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Archive for the ‘Learning about Sweden, Norrbotten, & Luleå’ Category

Spontaneous trip to the Ice Hotel!!

It’s spring break for the girls and they’re wallpapering our home. So to get out of their way, we went to see the Ice Hotel – always wanted to do that but never did. They are celebrating their 25th year as the original Ice Hotel. It’s about 10 degrees colder inside than outside so it gave some of the pictures a misty effect.It was amazing and we all had a great time!!!!! Check out our slide show!!

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Easter vacation has begun!!!

This has been an unusual week! They have started putting up wallpaper in our apartment and have now finished the kitchen, living room, and hall. Next week will be the bedrooms and then we’ll have a beautiful place to live!!! So tiring, but so excited!! So we couldn’t eat in our kitchen this week. Thank goodness for McDonald’s McMuffins!!! We ate breakfast at the most northern McDonald’s in Sweden every day!!

The northernmost McDonalds in Sweden!

The northernmost McDonald’s in Sweden!

Recycling, even at McDonalds! Before the 1st slot, they have a place to dump garbage. Then each slot is for a different type of trash and the last one is for the tray. We honestly haven't figured them all out!! Still trying to learn to be good Swedes!! LOL

Recycling, even at McDonald’s! We honestly haven’t figured all the slots out!! Still trying to learn to be good Swedes!! LOL









Easter vacation started with a half day yesterday and goes till April 12 – a nice long time!!! So today, we’re trying a new mountain, Storklinten. This winter-spring weather has the snow very mushy while the mountain is like ice.

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Great News!!! And prayer needed!!!

We are happily1 smiley-156609_640 jumping up and down!!!! Yes!!! We have received our permanent residence visas!!!        Yes!!!! What does that mean? No more applying for visas to live in Sweden!!!  YEAH!!!!! Thanks for  your fervent prayers!!! Thank you, Jesus, for your good answer!!!!!

Although we’ve received our visas, we are still not finding any apartments suitable for us that we can  rent. The housing crisis here in Luleå is worse than we anticipated. The lines are extremely long for the community’s apartments. We aren’t making much headway there. We were told by a private housing company that there is a 5 – 6 year waiting line for their apartments. Because of the housing shortage, people renting privately are getting nearly 100 requests for their apartments and houses. The apartments we possibly could get in to are almost double the amount that we can afford to pay. So this is what we are up against.

The simple fact is that we need to see Jesus move on our behalf to get an apartment. This will take a miracle!! We know that our heavenly Father is fully able to perform this miracle for us. But we need your help in prayer!! We feel discouraged about this and we need our praying friends to stand with us! Pray for God to open the door to the apartment that suits our family’s needs and pray for us to have the tenacity to continue being fervent in our looking, even when it seems so useless. Remember, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much!” (James 5:16)  Luke 18:1-8 reminds to keep persistently praying until we see God’s answer. Please don’t forget us!

We are not without hope, just discouraged about the housing. Thanks for listening to our heart. And thanks in advance for your prayers and for those who are helping us look. And double thanks for our friends here in Sweden who are housing us. THANK YOU!!!!



A Royal Wedding!!

Today was a happy occasion in Sweden. Princess Madeleine married her Prince Charming!!! Below, you can see some pictures of the happy event!!

Hope you enjoy them!!

Family night crazies!!

What do you do for family night in the dead of winter? Well,  here’s one idea from my fun & crazy husband!!!!

Swimming anyone???
Swimming anyone????

I’s only -26.6 F (-32.6 C)!!! I swim in the summer, he swims in the winter!! Think we’re opposites?? He standing  just under our balcony decorated with the garland and lights. It’s getting lighter now; the sun doesn’t go down till about 3:30. But  it still makes it more cozy with the lights. 🙂 We enjoy them outside our living room windows!!

Here’s a couple more shots of our apartment complex.

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Happy New Year! Sweden’s connection to the Mummers!!

Happy 2012!!!! We had a great nght celebrating and ringing in the New Year. We saw fireworks from our balcony and Chinese lanterns floating in the sky – a beautiful sight!!!

Today, we’re really having a lazy day watching movies and The Mummer’s Day Parade in Philadelphia. I  (Gwen) went there many times with my dad, who passed along his love of the string bands! Now, Tony finds it for me on-line!  Did you know this tradition dates  back to early Egypt, pagen Rome and Greece? And the Swedes actually brought it to Philly!! “In the 1600s, Swedish settlers to Philadelphia’s outskirts honored Christmas by beseeching their neighbors for dessert and liquor by dressing up, chanting and shooting firearms.”


Today, we are celebrating Midsommars Eve and tomorrow is Midsommardag here in Sweden. As usual, Swedes celebrate the holiday on the eve before. It’s the longest day and shortest night of the year and Swedes come out to celebrate the summer solstice. Back in Viking times, it had to do with a fertility rite where Mother Nature was fertilized to bring forth a good harvest. Later, the holiday seems to have been combined with St. John’s Day, celebrating John the Baptist’s birthday (6 months before Jesus birth). There are many varied myths of magical powers surrounding the different customs of the day. Today, Swedes celebrate by dancing around the Maypole (mostly children) while singing old, traditional folk songs, sometimes dressing in national costumes. Flowers are an important part of the celebration and some girls  make flower wreaths to wear in their hair.  They eat fresh potatoes and pickled herring with crisp bread and beer, saving fresh strawberries and whipped cream for dessert. Below are some pictures from our Midsommar celebration!

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