“Sweden is the home of my ancestors, and I have reserved a special place in my heart for Sweden.” -Carl D. Anderson, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1936
My whole life, I have heard stories about my ancestors coming over to the United States from Sweden, in the early 1900s. They were a hardy clan, and pursued the wide and open land far out in the Great Plains of Western Kansas. The first winter, they managed to survive in a sod embankment in a dried-up creek bed. The years after that, the families pitched together and built sod houses on their land. Finally, when they could afford to build a house and barn, they built a “frame” house, like the one where Dorothy lived in the Wizard of Oz. I cannot imagine their continuous struggle to make a better life.
One hundred years later, the family farm still produces wheat, mainly, thanks to the hard efforts of so many strong people in my family–Swedes who settled in search of a better life in America.
As one who loves stories and imagining the struggles behind the stories, I have always wondered about Sweden. What was it that caused my family to leave their land, travel far by boat to Ellis Island, and set off for Kansas? Why did they leave Sweden? Was it similar to their new land in Kansas? Or was it the wasteland that I imagined Sweden to be, frozen and tundra-like, virtually uninhabitable?
If you’ve read Stieg Larsson’s books, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and sequels, set in Sweden, you may wonder what Sweden looks like, too …
When my husband and I and our three boys moved for my husband’s job to Prague two years ago, I held my breath, hoping and wondering if we’d get to see Sweden before we would return to the United States. Our Swedish friends in Prague rave about Sweden at the peak of summer. So, we hoped we’d get to see Sweden in July. This summer, that dream came true.
They were right. Sweden is AMAZING in summertime.
Certainly, we didn’t venture to Stockholm or to the Northern rugged land of Sweden. But Sweden’s Southern Skane region (where my family emigrated from) literally took my breath away with its beauty. The colors are so very rich there, although I’m not sure why. And truly, Sweden was a million times more than what I imagined it would be.
Here, the pure colors of Sweden, a photojournal: