Caps and Gowns and Airplanes: Crazy, Wonderful June

June isn’t even over yet, but already it’s been one for the record books. We spent a few short weeks in Pennsylvania visiting family, attending my sister’s high school graduation, packing, and preparing our camper to be stored for the summer. Then we split up and flew to Sweden – from two different airports on two different days. Now that we’ve landed in Skellefteå and the fog of jet lag is starting to lift, we’re ready to look back on these last few crazy weeks!

Class of 2018

It was the event that we planned our year around. Every other opportunity or adjustment to our travel plans was judged by how it effected our plans to be in Horsham, PA on June 11. The timing of our travel to Sweden for the summer was planned based on this date. In so many ways, it was the event of the year. My little sister graduated from high school.

We first moved to Sweden just weeks after Rachel’s 6th birthday, the summer before first grade. We were far away, and despite our best efforts, we missed a lot of her big events. Sometimes we managed to time our visits with a birthday or a school concert, but there were many missed occasions. Even since we’ve been back Stateside, we have most often not been local. Last year we drove like maniacs to be able to see her appearance in her high school musical “The Fiddler on the Roof”. But graduation is different. It’s been on my radar for years with a commitment to be there, almost no matter what. And we made it happen. We didn’t just look at pictures afterward, watch a video, or Skype our congratulations. We were there in the stands, wrestling a very tired and impatient toddler. We heard her name called, watched her shake all the hands, move her tassel to the other side, throw her hat in the air.

It was worth planning our year around it. Congratulations to the Class of 2018!


Summer-izing the Camper

Not to be confused with “summarizing”, next up was to “summer-ize” the camper. We are nervous about leaving it in storage for the summer. Pennsylvania summers are hot and humid, and a bad case of mold while we’re gone could destroy our home. We also worry about pest infestations, and this fear only grew after a mouse moved in to our bathroom just a week before we stored the camper. We eliminated that mouse and did our best to seal things up. We also learned why all the nooks and crannies were filled with dryer sheets when we bought it. Apparently these deter mice, and it might have been a good idea to leave them there. We bought a box of Bounce and hope it will help.

We removed all our food and wiped down every surface, cabinet, etc. We bought vent covers so that we can leave our roof vents open for circulation without risk of it raining in. Everything was washed and the roof seals checked. We parked it up on boards and covered the tires with a tarp. We hope we left our home adequately prepared for its lonely summer.

summer storage
The bigger one next to ours will hopefully give us a little shade. Bye bye little Cougar! We’ll miss you!

Divided We Fly

Once again, we are back in Sweden for the summer. Staffan has opportunities to work while we’re here, which really helps us financially, including affording the trip to be able to visit our family and friends here. As Staffan wrote recently, it’s important to us that our kids grow up maintaining (and in Micah’s case, learning) their native Swedish language and culture. It is a gift for them to grow up with two native languages and cultures, but they are young enough to lose one if we aren’t intentional about raising them with both. There are almost only advantages to returning to Sweden for the summer.

One disadvantage is the cost. Waiting until after graduation to travel meant hitting the peak summer dates and the airfare prices that go with them. Over the years, we’ve learned a lot of different ways to fly inexpensively but this time none of our tricks were working. Finally, we decided to use some miles we’d saved up on United, but we only had enough for three tickets. Paying with cash plus miles or buying enough miles to add two more was very complicated because of Micah traveling as a lap-held infant (under 2 years old). In the end, the cheapest way for us to travel was for Staffan to take Emelie and Peter on United using his miles. Micah and I flew with the budget carrier Norwegian, and their best fare was the day before the others were traveling. Staffan took all the checked luggage, since it was included with their tickets but cost extra on mine. So on Sunday, Staffan took Micah and I to JFK airport, helped me check the stroller and the car seat, and then I was on my own to hold a 21 month old in my lap for the next 16 hours. Just as Micah and I arrived in Skellefteå, my dad was taking Staffan and the bigger kids to Newark to begin their journey. In the end, everything went very smoothly and we got all 5 of us from New York to Skellefteå for under $500 (one-way).

We were nervous and sad about splitting up for the trip. One of the guiding words for our family is “together” so this was hardly our ideal scenario. I was especially nervous about such a long trip alone with Micah, but all-in-all, things went very smoothly. It’s amazing how much compassion there is for a woman traveling alone with a toddler, even in typically compassion-free places like airport security and passport control. It was a trip of firsts, including the first time I’ve ever been seated next to someone traveling with a (LARGE) service dog who happened to not like kids. But that’s another story for another time. Our family is once again all in the same place and we are fighting through jet lag together.

fly with baby
Here we go! See you soon!


travel with kids
Ready for take-off!


It’s been an eventful month and we’re actually looking forward to sitting still for a while. Our dual focus is on lots of intentional relational time and working. We’re thankful that Staffan has the opportunity to work for about half of the time we’re here, and that my location independent jobs allow me to continue to work while we’re here. We hope that in August we’ll be able to return to the US with hearts full of special times with loved ones and bank account replenished and ready for whatever lies ahead.



3 thoughts on “Caps and Gowns and Airplanes: Crazy, Wonderful June

  1. Kära ni! Roligt att ni är tillbaka i grannskapet igen, verkligen välkomna! Kanske ni inte mår så bra än, men snart bättre. Märkligt att den tuffa vintern här försvann så fort o vi är tillbaka i kall sommar igen….Undrar var du Staffan ska tjänstgöra, roligt att veta. Ser inte era namn på Mobacken tyvärr. Någonstans ska vi mötas i alla fall. Önskar att ni får det riktigt, riktigt bra här. Kram, Kerstin B.

    1. Hej Kerstin! Vi mår bättre för varje dag, så det är nog bra snart! Nej, vi är inte med på Mobackens schema. Vi var lite sent att bestämma våra planer och hann inte komma med på schemat! Imorgon har vi tänkt fira gudstjänst på Mobacken (om du hinner se det här innan!) men sen ska Staffan jobba först i Kåge och sen några veckor i St Olovs. Självklart vi ska ses någon gång under sommaren! CL

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