Editor's Note: I wrote this post on December 26th while at my grandparents' apartment, but Blogger was having some kind of issue (I think) so I wasn't able to save this draft or publish it when I wrote it, and I haven't been able to get online again until now that I'm back in the States. Oh well, I figured I'd post it anyway. Enjoy :-)
*WARNING* L-O-N-G P-O-S-T AHEAD :-)
Hey there, J-bloggers! Thought I'd stop by to let the 2 of you that read this that I'm alive and well. I'm still in Sweden visiting my grandparents, and won't be back until the 29th, so I probably won't post again until New Year's Eve. Hope everyone had a great end to
Chanukah and such! Things are going alright here but it has been a very stressful trip for all of us. It is especially hard for me to see my grandparents because each time they seem to have gotten much worse than the last time I saw them. I know it is hard for anyone to
see someone they care about deteriorate mentally and/or physically, but for my family it is exacerbated by the fact that my grandparents were once such lively, vibrant people--even just a few short years ago. They used to ski. swim, sail, hike, dance, and travel all the time--well into their 70's!!! Now, my Farfar (Swedish for Father's Father and what I call my grandpa) is paralyzed on one side after a stroke and while it didn't affect him mentally, the stress from trying to keep track of my Farmor (Father's Mother) who is growing more and more difficult to deal with as her Alzheimer's worsens and she becomes less and less functional due to her sciatica. It is just too sad. I am thankful that they are still with us, don't get me wrong, I just wish there were some way to improve their quality of life. I know they are lonely here, and with things getting more and more difficult to handle, I think that they may need to move into
full-time assisted living in the near future. Anyway...On to more pleasant (sort of) things!
The weather here has been unseasonably warm, and so far no snow (which makes me sad but everyone else is happy!) boo! We will be going to see some of my cousins tomorrow and I'm very excited about that, as I haven't seen them in almost 8 years! It will be a BLONDE family gathering, that is for sure. My three cousins, Caroline, Cecelia, and Catarina are all blonde just like me, plus my younger brother and mother are blonde. The rest of the crew is grey-headed so I guess I will lump them in with the blondies ;-) Ha ha. It should be a good time. I hope.
Oh, I'm sure you all are wondering how the trip here was? Well, fuggedaboutit. I ain't tellin' ya, cuz it was SOOO miserable!
So don't even ask. I'm not gonna crack.
Ok I lied. I want you all to hear about my suffering
So, I think we all knew it was a bad sign when we were informed that the first leg of our trip (to Chicago) had been canceled due to weather and delays in Chicago. But we all chose to ignore it thinking that international flights would be ok and we drove up to Chicago figuring that everything would be hunky dory. Oh no no no, sirree, that 'twere not so. Why? Oh, well, let's see. First off we went to the wrong terminal TWICE because they have redone things in the airport since the last time FamilyHila has been there. Then we finally get to the United area and are told that no, for our flight we have to go back to a different terminal to check in because the flight is really through Scandinavian Airlines and NOT United
(which is horse puckey because, as any of you regular travelers know, you check in with the Airline that you booked your flight with, regardless of which airline
is actually responsible for the flight). So we get to the SAS line and of course there are about 50 people and onl 4 people working the check in desks. Yippee. And of course we think we're all top banana because we get to go in the "Premium" line since PappaHila flies so much for work that he has a membership card and whatnot that entitles him to this shorther line, but does that mean jack squat? No, of course not, why would an airline want to do anything, ya know, LOGICAL?!?!? So we waited in a shorter line but an equal amount of time to check in, only to find out that our flight to Denmark (yes, why would we want to fly directly to Sweden when we could complicate the trip ourselves?I. Don't. Know. Ask PappaHila!) is
delayed approximately 5 hours. So we go and eat, and then figure we should look at duty free stuff only to be told that we'll have to put our stuff back because we can't take the liquids through the security checkpoint and that oh by the way the store on the inside is closing in 20 minutes. Well skit(that's Swedish for something I shouldn'tsay in English :-D).
So we go through security, only to discover that the duty free store inside the
waiting area was more like a kiosk and didn't have most of what we wanted. Whatever.
It was then time to "hurry up and wait" as MammaHila likes to say. We at least had some cards so we played rummy for awhile and we all had magazines and books to read, but man does waiting for 5 hours suck when you know you're then going to be trapped on an airplane for 7 hours. Or more like 8, in our case, because as soon as we got on the plane
apparently someone got sick and they had to get an emergency crew to come and get him off the plane, which literally took an HOUR!!!! Grrrr....and don't even get me started on the bratty little toddler who wouldn't stop crying the ENTIRE FLIGHT!!!! I am so glad I brought earplugs...Typical Scandinavian parents who don't discipline (or even parent) their children
just let the little bugger scream his head off without batting an eye. Now before I get a bunch of angry parents out there telling me that I have no room to talk because I don't have kids, let me say this: I don't have kids of my own but I might as well because my cousins all have enough to populate their own village and I take care of them a lot of the time, so I know a thing or two about kids' behavior and how to deal with them. I also would have given the boy the benefit of the doubt and said he was probably just tired and in pain from the pressure on his ears, but
this kid started screaming long before we were even about to taxi down the runway and didn't stop until several hours into the flight, which even then was only a momentary silence. Anyway, enough about the brat. I managed to sleep a good 4+ hours so I can't complain too much. We arrived in Copenhagen safe and sound and all of our luggage made it too, so that was a blessing. The bad news was that we had missed our original train to Linköping (where my
relatives live) by a looong stretch, and had even missed the second train that my aunt had kindly re-booked for us when she heard we were delayed, because that extra hour waiting on the sick guy to get taken care of cost us the time to make it to the train. (I know I know, shame on me, I really do hope the man is doing better). Anyhoo. So we were kind of in a pickle, because if we took the "night train" it would take us all the way to Stockholm first (about 2 hours out of the way) and wouldn't let us off until about 7 am. If we got a rental car, it would be PappaHila driving the 5 and a half hours it takes to get there because I'm not old enough to drive a rental car and MammaHila was too scared. If we took the bus, it would get us there more directly but would still take 6 hours and wouldn't get to where we needed to be until 3:30 in the morning. It was a meckofa hess. In the end we decided on the bus, which went smoothly and got us there intact. But boy were we all tired. *sigh* Let's hope my trip back
doesn't requre an entry this long!