We'll be mentioning these people a lot of the coming posts, so I think it's best to list just who's who.
1. Janne and Margaret: They're really the key people for our project. Sooz and Margaret used to work together in Stockholm back in the day and became fast friends. Margaret is a New Yorker through and through (Long Islander, really), and the two girls share the same birthday. She moved to Sweden many years ago and found the wonderful Stockholmer Janne. Margaret opened her own bookstore (www.newyorkstories.se) about a year ago. Marg has a son, Callan, who is a pretty cool customer, he combines the best of Swedish and American culture. Janne is a sailor and builder, a man of much experience, charm, strength and many skills, who spends most of his time on the island of Aspö, which coincidentally is where we're going to build our house! Janne is going to provide us a lot of help getting the planning permissions, making the foundations, and in general keeping an eye on us. We couldn't realistically do this without Janne.
2. Marcia and Rutger: Sooz also worked with Marcia back in the day and the four of us have been good friends since. Marcia is Dutch, very stylish, good with languages, and pleasure to be with. Rutger is a Swede, very practical, very funny, and a well-traveled guy. They have two exceptional children, Tim and Camille.
3. Stefan is the man from company who's providing our house. He has been really helpful in dealing with a barrage of emails from a bunch of pushy Americans. He even cut his holiday short to come into Stockholm to meet with us.
4. Janne W. (we'll call him Willi to avoid confusion) is the strapping builder we've met, whom we intend to come to the island to help put our house together.
5. Ann and Dave: Ann is Margaret's sister, who has a house on the island as well. Dave is her handsome husband (so say the girls). They're important not only for their hard-won advice, but also their generosity, as they've let us stay at their house as we visit the island and make preparations to build.
6. Tony and Ann-Catrin are the landowners on Aspö from whom we are buying our land. He and his family have been fantastically accommodating to us American interlopers!