Showing posts from May, 2020

Kristi Himmelsfärds Dag, klämdag, and Memorial Day

You may not know that today is Kristi Himmelsfärds Dag and tomorrow is a klämdag. To translate, today is Ascension Day in Sweden, and tomorrow is a "squeeze day." If we were in Sweden, most things would be closed for the four day weekend (and since things are still relatively open despite covid, they would be closed today and tomorrow). Ascension Day marks 40 days after Easter- the 6th Thursday to be precise. A religious holiday marked by extinguishing a candle that has been lit since Easter, it also marks a day for picnics at dawn and the start of the Swedish fishing season. A klämdag - a squeeze day-- is an unusual term but I can appreciate what it is: A  squeeze day  is a single work day that falls between one  holiday  and another work-free day. On squeeze days, many people take time off from work through  compensatory  leave ("complete") or  vacation  . A regular recurring squeeze day in  Sweden  is the day after  Christ's ascension  , which alwa

The view from a quieter Saturday morning

We left Sweden a week ago. It's been quite a time period- both in the time period leading up to leaving and even this week. On a day to day basis, what we've experienced just feels like what we've experienced... but when I briefly sketch out the events to others, I realize the collection of events are more than a bit nutty. To recap- around 22 April , we decided that it was time to leave Sweden. That following week, Chris ended up in the Stockholm ER twice: on a Friday for dizziness (discharged and sent home), and on Saturday night/Sunday morning after he woke up thinking he was having a stroke and passing out and hitting his head. A long 40 hours later, he was cleared of having a stroke or a broken neck, but did have nerve pain, a hematoma (bruise on his brainstem), a concussion, and the underlying symptoms impacting his lungs. We moved our tickets to fly back to the US from 2 May to 9 May, giving him time for another CT scan. The next scan on 7 May came back clear and

Homeward bound (part 2: arriving in Houserville/State College for a rough re-entry)

Homeward bound, part 2: re-entry into the State College area and our rental house in Houserville. Warning: this post is pathetic, but things do improve. Stephen managed to be relentlessly cheerful and Elizabeth stalwart all day, which helped. We decided that we're going to re-do Mother's Day (and most of the family's birthdays too) When we realized that we'd be returning to the State College area early, we knew we needed to find a place to live. Our house is rented to a Spanish family through June. They have been self quarantining since February, watching the debacle in Spain unfold. We asked if they'd be returning early to Spain? Nope. Staying through the school year (mid June). We asked if they'd be willing to move? Nope, staying in our house. After Chris was hospitalized and we contemplated transitioning multiple times, an offer to pay their rent for another house suitable for their needs in State College didn't work either. Nope. Staying put. Though

Homeward bound (part 1: Saturday, May 9- traveling in a pandemic)

[Note: I wrote the start of this on the plane on Saturday, 9 May on our trip from Frankfurt to Newark; I've written the later part today. I think I'll end up writing a few more posts: part 2 on what happened after we arrived in our rental and part 3 with reflections on our overall time in Sweden].  Saturday, May 9th, sometime in the later part of the flight to Newark.  We’ve been chasing the sun for hours, blue tinted through the window. It’s the reverse of watching it set sooner and bounce back up, as it did when I traveled to Finland in the summer of 1991. The clouds are a tapestry of white over the ocean, the map shows we’re nearing Newfoundland. I can now see patches of snow in between the clouds.       It feels odd to leave Sweden just as spring came pouring out in utter abandon. It had mostly stopped snowing most days, and each morning, we woke to bright sunshine (now as early as 3:30 AM on a sleepless night). We certainly didn’t end our time abroad as pl

Leaving Sweden

I'm doing a quick post here; for those on both this blog and the health blog, skip this. But for those just following this blog, here's a quick update. Chris is feeling better after two+ weeks clear of the hospital. He's had his ups and downs, including a couple of days where we contemplated going back to the hospital. However, a lot of rest and not much activity has helped. He had a CT scan yesterday that came back clear, with clearance to fly. Our kids are fully registered in the State College School District- class for them has started at 3 PM, so our evenings have been busy. Will be helpful to be back on the same time zone next week! We're leaving Sweden tomorrow- flight to Stockholm to Frankfurt to Newark. Checked in and ready to go with a lot of luggage and face masks ready. This isn't how or when we'd imagined leaving, but so be it. This year didn't happen like a lot of people expected. I've been contemplating blogs posts I yet want to writ

A quiet Sunday: taking stock

This week has gone by in a blur. One foot in front of the next, taking things one at a time. Numerous times, I've gone into a room and wondered why I was there. One day, I put a full glass of water into the cupboard; I had forgotten to drink it. In between, we've been learning new skills like how to sew our own masks; see above for our very stylish colors.  So where are we? We are not having a fun weekend at Grona Lund with Elizabeth's good friend Nora nor are we on a plane from Stockholm yesterday as planned (two alternative realities gone). However, we are scheduled to fly on Saturday, 9 May: Stockholm to Frankfurt to Newark. This was as direct as we could manage while avoiding Iceland (volcanic activity), Atlanta (really, Georgia?), Chicago (adds an extra leg and extra exposure), State College (while flights are scheduled, they keep getting canceled). Hope our planned itinerary works.   Chris is doing better day by day- not a linear path towards progress, bu