well, my friends, my month long visit to sweden has now come to an end. it’s so hard to believe. it seems as if time has flown by, and yet, it seems like forever ago i was in asheville. the past 4 weeks have been incredible. however, the two words that keep sticking out in my mind are beautiful and magical.
it has been the perfect swedish summer – never have i experienced a summer like this: sunny, hot, blue skies. the whole freaking time. so, the weather has been beautiful, but more than that, the moments and the people and the sights have been beautiful. and all of that combined with the swedish way of life – a way of life that is a bit slower, a bit more intentional, and a bit more communal – has made all of the beauty also magical. i feel a bit like i’ve had moment after moment of traditional, old-timey, the way things should be, swedish life. a very classic svensk sommar (swedish summer) – with strawberries, sunshine, eating outdoors, lake swims, picnics, walks around town, and gatherings with friends and family.
so, as i am flying back to the states today, i wanted to share with you some moments from norrköping – the city in sweden that i call home, since i lived here for three years. norrköping was our base through the 4 weeks we were here, so we had lots of days of just being, exploring, and meeting friends.
and, though i say goodbye to the city and my family/friends who are live here, i will cherish all of the memories and moments that i have shared with my love, with paige, and with all of the beautiful swedish (and dutch!) people in my life.
it has been an amazing summer. an unbelievable journey. and moment after moment that has taken my breath away.
happy tuesday, dear ones. the next post, from the states, will be my 1000th post! stay tuned – it’ll be a great big celebration!
peace & love. xx
**all photos that have me in it (except for the last one) are taken by paige.
when the wedding was over last week, we went back into tourist-mode. and, boy did we do it full-speed ahead! after a couple of days of visiting friends in different places all over norrköping, we took a little road trip to uppsala and stockholm from wednesday to friday – and it was perfect timing to do a bunch of walking and touring of two cities in the middle of a crazy, record-breaking heat wave in sweden! the heat outside wouldn’t be so bad, cause i’m so used to it in north carolina; but here, in sweden, there is no air conditioning inside anywhere. so, there is no escaping the heat – and it is stifling. buuuuut, we didn’t let any of it stop us at all! nope.
we were in uppsala, staying at lina’s brother & fiancee’s place for until friday morning, and it was so unbelievably cozy. i’m pretty sure the highlight for me was the picnic and bbq we had in the city park one night – soaking in the long, late-evening sunshine, spending time with family, roasting marshmallows, and eating s’mores. everything was magical, beautiful, and perfect.
friday, we jumped on the train and rode the 35 minutes to sotckholm – in a super stuffy train – and began a long and super gorgeous day in the capital city made up of islands. of course, we didn’t see everything (paige has got to come back to see some other great parts of stockholm), but we saw a lot – old town (gamla stan) is always one of my favorites. the buildings and alleys just take my breath away. imagining all of the people who have walked the cobblestone street for hundreds and hundreds of year… ahhh. be still my heart. so amazing.
we stayed in stockholm until after dinner, so we caught a late train home – completely satisfied, exhausted, and inspired. what a great little road trip – with my amazing girls, paige and my love.
i just have to say, as i have before, that i am, once again, so very grateful for this life that i live. but, let me also say, that just because everything “seems” so great (though it is right now), it does not mean that i do not have times that are tough – we all do, and i have. but, all of the beauty and goodness and amazingness that surrounds me in my life, only reminds me every day to simply live in the moment – to be thankful for each day and to give thanks for all that is around me.
beauty, love, and even tough times – they all teach me the joy of being alive. and i work very hard to not take any day for granted. so this post, these photos, and these words that i have written – they are all in honor of living life – of grabbing on, letting go, and learning how we can live for today, giving thanks for every single second.
may your day be beautiful and filled with love & peace. xx
now it’s time for some fun photos captured on my iPhone – a little bit silly and crazy, but also a little “behind the scenes” look at wedding preparations and the wedding day.
in case you don’t know what i’m talking about, my wife’s sister got married last saturday and i was one of the photographers for the day. i posted some of my “professional” photos in a previous post, but now i thought i’d give you a little bit more of a personal look at the festivities.
after we returned from the week we spent at a camp out in the archipelago (click here to see those photos!), it was wedding central here as we prepared for he big day. lina, my wife, was the maid of honor, so she had lots to prepare. plus, she was going to sing with her cousin at the wedding as well. i was asked to be “toastmaster”/host, along with lina’s and ulrika’s (the bride) brother. i really had no idea what that entailed, except that he and i were in charge of hosting/emceeing the program that took place during the three-ish hours of dinner/cake & coffee. needless to say, i was freaking out. but, in my soul, i knew it’d be all right. and it was. more on that later. oh, and yes, i was a photographer too!
all that to say, we had a lot going on before the wedding – including making the paper brochures/programs that my love designed, to sit at each place setting. they were filled with information, games, and songs to be used during the reception. we made 70 of them, and there were about 7 pages in each, so it was a lot of cutting, gluing, and putting together. plus, we had some bags of goodies/necessary items to use during the reception as well. 70 of them too. i think it took us (me, lina, & paige) about 24 hours in total to complete everything. phew. but, it was so worth it. i think everything looked amazing!
we did have a break in those 24 hours to go and get drinks with a very special person – and holy fun, batman. it was a hilarious evening of laughter, giggles, photos, and a chance to just relax together. plus, the drinks were a-a-amazing.
friday we completed all of the programs and decorations that we were in charge of and lina finally had a chance to rehearse with the other musicians – her cousins – late into the night. you know, just hours before the wedding. no biggie. hehe. paige and i ate dinner out while they rehearsed, but met up with them as they finished up. i got all teary-eyed when i listened to them as the practiced in the church where i used to work – so many emotions, memories, and feelings. all good, though. it was a good, overwhelmed kind of cry.
the wedding day arrived, and we are all whisked off to separate places. lina went to her sister’s to get ready for the ceremony. paige and i headed out to the venue, a lovely and quaint cafe area by the water about 15 minutes outside of the city. there, we put the finishing touches on the tables, made a little photo booth corner for guests to use during the afternoon/night, and made sure the final things were ready.
when we finished our duties, we had a little bit of time before everyone arrived, so we headed to the cafe for a cozy lunch with an amazing view of the water. then, we headed back to the reception area and got ourselves all ready for the wedding. the fun was about to begin!
after the ceremony, my second job began. by now, jonas (lina’s brother) and i realized we really didn’t know what we were doing, though we had plans for the entire evening. so we did what we both try to do best: wing it. but, really, we just took a few deep breaths, stood up, welcomed everyone and began to share with them information. then, as the reception and meal went on, we just took some more deep breaths, discussed with one another what we’d do next, and every so often, decided that it was time that we provide a bit more entertainment/activity. i have to say, it was so much fun. and jonas, well, he was the best partner ever!
on my other side at the table, sat lina’s “bonus” brother (long story, but he is part of the family). with him and jonas by my sides, the evening was just amazing – and hilarious. then, it was party time – and my duties were done! after the first dance was complete, lina grabbed my hand and pulled me out on the dance floor – not hard to do because i love, love, love to dance. and the party was officially on. everyone was gettin’ jiggly wid’it. and i had a few moments of pure bliss, of realizing one again, how blessed i am. and how amazing it is to be in swede, celebrating a wedding, and to belong – to have my own place here, just as i have my own place in asheville/north carolina. i belong both places – and amazing and heart-breaking fact of my life.
it was a fantastic day, one where i was completely and totally exhausted from at the end of it – and the end of it was about 3 am. still, i would not have changed one tiny little thing. what a joy. what a life. what an amazing adventure of love.