Where do I start? Just had such an amazing time with my second workaway stay that I am still not back in the “real world” (i.e. on a train towards Stockholm as I’m writing).
We came to Sunne last Tuesday, not knowing what to expect, but with a sure feeling that we were coming to a friendly house. We hoped for friendly and we got so much more. We came into a house that was filled with love and respect for each other, a house filled with fun and great conversations and most of all, incredible people! 😀
Our hosts, Iriah and Hendry, are a Dutch couple who have this house in Sweden as their summer house (and sometimes go there for Christmas as well). Iriah’s parents owned it before and she had a long list of things that needed doing. We were the last round of workaway helpers and Rúna and I were the last to leave today, the two will go back home to the Netherlands on Sunday. So in the two weeks before, a lot had been done already and we had some fun projects to work on.
Who are “we”? You know who Rúna is, then there was Dóra from Hungary and two guys from Italy, Samuel and Riccardo, generally known as “the boys” – whereas we were “de dames” 🙂 We did some painting on the house, all the white bits and the windows and I got to paint a whole corner of the house in the gorgeous new yellow – which will get done on the whole house next summer. Then Dóra and I got to build a tent out of poles and some orange gauze, which will house Iriah’s vegetables and protect them from insects and such. 🙂 We also planted a lot of bushes and other plants, filled up the slope with soil and the boys rebuilt the path around the house.
These things we usually did somewhere between 9.30 and 14.30 (or between breakfast and lunch), after that we were free to go wherever we wanted. Mostly, we wanted to go to the lake just a few minutes from the house. If you are following on Facebook or Instagram, you probably already know this lake from the pictures 🙂
It had a little pier going out which could be used to jump from and then climb back up on – or you could swim to the shore. It also had a thermometer which we always checked first, it ranged from 17 to 20 degrees over the days. I think only Riccardo and Rúna did not go for a swim at all, even I “took the plunge”. Quite literally, off the pier and into the freezing water (yes, 19 degrees) I went and the shock of the cold made me gasp for air for a little while. Poor Dóra probably thought she’d have to somehow get me out again and in the beginning, I wasn’t sure either… but it didn’t take too long to get my breath back and then I swam back to the shore. Not in a million years would I have been able to climb on the pier 😛
Other attractions around were the village shop a little further than the lake and with opening times that nobody knew. I think more often than not it was closed… but they had the necessities and we went there a few times. Finally, up on the hill behind the shop was the church. Already when we arrived, Iriah told us that the church and the graveyard are important parts of the life of Selma Lagerlöf and that there would be a special ceremony on Sunday. Selma Lagerlöf’s home was also in walking distance – if you don’t mind walking 15km in one day 😉
In the evenings we had dinner together, Italian pasta one night, a Pakistani dish from Rúna another and there was also the campfire for BBQs. We always had a lot to talk about and never went to bed before midnight I think. The people as I said were amazing, from the young (22 and 24) boys via psychologist Döra (26) to us and the hosts there could have been a huge age gap – but there wasn’t! A mixture of maturity for the young ones and still having an inner child for the older ones made it just perfect 🙂
Thank you, Iriah and Hendry, for such a wonderful experience! And we’ll see you again, no matter where 🙂 You and everyone else were a true inspiration and hold a big place in my heart now! And I am going away much calmer and more relaxed.