It was Friday evening when I suggested to Sebastian that we make a trip to Värmland and visit his family in Hagfors for the weekend. After a quick phone call to Pia (Sebastian’s Mum – holder of a warm, kind heart and maker of all things delicious), things were sorted and the trip was on!
So on Saturday we packed up a few things, left the dishes soaking in the sink and got out onto the road.
After a few hours on the road, nature called and eagle eyed Sebastian caught sight of the perfect place to stop – a burial ground dating back to the Iron Age, surrounded by glowing fields of corn.
Fika was served almost as soon as we arrived in Hagfors (Fika has turned out to be one of my favourite ways to pass the time). We all sat outside, just feet away from the apple tree that had grown the fruit that was sitting all soft and warm and hot underneath a buttery pastry.
After Fika we were on a mission…to find some of Sebastian’s childhood toys. As the storage room was unloaded, I felt I was becoming even closer to Sebastian and his family. Moments from his childhood and his sibling’s childhood were being revealed right before my eyes and on my heart…it grew so big. Pia passed some of Sebastian’s school books to me, and as I leafed through them I smiled until my cheeks ached. The grass in the garden was quickly covered in all kinds of knick knacks, and Pia regularly asked me if there was something that I wanted. I felt blessed and humbled by my Swedish family’s beautiful generosity.
Pia and Peter grow an abundance of fruit and vegetables in their garden. Last time we were in Hagfors it was all about the raspberries. This time, it was all about the plums. We ate one after another after another, spitting the pips out onto the grass, and watching Little Tyra to make sure she didn’t swallow any.
It’s a rare thing for us to see a rain cloud in Hagfors. The weather is sublime 99.9% of the time. Though this cloud looked particularly aggressive, it moved on…probably to Borås.
On our way home on Sunday, Sebastian asked if I wanted to try driving. I’m 30 in two weeks, and the only time I’d been behind the wheel was when I was 17 and my Mum took me to an abandoned car park. I don’t think I even moved the car forward. I was petrified. I felt like I was trying to control a pissed off dragon or something. I’ve been putting off learning how to drive ever since. I always came up with an excuse – money being the main one, and feeling that I could walk pretty much everywhere I needed to go anyway – but since being in Sweden, I’ve been thinking more on just how bloody useful it would be if I was able to drive.
I said yes. Immediately. I’m working at being fearless. And I drove Sebastian’s precious Audi. And it went so smoothly I can hardly believe that it was me that was sitting behind the wheel. It held me like a good friend. I felt protected, both by the car and Sebastian and totally at ease. Driving along the forest road where Sebastian first learned how to drive shaped a memory that I’ll hold onto forever. When we have a family, I would like our children to have their first experience of driving on the same road.
Before heading home, we paid Sebastian’s Dad a visit…and this grub (?) surprised me when I stepped out of the car. I thought it was a baby snake and my insides went all gooey. If anyone can tell me what it is and what it’ll turn into I’d love that.
And from Sebastian’s Dad’s we went to his Grandmother’s apartment, where she showed us the black tomatoes she’s been growing. Having never seen black tomatoes before I practically started hyperventilating. They’re really something special. I also couldn’t resist capturing a shot of her collection of Dala Horses. I wish I’d asked her how old they are. But there’s always next time.