Day 8 - Umeå, Sweden
|Saturday, November 9, 2013: We had breakfast at our hotel. It was a simple buffet but it had all the important stuff: the ingredients necessary to build a sandwich like the ones Debbie used to eat when she visited Kristina back in 1987.
|We returned to Sävar to spend more time with David and Elina.
|We went through Kristina's photo album of Debbie's 1987 visit.
|Most of the photos were familiar to Debbie because she had either taken them or gotten copies from Kristina, ...
|... but it was great to see Kristina's handwriting and relive some fun times.
|Elina got out one of Jill's letters, sent not long after our 2003 visit.
|Next, Elina and Jill headed to the ICA to pick up some groceries for lunch. Here is the ägg case.
|Everyone loves Despicable Me, including Swedes! Except that in Sweden, it's called Dumma Mej.
|Meanwhile, David, Tom, and Debbie drove out to one of the forests owned by David's employer, Holmen Skog.
|David harvested some fresh evergreen branches to take back with us.
|We drove to the Sävar church again ...
|... to visit Kristina's grave. Her friends and family stop by regularly to keep fresh candles in the lantern and to leave her gifts, including a beautiful red and clear glass heart at the base of her gravestone and a pretty white stone heart.
|We were laying evergreens on her grave to decorate it for winter and to protect the plants underneath until spring.
|After Debbie finished, David arranged the lamp ...
|... and then took a photo of Tom and Debbie.
|Kristina's grave looked beautiful when we were ready to go.
|Goodbye, beloved Kristina. Rest in peace.
|Adorable Isa was waiting for us when we returned
|She's less than a year old so she is still very much a playful puppy.
|David made us all tasty sandwiches for lunch, ...
|... then we got into David's car and drove back into Umeå. We dropped off the girls so they could go shopping just like their mothers used to do together. Edvin's innebandy team was playing at Exel Arena just a block or so south of our hotel, so that's where we headed.
|We found seats in the back row by the rest of the players' families. David took this photo of us with his fancy camera.
|RIG Umeå was winning 4 - 2 when we arrived just past the halfway point of the match.
|Edvin was sitting out this match to rest his knee.
|This match was in their tougher league against older opponents, and despite a great effort, they ended up losing 9 - 13, but again, it was great fun to watch.
|Not far away, Jill and Elina were having fika downtown, including en kopp kaffe ...
|... and chokladbollar.
|We visited Kristina's old apartment as it started to get dark. The balconies are all glassed in now, but it still looked very much like it did 26 years earlier.
|Back in the center of Umeå, we picked up the girls. The area around Umeå's beautiful green glass statue was under construction but we made a note to get a photo of the statue the next morning in the daylight.
|We had a little time to spend before our next appointment, so we went to our hotel and Edvin walked over from the arena to join us. We had a nice talk in the empty hotel lounge before driving a short distance to ...
|... Sävargården, a restaurant in a beautiful historic building that is a twin to the one that David lives in.
|It was built in Sävar in 1806 and moved to Umeå in the 1920s. The building played a part in the battle of Sävar in 1809 between Russia and Sweden, serving as the headquarters of the Swedish army in the morning, then the headquarters of the Russian army by the evening.
|Here are Elina and Jill after their shopping outing. We waited in the entry way for the rest of our dinner companions: Kristina's parents, Birgit and Gunnar, and Kristina's brother, Hans, and his son, Filip.
|When they arrived, we were escorted past this room where Debbie and her dad had enjoyed a dinner with Kristina, Birgit and Gunnar in 1985. We had also been joined by two of our other cousins, Eva and Karin.
|We were seated in a private room and the chef came out to tell us the history of the building, describe the evening's menu, and find out how we wanted our steaks done.
|It was wonderful to see Gunnar and Birgit again. We had made a book for them that included photos from every visit that Debbie, her parents, and her grandparents had made to Sweden since 1937, and Birgit was in every single group of photos including when she was a little girl. She and Gunnar have hosted many visits from our family, and tonight was no exception, as we were their guests this evening.
|Birgit brought photos of her grandfather (Debbie's great-grandfather), Nils Johan Normark, ...
|... and his second wife, Charlotta. His first wife died of cholera when his youngest child was only two years old, and Charlotta became a mother to his nine children.
|Birgit's English isn't as strong as it used to be and Debbie's Swedish is still pretty limited, but we were able to communicate quite well. It helped that Debbie knows most of the Swedish words involved in genealogy discussions, and that Birgit was nice enough to keep trying even when the English words were long forgotten. We think that this is a photo of Nils Johan's parents, but we don't recall for certain.
|David was kind enough to get some photos as we were finishing up our delicious dinners of steak, bernaise sauce, steak fries, stuffed tomato, salad, and flat bread. After dinner, Birgit and Gunnar gave us a beautiful picture calendar of Scandinavia.
|Here's a look at the beautiful room we were in right after our cherry tart dessert was served, ...
|... and here's a look at most of the people at the table.
|It was great fun for Debbie to catch up with Hans again after not seeing him since 1985 and 1987. He's a father now to Filip, who joined us, and Emma, who was performing in a choir that evening.
|We learned that every time there is a family gathering, the cousins get photographed together, and this time they included Jill, their third cousin.
|We got a family photo ...
|... and so did David and his kids.
Finally, here are Elina and Jill carrying the tradition of their mothers' friendship to the next generation. After this, we said our goodbyes, then six of us piled into David's car to drop Edvin off at his dorm. We drove back with David to Sävar to get our car and returned to the hotel after a very nice day.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy