Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas lights along the way

As we traveled along we had opportunity to view some Christmas lights.  First Advent is kind of the kickoff to Christmas, and the lights began to appear the next day.  With the length of the night from 3 pm to 9am, it is wonderful to see the amount of lights showing up.
Bridge in Norrköping.  Mostly the lights are white.  The colored
lights are not common in Sweden.

and occasionally you get LOTS of color!!!

Next Stop: Kristianstad. Home of Wendy's FarMorsFarFar. Advent Concert

Some time ago while researching her family history, Wendy learned that her Great great great grandparents were Swedish, from the province of Skåne, and city called Kristianstad.  She was pretty excited to see that city, and our apartment work took us there from Jönköping the next day.  She wanted to go walking in one of the cemeteries there to see if she could find some Larssons or Nilssons, but I convinced her that it would not be very fruitful, since about half of the cemetary was Larsson, Nilsson or Svensson.  We checked into a hotel at the "Bishops Arms Hotel" and immediately took a walk to explore the city.

Another old hotel with lots of history.  Modern and  clean inside, and good food in the pub. (see below)

Swedish version of a "rack of ribs"  Notice the "rödbet sallad" (red beet salad)  It is quite common and very popular in Sweden.

Swedish fish and chips

Also, while in Kristianstad, it was "First Advent", celebrated on the fourth Sunday before Christmas.  Our hotel was just across the street from the big Svenska Kyrkan (Swedish Church - Lutheran) where we learned there would be choir concert that night.  We called up the Sister missionaries and the Elders that are serving in Kristianstad, and the 6 of us went to the concert in the big church there.
Svenska Kyrkan across the street.  Took
this picture out our Hotel room
First Advent choir concert was attended by almost a full house.  Swedes love to sing, generally, and choirs are highly respected.  This choir was very good and performed for about an hour.

Another trip through Southern Sweden. Hotels, Christmas concerts, and sights worth remembering

On the Road Again

The list of apartment repairs and furnishings needed took us on another long journey through the South and West Coasts of Sweden. We started the first night by heading to Jönköping, where we had a hard time finding a hotel since there was something happening that booked up all the usual hotels.  I finally ended up booking online with a relatively unknown hotel and when we got to Jönköping we learned that this place was about 5 miles from the city out in the country.  We finally found it in the dark, dark night, and that is when I learned that the word "Herrgård" in the Hotel name means "Mansion".  What a find!!  It was an old country estate that has been converted into a hotel and conference center, but still maintains the old 18th century feel inside,(with some modernization).  We spent a lovely evening there and explored the area the next morning before heading South..

Tokeryds Herrgård was a large mansion on a huge acreage with many farm workers and families serving the landowner.  It was converted to a conference center and maintains a wonderful feeling of old mixed with new.

A very comfortable, quiet and not so expensive place to stay just outside of Jönköping, Sweden.  We are going back!!!

Posting for those who know where Orton, Alberta is....

For the sake of those who are folliwng this blog, Orton, Alberta is where I (Warren) grew up, about 25 miles West of Lethbridge.  This post is to bring back old memories for those who lived there years ago.  Just down the road from our family farm was a family know as the Thelin family.  They moved away to Oregon years ago when I was still a young boy.  Now so many years later in Stockholm Sweden, we got a visit from Jay Thelin and his wife, who are serving as missionaries in the Finland mission.  They were in Stockholm to attend a meeting and came to look us up.  We spent a few hours together before they had to catch a ship across the Baltic Sea back to Helsinki.  It was fun to talk about old memories, although Jay is quite a bit older than I am.  A fun occasion to be noted.
Elder Jay Thelin, Sister Dana Thelin visited us in the Jakobsberg Chapel
after they attended a conference in Stockholm.  They are serving
as Young Single Adult missionaries in Finland.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Swedish American Thanksgiving with a few different trimmings.....

Guess who is cooking again?  Notice the
traditional Christmas Star in the window.
Ah yes, Thanksgiving time comes and the old question comes up again.....Do we celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving in October, American Thanksgiving in November, or Swedish Thanksgiving in......no wait....there IS NO SWEDISH THANKSGIVING DAY!!!!
Well Sister Tolley is not about to miss the opportunity to put on a feast for the missionaries and American Thanksgiving Day was coming up and was a good excuse to tie on the apron and get the flour and eggs out. We invited the four local missionaries and the Office couple (Lowrys) to come and partake in the good food, and they were all willing participants.
Elders Lowry, Sargent, Beus, Tolley, Sister Tolley, Elinkowsky and Allen

The "trimmings" were a little different than tradition would call for, since the Swedes do not consume much Turkey.  It was therefore difficult to find a turkey, and when we did find one it was very small and looked like a chicken with big drumsticks. It was also about 100 crowns per kilo (about 6 dollars per pound)  We decided not to have turkey, and switched to "Jul Skinka" (Christmas Ham) which is in abundance and much cheaper (about $1.39 per pound)

Ham, scalloped potatoes, brocolli salad, cornbread, sweet potatoes
peas, pickles and mustard.  Not your typical Thanksgiving fare, but

And of course we had to have pie!! and those wonderful rolls that somebody makes. (Wendy)

Yes, it looks like pumpkin, and it tastes like pumpkin, but
it is really CARROT PIE!!  Wendy loves to experiment and
nobody guessed it was not pumpkin.  Canned pumpkin is
not available in Sweden. Other pies are lemon and apple.

yes, they were as good as they look. butter, honey or jam.

