Thursday, December 16, 2010

November (and part of December) in Sweden

Well November has been a busy month for me in Sweden. It seems like most every day i have something going on, and although it is good that i am keeping busy, it means that i dont get many chances to update the blog. But, i've managed to get some down time tonight, so here goes!
I will start with some general updates. First off, i have changed host families. This happened around the end of November, and everything went very smoothly. I had already met my host family before i moved, so there wasnt a lot of awkwardness when i moved in. The family consists of father Hans, mother Anna, and two sisters Stina who's a year younger than me, and Maja, who is two years younger than me, and the dog Nelson, who is a beagle. The house is located on the opposite side of Lerum, and is about a 25 min walk from downtown or the school which isnt too bad. The family is amazing and i have absolutely no complaints. I feel like i have already become part of their family and it is wonderful living with them. I just hope they like me as much as i like them!

The weather in Sweden has been fine. Its been below 0 C here most days, and we have about a foot or so of snow on the ground. Its not great weather, but im used to it. One bad thing about the weather though is that sometimes (like today) it gets above freezing for a bit so everything starts to melt. Then it drops back below 0 and so everything ices over, which happened today and makes for dangerous walking conditions.

School is still amazing. My Swedish friends are the best that i could have hoped for and are just wonderful. The classes, although not always the most exciting, are fun and my classmates always make school a fun time. I'm still taking guitar lessons which are going well and i'm learning a lot, and i am still playing a lot of music in school which is great. I am also in a choir at the church in lerum which is fun, and i also might be joining the Goteborg Gospel Choir which would be a lot of fun!

Ok, now for some highlights of the past month...
1. I went to the Sweden vs Germany Soccer match with some exchange student friends. The game was a lot of fun! The actual match itself wasnt great (the score was 0-0), but sitting with the swedish fans, yelling swedish chears with my face painted as the swedish flag was great. All in all, it was a great time and i hope i can go to something like that again.

2. I have started playing a sport called Innebandy with my host dad. Innebandy is kind of like floor hockey in that you run around with sticks similar to hockey sticks, and try to shoot a wiffle ball into a small goal. It is a lot of fun to play and also a lot of work which is nice. I have it every wednesday evening and i always look forward to playing!

3.My host family and i took a trip down to Skane, which is the southern portion of Sweden. My host family has summer house down in Skane, so we took a weekend trip to go visit it. It was about a 5 hour drive (although i cant be sure because i was asleep for most of it) and when we got there, we found that the driveway to their house hadnt been plowed, and was still under a good couple of feet of snow. So we had to carry the necessities through the snow to the house before the plow came. The weekend was very nice, most of it was either spent outside shoveling or playing in the snow, or inside watching a movie. We went to the local bakery where my host sisters work during the summer and got some fresh baked goods. We also went to a town nearby that was pretty old and was very cute and fun. Skane kind of looks like southern Minnesota, mostly flat with rolling hills, but where i was in Skane had a lot less trees than Minnesota. Finally, the people in Skane have a very distinct accent that apparently sounds like danish, and is a little hard to understand.

4. Chirstmas festivities have started in Sweden. Although i haven't expirienced all of the Chirstmas traditions yet, i will share a few that i have. I will start with the food. During christmas there is a lot of gingerbread served. It is very tasty and i quite enjoy it as a snack. Two drinks that are very popular here during christmas, and that i have never had before are Julmust and Glogg. Julmust is a cola like soda that Swedes only have around christmas (although apparently there is a Easter version that is exactly the same thing). I think that Julmust is very tasty, but not everyone enjoys it. During chirstmas time however, Coca Cola has a hard time selling Coke products because people drink the Julmust instead. The second drink Glogg, is also very tasty i think. Its a sort of red wine that you boil and serve hot. I dont really know how to describe the taste besides to say that when i first had it, i thought it tasted like christmas in a cup. Another swedish chirstmas food tradition is Julbord, or christmas table. Julbord is a traditional christmas meal that consists of potatoes, meatballs, sausages, sil (herring), and Johnsons temptation (its like cheesy potatoes with herring or some kind of fish in it). Another christmas tradition is making gingerbread cookies and houses. My host families, and the other host families in our town got together and made gingerbread houses and cookies together. I made my own gingerbread house from scratch, and for not doing any planning before hand, it came out pretty well! A final christmas time tradition is Lucia. Lucia is celebrated on the 13th of december and celebrates St Lucia. Each town and some schools, vote on their own Lucia. The elected Lucia then partakes in singing performaces with the other candidates, around town. All of the girls dress up in white robes, and the Lucia herself has a crown of candles on her head, and they all sing christmas songs. I've seen a couple of these performances and they were both very nice and interesting to see. My school had their own Lucia performance, at which my band with school preformed Merry Xmas (War is over), which was a lot of fun. I sang and i had a jingle bell solo which was great.
Well yes, that has been November and part of December for me. Hopefully i will get a update out after christmas festivities are over. School ends next tuesday, and my host family and i are going to their winter house in the middle of Sweden to go skiing on the 28th which will be a lot of fun. Until then, hope everything is well with you all!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

