Letters Standing the Test of Time

It is truly amazing what value handwritten letters hold. Letters can, like nothing else, stand the test of time. I have always loved writing letters and when I was young I saved all the letters I recieved. I thought that someday, I would like to read them again. So I keep a couple of small,... Continue Reading →

On a Mission to Celebrate Christmas

Many of us spend Christmas about the same way every year. We know pretty well what will happen as long as nothing unexpected disrupts our plans. For my great grandmother Dagny, disruption was more rule than exception as she recounted some of her different kinds of Christmases in a mission calendar in the year 1916.... Continue Reading →

Home Away From Home

After my visit this summer to Strömsborgs Vilohem at Rådmansö, north of Stockholm, I’ve felt curious about the time my relatives spent out of China as well. In some ways, these years and months are not as well documented. Yes, they did write letters to their missionary colleagues in and out of China - but... Continue Reading →

Exercising Democracy

I voted today. As always, it felt important and solemn. Not least because the polling station I belong to is housed in a building from the 1700s. Outside, a couple of musicians dressed like the songwriter Carl Michael Bellman (1740-1795) and his muse, performed time typical songs, playing cittern and mouth harp. I felt very... Continue Reading →

Revealing Past Summers

They had spent a couple of lovely summers at “Strömsborgs Vilohem*” when time came for Dagny and Robert to once again set out to China to fulfill their obligation as missionaries in the year of 1912. This time was to be quite different in one deciding way. Four of their children were too old to... Continue Reading →

Icons forever

Painting icons is an art in itself. You need to have a lot of patience and the technique is quite elaborate. Icons are painted with egg tempera - a combination of color pigment, egg yoke, water and a drop of vinegar - and they are, as you can imagine, full of symbolic meaning. Icons are... Continue Reading →

Collecting time capsules

Sweden and Finland have a truly interwoven history. I have thought a lot about this lately, as the Finnish decision to join Nato speeded up Sweden's application to do the same. Many Finnish and Finnish-Swedish as well as Swedish-Finnish people live in Sweden and just like me, there are many of us who have relatives... Continue Reading →

Finding Family And Family Finding You

Researching family history is interesting in many ways. Aside from understanding more about where you come from, you can connect with present-day relatives that you might not even have known existed. This has happened to me on a few occasions since I started researching and writing about my geneaology findings, and is also a big... Continue Reading →

Celebrating spring and graduation

Today, students all over Sweden, get to wear their student hats for the first time. In Sweden we call it "mösspåtagning," and it's a sure sign spring is here. Tomorrow, we celebrate Walpurgis night/Valborgsmässoafton, and all the bonfires will have choirs wearing their student hats, singing to welcome spring. Looking back to the beginning of... Continue Reading →

Remembering those we have lost

We are many who have lost loved ones the past years. Coping with grief is part of life and something we all go through at one point or another, always hoping it will be later, rather than sooner. Through the years I have written a few obituaries. It has always felt a bit strange, trying to... Continue Reading →

Not everyone can still be found

Driving back from a short ski trip to Dalarna, about 300 km northwest of Stockhom, I came to think of an old map I once got from my grandmother Edna. She had kept it as it was a record of how grandfather's relatives had moved around in Sweden, from the 17th century onward. As I... Continue Reading →

Living in turmoil

What we are experiencing in Europe today is on everyone's mind. No one knows how this will end, how many lifes will be affected or what will happen to our world. WWII is not that far away in the past, and even though my own generation did not have to live through it, our parents... Continue Reading →

Celebrating and harvesting

As we're finally leaving the dark, cold and poor January behind us in Scandinavia, the Chinese are about to enter their big festivity of the New Year. In 2022 the year of the Tiger starts on the 1st of February. In 1905, the newly baked missionary Olga spent her first Chinese New Year celebrating the... Continue Reading →

It’s coming on Christmas

... and I have not been writing or researching for such a long time. This autumn has been pretty intense. I have had to make some priority changes - mainly focusing on seeing friends and family when I have not been travelling with work. We've had a short window of social possibilities in Sweden, which... Continue Reading →

Persistence – the key to change

This year, September is a month of celebration in Sweden. A hundred years ago women could finally vote in the Swedish election of 1921. On the 17th of December 1918, the Swedish parliament decided in favour of voting rights for both men and women. This was the first procedural decision that paved the way for... Continue Reading →

Exploring the past in the present

Following the trace of family members from generations ago can be a very interesting and rewarding pastime. Research is often very time consuming and requires a lot of patience, but sometimes you get those fast rewards - and that is an exhilarating feeling! I had one of those moments this summer.After a vacation with my... Continue Reading →

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

My great grandmothers Olga and Dagny were both alone when they travelled back to Sweden after having spent their entire adult lives in China being missionaries together with their husbands. Olga’s husband Nils passed in ileus, in 1942 (age 61) and Dagny’s husband Robert died from heart disease in 1930 (age 62). They were both... Continue Reading →

“Spies” On A Mission

During my research into the history of my missionary relatives, I have found a few telegrams. Whenever there was a need for speedy information and one didn’t trust the postal service to deliver in time, the solution was to send a telegram. Letters could take a month to arrive from Europe to China – sometimes... Continue Reading →

A Laughter Extended Through Time

What traces will we leave behind, once we're gone? I don't know if my missionary relatives asked themselves that question in respect to anything but their ultimate goal - heaven. To them,  the salvation of souls within their mission in China was number one. They didn't try to reach fame or become uplifted members of... Continue Reading →

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