Talar du svenska?

My sister Lorayne (aka Nainy) lives in Eden, Junsele, Sweden. Three years ago this month, she married Hans, a Swedish doctor, and moved from Logan, Utah to Sweden. They live on a working heritage farm located six hours north of Stockholm. My red dot on the map might be off a bit, but will give you a general idea of where they live and love.

The happy couple have a made a nice life together along with two of his 11 children, Manny and Gustav, who are still at home on the farm. There is a whole, huge backstory surrounding how this romance came about, but that’s not the point of my post today. I want to share a little about our exchanges – giving and receiving across the Atlantic.

A couple of months ago I was getting a “Hugs and Kisses Package” ready to send to my sister for a little treat. I wrote and asked her what kinds of things she missed from the USA that I could add to the package. Well, three USPS Flat Rate boxes later I am happy to report that she is full to the brim with milk chocolate chips and other baking goodies, chili powder, pickling spice, pure vanilla, bias tape binding, maple and banana extract, Birds Custard, rain ponchos, Grandma’s Vital Wheat Gluten, bunches of little odds and ends and the list goes on . . . I was so thrilled to be able to gather these items that would be fun and useful for her and her new family to enjoy on the farm.

Well fast forward to Tuesday of this week. A GIANT apple-sized box arrived at my door from Sweden. (It must have cost a fortune to send.) It was full of so many exciting and fun things for me to enjoy. I immediately took pictures of everything in the box. The wide variety of items was unbelievable and all packed so well that nothing was broken, ripped or damaged in any way. There was enough bubble wrap to keep my eBay shipping going for a month! She also attached a letter with explanations about the items, which was helpful as all the package information was in Swedish!

I spend the better part of the night typing and translating the backs of the packages using my favorite translator site to get every last drop of information. I wanted to know everything, in part to have a vicarious trip to Sweden through the contents of this beautiful package.

Here are the items that were contained in my “Winter Fun Box” from Sweden. I know you will be interested to see the contents that I received. I have also typed the notes that Nainy wrote to accompany come of the items.

“All farm people in Norrland wear bedsox (baddstrumpar) every night. The rule is ‘Bedsox stay in bed.’ You don’t wear them anywhere else. You put them on at night and go to bed and take them off in the morning and put them by your pillow. Since all farmers wash/shower at night you are always clean when you go to bed, so it works.”

She also sent a lovely pair of Swedish mittens in a traditional pattern that are uber warm and snuggly. I’ll enjoy them, especially when I go to Logan or Canada next.

“The flowers came from my garden this year and Manny pressed them. When you have a vegetable garden you have to plant a row of flowers every fifth row. That way you have beauty and labor together.”

“The napkins are the symbol of Angermanland . . . the little flowers grow all over here and they mean a stepmother sits on two chairs, one for her own babies and one for the ones she came to bless. Perfect for me wasn’t it?”

“Do you remember when we were growing up and you loved Cream of Wheat and I hated it? Well . . . Mannagryn is the Swedish version of Cream of Wheat and I absolutely love it.” The Fruit Muesli will be lovely for me to take and share with my family in Canada at Christmas.

“Porridge is eaten every single morning on the farm in the winter months (along with other things) and they have no end of different kinds here, all of which are great. The other porridge is to show you some of the kinds. One is rye and oats mixed together.” The other is rolled wheat with big flakes that cook up so satisfyingly.

“The tea is to show you the different kinds they have here. We also drink a lot of tea in the winter (well, I don’t drink anything like the men, but I just never had the habit of that). Anyway it is a trick to find good ones, so here is the one they love.” It is a vanilla and pineapple blend. So warming and lovely.

“The little pot of jelly I made from our own red currants and I wanted you to see how fun the jars are in Sweden.”

The tall bottle is “Black currant saft.” It is a drink that the people enjoy everyday. You reconsitute it using “1 part of saft to 6 parts of water.” My sister made a wide variety of these fruit safts from the bounty in her garden this year. This is another special item I am looking forward to taking to Canada to share some Christmas cheer with my family.

“The cocoa powder goes with the mug, ‘World’s Greatest Sister’ and the little plastic bowl.” (Not shown) “It is for Swedish Hot Chocolate paste” and she listed the method for making the paste. Then “put one rounded teaspoon of the paste into a mug of hot milk and stir it up. No muss, no fuss. So wonderful!” I am really looking forward to making this paste up.

Would you like to know more about
life on the farm in northern Sweden?
Then check out my sister’s blog:

~ Roots-In-Sweden ~


3 responses to this post.

  1. lauralee, I absolutley LOVED this blog. Loved seeing the items and the descriptions; so fascinating. ANd, I can’t wait to hear the story of how your Logan sister met the Swedish doctor.


  2. BTW, will you or have you visted your sister?


  3. Hi there,
    Came across this post by sheer chance. BUT, no doubt a surprise to you (and us) we know your sister, and have met her husband a few times. We are Brits – a Scot and an English – with a house near Junsele, in a small forest hamlet, Langvattnet. We used to meet with others in our place for Swedish language lessons led by our neighbour, a dairy farmer, Monica Lundgren. We have been in France and UK for many months and have not seen Lorrayne for a while now. However, we plan to spend Xmas in Langvattnet/Junsele, so may see her again soon.
    It’s a small world at times! Have a good Xmas and New Year wherever you might be!


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