Several years ago, one of my very best friends and I were both going through tragic life events at the same time. She had just been through a breakup so painful that she fled from Michigan to literally the other side of the world, a farm in the Swedish countryside. I was in Ann Arbor, working at a horrible job and spending all of my evenings and weekends with my family caring for my Dad, whose lung cancer had recently metasticized to his brain. It was one of those time periods so dark that even thinking about it now, almost 8 years later, my heart feels like it could just stop beating. We survived those months by emailing each other almost daily. There were many days in which the only lighthearted moment for me was finding a message from Nat waiting in my inbox with outlandish tales of whatever bizarre thing her Swedes were up to now. I clung to these anecdotes would recount them to my family - at the time, it was the only thing I had to talk about that didn't lead back to the inevitable subjects of cancer, loss and death.
Years later, after a few more cycles of heartbreak and healing for each of us, Natalie used those emails write a memoir about her experience working as an au pair for a Swedish family. More specifically, "A book about the five months I spent cleaning the home of an aspiring cult leader on a remote Swedish farm. Accidentally." It's one of those laugh-cry-laugh type of books, the very best kind. She launched a kickstarter campain a week ago to self-publish it (go back it, obviously) and I designed the cover and a pack of swedish food flashcards for one of the kickstarter rewards. When the funding hits the halfway mark, Natalie and her husband Mike are going to celebrate by releasing their own cover of a Swedish pop song. Put me down for ten on Roxette.