Yup. It happened again. I didn’t spill tea on my computer this time but it no longer works just the same. The screen stays black but the lights all go on so I have no idea what’s wrong. But this means I cant blog any more. I will back post instead once I get home. Goodbye for some time and see most of you in a few weeks.
I turned in and finished my last two essays for my class yesterday. I can’t believe that I have finished my semester abroad. I still only have one of my classes graded and that still has me worried a little but I’m going to talk to some people and see what’s going on. I am a little concerned about my current class because after my seminar I don’t think I did so well at my first essay or seminar, but I know that my last essay was amazing so I think I’ll still pass.
The weather here has been really nice. Apparently the last two weeks was spring when everything began to go green and the trees budded, now it’s summer. Considering I have sunburn on one of my arms and my nose I’m inclined to agree. I find it so funny that I only got burned on one of my arms because all I did was sit out by the pond in front of the campus library and write my essay and read. Yet somehow I kept positioning myself so that my shadow falls on my right arm and my left arm is gets burned. At least I finally got sunscreen so I shouldn’t burn so much again. Sadly I’ve observed that flip-flops are not common footwear outside of the home here in Europe, so I’ve been wearing my ballet flats since I don’t have actual sandals. My ballet flats have given me some bad blisters and I can’t get band-aids to stay when I wear the shoes. At least when I’m in Copenhagen I’ll be wearing my tennis shoes and won’t have to worry about getting even more of my skin rubbed away from my heels.
I am really going to miss my friends when I come home. I made pizza with them last night and weekly dinners I am really going to miss. I’m hoping that we get two more dinners in before I leave, but last night might have been the last time all of us were together. I’m hoping that I stay in touch with them all and I can see them all again one day. It would be so much fun to come back to Europe knowing people to visit. I still have a few more events before I leave that should be lots of fun though. I have a dinner rally tomorrow, a party for Memorial Day on Sunday, and tonight I might head out to Lokal for karaoke. I’m looking forward to just enjoying some down time reading, writing, and enjoying the sunshine as well spending a last few days with my friends.
I’m still quite nervous about going to Copenhagen by myself. I’m really nervous about the flight for some reason, it’s weird because there is not as much security or trouble as there was in my last solo flight but I’m almost as nervous as I was then. I’m also worried about my trip to Stockholm. I’m nervous about having all my luggage with me and not having a safe secure place to keep it. I know it will all be good but I’m still vaguely worried. I suppose it’s being responsible for tickets and my own bookings for one of the first times in my life. I really can’t believe I’m almost done with my semester abroad. I’m already looking forward to my next trip back. Bye for now.
I have about an extra week in at the end of May that is completely empty. Next week I’m finishing up the last two essays I have for my class and I have to go to my only seminar. Once I go to the seminar and turn in the essays I’m finished with my class so I thought I’d see where I could travel for cheap and I decided on three nights and four days in Copenhagen. I also found a really cool tour of Danish castles that I’m really excited to experience. I’m going to get to see the castle that was used as inspiration for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The hostel I’m hoping to stay at is within walking distance of lots of cool places like the world famous Mermaid statue, and I think Roskilde Church where their monarchs are buried. I’m really excited but really nervous. I thought that I had booked my hostel but I have yet to receive confirmation of my booking so I have to call them later today after their check in time starts. I’m also nervous about being there by myself. It’s a big step for me. But before I can go on this cool adventure I have to finish my class and buy a new camera. When I put the batteries back in my camera after it dried off it would turn on but the screen says that there is an error with the lens and then the whole thing turns off again. So now I gotta buy a new camera. Well, best get back to that essay on Swedish gender relations during the 20th C. Goodbye for now.
Well, I just got back from a very eventful trip to Norway. I went to the Lofoten Islands and wow they are beautiful. I really can’t describe how beautiful the islands are. There are so many mountains and almost everyone is some how near the water. They are so steep too! They weren’t quite as pretty as the Rocky Mountains because they were mostly brown with some green and of course white from the snow. I wish I could put in pictures but I still can’t get any to link up. I think that the website got an update and now the picture size is too small for my camera.
