Lake Atitlan from the San Pedro Volcano

Lake Atitlan from the San Pedro Volcano
Lake Atitlan from the San Pedro Volcano

14 March 2008

Exploring Huskvarna

Since the season has been over, I've decided it's about time to get out and see some more of this special little town and its surroundings! Thanks to Frida's mother, I now have a bike to get around on. I've been skipping the bus when its not too rainy, and using two wheels to get into Jonkoping and around town here in Huskvarna. There are many paths through nature. I specifically love the one that rides along the border of Lake Vatten. Sometimes a bit windy with waves actually crashing against the shore; on calmer days, the ride proves to be quite peaceful with a welcome sense of majesty.

On Thursday I visited the Match Stick Museum... Sweden is the proud inventor of the first safety match. Back in the 1800s and early 1900s, Jonkoping was home to the most bustling match-making factories in the world! They supplied matches for millions of people and continue to make matches today (though with the advent of electricity, the demand for matches greatly decreased). Within this museum, a bonus exhibit was displayed: "China Girl." China Girl is an exhibit completed by a Swedish artist that serves to reveal and heighten awareness about today's problem of disappearing girls in China. Due to a number of contributing factors, millions of girls are lost by abortions, abandonment, or murder. Across the planet, the normal ratio of boys to girls is 105-to-100; however, in certain provinces of China, the ratio is 130-to-100. Wow! A Chinese saying goes like this, "Having a girl is like watering your neighbor's garden." What?! This is crazy sexism, and it is not stuff of the past. This is happening now. TODAY. Much much much life is lost. How can this be? If you link through the title of this post, you can reach some photos, one of which captures the text of the "China Girl" exhibit. Worth a read. Please.

I also had the chance to explore the Husqvarna Fabriksmuseum ( Beginning in 1689 and continuing successfully to this day, Husqvarna produces or has produced a diverse range of items including firearms, ovens, motorcycles, chainsaws, bicycles, mopeds, boat motors, sewing machines, and more. The 160m tall waterfall outside the factory and museum was one of the original reasons why Huskvarna was chosen to be location of the factory. Using the great force from this water, the water power enabled great productivity. Today the company has over 16,000 employees, though the majority of the manufacturing is actually now completed in the U.S. On my way out of the museum I met a man that has worked with Husqvarna for over 50 years. He is now retired, but provides factory tours to interested groups. When he was young he worked in the manufacturing division of the company and then eventually moved over to help direct buying and selling; his father worked at the factory too. A really nice guy full of lots of Husqvarna stories. He has a trip planned to Nashville, TN - he loves country music!

Well, that's a little recap of my most recent adventures around town. In a few more days I will be headed to Ireland! I cannot wait to reunite with some of my fellow counselors I worked with this past summer, but I too am enjoying my last few days in Huskvarna, Sweden. Gimme a shout and have a super weekend!!

08 March 2008

24 February 2008


Happy Sunday to you! Yesterday we had a tough loss at Norrköping... tough because though we were the underdogs and not expected to win, we played a great team game and put up a solid fight, but fell short by six points nonetheless. We are still in the hunt to make the cut for playoffs. About five different teams are in the battle for the last two playoff spots. We practiced this evening - some weights, some basketball, and a team jump rope workout (like in the playground growing up... with one long rope... and everyone working together to jump in unison in the middle... except I never did practice these playground games so much while growing up... so tonight at practice, I was definitely the weakest link! lol. my teammates found it quite entertaining ;) ).

In addition to these court adventures, Tatsiana (my teammate from Belarus) and I visited an historical town called Gränna. The title of this blog links to the town's website - its especially known for its polkagris, "peppermint rocks" (sort of like candy canes of all different flavors, but much more tastier and carefully hand-made). It was a windy day, but we enjoyed walking along the old stone streets, in-and-out of candy shops, and down by the water. The best part of the morning for me was that we went to church. Neither of us speaking or really understanding Swedish, much of the content of the service was beyond us... however, there was song, reverence, meditation, community, and time just to reflect, pray, and praise God for all the wonderful gifts He has blessed us with - struggles and joys - that grow us in our desire to serve and know Him better every day.

This morning as I was reading, these particular verses very strongly stood out to me:

Hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless,
died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person,
though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

AMAZING, PERFECT, SELFLESS LOVE! That is the love of our Lord!

Have a wonderful end to your weekend and a restful night sleep in preparation for a new week ahead with wonderful opportunity to live fully :)

15 February 2008


So the town where I live... it's spelled with a K. H-u-s-K-v-a-r-n-a. But, more well known and world-famous than it's spelling with the "k" would be the spelling as you see in the picture... with the "q"! Here I am, outside of one of the famous Husqvarna factories (you're not let much closer than this, due to a guarded gate - but perhaps they have factory tours that I should inquire about). In this photo you can also see the primary means by which mail is delivered... via bicycle-riding post people :)

04 February 2008

Copenhagen Adventures

Fun-filled weekend in Copenhagen. Made it back to my apartment by 2am, just in time to watch the second half of the Super Bowl. It was televised here; I was pleasantly shocked. GO GIANTS!! Clink on the link above to view some photos from the weekend. The photos do not cover all of the weekend's activities, but the album is a start for now. It's almost 5am. I best be getting to bed :) And, once again, GO GIANTS!!

