…it should have been your 11th birthday today. I will always love you, Strollercat.
Pyret was right at the door to meet us. Or, more likely, to meet Björn. Pyret was born in 1999 and was bottlefed by Björn and she is very bonded to him. To meet me on time in Stockholm, he had to stay overnight, so he hadn’t been home for nearly a day. Pyret was hungry and missed him, so she was coming to greet him.
She certainly was not expecting other cats!
Pyret has been an only cat since Björn’s other cat, Olivia, died in 2010. I really wonder what she thought when she realised that there were cats in that big box.
I opened the door…
…and, curiously, Angel was the first one out. It’s like she knew that the airport and the train weren’t home, but she was home now.
Jake, of course, was not far behind.
They both took off in different directions to check out the new digs.
Angel went to check out the living room and under the sofa, and Jake went to explore everything else.
Including the litter box. Always a good idea to locate the facilities right off the bat.
“Okay, litter box sorted. Next!”
Angel was in there soon enough, though.
Angel’s big discovery was the old cat tree Björn had in his living room. It’s out on our balcony now, and she still loves to sleep in that cubby.
She explored the whole tree. And even today, my big tree is primarily her domain.
Meanwhile, Jake was checking out the new cat fountain in the kitchen.
And while he was doing that, Pyret was checking him out.
After only a few hours of being home…this was Angel.
And this was Jake. Moving to Sweden was so freakishly easy for them!
When we landed at Arlanda airport in Stockholm, it was 7:something am and I am never at my best at single-digit morning hours. Jacoby and Angel, however, were just fine.
They were, in fact, eager to get out of that crate. (Click for video) Or, at least, Jake was.
Apart from the cats, I had a lot of luggage. Since it was a one-way ticket, bought a first class ticket. It turned out to be a wise investment, since my extra bags were actually free.
We had to wait a bit for our train to Skövde, but hey, we got to see this guy.
We let Jake out on the train (Angel did NOT want to explore) and he was excited to see his new country.
To Jake, it was just another train ride.
The trip from Stockholm to Skövde is a bit over two hours, so Jake had plenty of time to bond with his new dad.
He also found time to check in on Angel.
When we got to Skövde, we needed a cab to bring us home to our apartment, because I had so much luggage, and also the cats’ crate. Luckily, we had a very friendly cab driver.
Finally, it was time to go inside.
Pyret was ready to greet us.
What happened when we came inside? Stay tuned..!
You know that I flew to Sweden with the two Abyssinians, Jacoby and Angel. But I’m willing to bet you are very curious as to HOW we came here. I flew IcelandAir, which, because Iceland is an island and because of rabies concerns, requires all animal passengers fly in a specially climate controlled pet cargo hold. I know many people have misgivings about airline cargo holds, with good reason. But I have had only good experiences with cargo travel (my two Siamese, Harri and Patrick, from San Francisco to Atlanta, and then Tessie from Portland, Oregon, to Boston). It’s actually easier than travelling with a cat in-cabin, especially when you are travelling with more than one!
I started acclimatising them to the crate very early, by leaving it out for them to nap in. Tessie didn’t really need to practice, but she did anyway.
I also locked Jake and Angel in the crate for longer and longer periods to get them ready for an eight hour trip.
Although I think Angel wanted to get out.
Then, days before the big trip, we had a practical practice, I used the crate to take Jake and Angel to the vet for their pre-travel visit.
It was a perfect opportunity to practice shlepping the crate somewhere.
Ironically, my vet, South Boston Animal Hospital, changed location from a 10 minute bus ride away to…ACTUALLY IN THE BUILDING I LIVED IN on 1 June. I left for Sweden on 17 June. Sigh.
They were their usual selves at the vet, and of course, they got a clean bill of health.
Finally, the day arrived! We went to Logan Airport to start our new life.
We all went into a back room at IcelandAir and the cats were checked out, to make sure that they were who I said they were, and to make sure that nothing was being smuggled in the carrier.
The flight went without incident, apart from the souvenir shop being closed, dammit. But I was lucky enough to see Jake and Angel’s crate being loaded onto the next plane at Reykjavik.
And then, at long last, we were all reunited at Arlanda airport in Stockholm. What happened next? Tune in tomorrow, same cat time, same cat channel!
We don’t live near a lake in Boston, but Jacoby has seen plenty of water in his day. Of course, there’s Fort Point Channel, very close to the building in which we live.
