downhill.  It finally just died one day and I, personally, was all for not replacing it.  Kurt reminded me, rightly so, that we needed to replace Camilla and Anders’ TV.  Lily was in a dreadful state without a TV.  “Mom!!  Chuck on Monday and the 5 o’clock double dose of Scrubs!!  What will we do at night?   I mean, really, its like our life is over.”  (Now you know why I was voting to NOT replace it)  Well, Susan happened to mention at the brunch that they bought a flat screen and have the older larger and heavier one sitting unused in the basement.   We negotiated a price and carted the new one up the stairs and the old one to the dump.  

An admission:  My Swedish in nowhere near where I wanted it to be.  I speak English at school, correct English papers and filled my head with grammar rules so I could actually explain when to use who and when to use which.  During the blues of winter, it was hard to be motivated and now, 2/3 of the way through the experience, I find that I have fallen short.  I guess the decision I have to make now is “Am I okay with that?  Or will I regret it later?”

Upcoming events:  Easter Saturday is the typical day of celebration here.  We will be spending it with the family.  No Easter eggs hunts here so we have elected ourself in charge.  Sunday, we will be meeting and spending the day with the relatives of our friend Evi from Silver Bay, Minnesota.  They have invited us to share their Easter celebration with them.    Such kindness.  Yarrow won’t be joining us because she has been invited to spend a few days with Mia and her kids at a ski resort.   And, the most exciting news of all, my parents are flying into Stockholm on April 14th.  They will be with us until April 26.   My mother’s brother is coming as well and we will spend time with Curt and Elvi in Forsa, where my mother’s family’s  descendants ended up.


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