Friday, August 16, 2013

Been Off-line; updates below

8-12-13
Instead of a bus ride, I was offered, and I accepted, a car ride from Göteborg till Finspång, about 3.5 hours by car (so imagine the time by bus!). Little did I know my cousin has a fancy Beemer. We had a splendid visit--easy conversation and easy laughter. We took the back road scenic route, simply lovely, along Lake Vättern, Sweden's second largest lake--very long and very deep. 
I have said this sentiment many times, yet I continue to be gratefully astonished by my relatives' consistent generosity and hospitality and by the beauty and similarity of Sweden to my home state, Minnesota. I feel at home with the people/my people and with the land/my land, all of which is so comforting and comfortable. Wonderful homecoming in Finspång with welcoming USA flag over the door and small Swedish and USA flags on the table. Delish Swedish supper with both siblings and their parents. The next step in this lovely Camino.

WE'RE FAMILY

On the way to sleep, 
Picked up bedside book
Titled, Comfort and Joy,
Exactly describing my
Experience in Sweden.

Back Roads in a Beemer.
From Götebory to Finspång
Via winding country roads,
Beautiful Lake Vättern.
As I expressed gratitude
For generous ride,
Cousin patted me on
My knee, saying,
"Think nothing of it,
You're family."
Mashed potato referral.
Easy conversation.
Later mentioned my 
Brother's driving them
From MPLS to Hibbing.
Of course, he did.
We're family.

Expert Body Interventions.
An appointment with
Sister for cranio-sacral 
And reflexology treatment
For my gimpy foot.
Strong, healing, caring touch.
I offered, she demurred, 
Saying that she really
Wanted to give the 
Treatment to me.
Eyes smiling warmly
At each other, I
Thanked her for
360-degree offering. 
We're family.

Green Goddess.
Exceptional eye for design;
Creative with needle and thread.
Multiple generous offerings: family info,
Hearth and home, Bed and board;
Tailored Adventures: Titanic exhibition 
From poignant Swedish perspective;
Newspaper interview and article;
Photo in traditional Swedish dress;
Green felt/fleece light blanket,
Colorful aprons and hand towels;
Calendar, Swedish/American lapel pin;
Traditional fika at vävstugan/
Usual snack at weaving studio.
Born 3 days apart, end of WWII,
Friendship and commonalities.
We're family.

Patriarch in Waning Years.
Maintains sense of humor,
Twinkling eyes, and smile
As wide as an embrace.
Puns imbedded in moment-
To-moment conversation.
Posh Australian accent
Lends realistic caché
Of intellect and charm.
Relegated to nursing care
As we pursue adventures.
Connected through great,
Great grandparent sqqiblings.
We're family.

The Next Generation.
Two granddaughters stop by.
Dye-darkened hair,
Shyly conversing amidst
Technology chaos.
One with pre-school experience,
Working toward Kindergarten teaching;
The other, experience with elders,
Bound for police profession.
Both following in footsteps
Of family vocations.
We're family.

Still in the learning curve.
Still treading the path toward
Holding the tension between
Gracious receiving
AND/AS WELL AS
Acknolwedging natural,
Generous giving.

We give and receive
Comfort and Joy.
We're family.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) August 16, 2013

8-13-13 tisdag Tuesday
At present, we are off internet, so these entires will be delayed. 
As usual in Finspång, my relatives surprise me with daily adventures. Today, August 13th, we went to Norkköping to see an exhibition about the Titanic. Of course the content was extremely sad, increased by the focus on Scandinavian passengers, some in 3rd class, who spent their life savings moving their families to the New Land, some specifically headed for Minnesota. Whole families lost their lives; more 3rd class passengers lost their lives than did 1st and 2nd class passengers. Of course most of the crew died. The exhibit was powerfully presented. We then lunched at  cafe run by Judy, originally a Californian, shopped at The Workers' Museum, and bussed back home to look at family photos--as well as photos of skits and fashion shows organized by my clever cousin.

8-14-13 onsdag Wednesday
Newspaper interview--scattered, didn't say what I meant to say re Sweden being my Camino--or even giving my blog address. We went to flea market shops and found a few things. Then I got an energy treatment--cranio-sacral and reflexology--good treatment for what ails me, namely my left foot. Another practice session in generous giving and gracious receiving. Home for the evening. To bed early. Tomorrow another relaxing day in Finspång. 

8-15-13 torsdag Thursday 
Good night's sleep. The newspaper article is in the Finspång paper this morning. See photos attached. A good balance between my cousin and myself. Some laundry, some writing, some relaxing. Sommar med Ernst TV show tonight. All Sweden stops for 90 minutes, at least for this woman!

PRIVILEGED POWER

So used to convenience at fingertips.
So used to hot water and lights and heat, 
So used to clean body and clothing.
Snap or push or zip or flush or zap.
All are effortless and easily accessible.

Several times on this splendid Camino,
Electricity and/or Internet connection 
Have been unavailable, out of reach,
Offering experiences of years past or
Of contemporary world situations.

Loss of and lack of accustomed daily
Support assists an appreciation of
Others' experiences as well as an
Appreciation of largess and luxury
Taken for granted on a daily basis.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) August 15, 2013

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