crossing sweden: coast to coast

rocky coast sweden

hello! well, it’s been a whole week – or more, actually! – and i’ve been totally off the grid. no telephone. no internet. no nothing. only the bright blue swedish sky, the hot yellow sun, the shimmering baltic sea, and the dark green forests hugging the swedish archipelago. it’s been like living in a little sliver of heaven for a week – a little taste of how life is supposed to be lived, within a community of friends and family, laughing together, working together to take care of one another, and enjoying the peace and joy of simply being with each other and with ourselves.

however, before i show you the photos from my little place of bliss, i have a few road trip photos to share. before we ended up at the archipelago last sunday, we drove from norrköping (home) on the east coast to gothenburg, on the west coast. we left norrköping on saturday and headed toward gothenburg to watch our niece and lina’s cousin complete their confirmation – a big rite of passage in sweden. so, saturday was a little road trip day – complete with a roadside fika. how swedes do rest stops. we arrived in gothenburg mid-afternoon, which gave us a chance to explore the city with paige, who’d never been there before. fun times.

road trip car jonköping fika

ego me self fika fika

we strolled the streets of this city that i love, popping in and out of shops, and enjoying the super warm temps that were moving into sweden. we met an old friend for dinner, and then headed out of the city to a camp-retreat center where we were going to spend the night – for free! you gotta love connections, huh?

gothenburg

now this little camp lies only about 30 minutes outside of gothenburg, but when you are there, you feel completely immersed in a simple, slow life. even if you are staying for only a night. of course, just a short walk (and an even shorter drive) from the camp lies part of the west coast’s archipelago –  a rocky coastline and harbor, which reminds me a bit of maine’s coastline in the states. we headed over there to enjoy the scenery and give paige a taste of what was to come in the upcoming week at the swedish archipelago back on the east coast.

for our one night outside of gothenburg, however, it was a mostly cloudy, but warm summer night of endless light. it was just the perfect thing to get me excited about our upcoming week deep in the swedish nature.

harbor sweden west coast rocky coast sweden photo sweden west coast

self timer west coast

self timer west coast girls three girls coast sweden red house west coast west coast archipelago sunset west coast sweden boat gothenburg house west coast sweden harbor west sweden sweden harbor sunset sweden harbor

on sunday, we woke up and drove back into gothenburg for the confirmation ceremony/worship service at the church where i first met lina – so many good memories there. i’ll admit that being there stirred many feelings inside of me, from missing my grandfather, to falling in love with lina, to connecting with my past as a minister and a long-time methodist. all of the feelings were good ones, i might add. nostalgic and happy.

after lunch, we headed back on the road – this time from the west coast back to the east coast  – it only takes about 4-5 hours to cross sweden from coast to coast. nothing like what it takes in north carolina. hehe. however, it took a bit longer for us because, after the usual fika break on the side of the road, we noticed a weird sound outside the left windows in the car. we pulled over, and what do you know. a flat tire. luckily swedes can do anything – the perk of being a country full of practical and always prepared people – so it didn’t take long until we were on our way again. yipee.

road trip sweden flat tire sweden

then, finally, after criss-crossing the country twice in two days, a little mini-camp break, a less than 24 hour visit to gothenburg, and a chance to see the west coast a bit, and a flat tire, we made it to our destination:

skeppsgården! – the camp in the archipelago by the baltic sea that we visit with lina’s family and friends every summer. oh, i can’t wait to share with you the beauty that is this place. there is no week like camp week here in sweden.  if you just can’t wait, though, to see what it looks like, then you can always sneak a peek at some blog posts from the past few years: just click here and here.

trees skeppsgården sweden

love and peace, dear readers. xx

hello

odds cafe

hello, there, friday lovers. just wanted to pop in and greet you as we begin the weekend. who’s ready for it?! i’m sure my dear, sweet love is ready. she’s been incognito all week with her head in her physics and pre-calculus books. ewww. but, in about 2 hours, she’s done with those two finals and only has two more next week. by next tuesday at lunchtime, she’s my free, summer-lovin’ girl. i can’t wait for her to be able to take a break. i have never seen someone work so hard and be so dedicated to whatever she does. i am one proud wife! she is an amazing woman!

