10 September, 2022
Falkenberg, Sweden, a day in July at 9:45 pm
Hi! We have been back in America for few weeks already but I have not had the time to update here. Somehow I have a million things to do around the house and we are planning the landscaping in our backyard (cause our pool was finally finished while we were in Sweden, yay!). Plus Lily is going through some normal toddler things. She was without her dad for four weeks so now she doesn’t always want to let go of either of us especially at bedtime, plus she is teething, possibly going through a growth spurt and on top of this we are supposed to go from two naps down to one per day. It’s also really hot and humid outside so we don’t spend nearly as much time outside during the day like we did in Sweden. We have also been dealing with a sick puppy. Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do to help him as long as he stays hydrated which he has been, but it’s tough for all of us of course (this happened a few months ago as well and we took him to the ER. Long story short, he is ok as long as he drinks water)
Reading through what I just wrote down below I realize that our trip doesn’t sound that joyful, but believe me it was. I am very happy that Lily could spend time with my side of the family, that I got to spend time with my niece and get to know her more and that we could spend time in nature. We probably only did 10% of everything on my Swedish wish list if even that but oh well. Traveling alone with Lily was a great experience but also very very challenging.
Lily and I spent five weeks in Sweden. All I wanted with this trip was to play with Lily and show her my country and what Sweden during summer is and whenever possible go see family and friends or go out to fika or swim in the ocean. It seemed easier in my mind than it was. Lily is a pretty easy going kid but she is also trying to figure out life just like the rest of us and my job is to be there every step of the way regardless of where we are in the world. Even if I got tons of help from my dear family, at the end of the day I was still her mom, her only parent and the one she trusts the most and feel comfort with.
During our first week we stayed pretty busy but also tried to adjust to the time difference. We were a little sick as well but still tried to spend time with my sister and niece whenever we could. In my other post I told you about that we went to feed the ducks and stuff which was fun. Lily didn’t have many naps but our bedtime routine still took less than 20 minutes and she slept through the night most nights. But then I guess she figured out that it is still bright and sunny outside during this time at night (sunset was around 10 pm) plus one neighbor was having a pool party pretty much every single night (I wish I was kidding when I say it was party time from 11am to about 11pm), and another neighbors kids liked to jump (and scream) on their trampoline all night til past 10pm, so Lily didn’t want to sleep of course. It didn’t matter how tired she was or if we had an early or late dinner or if I tried to put her to bed early or late at night, it took about 2.5 hours to put her to sleep almost every night and she would wake up before 5am. I was exhausted! And so was she, so I had to start focusing on putting her down for naps which was a challenge. Sometimes I had to go for a walk for over an hour in the forest so that she would maybe maybe sleep for half an hour.
On our second week there I decided to go through some of my damn boxes again and get rid of whatever I don’t want. I do this every time I go there and somehow I still have tons of stuff, cause every time I moved I just threw things in boxes and left it at my parents house and said “I’ll deal with this later“, and I’ve moved a lot so you can imagine how many boxes I had. Well… I thought I could imagine how many boxes it actually was but then my mom just kept finding more and more. I was so frustrated that I wanted to pull my hair out. And everything was in cardboard boxes and do you know who likes cardboard? Silver fish, which my parents house have a lot of. So I couldn’t go through some boxes and leave the rest for next time like I always do, no, I had to go through them All and put what I’m keeping in new plastic boxes. For more than two weeks, I pretty much took every waken minute I had when I wasn’t putting my daughter to sleep or prepping her food to sort this all out. Instead of showing my daughter Sweden and taking her places to explore, I ended up spending far too much time with my old crap. I threw away and donated an incredible amount of stuff which felt really good and I was really proud of myself, and the things I kept (that will be shipped over to America once we have our forever home) got organized, labeled and easy to find. And at the end I still wanted to cry about how many, now plastic, boxes of crap I still have to store at my dear parents house. Gaaahh! Let’s just say that I hate stuff and I have now started to throw away things in our house as well. And I keep saying that Lily shouldn’t get more things but since we have come back we have bought and been gifted tons of new things plus I brought some of my old toys and also bought her new ones when in Sweden. My brain is about to explode.
