Göran and I arrived at our destination, his home, 4th November 1978. The village, where his home is situated, is called Hångberg and is a part of the community of Hassela, which is a part of the Nordanstig municipality. The little village has only four buildings, one of them is the little farm of Göran, a very little farm. The dwelling house as well as the cowshed is painted in the traditional Swedish colours, which means it is red and has white corners as well as white window frames. The red colour is a special kind of colour, the Falu red. It is looking so lovely. The building is quite small. It has two floors. The ground floor has two rooms = the kitchen and the living room, both are small. The kitchen had no electric stove and only a very simple sink. There were a cupboard as well, of course. On the first floor is an allroom and three bedrooms, but the side bedrooms only have one bed. The middle bedroom has two. There are no wardrobes! The cowshed or maybe one also can call it barn, contains three spaces for cows and a part for implements. I cannot remember, that it had an attic for hay. The house did not have a bathroom, but Göran had started to excavate under the house. It is build on a slope, though there is a possibility to have a cellar. By the way, as long as I lived there, the bathroom was not a fact. Because of the cold, we used one of the side bedrooms. Though we used a 90cm bed together. In Sweden, they call it sambo, when a couple is living like husband and wife, but is not married. It was and is very usual in Sweden.
I just have to take a rest in my story and have to explain a little about “Gavleborg county”. The Swedish name is Gävleborgs län. It is the southernmost county of the Northern part of Sweden, called Norrland. Sweden has three original “lands”: Svealand, Götaland and Norrland. If you are interested in, you can read about the History of Sweden on Wikipedia. For a map about these three lands (regions) you can follow another link to Wikipedia. As you can see on the map is Norrland around half of Sweden. Gavleborgs county has two provinces Gästrikland and Hälsingland, whereof Hälsingland is in the North of Gavleborgs county and Nordanstigs kommun is a part of Hälsingland. You can read about Nordanstig municipality on Wikipedia as well. Unfortunately there was not much to find about Hassela. Anyway it is known for skiing as well as the Hassela collective (care for youth with drug problems). Hassela and it’s surroundings are beautiful for hiking as well. During wintertime it is possible to cross the lake by car – almost most of the winters.
Back to our life. We spent the first two month by getting me to know the neighbors and the surroundings as well as the friends of Göran. Next to Göran, in a similar small house as his, an old man was living. The house belonged to his son, but his son had no use of it at that time, therefore Gösta was living there. It is also good, that a building is used. Gösta had a girl friend, Alice, in his age. She lives in Nynäshamn, close to Stockholm, but twice or three times a year she was visiting him for a couple of month. By Alice I have got to know the old fashion Swedish traditions. Though I got to know all about coffee at 11am and 3pm. Usually Swedes serve three kinds of homemade biscuits and cinnamon buns during these coffee times, in Swedish called “fika”. When there are festivities like birthdays, they serve seven kinds of homemade biscuits, cinnamon buns and different kind of cakes – with or without cream.
The other neighbours – living on the other side of Gösta’s home, were Ethel and her husband. They had a farm with around 20 cows. Ethel was not so much older than me, unfortunately she was not able to get children (as she had told me). We became very good friends. She helped me a lot with the Swedish language and also other things. Göran only had a very old washing machine, which I had to use outside the buildings. It was only possible to use it during the month free of snow and neither, when it was raining. Therefore I did make our laundry most of the times at Ethel’s home.
During the entire winter I had to saw wood for the fireplace in the kitchen. We also were cooking with wood. Göran had not prepared the wood, as it is usual. It was minus 18°C and my shoes were not as warm as I thought, they are. I froze on my hands and feet.
I also got to know the simple food like all the kinds of porridge, cooked by all kinds of cereals – almost with water and added the milk on the deep plate. There were also lingonberry jam on the top of the porridge. Furthermore I learned to collect lingonberries, blueberries and cloudberry. Cloudberries grow in marsh. With my knowledge of marsh, I was very afraid to enter it. In Sweden the marsh has a lot of tufts, where one can stand on and where the cloudberries are growing. I did not walk on the tufts, I was just watching Göran, picking the berries. It was easier to collect lingonberries, but it was not a good idea, that Göran send me to collect them during the hunting season. Not only, that a moose could have run over me, there was also the possibility to be shot. Göran was also going hunting. I prepared the packed lunch for him. One day of them, we did not have other bread at home as hard bread and that was his fault, because he was always shopping the food, I had packed a special, very hard kind of Finish hard bread for him, because he loves it so much. When he came back from the hunt, he was angry at me. I had put two on each other with spread in between. He asked me, how I think, he could eat them. I apologized. I actually was not thinking so far, but on the other hand side, he just could have opened them and ate them one and one.
