6:23pm

Fri April 8, 2011
The Two-Way

On Their Honeymoon, No Matter Where They Went, Disaster Followed

Stefan and Erika Svanstrom of Sweden had an elaborate four-month-long honeymoon planned, but they had no idea that no matter where they went, disaster would follow.

As soon as they set out on Dec. 6, they were stranded in Munich, Germany because of a massive snowstorm. For tonight's edition of All Things Considered, the couple told NPR's Melissa Block they faced a Monsoon in Indonesia. Later, they flew to Perth in Australia and they were trailed by brush fire and then in Cairns, they were followed by a category 5 cyclone.

Stefan told Melissa that he, Erika and their baby girl had to be evacuated and spent 24-hours in a mall with 2,500 other people.

It doesn't end there: Just before they made it to New Zealand and were headed to Christchurch, they heard a 6.3-magnitude quake struck.

Then, they found themselves at a restaurant in Tokyo

"It was shaky," says Erika. "But it's Japan." She says they didn't know something was really wrong until a waitress started pointing to the door and telling them something in Japanese.

Erica says they never once thought about going back home. But they did learn something about each other and their new marriage.

"It's a marriage built on love and nothing can change that," says Stefan, "not even the biggest earthquake in the history of Japan."

Erika says there's no one else she would like to spend an earthquake or a cyclone with than Stefan. Here's a bit of audio from their conversation with Melissa:

Of course, the backdrop here is tragedy: Thousands died in Japan alone and Stefan, Erika and Eleanor, their baby, made it back home safely to Sweden, while the people of Japan and New Zealand were left to pick up the pieces.

Melissa asked them about that and here's what they had to say:

For the full interview, listen to tonight's edition of All Things Considered on your local member station. We'll post the as-broadcast version of the interview at the top of the post, a little later tonight. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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