District Conference

Hello everyone! Once again i appologize for the infrequency of my blog updates, but sometimes i forget that i have a blog that needs to be updated. so sorry for that. Well in a couple of days i will have been here in Sweden for three months. It seems like i have been here for a long time in that i have learned and expirienced so much already, yet at the same time, it feels like the time is going by very quickly. So although its great that i have learned a lot, i have realized that my time here is shrinking and that i really need to enjoy it as much as i can.
Well, so far Sweden is still going great! I have been keeping busy pretty much everyday with my friends, school, families, and activities such as guitar and choir. The unfortunate thing is the weather here is only getting colder. Temperatures have frequently gotten to freezing or below, and a couple days ago, we actually had some snow. Now, the snow may sound like a bad thing, but it is a blessing compared to the freezing cold rain that frequently occurs with gusting winds. Even with layers of clothing and a jacket, i am still freezing when i bike to school in the morning. But besides the freezing weather and the occasional cold, things are still going fairly well. I can kind of tell that i am starting to miss home more and more, but so far it isnt beyond what i was expecting.
Although nothing very monumental has occured recently, a while back, the other exchange students in my district and i went to the Rotary district conference in the city of Varberg, which was quite fun. The conference was on a saturday, and was for all of the Rotary clubs in our district, and it involved a series of presentations for all of the Rotarians, one of which was our exchange student presentation. Then saturday night, there was a fancy dinner with all of the rotarians that attended the conference. So, the 22 of us exchange students got together early wednesday morning and took a 50 minute train ride south down the western coast to Varberg. While in Varberg, we stayed on the grounds of an old castle fortress. The building that we stayed in used to be the jail, so each student had their own cell with a small bed, desk, and lamp. The building was modeled after an american jail in that there were two open floors with the rooms situated around outside of the big open room in the middle where our table was. After getting settled, we had the rest of wednesday to plan out our presentation, which was the only reason we were at the conference. So we took about an hour to get a loose plan put together, and then spent the rest of the time exploring the castle and the town of Varberg. The next day (thursday), once again, our only task was to work on our 20-30 minute presentation, and we would be going to a local art school to get some help from one of the teachers there. So after some breakfast and some frisbee, we headed off to the school. We were there for about an hour or so rehearsing a dance to "Mamma Mia" and singing the Swedish national anthem. In the end, we only used the Swedish national anthem in our presentation, so it was a lot of time just to use that one thing. Then that night we went out for dinner, and stayed up to about 1 or so talking. The next day, we were once again supposed to rehearse our presentation, which only took about an hour or so, and then we had the rest of the day to ourselves yet again. That evening we went bowling with a couple of the former exchange students in the Varberg area, and then went back to one of their houses for a little party. We listened to some music, played some games, ate some ice cream, all in all a fun night. The next day was the day of the conference. We woke up, ate breakfast, and then headed off to the conference. Once their we watched a short presentation (i forgot what it was about, probably because it was all in swedish), and then went to rehearse our final presentation. After a very nice lunch, we had our performance. It consisted of introducing ourselves and where we came from, all of us singing the swedish national anthem (which is a very beautiful song), and some individual singing, piano, and karate performances which were all really well done. Then we went back to our cells, and got ready for the fancy dinner. Once their we sat at our own table, had some really tasty food, talked a lot, and eventually did a little swing dancing which was fun. So after a really fun night there, we went back to the jail and ended staying up and talking until 3 or so in the morning. The next day, we packed up and headed home at about 11 via the train. In the end, we really didnt have to be there for four whole days in order to practice a 20-30 minute presentation, but i am glad that we did because it was a lot of fun just to hang out and be with all of the exchange students again.
Well i am off to bed, but hopefully, i will be wise enough to update this again soon. As far as upcoming plans go, the biggest is that i will be going to Copenhagen with my host mom and her coworker on Nov 4 and 5 which will be great! Until then, i hope everyone is doing well and i hope to blog again soon! See ya!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Swedish Politics and Adventures