30 January 2008

Return to Stockholm

So we didn't exactly win the game against 08... but it was great fun to reunite with former teammates and friends. I was able to hang out with teammates on Saturday night, go to church at Immanuel International the next morning, eat some really delicious Indian food for lunch on Sunday with Jasmina as my date, and then meet up with Joanna and Manne for fika at the Kulturhuset before heading onto the bus and back to Jonkoping. Reconnecting is such a precious opportunity. I am very thankful for the time I had last year in Stockholm; I know I will have friends for life there!

21 January 2008

Radio Jönköping

Today I stopped by the Brahe basketball office to see Christina... she is sewing me some curtains for my apartment - isn't that the sweetest! Well, why I was there, the phone rang and it was for me. Suprise! It was some man from Radio Jönköping. He requested that Frida (my teammate) and I be on his show this evening. I just happened to be in the office while he called, so it all worked out well. Thanks God :) And then, Frida "randomly" showed up at the office too... anyway, we made it to the radio station this evening and had a brief moment to shine on the airways for Brahe. If you click on "Radio Jönköping" (the title above) you will get a link to the radio station. You can listen to our little interview and see a photo - Frida looks cute; I look like I have a black, shut eye and am sickly... lol, none of these symptoms are true of me - I feel great, really!... just wasn't a good day with the camera!! Enjoy listening :)

19 January 2008

Brahe Downs Visby

Tonight was a great team win for Brahe. Everyone who played had an important role and it was the first time this club beat Visby by so many points (at least, that what the coaches told us!). Very exciting for our team. When they were recruiting me to come and play, I think Brahe may have been 10th or 11th in the league. After today, we are 7th. There are some very tough games coming up - including next weekend up in Stockholm against my former team - but it is an exciting time for many of these girls... some of whom have never won 3 games in a row with Brahe. Now, it is not to get ahead of ourselves, but rather be thankful for the opportunity to play, work hard, make the club proud, praise God through our efforts on the court, and just have some good ol' teamworkin' fun! Here is where you can go to see the standings of our team in regards to the rest of the league: Thanks for cheering us on :) I like being the underdog!

P.S. The American who plays on Visby played basketball in college in Arizona with Jessica Starkey... just an interesting fact for those of you reading this and knowing of the "Storm days"!

15 January 2008

Adventures with Little Ballers

Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. -Luke 18:16

Today I was blessed with the opportunity to share smiles and laughs with a bunch of little ones who, along with their families, have taken refuge in Sweden and distanced themselves from the strife in their home countries of Somalia and Iraq. From countries wrought with disorder and war, these families flee to Sweden for safety and with the hope of a better life. However, this culture and life here is all new. They come speaking no Swedish or English. They come with little more than a heart of hope and a willingness to serve. Today the children were as precious as precious can be. Huge smiles, bouncing heads, jumping legs, flying bodies. They were light. Those that have been here a few months speak some Swedish, others having more recently arrived speak little or no Swedish at all. In an environment unlike any they know, the wonder and joy of life abounds. Myself almost brought to tears in being allowed to shoot, dribble, and play with them, I praise God for His wondrous gifts. For children, above all, know and show the freedom and light that God offers us all!

14 January 2008

Home for Now

Here's a glimpse into my immediate surroundings here in Huskvarna. On the 10-15 minute walk to the Sport Hall, where the team practices most days, I cross two small bridges that cross over streams teaming with ducks. I live on Idrottsgatan - which translates to "sports street" in Swedish. Many futbol fields and an ice rink are located on this street. The view through the tress of the ice rink is what I see when I walk up the stairs in my apartment building. My apartment is on the 3rd floor and I have a small balcony. It's a quiet, peaceful, lovely place to live.

09 January 2008

Back in Sweden

I made it! Think I'm over jet lag... mostly that is. Exploring my new home. Huskvarna. It's a very nice place.

03 January 2008


With four minutes left on my internet-voucher... here I go: So, on my way to Huskvarna, Sweden to play for Brahe Basket in the Damligan League again. I've made it to Ansterdam, having left from Hartford, CT - but my flight from the Netherlands to Sweden was cancelled... no aircraft available to take us... so, onto a new light - during the wait - played a little guitar (tried to!), ate some tomato soup, and sent a couple emails to whoever is supposed to be picking me up at the airport in Sweden. Alrighty, times gonna run out on this computer. Talk soon. Email me! Yay for new adventures. Happy new year too!!