The visitors from Sweden have been here tonight and gone - back to the motel for the night and will be departing in the morning -or by noon - to head to New York City and their return flight out of there at 4 p.m. on Monday back to Sweden.
The group was here this evening for supper - roast beef, coleslaw, watergate salad, carrots and onion that had been cooked with the roast and for the starch item in the meal, a little touch of ethnicity as I fixed "haluski." For those who aren't familiar with this item, it's a Slovak or eastern-European dish called in this country "fried cabbage and noodles."
Although I'm sure the kids I went to school with whose ancestors came from that region in Europe had dined well and often on this dish but I had never heard of it, never tasted it until after I was past thirty five and was working at the truckstop restaurant in Snow Shoe. They frequently ran it as a part of one of their dinner specials and once I tried it, I had to get the recipe and learn how to fix it. As a result, it is a real favorite for all three of my kids and especially for me!
I thought since I had baked some Swedish Limpa Rye bread today to serve my Swedish guests with our dinner tonight, it would be kind of neat - since the ethnic makeup of the village where I live is predominately either Swedish or Slovak (other groups yes, but most everyone here is generally Swedish or Slovak and today, often a mix of both too. That's something that wasn't seen too often though when I was growing up as the two groups usually didn't intermingle very often, even then.
Yes, even in the little-bitty villages, we've finally been trying to acknowledge diversity and still honor the traditions of the ancestors too - remember the homeland, ya know, every now and again.
After supper this evening, the group brought out their laptops and hooked them up, showing me various trees that apply to my family along with some others that would be of interest to people whose trees run parallel or slightly touch my trees through a connection of "in-laws" - things like that.
Anneli showed me today too which ancestors or hers and mine we share and it is a connection that dates back to about 1752. Isn't that incredible though?
Learning about one's roots, to me, is one of the most interesting, really fascinating things one could ever do. I hear so many people say they have no interest whatsoever in learning about who their forefathers were and I want to ask them why not? For me, each time I learn a little bit more about the people whose gene pool I share, it makes me feel that much more in touch with myself - who I am perhaps because of this or that or another relative way, way back in time.
I'm not what you would call a fanatic about collecting lots and lots of items that are or were traditional things from Sweden -or on the other side of my family - from Scotland. But I do like to have a few things that are reminders to me of the people of my past, or the country of this or that one's origin. It's a sentimental thing yes, but also because if I do find something I especially like or that someone has been thoughtful enough to give me a memento pertaining to my ancestry, I really do get a bit teary-eyes often and yes, I appreciate those things greatly.
Tonight, Anneli gave me an item - the size of a dishtowel, beautifully woven with the design of the little "red stuga" many think of with respect to Sweden. It will make for a very pretty wall hanging in the house and add a little color as well as beauty but especially, will add a whole lot of meaning and sentimental value for not just me, but also for my kids - who also appreciate things like this.
I suppose some might say to recognize a picture of a little red cottage type house perceived often to be typical of the type of home some folks in Sweden may still have or may have lived in a century or two -or more back - is living in the past or is even being unpatriotic to America I suppose in some folks minds, but I don't see it that way, not at all.
For me, it's a beautiful reminder of the simplistic origins the majority of my relatives on my Mom's side of the family knew in their particular day. And, it's also a nice way to remember that I also have a "great bunch of Swedes" that I call my family too.
Miss Maya was really having a field day at supper tonight, after dinner too as she really had me a bit (a lot, really) nervous then though when Anneli and her friends brought out their laptops. Maya LOVES computers! Loves to touch the screens and also, really, really loves to drive old Gram bonkers by touching keys here and there and changing things in a heartbeat that it may take me 2-3 hours to get things back the way I had them! LOL Yeah, I'm laughing about that now mainly because -thankfully - she didn't mess up anyone's computer tonight! Not that she wasn't trying to touch everything and anything though!
But as they gathered up their gear to leave, Maya stood in the door way between the dining room and the sun porch, waving and saying "bye bye" to them. I asked her did she want to give them hugs and she went to each one, reached up and gave each a really nice big hug then! Now that really made both Mandy's and my heart sing watching her display of affection. A year ago, even just a couple months ago, she never would have reacted in that way and it is just so great to see her finally beginning to emerge, to enjoy and appreciate others.
One final note before I end this post for tonight to go wash up the supper dishes and then, hit the old sack. If anyone reading my posts about the past three days and our visitors here and if you maybe have some Swedish ancestry and would like to delve into learning how to research your family tree, send me an e-mail and I'll hook you up with either Anneli, Anna Lina, Charlotte or Olaf! And, if the region where you live has a bit of a history that connects back to Sweden too perhaps you and others in your area would like to help this group return to America in a year or two and come visit your neck of the woods, giving seminars on how to research your roots in Sverge -Sweden!
I'd be more than happy - actually, I'd be honored to help anyone set up just such an event. Learn a little about the culture of your ancestors, learn who those people were who helped out to get you here today!
Learn their names, how they lived, where they lived, what their occupations were too. Really does broaden your horizons.
Now, find me a way to take the trip I've longed for virtually all my life to go see Sweden first hand too!
That would really be the absolute greatest for me!