Saturday, July 06, 2013
sweden bits 2: cousins
as an only child, i longed for siblings. when my mom and i spent time in sweden in the summers when i was a child, i loved being around my eight cousins. i have three—malin, tobbe, and daniel—that are close to me in age, and i have many memories of playing with them—dance routines, neighborhood games, dress up, etc., and of being pushed to try things i probably wouldn't have otherwise—riding bicycles around malin and tobbe's neighborhood, braving roller coasters.
one of my cousins, karin, came to live with us for a couple of months when she was 13 and i was 8. she attended the local so cal middle school. she was very sophisticated—she liked sitting at the dinner table and talking with the grown ups, while i just wanted to leave the table to play. i inflicted many hours of clappy games on karin, and i wished she'd stay longer as my temporary big sister.
karin is still sophisticated, and she can talk to and philosophize with just about anyone, deftly putting people at ease. she does this in her job too, as a radio host. karin has stayed with me in SF a couple of times, once with her husband peter (another philosopher and easygoing guy). on this visit to sweden, i stayed with them in sundsvall in their great apartment overlooking the water. the apartment is filled with color and grooviness, much like karin and peter. so much style and funk. karin has numerous collections (some seen above)—toy horses from her youth, toy cars, globe roses, plastic pearl necklaces, and more. together, they have loads of records and cds and great thrifted furniture and clothing. none of it is precious; it's playful. it seems like the two of them are having a good time, enjoying life and people and each other, which makes staying with them a good time. tack igen fin kusin o yuri.
after my mormor died in 2005, i thought i might not feel so connected to sweden anymore, or as inclined to visit. but it still feels like a second home in many ways, thanks in part to family and friends (with a particular heartfelt shout out to karin).