The first day we arrived in Lofoten we went on a boat ride to tour a fjord. It was so cool! The mountains were so steep that the only way to get to the fjord is by boat. There were two small waterfalls that might have been from the snow melting hire up in the mountains. While we were on the boat some people got to go fishing and one guy got dared to eat a fish eye, which he did. It was really gross. Especially since he took it out of the plastic tub where one of the fish, which had been dead for a few hours, was very nearly flopping around again. We had lunch on the boat as well, fish soup with Norwegian flat-bread. It was really good. I even had seconds on the soup. After the boat tour my cabin mates and I tried to climb a mountain. The next day we got a map of the trails in the area and we think we climbed the mountain that was 400 meters high. I didn’t make it all the way to the top but I got pretty close. It took me two hours to climb almost above the snow field near the top of the mountain. It was a really steep mountain, a three star on the map. I ended up pretty far behind everyone because they were all used to climbing more than me. So I had to start climbing down myself, and that was a little dangerous at times. I felt like I stepped in every hidden snow rivulet that was on the mountain. My dad made me read a short story by Jack Kerouac before I left about a man in Alaska who dies because of the cold and hidden snow rivulets. It easily came to mind when I was going down the mountain.
I was very happy that the next day we were going on a bus tour of the islands. I was so sore from all the climbing I had done. It was a really lovely tour. We got to see two different beaches and two fishing villages. I loved the rocky beach we went to, I had lots of fun jumping from rock to rock looking for shells and beach glass. I didn’t find and glass but there were lots of pretty shells. The second beach we went to was so beautiful. Because of the white coral sand the beach looked like it belong in the Caribbean along with the turquoise water. I was really surprised to see such beautiful clear blues in the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately my camera got to see the beautiful water a little too closely and now it is dead. Thankfully my SD card wasn’t damaged when the camera fell in the ocean so I still have pictures from half of my trip. The fishing villages were beautiful and I got a wonderful present for my grandfather at one of them. It’s going to be really hard to keep what it is a secret from everyone until I get home but I’m going to try. In the second village we came to I got to see long rows of cod hanging out to dry. Thankfully we didn’t come so far into spring that the smell was really bad yet. The fish have their heads cut off and then dry in the air for three months. After they are done, they last for 30 years! The heads are dried separately and sent to Nigeria where they make a special kind of soup from them. There are lots of fish in Lofoten but fewer fishermen now than there was a decade or two ago. The fishermen huts have turned into little hostels for tourists and that is booming industry in Lofoten. I certainly understand why.
The last day I was in Lofoten I climbed a different, smaller, mountain. This one was only 200 meters high and a one star trail. I made it to the top, but I was still left behind by the group of girls I was with. After we made it to the top we lazed in the sun for an hour or so. Then most of the girls wanted to go on a different trail and climb another mountain that was connected to the trail/mountain we were on. Two other girls and I didn’t want to climb some more so we sunbathed for another two or three hours before we went to go and get food. Everyone was tired at day’s end and ready to sleep on the bus ride back. No one got much sleep though. We watched two movies before we stopped at some research place in the Swedish National Park so a handful of people could see their friends at one in the morning. Though it worked well for bathroom break and it was nice to stretch our legs. I was able to fall asleep again until we reached Lulea around seven in the morning. Then again for another hour or two after breakfast.
All in all it was a really fun trip. I’m really glad I had the chance to go on it. Now though I have to focus on my class work again. I really want my economics paper to write itself. I have to write three papers in three weeks. I think I can do it just working mornings and having the afternoons off to enjoy my last few weeks in Umea. That should still leave me a few over spill days just in case one paper takes me longer than the others. I have to admit that I don’t feel as much drive to make this current paper perfect, I just want it done instead. I can’t wait to have this class over and done with. Well, better get back to my studies. The more time I put in today means the less time I have to put in on the essay tomorrow or Thursday. So goodbye for now.
Well, the weather is warming up here…finally. Last week was full of rain, snow, and hail sometimes all in the same day. None of the showers lasted longer than about an hour though so it was a bit depressing to see it rain, get sunny, get cloudy, hail, clear up fora few hours and then snow. Despite the odd weather I’ve been spending a lot of time at the Lake. During the week few people are there so it’s nice and peaceful. I’ve even begun starting to explore a few of the paths that are off of the paved paths in the woods. It’s beautiful and wonderful among the trees and it’s really relaxing. It reminds me of home.