Christmas holidays including New Year we spent together with Göran’s sister Irja and her family in Ockelbo. They were very well situated. He, Ingvar, was a manager of a big company and she was making some money by translations. She had a daughter from an earlier relatenship – with a Spaniard. The daughter had the name Beatriz. They also had a daughter in common. She was only four or five years old at that time. For the Christmas holidays at their home, I did not have a dress with me, though I did get a dress of Irja as a loan. Irja is much longer than me, I think ten centimeters in total, though it was not easy with the long dress I had. We also did take walks – not in the dress, of course, in the snow during those days. It was a nice interruption, but I did not like Irja so very much. She was very proud of to be rich. By the way, she and her syster Ingalill, who lived in Saltsjöbaden, close to Stockholm och who we met on our way from Germany to Göran’s home, does not speak with each other. Being friend with one of them, meant not be able to be friend with the other of them. I tried to be friends with both of them, but Irja dit not allow it and Ingalill did not care about me, since I left Göran.
In January he started at a class for welding in Sundsvall, town around 30 km away. He was staying at a dormitory in that town during the week and was only at home at the weekend. I borrowed a book “Swedish for immigrants” at the library and learned Swedish. I had my neighbours to go to and I was very happy in them, because they helped me to become better in Swedish. By the way, Göran did not help me with Swedish at all – in the contrary. He was happy, he could exercise his German as well as, I think, he thought, that I will be dependend on him without knowledge of the language. The best help in speaking Swedish I had of Ethel. She did explain for me the words I did not know yet with other Swedish words. When I had finished the book “Swedish for immigrants” I borrowed other books at the library. The first was a book for children of Elsa Beskow. Unfortunately it was a book with only rhymes and one had to fill in words. It was too difficult for me at this time. Though I borrowed one about a woman, who got help of the union for employees. It was not a big book, though I soon continued with other books. I became stuck to the trilogy about the migrants from Småland (a landscape of Sweden) of Vilhelm Moberg. He used a little older kind of Swedish language, with a lot of words from German. I was reading and had the dictionary on the side of it. All the words I did not understand I was writing down together with the German meaning. It was a very good way for me to learn more and more words.
In February Göran took me to friends at the countryside in Medelpad (also another landscape of Sweden). I could already conversate with them, even I was not full good in Swedish yet. One difficulty I had there was, that they served fruit cream as a dessert. In Sweden they eat those creams with milk on it, what I did not know. Though the family was waiting for, that I will take of the milk – take it first as a guest of the house. I did not do it, of course. Though the husband in the family did take of the milk with the words “Ok, I will take first of the milk.” Directly afterwards I tried the cream with milk as well and I explained, that I was not used to this kind of food and did not know, that it is to eat with milk. All went well. We also were visiting a barn dance. Göran does not dance. If I remember right, his friend did dance with me once or twice. I was wearing a very beautiful dress – one I still hade from Germany, and an unknown man was asking me for a dance. I asked Göran if it is OK and than I was following this Swede to the dance floor. He tried to make conversation with me, but I did not understand all the words. He was asking me something about, if I had been there last year as well. He used “i fjol” for last year – which is usually i Sweden, but so far I only knew the word “fiol”, which means violin och therefore I could not answer him. I explained, that I was new in Sweden and not so good in Swedish yet. He did not ask me for another dance. With this barn dance I have seen a keyed fiddle for the first time in my life. A teenage boy (maybe 14 years old) was playing the instrument and I was bewitched of the sound.
