I’m going to Scandinavia!!! After all the chaos of this summer, TheScott and I decided to do something awesome. We plan to put in the paperwork to try adopting again sometime in 2014, so we decided to make it a big trip, the kind we hopefully won’t be able to take for a long time.

Swedish docks at sunrise (or set; I'm not sure) by Skeppsbron

Swedish docks at sunrise (or set; I’m not sure) by Skeppsbron

I’m so excited.

Going to Scandinavia has been my dream trip for as long as I can remember. We’ll start in Sweden, which is the ancestry I feel closest to. (I’m a northern European mutt, but I’m over a quarter Swede which makes it the biggest piece of the pie*) and then go to Norway because…FJORDS. Finally we’ll head north to the Arctic Circle to see the Viking Museum in Lofoten and hopefully catch a viewing of the Northern Lights. It will already have snowed up there before we reach our most northern destination of Tromsø! I’m going to freeze! It’s going to be awesome!

I don’t know where in Sweden my ancestors hail from. My paternal grandfather Buddington (love the name!) was the son of Swedish immigrants, but he was orphaned at a young age, so we don’t know much about his family. My maternal great-grandfather George (my mother’s, mother’s father) was also full Swedish, but he did not raise my grandmother. Apparently he was handsome and “swarthy” (a direct quote from my great-aunt, and the only description my grandmother ever got of her bio-dad) but not a very nice man. I’m proud of my great-grandmother for getting extricated from a bad marriage in a time period when women rarely managed it. According to family legend, after moving from North Carolina to Texas with him and only then realizing what a dangerous person he was, she managed to run away with my baby grandmother and hide from him in a city where she knew no one until enough time had passed that she could post for divorce in the paper! Her maiden name was Garren, which is where I get my pen name from. 🙂

From that side of the family we are “dark Swedish,” instead of the more commonly thought of pale skin and hair. My few relatives old enough to remember George have said that my sister and cousin–who have olive skin and dark hair (people have thought my sister was Latina)–inherited those traits from him. I don’t know what that means ancestry-wise–maybe we’re part Sami, the native culture of northern Scandinavia?–BUT I do know that not all Swedes are blond and blue-eyed!

The curving bridge of the Atlantic Highway at sunset

Atlanterhavsvegen by Jvikphoto (Flikr)

If I ever figure out where exactly my family comes from, I may try to get back to Sweden to visit that area. For this trip, however, we’ll only be getting to Stockholm and Gothenburg before moving into Norway. My husband and I love driving vacations, so we’re renting a car to drive through the Norwegian mountains and around fjord country. Norway has something called “National Tourist Roads” which are basically particularly beautiful highways for driving on, and we’re particularly looking forward to the island-hopping Atlantic Highway with its bizarre bridge that looks like you’re driving off the road into the surf! Then we’re spending extra days up north because I’m working on a book set in Tromsø. (Anything to justify a trip back, eh?)

I look forward to posting more about it–with pictures!–when we get back. What’s your dream vacation?

* My Celto-Teutonic ancestry pie, as best as I understand it:

My Dad

  •  Father (Buddington): Swedish
  •  Mother: German

My Mom

  • Father: Irish, Scottish, English
  • Mother: Swedish (father–George) / Dutch-French (mother)

Featured Image: Lyngenfjord near Skibotn in north norway at evening by Inlandsvägen