I’ve started my last class and while I’m sad to be on my last class, I can’t wait until it’s over. I have very little direction from my teacher and tons of independence when it comes to finding information. The first day of class was the only day that we had a lecture and that only lasted three hours. There is a list of suggested reading, but it is not provided like it usually is. I only have one more class on the 21st of May. There I present the first of three papers I have to write. Since it’s contemporary history it’s not my favorite thing to study, plus much of it is focused on economics. I don’t understand much of economics. So while I don’t want my time here to end I really can’t wait to have this class over and done with.
Today I’m leaving for Norway for a few days. I’m going to Lofoten Islands way above the Arctic Circle. I get to go on a cruise to see a fjord and Pauline told me that someone told her that we might get to see whales! I’m really excited but terribly nervous. I keep thinking that I’ve forgotten to pack something. I’m really happy that I get to go on this trip because it will help me ease some of my anxiety over trip to Stockholm. I’m going to spend three extra days in Stockholm before I meet up with my parents and I have to be there all by myself. I’ve got the train ticket booked and the hostel booked already. That alone makes me feel like it’s all winding up. I have to start going through everything and decide what I don’t need to bring home. I can’t believe that my time here is almost done.
In other news a group of my friends and I are getting together every week to have dinner. We had Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes last week and this week we had a chicken dish with onions, tomatoes, and potatoes. They were so delicious. I can’t wait for next week, we’re thinking of an oven bake dish but don’t know what kind yet. Getting together with friends each week to make dinner, usually trying out new recipes, is something that I want to continue when I come home. It’s so much fun!
Well, if I want to double check my packing and have one last cup of tea before I leave I gotta get going. Sorry there are no pictures but all of my pictures are now too big to upload. I can’t understand why. I’ll work on it more when I come back. Goodbye for now.
Whew, it’s been a long time since I last posted hasn’t it? Sorry about the silence recently but I’ve been really busy. So a few quick catch-ups: I did get my computer back. I had just shorted out the keyboard so I now have a Swedish keyboard. My computer thinks that it is an American keyboard though so it’s not difficult to work with. I got my readings done and thankfully I only had to read about 20 pages of that 300 page article. I’m almost done with that class and I’m looking forward to my last class. If I stick to a rather strict schedule I will get the first week in June completely free to travel. Speaking of travel in May I’m going to Norway. The Lofoten Islands in particular. Their latitude is higher than Iceland! But they are going to be really pretty and only a little cold so late in spring. I’m hoping that I’ll get to see the Northern Lights while I’m there. If I don’t get a chance to see them there than I don’t think I’ll get to see them on this trip. The last rays of the sun are still lingering in the sky as late as 10:40pm. In a few weeks I’ll see sunset and sunrise in a matter of hours.
Despite being really busy with class I’ve managed to have a little fun time with my friends. I had a Midwestern Friday Night Fish Fry with some of my friends. That was a ton of fun because I hadn’t read the recipes all the way through so we had a lot of improvising. We had a ton of fun though and everyone enjoyed cooking the fish and making baked beans. There were only six of us. Ben, Tommy, Max, Johannes, Pauline, and me. We all thought we’d try and make Friday night dinner a weekly thing, but it didn’t really work out. I also went and visited an elk farm one weekend. That was a lot of fun as well. I learned a really interesting fact there. Swedish elk are moose but elk in the US are not the same as moose aka Swedish elk. The reason for this is that when the Swedes were first coming over to the US the elk were almost gone from Sweden. When they got to the US they saw large animals with antlers and named them elk thinking that that was what they were, but they weren’t! We got to go right in and touch the elk. It was a lot fun, I just wish I had had rain boots with me. The ground was really muddy that day and my sneakers were not the best choice of shoe. I also went for a dinner picnic at the Lake last week. It was really beautiful and lots of fun. I can’t wait to do it again. I loved sitting on the rocks by the lake when it was just past twilight. It was really peaceful and serene. I would add pictures but at the moment the website is telling me that all of my picture files are too big.