And here is a look at the gang from the other end of the table.  A good time was had by all.

Sister Tolley, Elders Elinkowki and Allen, Sister and Elder Lowry, Elder Sargent, and Elder Beus.

Chinese Food in the Arctic

Why don't you put down the camera and eat?
Rice chips.  Appetizer
One of the great things about being in a different country and a different culture is the food that you can experience.We don't eat out a lot since we pay our own expenses as we travel, so we buy groceries and make lunches a lot when we are away from home.  However, every once in a while we indulge in some of the various food we find.  When we were in Boden recently (just a hundred miles from the Arctic Circle) we came across a Chinese Restaurant that just looked good after all the Swedish meatballs and potatis moss that we have eaten lately.  It was REALLY GOOD!

What a nice change from the sandwiches and

dessert "efterätt" with
ice cream
All the usual sweet and sour, large tiger prawns,
chow mein and beef.  YUM

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A busy month all summed up in pictures

Beautiful Scenery around one of the many
lakes in Norrland
Wow, we have been travelling and running around the country so much lately that we have not taken the time to update our blog.  Will try to catch up again now.  I will try to give a picture book story of our last month or so. We have traveled a lot and had some good experiences while doing an apartment maintenance tour of Norrland, which is the Northernmost part of the country.  The autumn colors came out absolutely beautifully, but being this far North, the autumn came quickly, and the leaves turned, and then within a week or so they were all gone.  Since then it has been very wet, and gets dark very early.  It makes for a very short daylight period.

Autumn colors have arrived in Sweden

City of Sundsvall at noon
 below is same picture at 3:30 pm

We started our trip to check on all of the apartments in Norrland on early Monday morning, October 28.  We drove all day, about 11 hours North to Boden.  If you look on a map, you will see that Boden is waaaayyyy up the coast right at the top of the Baltic Sea where Sweden meets Finland.  We made our way from the missionaries in Boden, to Luleå.  Then to Skellefteå where we met two special young Elders.

When we came to Skellefteå to do some work on the apartment we met  Elder Knutson (left) and Elder Bressan (right).  Knutson is a native Swede and is a remarkably talented concert pianist. Bressan is from Italy and speaks at least 5 languages.   When we arrived at the apartment, Wendy began to cry when she started doing the apartment inventory, and found that they had ABSOLUTELY NO FOOD.  It was the end of the month, and they had no cash, but they were so positive and pleasant that we were overwhelmed with the sweet spirit they expressed in the service of the Lord.  We helped them fix a few things in their apartment, and Elder Knutson played the piano that he has been GIVEN by some neighbors who were throwing away a piano.  Then we took them to a grocery store and bought them some groceries.  We were truly moved by the beautiful attitude they carried.  This is the stuff that makes our mission worthwhile.

While we were in Luleå  I took the opportunity to look around and see if anything was familiar.  I lived in Luleå during the winter of 1975.  After driving around for a while, I found only one thing that I remembered from 38 years ago.  It was down at the harbor on the Baltic Sea where we used to go down and watch the ice breaker ships clear the harbor for the big Russian freighters that would come into the port.  The FREJ was a ship that I remembered seeing so long ago.  What fun memories.


While travelling in Norrland, we experienced the last day of October, which is observed as Halloween in North America.  Interestingly enough, the Swedes do some spooks and ghouls and things for Halloween, but no trick-or-treating.  However on the first weekend in November they celebrate "All Saints Day".  It is marked by visiting the cemeteries and putting lit candles on the graves of loved ones.  After dark it creates a beautiful sight.  Unfortunately, we were travelling and did not get to see the result, but we did see the people setting up candles near this unique cathedral in Örnsköldsvik.

Haircuts anyone?

We visited the apartments of 3 pairs of Sister missionaries in Örnsköldsvik and Sundsvall.  When they learned that Sister Tolley could do hair cuts, they lined up with enthusiasm.  One by one, they got their long locks trimmed.
Sister Dawson

Sister Swenson
Sister Guinn

Sister Kalt
Sister Klingler

More blogging coming soon.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

September 30th was a very special day for us. Our newest granddaughter (barnbarn) was born in Orem Utah to our daughter Lindy and her husband Shane and other granddaughters Gwen and Mae. This was a day that I was anxious to get our work done so I could get to the computer and wait for a Skype to see our newest addition to the family. And what a beautiful precious baby called Jane Ruby Lewis.
Jane Ruby Lewis

Lucky little Jane with her two big sisters, Mae on the left and Gwen on the right. Are they not a cute family?

And I must also add a picture where you can see all of Jane's beautiful dark hair:
Mom and baby are doing great. I am so glad for technology. I have been able to see the girls and even talk to them while we are so far away. We are so grateful for all our blessings - our FAMILY being the best of all we have!

Here is a picture of her baby blanket that I have been knitting for her.
And I just love the birth announcement that Lindy put together.