Venjan(ce) is mine, by birthright!
Dalbo Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
Pictures to follow, as soon as they are uploaded! In the one I have up now...guess which one(s) are Swedish? Ok, guess which one(s) are 100% Swedish?????
At some point or another, everybody wonders, “Why am I here” and “Where did I come from.” Little did I know, way across the ocean in Sweden, there was 5 generations of cousins, avidly searching for ME, and my relatives….relatives that I had no idea were living practically right under my nose! That is, until my brother, Steve, asked if I would like to attend the Third Venjan Reunion (this past September 26, 2009), in a teeny-tiny town of Dalbo, Minnesota (one church, one bar, and if you blink…oops, you just missed it!)
My first reaction was…what is a Venjan??? The word sounds a lot like vengeance! Or maybe a Vulcan??? I would soon be corrected about what it means to be a Venjan…for apparently I AM a Venjan, if only 4 or 5 generations removed. Venjan is a beautiful little town in the northern part of Dalarna, Sweden, north of Oslo but near the Norwegian border.
If you speak Swedish, Venjan has its own web site: http://www.venjan.se/.
My second reaction was…when were the first two reunions? I found out later, that in 2007, some of my Minnesota relatives went to Sweden for Venjan’s 400 year anniversary (older than the United States!), and in 2008, some Swedish relatives came over to Minnesota and met in the City of Braham.
A small note about my family history here in the United States: As I found out from one of my cousins, Mary, back in the 1800’s, over 20% of Venjan's population immigrated to North America. My great-great-grandparents left Sweden in order to build a new life here in Minnesota, where the land was inexpensive, and the climate was very similar to what they left in Venjan. They brought all their niceness from Sweden as well…so, if you have ever heard about “Minnesota Nice,” thank one of my Venjan relatives, ya, sure, you betcha!!!
Some of our Swedish visitors wore the beautiful traditional costumes from Dalarna. And some brought their accordions and fiddles, and sang traditional Swedish songs. I can karaoke, but I don’t speak a word in Swedish! I still had fun participating. As I went from table to table, and group to group, I found out not only were Venjans living in Minnesota, but all across the United States, if not the world! I was also amazed at how much work some of my relatives put into geneology. Some had even written their own family history books! It was a wonderful day, and like all great events the time we spent together went by much too fast. I could have spent an entire week at this reunion, and still not have met everybody!
I was invited to visit Sweden next year, and was told to come in the summer so as to participate in the annual Venjan festival. This sounds like potential for a TB Meet Up!!!
At the end of the day, I was sad to wave at the bus, and see all 28 of my Swedish Venjan family who had travelled over to Minnesota for this reunion leaving. I said good bye to the rest of the 256, as they got ready to head back to where they had come from.
However, that night when I got home, I created a Facebook account for myself, and within hours was being asked for friendships. Through this internet innovation, I am already in contact with my greater Venjan family, and with fellow TBers as well!