The majority of my time has been spent observing a middle school classroom. My experience from this has been mixed. On the one hand I’m learning a lot and really enjoying that. But on the other none of the students will talk or interact with me. Also the class is taught in Swedish so I don’t understand what is going on two thirds of the time. But I’m doing my best and enjoying it.
This week is my last week in my placement school. I am also hosting an event for my friends where we are going to make cakes in mugs! Then on Saturday some of my other friends and I are going shopping. Next week is my last week of my current class, and the week after that is when I am going to Norway. Wow! I didn’t realize how little time was left for me here. I’ll be happy to come home, but so sad to leave Sweden. I really love it here! Goodbye for now.
So I don’t know if my computer is officialy dead but half the people I’ve talked to have told me that this is most likely. Thankfully my friend Carolina was able to get me a computer from one of her classmates who had two extra. The only problem with this is the entire operating system is in Swedish as is the keyboard. I have managed to change the keyboard to American English but the computer is still in Swedish! Becuase of this the computer is telling me that almost all of my words are misspelled. So if I have lots of spelling errors in this post it’s becuase spellcheck is not working. I’ll know on Monday at the earliest and Friday by the latest if I need a new computer. But if I have to get a new computer I’m going to buy a Surface Tablet instead. I think it will serve my purposes better. For sure it means losing about 10lbs in my luggage, which I do need to do.
In other news I have discovered that I really like tea. Currently my favorite is Lipton’s Forest Berry. The sun has been rising really early. Thankfully daylight savings time was last night so now instead of waking up at 5am becuase of the sun, I’ll wake up at 6 instead. I’m going to have to start thinking about curtains. It’s been really nice weather here. Spring has arrived for which I am very thankful. Now that I know how to walk to the lake I’m looking forward to walks there in the morning or evening to read or write and watch the sun come up or down. Morning walks though will have to be put on hold for two weeks though. I start going into schools on Monday. I finally know where I’m being placed. Now I need to find out which buses I need to take…and what time I’m supposed to show up at. My professor said it depends on the school and the teacher but my placement teacher has not emailed me back. Well I guess when I show up at 7:45am the principal will tell me where to go and if I need to arrive earlier or later.
Oh it looks like my laundry is done. And then I have to get ready to go to church. After church I have to read an article for my class. I have that all planned out so I only have to read one article a day. Which is really nice since the shortest one is 26 pages and the longest one is 300! But my professor said we don’t have to read them all. It’s just information for our final essay which compares the Swedish school system with our home country’s school system. Wish me luck with my computer and goodbye for now.
I killed my computer. Just so everyone knows that getting in touch with me will be very very hard from now on. I have to buy a new computer but that is going to take me a while.
Ok, ok, the title of this one is a really bad joke. But give me a break, I’ve had a really busy week and weekend. If I get an event for Wednesday, I’ll have had a full week of nightly events! So I should start at the beginning and take you through it all.
It all started last week Thursday when I went line dancing with Pauline and some of her friends. That was a lot of fun. I went to Skogis and we talked for a while before a girl from Canada taught us some line dances. Those were fun, but I still prefer my folk dancing class. I spent about two and a half hours at Skogis, and I only left because I had class early in the morning on Friday.
Friday I had planned to get a lot of my work for my final done. So since I had to find the building that my class was in I left an hour and a half early so I could get some studying in before the class. It’s a little hard that my class keeps changing buildings, but it keeps the class interesting because you never know what the classroom will look like. So I got to my building at 8:30 and spent the next hour and a half studying before class. On Friday we had a really interesting class because it was a presentation from two teachers from South Africa. It was really cool to see the differences in the education programs between South Africa, Sweden and the United States. Class really flew by. Then Lisa invited me to see a band that was performing in the social sciences building’s cafeteria place. There is an event called Umea Open going on right now so I am told that there are a lot of musical performances going on at the moment. We had lunch while listening to a rock band. Then we went to the library and got some more studying done. I had to leave early because I had plans to see the Bookthief with Pauline and some of her friends. The Swedish theaters are really interesting. All the tickets are bought from a machine and you have to pick your seats. Even concessions is different, just look at this candy picker! But the biggest difference is that the entrance is at the front of the building, but the when you exit the theater you come out the back! The Booktheif was really good though, I loved seeing it. The Swedish commercials at the beginning of the movie were hard to make out what they were selling though. But it was fun to laugh at our lack of knowledge.
