Stina tells the story of a Swedish 16-year old girl named Stina Kajsa Nordberg. She and her best friend Synne run away from home to escape her older sister’s wishes of moving to the USA, however they get caught and have to help their sister.
It was a warm, sunny day. It was April of 1844 in the United Kingdom of Norway and Sweden. I was running around with my best friend, Synne.
Even though we were poor, we were still happy. We were great friends. We loved to hang out together; we were probably the most happy 9 year olds ever? Right.
Flashback to 7 years later, and there I stood with Synne. We were sitting by the market, thinking about what we could do while we waited for our parents to go shopping,
“Maybe we could do capture the flag with some of the older kids?” she asked.
I looked at the field. There were some 17 and 18 year old kids, some who had just graduated from school, playing capture the flag, using an old Sweden flag.
I shook my head. My older sister, Åsa, did not want to see me play with the flag. She is very passionate about our country, and she will get very mad if I get caught “trashing” our country.
She also doesn’t want me hanging out with the older kids, well, except Synne and my brother Henrik.
Speaking of Åsa, she came up to us. She was wearing a light pink head covering that was too small for her because you could still see her long, blonde hair.
She was wearing a long, buttoned up red sweater with a long green skirt and no shoes since we were too poor to own shoes.
I am not an only child. I have Åsa, who is 21 years old and Henrik, who is 18. Henrik usually spent a lot of time outside of town for college.
I remember back when he was 12, Henrik wanted to run away from home all because he wasn’t allowed to speak Norwegian and had to speak Swedish. We found him, and Mom grounded him by locking him in his room for a whole year.
In case you are wondering about my dad, he died last year from a war he fought in Denmark. Ever since that, Åsa has been babysitting us when Mom was at work.
However, everything is currently changing.
Åsa threw herself into my arms, smiling and laughing.
This was rare. Usually Åsa was feeling very neutral about everything. She was never really happy.
“What happened?” Synne asked. Staring at her.
“I’M GETTING MARRIED!” Åsa screamed happily.
“To whom?” she asked. Taking notes on a leather notebook that was used for school.
“You know Ivar Johansson? the Norwegian guy who lives on the other side of the town? She asked me.”
Åsa jumped. “Yeah!” she said excitedly.
After a few hours, we came back home to see our parents.
My mom, Hawlya, and my dad, Håkan, are very different.
Halwya is very strict. She is always walking towards us, and once, she had to tie her hand to Erik’s hand when we were walking so he wouldn’t run away.
Halwya is always working on her farm, but occasionally she makes clothes for everyone in our town and then travels to Stockholm to sell our clothes. She is originally from Jämtland but decided to move to Småland for educational reasons.
Håkan’s real name is Harald, but Hawlya said that name is “too Danish.” so he had to legally change it to Håkan when he was 18 years old.
Håkan didn’t have a job, so he always stood there helping Halwya. Unlike her, Håkan was chill as long as we didn’t do anything illegal or offensive.
But ever since Håkan died last year, life was plain. Without him, our family felt like all the fun had disappeared.
We lived in a very small cabin. We didn’t have a lot of room. Halwya had her own room, we had a kitchen and a bathroom in the same room, and my siblings and I used to share a bed with Åsa, but when she turned 13 she got her own bed.
I quickly ran and sat down on my bed. Åsa followed me.
“Stina. I want to talk to you,” she said, sounding like a mix of mad and happy.
I wasn’t in the mood to talk. I feel like everything has been falling apart, and my relationship with Åsa wasn’t as good as it used to be a few years ago.
I remembered when Åsa was younger, like 14 or 15 years old, and she liked staying with me. During Midsummer, we basically will run to the meadow behind the town and spin ourselves around until we throw up.
During Christmas, we will see who can make the best gifts using only the cheapest items the grocery store had.
But now, the new Åsa hates me. The new Åsa only cares about her relationship with Ivar, and I was left alone.
Feeling miserable, I layed in bed and hugged a small plush bunny Åsa made for my 13th birthday.
I missed her.