Göran also took me to the dormitory in the town, where he was studying and managed, that I could work there as a cleaner for a couple of weeks. It was a little complicated, because I did not have residence and work permit yet. Though I had to wait until the company decided to pay for my job. Under these two weeks I was visiting an optician. At that time, I did have contact lenses and I needed more liquid for them. At the optician all was going well, but when he told me, that I have to come back, if I am getting red eyes (röda ögon), I did not understand the word “röda” and had to ask him, what it means. He told me, if my eyes will get red (röd) and I did understand as well as I was thinking, that I was stupid, who did not understand “röda”. Even back at home I was doing some paid cleaning. It was for a bank in the nearby town of Hassela and only a couple of hours a week. Sometimes we were going by the postman to Hassela. This opportunity we only had on Fridays. It was an official service and we had to pay a small amount for it. By the way, the next bus stop was 7 km away in a little village called Kölsjön. I had to exercise to pronounce that name lots of time, because it is very hard to pronounce, if one is not born in Sweden with the Swedish language.
In March or April we also had an appointment at the polisstation in Hassela about my residence and work permit. Göran followed me and was also accompanying me as an interpreter. We had both to explain, why I was in Sweden and living with him. This intervju had to be done one more time, but one by one. The polis officer had done it the incorrect way. It was not allowed to hear me with Göran in the same room. By the next intervju I was already very good in Swedish, though it was no problem. Around this time it happened, that Göran had errands in Hudiksvall, one of the towns nearby and I was going with him. I was to see a lawyer, asking if he could help me with my divorce in Germany, because I was still married to Hans-Peter. It became late until I was at the meetingpoint again and Göran was very angry at me. I was particularly interested in the divorce, because I was pregnant.
More thinks I remember was, that I was writing letters home every month and maybe more often. Once, in the beginning of the new year, we were visiting his mother, who was living in Umeå (in Västerbotten). It must have been in the first two or three months, because she was so critical against me for my bad knowledge of Swedish. Later we did understand very well and she got a positive attityd to me.
I had to help Göran a lot. Though I followed him to his jobs from time to time. He was a substitue for animal farms. I had to clean the shit. The other job, he was doing. By that I learned a lot about how to ran an animal farm. By the way, while I was living with Göran, we did not have other animals than a horse. The cows were outsourced to another farmer. Göran did get paid for that. During the summer, Göran asked me to take home his horse, which was of North Swedish breed, a working horse – not a horse for riding. He was working in his forest during the winter with the horse and the horse had to drag the carriage with hay etc. The horse was not only big, but also high and I have not had to do with horses before, though the horse was running away for me and Göran did get very angry again. I also had to harvest potatoes during the autumn. At this stage I was very pregnant and I did get heartburn, when I bowed or was going down on my knees. I told him, but he did not care about it. I had to help him anyway. Once when Göran was not at home, I looked for sleeping pills in his house. Unfortunately I did not found any – or maybe fortunately. At that time I was in the mood to suicide.
During the summer we visited his mother for around a week in their summer house in Söderhamn, also in the county of Gavleborg. I was told, that this house had been the first Swedish housing for Görans mothers grandparents, who came from Russia. Even the father of Göran had russian, but also finnish blood. Alva, Göran’s mother, told me, that it had not been easy to live together with her husband.
Gösta had gone for holidays in October 1979 and we were taking care about his dog, which mostly was on a rope. One day Göran asked me to take a walk with the dog. It was slippery on the road by the snow and ice and there were no other places to go. The dog was pulling so hard, that I slipped and fell down. I had to go to the hospital the following day, because I did get early labor pains. Göran did not care about it, but with the help of Ethel I was going to the hospital. I had to stay there for the rest of the time of this pregnancy. It was also Ethel, who had droven me some days before to the town of Sundsvall, where I had bought a used pram. When we were nearly at home that day, she did slipp in the trench of the road with the car and got a flat. You have to know, that there are lots of gravel roads in Sweden. The road between Kölsjön and Hångberg as well as further, was one of them. It did not happen anything to us, but the flat was a mess, of course.
