In Sweden there is no negative connotation associated with hey, but people do greet each other by saying, "Hey Hey!" (I asked Ray what it means and he said, "It's just 'Hello!' or sort of like 'How are you doing?'"). It's actually spelled hej hej but pronounced hey hey. And I read that when it's said twice like that ~ hej hej ~ it implies friendliness and excitement to see you.
Ray's parents are from Sweden (Aland Island) and recently Ray's niece Jillian and her husband decided to make a trip there. Ray and his sister Susie decided to send Helena (Ray's Mom) along with Jill & Rudy as a gift to her for her 80th Birthday.
They had rented a little cottage on Aland Island and Helena was able to visit with a lot of her family, and she showed Jill & Rudy the home she was born in and the farm she grew up on.
Jill kept Susie updated with emails and photos, which Susie was kind enough to forward to us:
(FarMor is what the kids call Helena, it means 'Grandma' in Swedish ~ well, it actually means Father's Mother).
We are very happy & cozy in the cottage. Farmor immediately said, "oh why didn't we try to stay longer?"
It is beautiful. It's pretty cold and rainy but we are all happy. Travel went smooth although they did not have the reservation for the car but it worked out fine. Olle and Kerstin met us at the airport and we are going to dinner with them on Sunday. Other than that we have no big plans.
Rainy, cold but couldn't be happier.
Looks like the sun is peaking through now. Yesterday was a blustery mess. We had Åland sleeping sickness yesterday. We couldn't stay awake. Today Farmor brought us to Kastleholm and we saw Daisy's and Martin and Anita's house. We saw the forts. And got some food. We are going out to eat with Olle and Kersten for dinner tonight. And 12 others. Should be nice. And we will see Ann Kristine some time too.
Miss you and love you.
Jill, Rudy, and Farmor.
(Jill & Rudy had brought along some FDNY tee shirts for the family and they were very excited to get them. They said they put them on right away!)
(Jill also told us that everyone was very nice to them, and that even strangers got excited when they heard they were from America, especially when they heard that they were from New York City! Everyone wanted to know if it was really like it looks on the TV shows they watch!)
Went to Mariehamm, saw the ship and went shopping.
Having a great time. No more rain.
We went to look at some churches today. Saw Farmors grandmothers grave. And saw the house Farmor grew up in.
We are having Doris, and maybe Ann-Sofie and others over tonight for cake.
Soooo tired.We all woke up "early". (8am) so Rudy could fish with Roine and we spent time with Eva. We went out to eat then shopping. Farmor rested at Eva's but I could have collapsed. Then we went straight to Ann Christine's which was really nice. We are all zombies now.
We love you. Hope to call you tomorrow.
I thought it was nice of Jill to keep posting on her trip, and it was nice of Susie to 'forward' it all to us. Jill's notes and their photos are making me want to go to Sweden too!
And just look at these goodies Jill bought for me!
She said each one was hand made and sold on Aland:
Last week Susie stopped in here for a visit, she brought along her Mom, and her oldest daughter Jackie, and her new grandbaby Zoe:
Zoe looks like a little doll!
Eóghan was happy to see her...
...but I think he was more excited to see Aunt Susie!
Isn't she just the cutest little thing?!
I couldn't get enough of her!
But I did let Ray have a turn holding her.
(Flora had a babysitting job that day but she very kindly let me pick up Baby Ray so Helena could have a little visit with him too!)
(And Mia & Jayden were in school, but Lori stopped by with Sophie to visit for awhile, so four of Helena's six great-grandchildren were here. I should say six-and-counting because Jill & Rudy's baby boy is due to arrive in late September.)
It was wonderful to see them all, and I was happy to hear Helena say that she really enjoyed the Sweden trip (we were worried that such a trip might be too much for her, she's getting a little frail and she uses a walker now to get around, but with Jill & Rudy to help her she was fine. Jill said that she and Rudy were so happy to have Helena along with them, she was able to translate for them, and she was able to be a sort of tour guide for them. They said it would have been a very different trip and they would have missed so much if she wasn't along. I was happy to hear that it all worked out so well for everyone!). I love Ray's family ~ they are the best! I shouldn't call them "Ray's family", they are my family too!