As I met my brother David today at Skansen, I struggled to find the correct Swedish greeting for the days following Christmas. He corrected me and said: "God Fortsättning." That's right - "Merry Continuation".
We are continuing to squeeze every bit of enjoyment out of this holiday season. Yesterday, 4/5 of the Åhlén siblings took the "stage" at the 11 AM Christmas Day service in Södertälje Baptist Church for a singing reunion. We sang several of our favorite Christmas songs, but the one that I want to linger on for just a second is "När Juldagsmorgon Glimmar" (When Christmas Morning Glistens). It is a beautiful traditional Swedish Christmas song that is best sung by young children with tender voices. I don't know how many times we have sung this song together, but I know the first time: Christmas morning in San Francisco, 1978. We were 4, 3, and 2 years old at the time and made plenty of old Swedes in the church cry that day.
Today, as previously mentioned, we met up with David's family to go to Skansen. This was their Christmas present to the extended family. We had a grand time listening to "Stjärngossar" (star boys) singing in a small cottage, watching Nordic animals like wolverines, wolves, and bobcats get their daily piece of meat, and feeling the warmth of the fires that were lit along our path. We also made a mandatory stop for a photo shoot at the very large "dalahästar":
These wooden horses are one of the trademarks of Sweden. Made in the province of "Dalarna," they are now sold everywhere in their traditional form (wooden, hand painted horses) as well as printed on shirts, aprons, and towels, in key chain form, napkin holders, and pretty much "you name it"...
We finished off our pleasant Skansen visit with a "fika" in a cozy cafe. A random man came and sat down at our table, since all other tables were full. It was strange and cool at the same time. I feel bad that we didn't really include him in our conversation - it isn't a very Swedish thing to talk to strangers. However, this is one of the "not-so-cool" Swedish traits that I wish I could shake. You can learn so many interesting things by talking to total strangers. Maybe I should include this in my very large list of New Year's resolutions: Make more conversation with total strangers. Anyway, we all had a fabulous time... especially Priscilla and Miriam:
Now we're back at home and it's time to watch one of the movies that Rebecka received for Christmas. It is an Astrid Lindgren book called "Bröderna Lejonhjärta" adopted for the screen. I haven't seen it in years and have a bad feeling that it will not seem quite as good as it did 15 years ago. We're so spoiled with the LOTR and Harry Potter movies. Maybe it will be refreshing...