|Many happy moments shared in Sweden|
|We were kids when we moved to Sweden!|
|Celebrating Advent and Christmas at Immanuel was always a highlight|
There is no way to recount the highlights of 20 years but here are some memorable moments.
-We moved our first dog, Lucy, overseas and she spent several years enjoying Sweden with us after surviving a 4 month quarantine.
-We got Tanner, our Swedish born lab, 4 months after Lucy died. He was a huge part of the heart and soul of our life there. What a fabulous companion.
-We owned 2 boats while in Sweden...one a complete junker that at least helped us get a prime marina spot and the fabulous Finnmaster...
|Tanner and I both loved swimming in the Baltic even though it was usually freezing cold!|
-We suffered loss during these years, most notable: Doug's 2 sisters, my brother, my mom and dad, our dear friend Ethel Magoye who helped us forge the Uganda project we worked on, and dear Bali, the mentally ill man who graced our congregation. Peace to the memory of them all.
-We endured the dark winters and enjoyed the long summer nights. I can honestly say that while the snowy winters were initially always beautiful and more fun to walk the dog in, I do not miss the short days one bit. I can long for the amazing summer nights in Stockholm but now that I live where sunshine is pretty much guaranteed most of the time, it isn't as hard to live without that long light.
|The entry to our apartment|
|Our cozy kitchen|
|Our living room. I loved this apartment.|
|Our beautiful dining room. So may meals shared around that table with loved ones from around the world.|
|We were always up for dressing up!|
-We loved deeply and were deeply loved in return.
People ask us if we miss it. That's hard to answer. I miss some things. Other things not so much. I miss the people. I miss the church. I miss living near the people and places I love so much. Mostly I'm just so grateful that those years were ours to enjoy. We grew so much. We learned so much. Our horizons were broadened in meaningful and necessary ways.
20 years ago today I departed on a jet plane from Chicago O'Hare airport into a vast unknown. There were tears. There was sadness. But there was great anticipation about the new life we were going to forge ahead with. We'd signed a 3 year contract and suddenly 16.5 years zipped by. But in the meantime, my heart became full with friends who became family, people who made places memorable, experiences that I will never forget, and a church that will always be the gold standard for congregational life for me. I savour the memories with gratitude in my heart.