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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Back to work

The end of last week was spent shopping and doing research. On Thursday I went to Ystad by train and noticed that they had changed the schedule, so the trip is now 40 minutes shorter than before. I didn't have to change trains in Malmö, like before, so that was a good thing. Ystad is a nice town, even in the fall. Fewer tourists at this time. On the way back the train stopped at a station near Ikea, so that was the next stop. I got some plastic boxes there and looked at the new collections. There is also a fabric store in that area that sells affordable sewing materials. It's a nice store and I did get some fabric there. We'll see if I get time and opportunity to make something out of it.

Friday I ran errands in town. Saturday I went to the archive to use the databases I don't have access to from home. It answered a few questions for other people. Sunday I went to the library to use the computer and do more research. I am starting to catch up on things now. There are still unanswered requests, but nothing that can't wait.

Yesterday was the first working day for seven weeks. Several of my colleagues sighed with relief when they saw me. They have had a tough time, with staff members sick and lots of incoming requests. I had to attend two meetings right away, none of them gave any real results. The piles of papers on my desk were looked at, but not processed. These two days I have mainly talked to people and straightened out some problems. Other people's problems, that is. It was slightly annoying to realize that I had forgotten the entry code to one of the locked book collections, but I guess it means that I have really been on vacation, both physically and mentally.

It will just be two working days this week, because tomorrow I'm going to Göteborg to attend a conference. I will take the opportunity to see my mother again this weekend, since it's close to Borås.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A week in Borås

There hasn't been any activity here for a while. I have been busy! The day after I came home I had to go to work to use the computer, and my colleagues were quick to tell me that they missed me tremendously. There were a few piles of papers on my desk. I ignored them. On the 10th I went to Hässleholm to meet my mother, and then we had arranged a meeting with two relatives I don't remember ever having met. This is on my mother's mother's side. They seemed interested in family history and I handed over some documents containing info on that side. They also gave me a research task that I don't think I can solve. One of their ancestors (on another side) went to America unknown year, leaving his family behind. His name is common and I don't think I will crack this one. But I will of course try.

After a few days of preparations, we packed my mother's car full of her belongings and then we drove up to her apartment in Borås. We spent a few days unpacking and organizing everything there. My mother is a volunteer at a large thrift store two days a week (minimum), so I joined her during the opening hours for that. We measured fabric and lace, tried to help the women decide how many balls of yarn they would need for a cardigan for instance, and tried to find matching ribbons for whatever the fabric was. No one had done much in that section during the summer, so we were very busy filling up the boxes and shelves with new items also. It was fun to hear what people would do with the fabric they bought, and we told several of them to come back and show us the result. I can understand that my mother likes it there, it's definitely her area of expertise.

During my visit to Borås I also went to several second hand stores (my mother was keen on seeing the newly added items), cheered on a greyhound owned by my mother's friend at a dog race (he came in 4th), went shopping at a store for plus sizes (no, it wasn't necessary, but rather affordable) and spent some time with my sister and her somewhat sick family (two of them were not well at all). This visit I couldn't stay at my sister's house (I didn't want to get sick), so I had to endure my mother's loud snoring a whole week. I survived, as did she (I snore too)...

I arrived back home two days ago. I still have vacation, I start working on Monday. Yesterday I stopped by at work to do some research and to book some train tickets for a conference next week. I talked to my boss and she was not happy about my absence. She implied that everything crashes when I'm not there. I can't see that connection completely, I have to say.

Today I made use of one of the train tickets sent to me as consolation for all the delays this past winter. It's a day of free travel, so I have been in both Helsingborg and Malmö. I have checked out the new collections in the clothing stores, of course. It seems like the fall colors are mainly brown, orange and yellow. My colors, even though I didn't find anything worth buying. My couch is still overloaded with clothes, most of them I got in the US, but there are also two loads of laundry added now. I will have to start sorting pretty soon. It will be interesting to see if I can squeeze it into my closets.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back in Sweden

I have returned safely to my home in Sweden early this morning. The last day in New York it was raining very much, so I skipped the idea of going to a show. Wednesday morning I checked out and went to the airport. The first flight (5 hours) was not even half full, so there was lots of room. I got three seats to myself. The second flight was very full, however, but it was shorter (3 hours). Everything went well. I arrived in Copenhagen at 6 AM local time. It is now afternoon and I'm trying to stay awake until this evening. If I make it to 8 PM it will be 32 hours. We'll see if there is enough chocolate and pepsi to keep my eyes open that long. (The record is close to 40 hours).