At the beginning of December, I was at home for a few days. Göran had been in Germany for holidays just before and took me home, when he was on his way back. I thought, it was because he loved me, but it was only for he wished, that I will help him at home. Soon I had to go back to the hospital, because it was too much for me and I have got labor pain again. 17th December our baby boy was born, but it was not a natural birth. His heart sound was becoming bad, though he was born by Caesarian surgery. I stayed with him at the hospital for ten days, which was usual at that time, especially when giving birht by Caesarian surgery. I did not get to see my son before the other day after the surgery. I did not feel any band to him. They could have shown me any white coloured baby and told me, it is mine. Anyway, soon I have got strong ties to him.
It was not an easy life with our baby boy at Göran’s home, because it was so simple there. I had to go and take showers at Ethel’s home and also did my washing there. I had done that before, but with the baby, it was even harder. I always had to take him out for it, even it was very cold. Fortunately, I had a kick sleigh during the winter. Göran did tell me, that I have to buy my own food now, because I did get money from the Swedish health insurance authority for our baby and myself. It was not much at all, but we could stay alive. Only once Göran did take care about Gunnar (the name our baby had got) while I was going by the postman to town for shopping food. When I came back, Göran did hold him on the inside of the window, the way one stands, but Gunnar was still very young and could not sit yet. Göran did not share the bed with me anymore since Gunnar was born. Göran did sleep in a sleeping bag in the kitchen – to save money. We could have used the middle bedroom, which would have had space for both of us – in two single beds, but he declined. Then, in March, there came that horrible day, when he hit me, because I had not cleaned as good as he asked me for. He was always complaining about, when I had sat on the sofa and the sofa cover was not totally flat. I was very unhappy about his way to treat me, but I won’t go back to Germany with Gunnar. I knew, what people would have been thinking about me. I also did not have got the residence and working permit. I was very stressed of the situation, but did not tell my family and friends about it. I was so ashamed. Only Göran’s mother I sent a postcard – it was the only thing I could get without Göran knowing it. I asked her for help, but she became angry at me instead.
Göran had been to another class, for which he was staying away from home during the week. Usually he was coming home on Friday evenings, but this day was a Thursday. I had waited with the cleaning for the upcoming day, though it would be spotless, when he was coming home. This Thursday evening there was a little spot on the floor and he got so angry, that he hit me. First, when he tried, I was running upp the stairs, but I did not get far, he was taking me down. I was holding Gunnar in my arms. I was so afraid, that he also will hit Gunnar or take him away from me, that I did bite Göran in his long-finger. He did draw it out of my mouth. My lower foreteeth were following out. You must know, that I had a dental bridge there just for three teeth. There was one tooth missing, when I was a child. My father did care about, that I did get that dental bridge, when I was 17 years old, because he did not allow earlier that I did get braces.
The dental bridge, which loose, made Göran to calm down again, but I was going to Ethel and ask her for help. I was allowed to stay there during the night and the other day I did get an apartment of the social department of the authority of Nordanstig in the main town Bergsjö. I did ask Göran för money for my car, because he was using it all the time and kept it. I did get 2000 SEK of him for the car. That was my start for the new life as a single mother.
Fortunately the one-room-apartment, which a big kitchen and a bathroom, was furnited. I only brought in our clothes and very personal items. I did get a friend in the woman next door. She was a help and support, when I have got the message from home, that my father died. That was in April 1980. I did go by train to Germany with my son Gunnar, even I did not have any papers for him. I did not have any problem with it on the way to Germany. I stayed with my mother for some days and also visited friends – even my cousin in the South of Germany. In May, around a month then I left Sweden, I was going back. I called the population register in Sweden and tried to almost get the birth certificate, but it never arrived. I also took as much as I could of my own belongings on the train. In Denmark, the asked, whom the baby is, which was in the pram at the only place, where a pram could be. I told them, that it is mine and also the whole history about, why I do not have any papers for him. Fortunately, they did trust me and I was allowed to go further together with my son.
Soon I also became friend with a woman in my age with a 10-year-old girl. The girl was often visiting me, especially when her mother was drinking beer. She got full very fast and, when she was full, she got epilepsy. Not far away a woman, somewhat younger than me, was living with her husband and a son in the age of mine. We met quite often.
In May 1980 Gunnar was baptised Gunnar, Tore. His godmother and godfather (Greta and Tore) was the postman and his wife, we had become friends, while I was living with Göran. Alva, Göran’s mother attended as well and so did his sister Irja and her family. Gunnar fick a children cutlery from the godparents, though Alva, who had forgotten the childspoon for the baptising at home in Umeå, was angry about the godparents respectively at me.