And there’s Boston Harbor, too.
And there’s also the Charles River, which we cross over whenever we take the T into Cambridge.
But when we move to Sweden, we’ll have an actual lake outside our window. It’s called “Käpplundasjön” and here is Pyret looking at it.
Enjoy your peaceful view out the window while you can, Pyret. You’re about to be invaded by Abys!
Today Björn and I were married in Manchester, NH!
We got a lovely room at the Manchester Radisson which included Champagne along with a cheese plate and chocolate-covered strawberries.
We weren’t able to bring the real Jacoby along (he’ll come to the wedding we have in Sweden), but mini-Jake crashed our little honeymoon.
He tried to act like he was helping us open the Champagne.
And he swore he wasn’t interested in the strawberries or the cheese…
…He just thought the decorative orchids made lovely hats.
He wanted to check out our rings, but of course they weren’t in the box anymore.
They were on our fingers!
My friend Mary sent me a “lucky sixpence” for my shoe.
It’s a 1965 sixpence – the same age as Björn and me!
Our friends Molly, Kelli, Meg, Barb and Donna were all able to to come to Manchester to help us celebrate. It was a simple, yet moving, ceremony at City Hall…but it was wonderful! Thank you all!
Björn was interviewed by the Göteborgs-Posten last Thursday bay a reporter doing a piece about Migrationsverket and the “love migration process” and people like us who either have a partner trying to move to be with them or who are that partner, and an article was published in last Saturday’s paper (that’s the big paper of the week there, Saturday instead of Sunday, so you have two days to read it all).
This was the main photo they used on the web version of the story and in the newspaper itself.
This is the front of the newspaper…
Look who made it to page 1!
This is the spread on pages 6 & 7 with sidebars about other aspects of Migrationsverket and Swedes waiting for their partners.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time someone I know has been featured on the front of a major publication.
Not only that…he also had a spread on pages 6 & 7! Björn and Jacoby…media superstars!
Despite meeting Björn in 1992, he will be my – gasp! – third husband! My first husband and I were both members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and we got married in medieval garb. Our wedding was held on New Year’s Eve; we had the reception first and then got married just before midnight. The SCA’s big holiday celebration (and dress-up event) is Twelfth Night, and in the West Kingdom it’s typically held the first Saturday in January.
This was my Christmas/12th Night card to our friends in 1992, and of course I sent one to Björn. He recently found it and, since we’re getting married in less than two weeks, I thought I’d share it because it also shows my Siamese, Harri. Harri actually came to the wedding as Best Cat and had a wonderful time. Harri was actually quite the party cat – I think he and Jacoby would have been great friends.
Last month I shared some sketches I did during work meetings, including this one of me in my wedding dress with Gun-Hee back in 2008.
Well…my divorce will be final on 6 April, and then Björn and I will be married. So I was doodling today while on the phone and sketched this…
Which I like…but Jacoby looks so BIG! So I went into Paint for just a moment…
Well. It ain’t Photoshop…but it’s kind of cute.
One month from today, on Marathon Monday, Björn and I are getting married (finally!) in Manchester, NH.
The 18th is a day for us. On 18 March 1992, I responded to that first letter he sent me, which started our 24-year-long friendship. We say that’s when it officially started, because it wasn’t a friendship until I wrote back. Before that, it was just a letter he sent to someone in the States.
18 June 2014 is when we reconnected and started messaging each other again after a few years of just thinking about each other, but not doing much more than liking the occasional photo on Facebook and sending Christmas cards. 18 June 2015 is the day we got engaged, in part because that’s the day his ring arrived. And 18 December 2015 is when I landed in Sweden for our first Christmas holiday together.
And now, 18 April will be our wedding. Considering how long we’ve been heading in this direction, what more appropriate date to start our marriage than on the day of the Boston Marathon?
So today is Valentine’s Day. And it’s a bit rough…my human Valentine is in Sweden while I am here in the States.
I sent Björn a package for Valentine’s day…
…and he sent me one, too, of course.
We opened our packages today together over FaceTime.
And of course, Jacoby helped.
Despite us being 5800km and six hours apart, this was the best Valentine’s Day I’ve had in a very long while. Jag älskar dig, Björn!
I’ve been postponing showing you all this one because I swore I’d finish it…but that was almost 8 months ago, so I thought I’d at least show you the sketch.