I have unpacked and all I'm saying is that I will not need to go clothes shopping for a few years. At least not for summer clothes.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank every one I met during my visit to the US; for driving me places, housing me, showing me around, feeding me and letting me take part of your lives! It was a great experience, I have had a wonderful time!

Saturday I'm going to the summer house to visit my mother and then some time next week I will help her move back to her apartment in Borås.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New York City visit

Saturday Joyce and I went shopping at several thrift stores in Rockford. I found a pair of jeans for 2.25 USD (18 kr), and some small things. We had lunch at a very Swedish style restaurant, Stockholm Inn. They had of course meatballs on the menu, however I did not try them. During the day we drove by several places offering Swedish pancakes, so the heritage is still evident in this town, even though it's a long time ago the Swedes dominated the area. Since it was raining quite a lot, we spent the afternoon at the natural history museum, where we saw the displays with First Peoples, dinosaurs, Illinois wildlife and different types of rocks. After a very nice chocolate cake at a riverfront restaurant, Joyce brought me back to Nancy's place in the evening.

Sunday it was time to leave. I got a lift to the airport in the morning. The flight to New York went well, JetBlue even serves snacks onboard (none of the others does). Arrived at JFK early afternoon. It took a long time to travel to Manhattan by subway. I found the Cosmopolitan Hotel right away. The subway station is literally outside the door from it. Checked in, but only dropped off my luggage, and then took the subway up to the Garment District. Went shopping at the world's largest store, Macy's. Also looked in other stores, of course.

Monday I got up early in the morning and walked down to Battery Park and took the ferry to Ellis Island. The ferry makes a stop also at the Statue of Liberty, but I stayed on the boat. I did take a few photos of the statue, though. The museum at Ellis Island is quite interesting. The displays depict every possible angle on the subject of immigration; statistics, quota laws, passenger manifests, countries of origin, reasons for leaving, reasons for immigrating, language difficulties, name changes, items brought on the trip, the ships, the receiving process, where the immigrants ended up and what they worked with and much else. The temporary exhibit was about Galveston, Texas as an immigrant port of entry. I have been to Ellis Island before, but it was worth a second visit. I returned to Manhattan on the ferry in the afternoon. I walked up Broadway about 15 blocks, but after Chinatown I took the subway even further up, to Times Square. This is where the majority of the tourists are. This is also where most of the big stores and souvenir shops are too. There is an incredible energy here, there are so many people and so many flashing billboards that it can be overwhelming. It was a national holiday (Labor Day) so there were not many shows. The ones offered I had already seen, so instead I had dinner at Hard Rock Cafe and then walked down to Macy's for a second shopping round there.

This morning (Tuesday) I took the subway out to Brooklyn. I remembered from another visit that there was a mall right above a station, Atlantic Center. It is raining quite a lot, so this was the best alternative. Did some purchases at the Avenue store. Had lunch at Applebee's. Took the subway up to 42nd Street on Manhattan and got soaked when I walked one block over to the Public Library. The hotel doesn't have any computers for the guests, so that's why I'm here. And also to do some research in the genealogy room. Found some small details.

Tomorrow it's time to go home, sadly enough. It has been a great trip, definitely.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mostly shopping

The last blog entry was delayed due to technical issues with a computer. This will be a rather short entry relating the events the last few days.

Wednesday I was dropped off at the train station and took the train to Chicago in the morning. I spent the day doing research at the Newberry Library again. I got quite a lot of help from the librarian there, she just wouldn't give up. Got several new details about people I'm researching.

Thursday and Friday Nancy and I went shopping at just about every thrift store there is in the local area. She found lots to buy, but I had to limit my purchases because of weight restrictions on the next flight. I got some Christmas ornaments. We also went to see a movie, The Help. I have heard people here talk about both the book and the movie, and I'm glad I got to see it. It was definitely worth seeing. It gave an interesting picture of the situation in the Southern USA in the 1960s. The Help refers to the black domestic servants working for the wealthy white families. A young white woman wants to write about the way the maids are being treated by their employees, and the stories she gets to hear finally end up in a book.

Friday evening Nancy, Rich and I went to Rockford. We met Nancy's sister Joyce and her husband Pat at a restaurant. After a very nice meal, I went with Joyce and Pat to the festival area in downtown Rockford. (Nancy and Rich returned to their place). There were live bands playing at three different stages, food vendors, carousels and lots of people out having a good time. We listened to a blues band and a country band, before we headed home to Joyce and Pat's place late evening.