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Monday, November 23, 2015

Amazing musical

Last week was busy with two storage rounds, one workshop and two meetings, but I only worked from Monday until half of Thursday. At noon I went to Stockholm by train, arriving at my mother's cousin's new apartment in the evening. It was in the same block as the other place so it was convenient. Friday my mother also arrived and she and I went out exploring the shops in town both that day and Saturday. There were several nice home decor shops but we only made a few purchases. We also visited my great grandparent's grave and the house where they had lived. Sunday we walked to a local train station to meet my mother's friends who were coming in by train from outside of town. We have known them for ages, they used to live nearby but moved some years ago. We had lunch at a restaurant on top of the train station. I had a very nice meal with fish and mashed potatoes. After this we took the bus to a place called Djurgården. The four of us went to see the musical Kristina from Duvemåla. It's the musical version of Vilhelm Moberg's fictional work about the emigrants from Småland, Karl-Oskar and Kristina, who settled in Minnesota in the 1840s. It covered many aspects of emigration, still valid to this day with surprisingly current themes: reasons for leaving, the journey, the adjustment to a new environment, the prospects and new challenges, and the longing for home - wherever that may be. I cannot put into words how magnificent this performance was. My mother said afterwards that she almost forgot to breathe on some occasions. It was so meaningful, not only to me, as I had thought, but my mother was just amazed. It was actually her suggestion that we should go and see it. A great evening.

Today my mother and I travelled to our respective homes again. It is colder at home than when I left. It has also snowed, which I heard surprised a lot of people who hadn't changed their car tires to spiked ones. There have been quite a few accidents over the weekend here.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

New project

I have now decided what my new project will be. Back in the mid 1990s I made an inventory of the gravestones at the local cemetery in the parish where I was born. The intention was to send it in to the project co-ordinator at the Genealogical Society, but that never happened. I lent the material to the Historical Society and it took more than a decade before I got it back. By then things had changed and the project wasn't active anymore. A few years ago they got it started again with a better system. You can now make the registration yourself directly on the computer screen. This wasn't possible before. So this weekend I have spent time researching the names on the gravestones. I have also tried to update the material with the burials occurring the last 20 years. My uncle's wife took photos of many of the gravestones and they will be included, but I will probably have to go to the cemetery to get the rest photographed also. It has all the chances of getting to be a long-term project.

Apart from this there really isn't that much to report from here. The week at work wasn't as bad as many other weeks. I was asked to go to a faculty library for consultation regarding old books and that was rather interesting. One of my colleagues asked for help with a genealogy question and that was even more interesting.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


It was a busy week, with three meetings and two storage rounds, among other things. I was interviewed by two colleagues about the quality of our services, from the staff perspective. I had a few things to say, so I hope it was noted. After three work weeks it was necessary to get treatment by the chiropractor again. That's how much my back can stand, apparently.

One very fun thing happened this week at work. There were some specific books missing and a colleague had sent out a general email to the staff, asking for help locating them. He wrote that there would be a reward if anyone found them. Thursday I saw the books on the return shelf and quickly sent an email to everybody, claiming the reward. The answer back was very funny, he offered a box with a conserved roll of bread (given to him from a conservation company). After that, people who saw me in the corridor laughed and commented on it - all my colleagues had read about it. The box with the unedible roll is now in my office. (The last time a reward was offered and I could claim it, I got a Snickers)!

Friday one of my third cousins came to visit at the library. I met her grandfather several times when I did research for the book about Arndt. She has just moved back to Sweden after four years of university studies in England and now chose to continue her studies in Lund. I have never met her before. I showed her the library and then we had lunch. It was very nice to see her.

This weekend has been slow, I can't even remember the last weekend I spent at home. The weather was pretty bad with high winds and rain. I have attended to the large piles of documents on my desk, the floor and the coffee-table. I managed to file some of them but not all. I have been thinking about what my next project should be but haven't decided yet. There are seven items on the list right now.

One of the more odd features this week was my mother's appearance in the audience at a live tv show. For many years there has been a bingo-show on tv, raising money for the local sports clubs all over the country. It's a popular event and my mother had been offered a seat in the audience this evening. I was then forced to watch it, and did spot her somewhere in the middle.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Lots of shelving

This week went by incredibly fast. We were very short of staff so we had lots to do. One afternoon I brought a colleague to the storage to do some shelving. It was definitely needed. It's hard work to climb up and down ladders to reach the top shelves. We were very tired but we got a fair amount done.

This weekend it's All saint's/Halloween but I haven't noticed it much. No one has asked for candy here. Since the library is closed I had to find something else to do. Saturday I went to the mall outside Helsingborg. It was packed with people. I had lunch there but didn't buy anything. It's not like I need anything after those shopping trips abroad recently.