Finally I have got the residence and working permit. Though, when Gunnar was eight month old, I was locking for a job. First I had a babysitter, because I was working in the evenings. The babysitter was only nine years old, but very reliable. I have get to know her, because I became a member of the Pentecost church. She and the daughter of the praest were helping me a lot. Unfortunately during the services, that was not possible. Though I have had a love – hate relation to the Pentecost community. Soon I have got a daytime job and a daymother. There was no space at the kindergarten. The daymother was employed by the authority of Nordanstig. It was hard during vintertime to walk to her in the morning, because of the snow and that it fastened between the wheels and the wheel protection of the stroller. The daymother was not very talk active. Gunnar had problems with his stomage and I had to ask her every day, if all had been OK.
After I had worked in the nearby town as a cleaner at the hospital, I was allowed to attend an education for care of elderly and disabled. It was an education in a high pace. In half a year we learned as much as help nurses learn in the first year of their two year lasting education. We also had to made a practical month. I finished in May and did get a temporary work in June. Now my usual daymother was on holidays, but the authority had found another one. The best we ever have had. They lived at the outskirt of the small town and had a farm. The mother had two teenagers and a 5-year-old girl. Gunnar had a great time there. Unfortunately the daymother did not continue after the summer, but Gunnar dit get a place at the kindergarten. I do not really remember, when I was working with what, but I remembered, that I also was working in a hotel as a dishwasher and a room cleaner. Once I was allowed to work as a waiter at a wedding. It was a couple of our Pentecost community members, who married.
I was invited to other weddings. One I missed, because I did not remember, that the ceremony in the church, will not be hold in the church itself – because it had been a fire in there, but in the nearby hall. Another wedding was hold at 31st December. Unfortunately I had got some cake or coffee or similar on my clothes during the first part of the wedding – not my fault, though I had to go home and change and missed a lot of the evening. On one wedding I also had a national dress, which I had borrowed of a friend. My social life was quite OK, even I was a single mother, e.g. I followed two women, members of the Pentecost church, on the lake for a kind of fishing, we call “pimpla”. One has a very short fishing rod, make a hole in the ice of the lake and try to get fish – it often works. During the summers I was sometimes going to that lake, which was nearby our town, for enjoying the sun.
In 1981 I was getting an own apartment, that means the contract was between me and the lessor and not between the social authority of the town and the lessor. I did get a special loan for people getting there first apartment. Unfortunately these loans does not exist anymore. If I remember right, the money was from the bank of Sweden and one had to pay back to the bank of Sweden. For that loan I could buy a nice sofa, a big bed, a small bed for Gunnar, some more furniture for the living room, chairs and table for the kitchen and also pots and pans and dishes as well as curtains. I have got a very nice home by this and that apartment had two rooms. The apartment was situated close to a small forest. At the edge of the forest lily of the valley were growing during the months of May and already in March each year anemones were in bloom in a little grove nearby. I really loved that place. By the way, the kitchen cabinets were painted in a very nice orange colour. Some people told me, it is orange and it is not nice, but I answered: It is yellow as the sun. I also crocheted small curtains and embroider a tray belt with cross stitches. Furthermore I was knitting sweaters for Gunnar.
By the new apartment I have got new friends as well and I also met some boy friends, but none of them was a friend for a life time. One of them, which no work, asked me to be his girlfriend even he already had one. Though I told him, that I won’t. Another one, who was a truck driver, which I liked a lot, was going with me to Stockholm to meet my friend Erika and her husband, when they came visiting me. The guy told me afterwards, that he does not feel anything for me, though we did not continue with our friendship either. His friend, who was a painter, and I were together for a long while. We actually got engaged, but, when I asked him, if we could move together and rent a three-room apartment, he un-engaged with me.
I had get to know a family at the hospital, when I gave birth at Gunnar. We met some times. They were visiting me in my new home and I was visiting them in Ljusdal. This and similar ways I have got to know more parts of our county.
In 1982 I was moving to Lycksele in Västerbotten. You can follow the link to read about the reason and my life there.