Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Smorgasbord of Summer Happenings

We had about 6 weeks of hot, sunny weather in June and July.  In fact, too hot for us!  Even with temperatures just in the 80's F (yes, my senior brain still thinks in Fahrenheit even though Canada and Sweden are both in Celsius), it felt like it was the 90's.  No air conditioning here.  Too hot!  But now, as I am finally getting around to putting these pictures on my blog, it is August, and summer is definitely gone.  In fact, today we turned on the little heater in our apartment.  As soon as August hit, the air started feeling like fall.  And the rains have started, of course, now that the farmers are trying to harvest, and the last thing they need is rain.  Would have been nice a few weeks or months ago.

So here's a smorgasbord of summer happenings . . . flowers, singing with missionaries, sarvis berries, strawberries, organ music, funny videos of Syster Torrie, missionaries leaving, neighborhood grills and fun times . . . definitely a smorgasbord.  Click to enlarge the pictures and then you can just flip through them without having to read all my quirky captions.

I've been keeping these flowers alive all summer and they have bloomed without ceasing.  I do love flowers but I prefer them, not in pots, but out in the garden where the sprinkler can water them.  But these flowers have brightened our office deck.

Summertime is a great time for a weekly "grill and chill" with neighbors.  Here are our office missionaries and our neighbors from Ethiopia.  It has been fun to get to know them.  Meseret speaks very little English, but her son and daughter easily converse in either English or Swedish.  They also speak Amharic.

The lovely lady in the long dress is from Somalia.  Lots of African immigrants in Sweden.  They're having fun roasting marshmallows over the hot coals.  Elder Torrie introduced them to this Torrie tradition, except that we roast them over a fire.

Then, if you poke a chocolate finger into the hot marshmallow, it almost tastes like a Smor.

I met Meseret (on my left) way back in January 2020 before Covid hit.  She was excited to meet a missionary because she had happy memories of Christian missionaries in Ethiopia.  Her son, and daughter (on far left), have been friends of ours ever since.  Her husband is still in Ethiopia, hoping to immigrate to Sweden.  So hard for them to be apart.  They talk on the phone every day.  Her friend from Somalia was fun to visit with, as well as her daughter.  We were glad we had purchased some chicken weiners (rather than pork weiners), not knowing ahead of time that she would be here.  Muslims do not eat pork so she was glad to see the "kyckling" word on the package, meaning of course "chicken" and pronounced "chickling."
We were so surprised to find sarvis berries growing here.  Some people call them serviceberries and some call them saskatoons.  They were hanging over a fence and the ripe ones were falling on the sidewalk so we felt they were fair game.

Every day when we walked past this house, we picked the sarvis berries.  So delicious!  And our Swedish missionary told us that yes, we could eat them since they hung over the sidewalk.  It looked like no one from the house was bothering to pick them.

Another day, another grill.  Here are our dear friends from Montenegro, Tamara and Marko.

It is so dry here.  Look at this crop of wheat.  So thin.  Everything is dying, even many trees.

LeRon is pointing out the cracked soil.  That's how dry it is here right now.

Even the wheat kernels are shriveling.  But now that it's harvest time, it will probably rain.  That seems to be what happens at harvest time.  Not that we want the rain then!

Lots of strawberry stands everywhere.  Reminds us of the corn stands in the summer back home in Alberta.  People raved about the strawberries but I thought they were no better than any I've had at home.  My parents grew delicious strawberries in our garden when I was growing up.  When I married and moved to Grassy Lake, I tried growing strawberries many times but the birds always got them before I did.  I had more success with raspberries.

Another Saturday evening at the Santa Clara Kyrka, listening to this gorgeous organ.  Because the organ is in the back, when you sit on the benches, you're facing the front and not the organ.  So in the video below, I've recorded a few seconds of the organ while I've panned the front of the church.

More music Sunday night, this time with the office elders and their funny hats. Äldste Rönndahl, Äldste McCallister, Äldste Stinson (here for a visit), and Äldste Spellacy.

And Äldste Spellacy on the ukele, Äldste Austin on the banjo, and Äldste Scott on the guitar.
Äldste Hughes on the homemade bucket bass (that really needs a bigger bucket).  You can see the talents of the Hughes family if you go to Branson, Missouri to take in their shows.  Äldste Torrie and I have been to Branson and it's great.  Lots of fun family entertainment.  Even the comedians have clean jokes.  Very refreshing.  You should check it out sometime.

Fun group picture with Äldste Scott, Äldste Torrie, Äldste Ronndahl, Äldste McCallister, Äldste Stinson, and Äldste Spellacy.
We get so close to the office missionaries and feel really sad when they are transferred out of the house.  We're saying goodbye to Äldste McCallister.

And goodbye to Äldste Spellacy.  It's been fun!

Äldste Scott and Äldste Austin tried their hand at gardening.  They dug up a patch of grass and planted potatoes, carrots, dill, and other things.  Look at that little bowl of potatoes!  They dug them up because they wanted to taste them before they leave for home the end of July.