This week a refugee housing facility opened across the street from where I live. It houses young people from the Middle East. The large amounts of refugees are an enormous strain on our economy. 9000 people per week are applying for asylum here. This is a small country with limited resources and the situation is already now difficult to manage.

Weatherwise it's a pretty typical Swedish fall, though maybe a little mild. Dark, about ten centigrades and foggy. I have thrown out the summer flowers on the balcony. There is now heather instead. It looks rather nice.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Nice chocolate

The second week at work was also incredibly busy. More meetings, lots of shelving and several trips to the storage for various reasons. I picked up eight boxes with a donated collection from a faculty library and placed it at the storage. A nice thing was the pay raise that no one had told me about - I discovered it when I logged on to the administrative system to see how many vacation days there are left (only six).

This week I got a package containing a box of chocolate - it was my mother who had entered my name in a consumer competition again. Very nice chocolate, it's already gone.

This weekend I went to an indoor fleamarket store but didn't buy anything. The lunch at the 1950s style cafe in Helsingborg was very tasty. Today I was at work to print out more copies of the books I have written. I had run out because other people, apart from relatives, have asked to read them too.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Unusual work week

The first day of work turned out to be a real anti-climax. I arrived at work at about eight on Monday morning only to discover that everything was closed. There had been a threat posted online, indicating something bad would happen at the university that Monday and the police decided to close all the university-related workplaces. This had happened during the previous night and I hadn't seen the text message sent to me at 1 AM. I met one other colleague who hadn't seen it either. So I had to return home again. I went grocery shopping and did the laundry instead. Tuesday it was business as usual, though. The four remaining days of the week were very hectic. We had lots of books to retrieve, as there were requests from one extra day. I attended three meetings and was very quickly given two shifts per week driving the storage round. I still haven't been able to read through all my e-mails properly, even though I have had access from home. It's slightly overwhelming. This weekend I didn't do much, and that was also the plan. The only useful thing was vacuuming, which was very much in need. I have also been writing on a short publication about the visits to Germany my ancestors made in the 20th century. It's soon finished.

The weather is rainy and it's about ten centigrades, just like a typical Swedish fall. It's also getting darker, especially in the mornings.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Visit to Berlin

For the third time in four weeks I went on a trip abroad this week. I haven't really had time to travel the past few years, so now I took the chance. I have spent three days in Berlin. It was both for pleasure and for research. My great grandfather (and my grandmother) visited Berlin and other parts of Germany quite often. There are some short descriptions of these visits and also some old postcards. I went to Berlin to see what was left of the sights they saw, and that wasn't a lot. Berlin suffered huge losses during World War II and not all buildings were repaired. The city has also changed since the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989. There is lots of history to learn there, without a doubt. Many museums and historic monuments. I visited the Memorial for the murdered Jews, which is a fairly large area with concrete blocks in symmetrical pattern. Beneath it, under groundlevel, is an information center presenting the history of the Holocaust, examples of family destinies, maps with concentration camp locations and a room with video testimonies and access to databases. I have rarely been in such a silent museum. The visitors didn't say anything at all, they wandered through the place in respectful silence. So did I. In the last room I searched the databases for a Jewish family my great grandfather tried to help during the war by sending food to them while they were in a concentration camp. It did actually keep them alive. I found out more details and discovered that four of the five family members survived and later ended up in Brazil. Very interesting.

I spent one morning at the Aquarium, which is a three storey building next to the zoo. My great grandparents had been there in 1921 (same building) and were amazed at what they saw. I do realize that everything has changed there since then, but I too found the place interesting. I was especially fascinated by a large round tank with jelly fish floating around. There were many different kinds of fish and also snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, insects and sea horses. It was difficult to see the frogs, they were hiding under the leaves. It was a well kept aquarium with very informative displays.

Since it rained basically all three days, I spent much time in shopping malls. There are many of those in Berlin. It's a great place to go shopping. I visited a Christmas shop, second hand stores, discount stores, large department stores and some pretty expensive fashion boutiques. I came home with a total of nine pieces of garment. Over these days I enjoyed German pastry and other baked goods, in addition to the visit to Hard Rock Cafe, of course. The hotel was one of the best ones I have ever stayed at because everything functioned and a very nice breakfast buffet was included. Compared to the hotel in London this was a dream, and at a considerably lower price. The flight time is only 45 minutes, so I can't really understand why I haven't discovered Berlin until now. It's a very nice city. And the German I learned at school in the 1980s still worked, at least in some cases...

Tomorrow it's time for a reality check - I will start working again. I have several hundred e-mails to go through and I'm sure my colleagues will hand over some tasks. In fact I know they will, there are already items in my (physical) mailbox.