Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sometimes it's hard to break away from all that we're doing and sit down on the computer. And once I'm there I usually just want to check my emails and get going again, so it's difficult to motivate myself to post something. But I do want to let everyone know that we are healthy and happy, and I'm thankful for everyone who is thinking of us and keeping tabs on our journey. We are thinking of you, too, though we might not always express that often enough via email, Facebook, or blog form. So thank you family and friends, we are grateful to you all and miss you something fierce.

With all that mushy business out of the way I can get you caught up on what we've been doing since I updated way back yonder in Kjolsdalen. Currently we are staying in Sweden in a place called StrandsgÄrden with (surprise!) more of Sophie's relatives. Everytime we meet one relative, three more pop out of the woodwork. But it's very nice because everyone is amazingly friendly and more than willing to make sure we are well-fed and warm and content. Plus Scandinavians (or at least all the ones we've met) tend to have incredible English, so I don't have to worry about not speaking Swedish or Norwegian. Today we visited a local school (our third) so we could talk to the students about the United States, Minnesota, and the influence of Scandinavia at home. It is impressive to see how well they understand at such a young age and had some really good questions for us too. We've been spending our time here doing other activities such as picking lingonberries in the forest, learning to milk cows, helping out a bit in the restaurant of the b&b that the family owns, and helping the kids with their English (aka teaching them how to say things with a horrible Minnesotan accent). It's all a lot of fun!

Before we were here we spent one night in Trondheim with the American daughter of a friend of a friend or something like that. I wasn't going to ask too many questions when offered a cozy place to stay, and although our time in Trondheim was less than 24 hours we had a lot of fun with her and her Norwegian boyfriend. Scandinavian hospitality rivals that of any I've seen and everyone pulls out all the stops for us, which is far more than we could ever ask for.

Before Trondheim we were in a place in Western Norway called Eiksund staying with not-quite relatives to Sophie, but they treated us like family none-the-less. We took a good number of day-trips seeing the surrounding area, which is made up of a chain of islands. The weather may have been a bit rough, but the scenery was phenomenal regardless. We went up a mountain in Runde which in certain months is home to colonies of birds (including puffins!) but we arrived too late in the year and were greeted instead with the strongest wind I've ever experienced. I could lean into the wind, have it support my weight, and THEN have it push me backwards. It was ridiculous and fun and if it hadn't been for the drops of water hitting my face like tiny hammers I could have played out there all day! I was also given a pair of home-made knit socks by our host, which has proven to be my new favorite posession now that the temperature has dropped and we're experiencing occasional patches of snow.

That is the abridged version of the past few weeks, which I feel doesn't do our trip justice. But there's just no way I can try and explain all the great experiences we've had and all the warm generosity we've been shown in the short time my brain can focus to write a blog (and the equally short time I can attempt to hold your attention). But we will definitely have stories to tell and pictures to show when we come home in December, so I appreciate your patience with our less than consistent updates!


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