This goes back to when I met our friend Summer last May at BlogPaws.
As you may recall, I wasn’t allowed to bring Jacoby with me.
So I had to bring Flat Jake instead. This cartoon – which I had been planning to do about Jake and Summer finally meeting – is the result.
In some respect, Jake not going to BlogPaws is the reason I haven’t actually been able to finish this cartoon. Ever since I came back, things have been rather…interesting. But you know all about that.
When Björn and I FaceTime, we try to keep our connection going as long as possible.
Usually either my wifi or his will crap out overnight, but we try to fall asleep “together” whenever we can. Since we’re six hours apart, we generally manage to do this most often on weekends.
Of course, Björn wakes up before me, and yesterday morning he captured these shots of Jacoby sleeping on me while I slept.
I have no idea why Jake likes to sleep perched on my back or shoulder instead of nestled up in the blankets behind my knees or along my side.
He purrs when he sleeps on me like that, though. It’s very comforting.
And even though he weighs 4.5kg and he’s lying on my ribs, it doesn’t seem to bother me at all.
Do you think Jake knew that Björn was taking his photo?
Oh, yeah. He knew.
Björn’s mother is an artist; her home is filled with paintings she’s done as well as artwork done by others.
In fact, she painted this portrait of Oskar the cat on the mailbox.
She has these two woodblock prints by Swedish artist Sven Ljundberg that I instantly fell in love with when I saw them. After yesterday’s post, you know why…
They are marvelous.
Björn’s mother doesn’t speak much English, and my Swedish is…progressing…but we bonded over a mutual love of art, cats and magpies.
She even gave me a copy of this postcard, featuring another version of his cat and magpie theme.
Besides Sven Ljungberg’s prints, paintings and sculptures, he also published a limited edition book with his Katt och Skata prints, of which only 990 copies were printed in 1976. His home village, Ljungby, has a museum dedicated to his art, and you can see a virtual tour of some of the pieces online.
When we all move to Sweden, Jacoby and Angel will have fabulous HD Cat TV on a big window.
This is the view from Björn’s living room window.
Granted, it’s significantly different from the view they currently have out their windows…
…which isn’t to say that watching cars and trucks isn’t interesting. I just think that cats in general find birds more captivating than vehicles.
There are lots of birds that frequent the yard outside Bjorn’s apartment, as well as squirrels and the occasional rabbit.
Residents aren’t supposed to feed the birds from their windows or balconies, but they still come close to the buildings.
Best of all are the magpies.
I love magpies; I grew up in Northern California, the only place in the world where Yellow-Billed Magpies exist.
There are no magpies in Massachusetts, and even blue jays and crows are fairly scarce in the city.
(This is a crow at the train station in Falköping…I love their colouration so much!)
Views like this, taken outside Björn’s living room window, are common.
Which is really cool, since I love magpies.
I found the view outside Björn’s window endlessly fascinating.
I can only imagine what Angel and Jake will think!
Pyret, being 16 years old, is rather immune to the birds outside.
She’d rather watch me work on my laptop!
Hipstamatic comes out with what they call “Hipstapaks,” sets of retro “films,” “lenses” and “flashes.”
They like to name these paks after cities, and not too long ago they released one called Södermalm.
It also just so happens to be the the part of Stockholm Björn and I stayed in the first few days we were together in Sweden.
So of course I had to play with the Gotland film and Bruno lens for this week’s post. How could I not? I mean…Södermalm!
It was awesome, too. My first night, we had one of the best meals as what is now one of my favourite restaurants, Harvest Home.
We wanted to go back there before we left, but that last night we stayed in an entirely different part of Stockholm and couldn’t get there easily. So we went to a marvelous German restaurant a few blocks from our hotel instead. Amusingly enough, as coincidence would have it, that first night before going to Harvest Home, we considered eating at their Södermalm location…I guess we were destined to eat their food eventually!
We also went to a great meatball restaurant in Södermalm. I had reindeer and Björn had wild boar. Both were fabulous.
Meatballs For the People is the kind of place that puts up funny signs on the sidewalk. It was as much fun on the inside, too.
Of course, Södermalm, like most cool, hip, fun neighbourhoods, is an expensive one to live in, it’s still a lot of fun to visit. I know we’ll be going there again.
And maybe we’ll even bring Jake with us!