as for me, i am at complete peace right now (while lina is struggling away at her math final). i feel bad. i really do. but, we’ll be able to celebrate and enjoy life together later this evening when we meet up with some ladies for cocktail hour at a wine bar. fun fun!

odds cafe

anyway, back to right now. at this moment, i am sitting in a new cafe that has opened up in west asheville. odd’s cafe. i’ve been in contact with the owner for a few months now, after i heard that she was opening a new coffee bar. of course, my ears perked up. west asheville? coffee bar? peeeerfect.

i’ve been following the process, having contact every now and then with audrie, knowing that she was close to opening, and then i got an assignment to cover the story for the paper – which i was gonna pitch to my editor anyway. yes! so, last friday, i did some photos and interviews, and got a story ready for the web. by the way, i loved how the cafe looked. the owners, audrie and mel, were waiting for their health inspection and then they were ready to open. sometime on saturday i received a message from them that they had the inspection and would be open for business on monday! i felt as if i was almost as excited as the owner – well, almost. hehe.

take away coffee

of course, i dropped in on monday for their grand opening, bringing lina with me. we sat and enjoyed a little dirty chai and fell in love with everything instantly. the feel. the art. the chai. the space.

today, i am back. with time to kill while lina’s taking a final. so, i thought i’d drop by and grab another chai – i’m a creature of habit. and it was yummy. when i ordered the chai, i found myself saying that i wanted a small plate too. hummus. naan. and carrots.

hummus lunch

i sat down, pulled my stuff out of my bag, began munching on my food, and sipping my chai. and i just felt at peace. and grateful. and excited. i also decided that featuring this cafe on my fika (coffee) blog is the absolutely perfect way to re-launch that blog and begin my next adventures in the coffee world – i got plans. oh, i got big plans!

i’m thinking that this is the perfect start to the weekend! slow, quiet, and at peace. rowdiness and craziness to come later. hehe.

wishing you a beautiful weekend filled with all of your favorite things! xoxo

goodbye, weekly sensory overload.

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well, folks. i think it’s time to retire the ole sensory overload title. i’m not retiring the category, though. so, you can always click on the tab at the top of the page that says “sensory overload” and be taken to all posts where i share how life makes my senses go crazy.

you see, i feel that i have gotten into some kind of a rut with my blog by having specific things to post on specific days. that’s not what this blog is all about – and to try to fit a circle into a square hole just doesn’t work. this blog is a spontaneous, whatever inspires me in the moment, daily life blog. like a journal. so, i am not setting any specific days for anything – expect for wednesdays, but wednesdays of wisdom will continue throughout my dalai lama series. at the end of that series in june, i will reevaluate that as well.

so, to sum up, i’m going back to posting whenever and wherever i feel like it! and that feels amazing. i know that people say that bloggers should have a blogging editorial calendar with stuff all planned out for about 3 months. that sounds great. i even kinda tried it. but it just does not cut it for this blog. that is for my fika blog – something that is a bit more professional and not a daily life kinda place.

anyway, i have a lot of stuff to share with you this week from the past week, so this will look like all of my previous sensory overload posts. but, after this, it’ll be all about just posting from day to day, whatever inspires me. it’ll be more like sensory overload as it happens – which, if i think about it, is even more awesome. so, posts will be more frequent, more focused, and more exciting!

here we go!

clouds pink tree green tree blue sky purple flowers feet road and spring trees green and blue gunni and spooky fika group zola cozy balcony bella and me ego sunshine legs beer morning coffee car snack balcony reading coffee sermon balcony video sermon parkway lina video us video parkway

as you can see, it was a week filled with some stunning nature, beautiful moments with people and pets, cozy and quiet moments of peace, and an opportunity for lina and i to have some contact with the church i worked at in sweden – they asked me to say a few words on their theme for sunday. so, lina prepared the camera and i drove us up on the blue ridge parkway, and we video-taped me talking (in swedish) to the congregation. they played it yesterday morning in church. it was so much fun to send it to them – though the sending part was an insane, long process! hehe.

over here in our little home, this week is gonna be a bit crazy. my love has a test today, then two days for study, then 4 finals between thursday & next tuesday. so, she’ll be out of commission for a week and a half. i’ve got some writing, job applying, my book club, and some planning to do for our NYC trip in a few weeks!

happy monday, dear readers! xx