Ok, it sounds like we had bad time, but of course we had great unforgettable moments. When I wasn’t dealing with my stupid boxes, my mom (who had a few weeks of vacation from work), Lily and I spent our time in their backyard. You could tell that L loved it. She was watering plants, played with rocks, ate berries directly from the bushes, played soccer (she is seriously good! She is a thousand times better than I am now hahah), she picked apples, played in the little pool, ran around the sprinklers and had plenty of “fika”. She was having the best time!♥
The main reason why we traveled to Sweden was of course to introduce Lily to her family and relatives. And we did see some people on our trip. My grandpa came over for fika outside one afternoon, my aunt with family also came over one day which was very nice, we drove down south to have lunch with my grandpas sister, we spent time with my niece, my sister, John and his two boys and one day when Jim was in Sweden Johns mom and partner came over for dinner. Most of my friends live in or near Stockholm but going there was too big of a project to even consider, so I didn’t see any them. But I did go to my 9th grade class reunion. I didn’t know what to do with Lily, she wasn’t comfortable enough to be left with my parents alone plus it was too much to ask them to put her to sleep, so my sweet mom came with me and went for a three hour walk with L in the stroller. It was so nice to see my old classmates, I’m happy that I could join. Not many came though which I think is pretty shitty to be honest. We were about 30 people in my class and we were only 10 who showed up to the reunion (and the invitation was sent out a year before the pandemic so I expected more to come).
And then our trip got closer to the end…and that end was not a particularly fun one unfortunately. Jim came over to Sweden for the final week. We had waited to do some things and to see some people until he came cause he wanted to be a part of it, but we got sick.
We did get two full days of vacation together when Jim arrived which was lovely. I’m sure he was jetlagged but the weather apps said it was gonna rain for the rest of our time there so we did as much as possible these first two days. On the first day while we waited on J’s lost luggage (it arrived two days later) we walked into the city and saw all the new changes, spent too much time at the bank dealing with some stupid things, had fika at a bakery, went to the park with all the farm animals where they also have a huge new playground. On our second day, even if Lily had barely slept that night, we walked to the beach (Lily’s and my first and only beach time believe it or not) and then back to my parents where we babysat my niece for the day. When both babies had finally fallen asleep we sat outside and enjoyed a wonderful typical Swedish evening with my parents. The third day was when we had dinner with Johns mom etc. Jim looked like crap and didn’t say much all day and at night the fever kicked in. Since L and I had got the sniffles as well when we arrived I didn’t think much of it. But, we had plans to go see my grandma in a few days and to bring a feverish sniffy Jim didn’t seem like a great idea. So we decided that my dad, Lily and I would go visit my grandma by ourselves later in the week cause we felt fine. But when I started to get a sore throat and Lily once again had a runny nose. Both J and I took covid tests just in case and they were unfortunately positive. ((My parents tested positive after we had left but thankfully none of the others that we had seen)). I cried and cried and cried and cried. I really wanted to introduce my daughter to my grandma and we also had to cancel another visit from my grandpa. Soon we were all feeling really sick. A tired Jim took care of a cranky sniffy Lily while I tried to power through and ignore my fever to get the last things done, feed my girl, put her to sleep when J couldn’t and get our bags packed (and that was a real mission cause I didn’t want to check in three bags so I had to puzzle everything in to the two we had). The weather ended up being really nice though which I am so happy about but we were of course limited to activities at my parents house and walks in the forest to avoid other people, we had to cancel everything else. We had a good time, but also…it kinda sucked.
By the time we had to fly home we thankfully felt ok again. Of course we wore facemasks the whole time and sanitized everything around us just in case. But the trip itself was terrible. Not only was it looooong with three flights, everything that could go wrong did. And Lily who thankfully eventually fell asleep during our longest of the three flights, of course had tons of energy when we came home around midnight local time. So after a long day I now had to try to put an excited toddler to bed. Not sure how I succeeded but she slept in our bed for several hours. And that was the end of our journey.
We’ll see when the next trip to Sweden will be. Probably (unfortunately) not any time soon and the reason for that is that it simply takes too much time and effort to travel there. Multiple security checks, 4 airports, 3 planes and car rides which all comes with delays and traffic and whatever else. It is a lot to deal with when you’re by yourself and hundred times more difficult when you have a kid with you. But we will of course go back in the future 😀
I pretty much only took pictures of Lily, so here’s a bunch of them 🙂