Here we are with our cousins, Äldste Austin (who is LeRon's 3rd cousin twice removed) and Äldste Scott (who is my 2nd cousin twice removed).  So fun to have cousins on the mission.
Last office meeting with Elders Austin, McCallister, Spellacy, Scott, and Ronndahl.  Elder Ronndahl will be the only one to remain after the next transfer.

President Davis did a flying jump and landed in their lap!  Fun!  Then (see below), they decided that Syster Davis should do the flying leap for the sisters.  Oh my!

I was glad Syster Davis was only on us for a minute!  L-R: Syster Johnson, Syster Pippert, me, Syster Westman, and Syster Wilhite.

So much work to do this day.  I was going crazy!

24 missionaries went home the end of July.  We had to keep track of all of them!  Here they've arrived from the train station and we have a big van to put their luggage in.  Syster Westman, Elder Nosker, Elder Mollinet, Elder Wrangell, Elder Nordgren.

Here's Elder Snow loading his luggage.

Elder Wilhite and Elder Torrie had to go and find lost sister missionaries at the train station.

The lost is found!  Elder Olson, Elder _____, Syster Smithson, Syster Olsen.

Lunch with two of my favorite office elders, Elder Nordgren and Elder Olson.

Syster Hall is a special girl.  She is close friends with Elder Torrie's cousin, Robyn Brown.  She and I had fun dancing while Elder Torrie played some jigs.

Last supper at the mission home.  Wow.  We are losing a lot of amazing missionaries.

Elder Wrangell, at top, has brought a lot of fun into the mission.

Lots of luggage and lots of missionaries at the airport.  Goodbye Elder Paxton and everyone.

Elder Austin's family came to Sweden to pick him up and tour for a few days.  So fun to meet them.

Thank you for the University of North Carolina ball cap and jacket!!

We will miss you, Elder Austin!  He reminds me so much of our cousin's son, Scott.

And fun to meet Elder Austin's grandfather who served here in Sweden in his youth.  AND . . . he and Elder Torrie are related through Thomas E Ricks.  Fun connection.

Mothers are always so happy to greet their sons after 2 years!!  That's a long time for a mother heart, but thankfully, with technology, they can connect regularly with their sons and daughters.

Another evening at the Santa Clara Kyrka listening to divine music!

And another evening with our adopted grandsons.  Elder Ronndahl, Elder Gilbert (dual Canadian/Swedish citizen), Elder Scott, Elder Hancock, and Elder Bair.  Elder Hancock is a distant relative of mine (about 4th cousins twice removed through our common ancestor, Solomon Hancock).  Elder Bair and Elder Hancock are the new Assistants to the President and we will work regularly with them in the office.

It was 10 p.m.  We had just climbed into bed and there was a knock on the door.  It was Elder Longman who had worked with us in the office.  So excited to see him again.  So we hopped out of bed, got dressed and pulled out the ice cream and chocolate sauce and had a great visit. L-R: Elder Longman, Elder Scott, Elder Hancock, Elder Bair, and Elder Peterson.

Another week, another grill and neighborhood get-together.  Here the missionaries are playing Kub with our friend Benjamin.  It's a fun game where you throw sticks and try to knock down the opposing teams wooden blocks.  You can be ahead and then if you don't do things right, at the end you could lose anyway.

And Elder Torrie and I were happy to meet Jama from Kenya.  So fun to talk with him about common memories of Kenya.

Every Sunday night we sing together, but this one was a sad one because we are saying goodbye to Elder Scott who is returning home after 2 years.  Elder Hancock, Elder Ronndahl, Elder Scott, Elder Bair, and Elder Gilbert (with a Canadian-looking sweater!)

Goodbye Elder Scott!!!

Here's more of my cousins . . . Elder Ponce de Leon is my 4th cousin and something removed, Elder Hancock, 4th cousin twice removed, and my closest cousin on the mission, Elder Muhlestein, 2nd cousin once removed.  My dad's name was Arnold Muhlestein Conrad and his mother's maiden name was Ida Muhlestein.  Can't get much closer than that.

And we pulled out the ice cream and chocolate sauce again!

And sang a couple of songs with Elder Hancock, Elder Muhlestein, Elder Ronndahl, Elder Bair, Elder Gilbert, and Elder Ponce de Leon.

Another grill, another chill.  This time with our neighbors, the Snowy Owl creator, Per and his wife Elsa.

Wonder of wonders, President Davis and Per were born the same year within 3 days of each other!  Cool connection.

Elder Wilhite, Elder Hancock, and Benjamin enjoying the grill.

Good food and good visiting.

And music too!

Just getting going on the music.

Fun!  Elder Ronndahl on the guitar, Elder Spellacy on the harmonica, Elder Torrie on the keyboard, Per with his Asian gong, and Elder Safsten on the homemade bucket bass.  When I have time I will put the music on my YouTube channel.  Elder Safsten has a gorgeous voice and I recorded him singing this night.

1 comment:

  1. How fun to have all of these pictures and memory-making! :-)