Saturday I had to be up early again for the zoo trip to Lycksele. That was so much fun! Again I was Pauline and some of her friends who I’m becoming better acquainted with all the time now. There was Sarah, and Kathi from Germany and Teagan from Australia in addition to me and Pauline. I even saw Ben, Johanas, and Jessica in the larger group and talked with them now and then. Seeing the animals was really cool. There were only animals from Sweden there, and it wasn’t so much a zoo as a breeding program that allowed visitors in. My favorite animals were the wolverines, seals, muskox, and foxes. I was really excited to see the seals and wolverines especially. I got some really great pictures. I also took some videos, but sadly my camera and computer don’t like each other at the moment in regards to videos and I can’t seem to get them to play. There were two things that really made the zoo trip tons of fun. The first one was that we were the only people in the zoo. The zoo is closed in the winter and spring unless there is a large group of people like we were. In the summer is is open all the time and people can come and go. The other thing that really made the zoo enjoyable, for me at least, was that I kept falling! I slipped on snow and fell on butt once, slid but kept my balance at least a half dozen times, did an elongated leg stretch to keep from falling once, and when we were on the bridge over the seal enclosure I even managed to fall sideways while standing still when the snow I was standing on suddenly gave out. It was an adventure just to see when and where I would stumble, fall, or trip next!
Sunday I went to the church in Alidhem for the first time! It took me much less time to find the building than I had expected, I blame the maps here. So I took some pictures of the building. It took me a moment or two to find the doors because they blended in really well to the walls. But my combination of early arrival and walking around taking pictures and trying to find the doors led me to meeting the pastor at the church. So that was kinda cool. The service was translated into English via a guy speaking into a microphone and me having a receiver in my ear. It was an interesting service, though at times the combination of Swedish and English led to some confusion on my part. It was hard to follow when my brain wanted to split my focus between the two languages. I did turn down the translation during songs and tried to speak…er…sing Swedish at those points. I don’t think I did very well. I wasn’t expecting the service to last an hour and a half since it started at 11, so I had to skip the churches fika because I had errands I had to run. I had to go and do some shopping so that I could bring a fruit platter to my folk dancing party that night. Next time I’m going to try and stay and get to know some of the people in the church. The dance party was fun! It was very disappointingly attended though. It was just the teacher Richard, his colleague Ava, Pauline, Max, two new students from Tanzania, a guy from Portugal, and me. We managed to have lots of fun anyway. We ate dinner first, which was a pasta salad, schnitzel, and a salmon and rice dish. For dessert we had my fruit platter and a cookie cake from Portugal. Then we danced for three hours! We went over almost all of the dances we learned, and we had fun when Max tried to teach everyone the Jive, and later Pauline and me the slower version of the waltz. That especially was fun because we had a song from the Lion King playing at the time and then suddenly Pauline and Max were waltzing to it! We also had lots of fun dancing the Czech Polka. I really like that one. After the dancing Pauline, Max, and I decided to go to Lake Nydala and try to see the Northern Lights. Since Max and I live in Alidhem but Pauline lives in Mariehem, Max and I stopped by our building to quickly change and put our food away. Then we walked the 45min or so to the lake. It cleared up the longer as we walked to the Lake but as we were waiting on the bridge we saw clouds moving in. Since none us really knew what the forecast of the lights were that night, and we weren’t seeing any at the moment, we went to Pauline’s building in Mairehem to look at the forecast. This was about a 15-30 min walk I think. As we were walking to Mairehem it started snowing! So we looked at the forecast even though we knew we couldn’t see the lights now, and then Max and I walked the hour or so back to Alidhem. It was nearly midnight before we got back! I was so tired on that walk back, but slipping on a patch of ice and nearly falling woke me back up really quick.
