15 oktober 2001

Letter to English-speaking friends.

Kaliningrad, Oktober 15, 2001

You must think I am dead by now, no letters being sent during so long time! And there is no excuse, if not the terrible delay of your letters to me. Recently I got two letters from you, one from 31.12.00 and one from 11.09.01 It is my lazy son Bjorn’s fault, I’ll beat him when we meet next time. Good for him there is a far distance between us, as I am still in Kaliningrad.

The job here as a Swedish guestlecturer at K-grad State University is a dream-job! The students are so nice, interested and grateful for having Swedish lessons. You asked about living in K-grad. It is not so enjoyable as in Vilnius, maybe because I am the only Scandinavian here. In Vilnius we were three guest lecturers from Sweden, Norway and Denmark. We worked and entertained together all the time. I also had friends at the Swedish ambassy. Nothing of that kind is found here. So my free time is mostly spent in front of TV, knitting socks as a really good grandmother! Of course I read a lot of books and sometimes there are concerts at the Drama Theatre, which I can enjoy more than plays. They perform not only Russian classics, but Shakespeare, Schiller and modern ones, as Jean Cocteau and Somerset Maugham. I went to see a play about Salvador Dali, but it was so frustrating when everybody was laughing and I didn’t understand a word. Have given up studying Russian, an absolute impossible language to me!

What I like here is my very nice flat, situated in the very centre of the city, with the Drama Theatre on one side and The Zoo on the other, opposite the street is The Stadion with football matches and rock concerts. All that makes it interesting to live here, to watch all the people through the kitchen window. There are three rooms, kitchen and bathroom with washing machine. It is spacy and modern with good furniture.

The only visitor from Sweden, so far, is my eldest brother Börje. He is 85, but very alert, and he likes travelling. He is a retired ”Rittmeister”, has his own arabs and knows everything about horses. Königsberg was a real ”horse-country” before the war, so we went to the old castles, now in ruins, where they breeded the most famous ”Trakenen” horses. There are a few left, and my brother was more than happy to see them. We also visited a riding school, 6 grown-ups with 15 beautiful horses, where they invite 40 poor and 17 handicapped children to come riding every day. Without this, they would be begging in the streets, we were told by these fantastic persons, who get no money from the state or community. They seek sponsors on internet and have found some in Holland and Sweden. Immediately my ”rich” brother gave them some hundred dollars!

You also asked about the Nordquist family. Yes, we all met in östersund on July 21, when Björn and Kristina got married in Frösö church. It was a fantastic occasion with many guests from all parts of Sweden, even Stig’s son Ola came from Boston and one friend of Björn’s from India, dressed in a wonderful sari! We had dinner at restaurant Hov for 85 persons. Kerstin was dressed in Dalarna national costume. Both there and in the church there was a lot of music and singing as the couple are members of three choirs.

The day after, Sunday 22, all the guests were invited on a boat tour with pick-nick on an island in Lake Storsjön. The whole week after we had improvised dinners at home for guests staying longer in Jämtland. The first week in August the two new-married went to France, stayed two nights at a chateau in the Loire valley and the rest in Normandie. I was happy to take care of their two years old son, Movitz, in our summer house on the West coast. There were also Per and Elinor from Stockholm with their two daughters, Olga 6 years and Hanna 3 years.

Marit took part in a marin biology course nearby, so her husband Bobo with Elsa 12 and Love 9 stayed in a neighbour’s house during two weeks. They live in Norberg, south Dalarna. So you see we had a real family summer, wonderful! As a surprise Mats turned up at the wedding with his new family, wife Maria and three small daughters. As you know we have had very little contact the last years. Unfortunately they didn’t stay till the day after, didn’t even take part in the dinner, although they were invited, so we had little chance to talk with them. They live outside Laholm, a small town between Göteborg and Malmö. Nice of them to make the long journey anyhow! Now you have got a lot of information about the family. In your letter you told about Bob’s problem with his leg. I do hope he is better now, so he can walk Hal as usual!

November 2nd I will go to Buenas Noches, a small village near Estepona in south Spain, only 30 km east of Gibraltar. There I have a nice flat in a bungalow the whole month of November every year. This year my two brothers Börje and Göran with wife LiHan will go with me. Of course we’ll visit Gibraltar, as I always do, maybe not Marocko this year.

So good bye for now! All the best to you, Shirley, Bob and Hal!

Yours

Karin in Kaliningrad