Monday I was simply exhausted. I finished up my readings for my classes final, and went through the events on facebook that I had been invited to or were suggested to me. I’m thinking of going to a play in April about Pompeii, I joined an expedition to an Elk farm, and consented to several other activities. Tonight and Thursday I have events with my buddy group. Tonight is waffle making and Thursday is dinner at Skogis and partying at Lokal. Anyway I spent a lot of time reading and relaxing on Monday before I went to the last dance class of the year. That was really disappointing. For a half hour it was just Pauline and I. Richard even had a meeting for that same amount of time. He showed us how to use the boombox and told us to have fun. We practiced all of the basic steps we learned, tried to do American Promanade together since the leading part is very similar to the part we normally danced and waited for some other people to show up. Twenty minutes in the two new students from Tanzania arrived. We tried Oh Susannah! but it doesn’t work very well with just two couples. It was lots of fun to laugh at our attempts though. Then we did the four person schottis, this was the point when Richard came back. A little later Max came and our group for the evening was complete. I was really disappointed more people didn’t show up because changing partners is more fun when there are more people. But at the same time it wasn’t bad at all. We did the family waltz three times which I really liked. And since I was still so tired from all that happened that weekend and especially from my long walk the night before the dance we did do were a little slower and had less turns. It was lots of fun even though not many people showed up. Pauline and I decided that those who ditched us for both the party and the last class who show up to my Midwestern Friday Night Fish Fry next week are going to be put on dish cleaning duty as repayment.
All in all it’s been a super busy week. Tomorrow I start my new class and I find out which school I am going to student teach in and where that school is. I’m hoping that it’s in Alidhem. Friday Pauline is setting up a movie night so I get to see if I can remember how to walk to Mariehem. I think that I can…it’s just a matter of choosing which of the two paths that I know of that I want to take. I also have to make sure I can find all of the ingredients for my fish fry night, and find time to catch up with Carolina. Whew, I feel tired just thinking about everything I still have coming up. And next week I head into schools so I will have less time than I have been used to! Well, I’d better get to class. Wish me luck on my final! Goodbye for now.
Wow! Has it really been almost two weeks since I’ve last written? Time sure is flying by. I’ve been really busy working on the 2,000 word essays I keep getting assigned in class so not much has been happening.
I did plan a pie baking day for pi day (3/14) that went really well. We used a recipe I found on a Sherlock fandom site on Tumblr. It was for baking an apple pie inside of an apple! It was really fun to make my friends. We had to carve out the inside of the apple and then refill it with the pie filling and put pastry over the top. It sounds simple but it took us an hour to prepare them and then a half hour to bake them. I invited many of the people I knew here but only six people came. That turned out to be a good thing since I hadn’t taken the size of the kitchen into account when I was inviting fifteen or so people and we were running out of room by the time everyone showed up. Ben, Leigh, and Johann from my dance class came; along with Max, Pauline, and Jessica a girl from my buddy group. We all had a lot of fun making apple pies and eating ice cream. The timing worked out beautifully since everyone wanted to go to another event happening in Nydalahiem later that night.
On Saturday I went with Leigh and Jessica and two of their friends to the ice cream festival. It was fun but most of it was spent waiting in line to try the ice cream. I had pear, mojito, black licorice, toffee, blueberry, cookies n’cream, and mint. It was in a showroom that was in a building that was about a 20-30 min walk from the city center. It was really geared toward families and there were a ton of people there. There wasn’t much space left over once all of the lines began queuing up. I was really glad that we left after two hours because the noise from so many people was giving me a headache. Saturday was also the day everyone wanted to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I didn’t go to any parties because I had no one to go with. I did ask a friend if she wanted to go to the local club with me but she was thinking about going to the lake with some friends to watch for Northern Lights. She promised to keep me informed since she was about to go to supper but I fell asleep while reading before she could get back to me. I’m going to go with them next time probably.
Since I’ve been spending more time working on classes my evenings have been a bit more free. As a consequence I’ve gotten really addicted to figment, which is the website where I post my writings for review and advice. Hopefully the busy week and weekend ahead of me will help me stop checking it every hour to see if anything new has happened. I’ve got dance class tomorrow, class on Tuesday and Friday, a 2,000 word essay to write before Friday, the zoo visit Saturday, and dance class party on Sunday. So hopefully I”ll have more to talk about next week. Goodbye for now.