So far so good! My exchange thus far has been quite successful and fun. I have been in good health and i have been keeping busy, which is nice. The only somewhat bad thing is that it has started to get cold here. The morning frost has already started and my walk to school is quite chilly, and the worst is yet to come (although this has not stopped me from swimming a couple of times this past week). So yes, besides being a little chilly, everything is great, and the cold isnt even that bad. One big thing that has happened recently in Sweden was the election, which is quite different from the election experience in the states. So, i will try to explain Swedish politics as best as i can, although it probably wont be one hundred percent correct.
Firstly, the structure of the Swedish government is different then the US govt. Firstly, they have a King, but, from what was explained to me, the king has little to no power over politics. Apparently he is just in his position for show and diplomatic reasons. However, apparently an old Swedish law states that king is allowed to break any law without getting into legal trouble, but he would most likely be removed from his position by the Riksdag. The Riksdag is the national governing body, which is comprised of a bunch of politicians who make the decisions on the national level, kind of like Congress. So, every four years, there is a national election for both the Riksdag, and local government. In Sweden there are seven major parties divided into two different sides, Alliansen (the center-right parties) which is comprised of the Moderaterna (the most popular party in the Alliansen), Folkpartiet, Centerpartiet, and the Kritdemocraterna, and the Rodgron which is composed of the Socialdemokraterna (the most popular party in the Rodgron), Miljopartiet (the green party), and the Vansterpartiet. There is also another party called the Sverigedemokraterna (Swedish Democrats) which is a party that goes back to the Nazis, and their main platform is that they want to kick all foreigners out of Sweden. Not good. For the election, people vote on both Riksdag and local government positions. The number of seats that a certain party gets in Riksdag is based on the percent of the total vote that the particular party gets, and obviously the side with the majority of seats will have an easier job passing their laws and such. For this election, the Alliansen parties won the majority, with the Moderaterna getting the majority of their votes. The leader of the Moderaterna party was then given the position of Prime Minister (or Statsminister as they say). One odd, and sort of troubling thing was that the Sverigedemokraterna (the one decended from the Nazis), won enough votes to earn some seats in Riksdag, which isnt too good for foreigners. Aside from the process of elections and government, the attitude of Swedes on politics seems to be different from in the US. The one major difference is that it seems that the majority of people care about politics and pay attention to it. For example, when people were handing out political pamphlets, the majority of people passing by actually took one and began to read it. From what i have seen in the US, most people just walk by those pamphlets without caring. Also, the youth here care about politics. For class one day we went to go visit all of these stands that the different parties had set up, and talk to the people there. I was surprised to see a majority of the kids asking questions and listening to what the politicians had to say, and also taking the time to think about who they were going to vote for. In the end, Swedish Politics were very interesting, and i enjoyed it quite a bit.
Ok, now for two quick stories...
One. I went to a hockey game about a week ago in Goteborg with another family that i was staying with for a weekend (they were great. they had two small kids that only spoke swedish, so we had fun trying to communicate while playing legos. It was great!). The game was in a big indoor stadium and the place was fairly packed. We had seats close to the ice which was very fun. The fans were very into the game, and each team had a section of extreme fans who had drums and were chanting pretty much the whole game. Our teams fans had a huge team flag that the pulled down over a section of seats about 20 long and 15 wide whever they scored. Our team was the Frolunda Indians, who were trying to copy the NHL with an American team name. In Swedish hockey, the rink is a little larger than in the NHL, and also, they are not allowed to fight, although it still happened sometimes. In the end, Frolunda won the game in an intense shoot-out that lasted a long time. It was a very fun expirience and i hope i get to go again.
Story number two. This weekend i went on an overnight camping trip with the scout troup of another exchange students host dad. John (the other exchange student) and i met his dad and the scouts at the campground saturday afternoon. The place where we stayed was wooded with a lake right nearby. There were three small wooden shelter things for us to stay in. They were about one foot off the ground, and were about two feet tall and 10 feet wide and 7 long with three walls, a floor, and a roof. So the 12 or so boys and girls who were around thirteenish i would guess stayed in two of the windshelters, and then John and i along with Johns dad, and then three counselors who were a couple years older then us, stayed in the third. The rest of Saturday we made an american football out of a plastic bag and leaves and tried to play some football for a bit. Then we played on this zipline that went through the woods which was great. After some running around we had some dinner of macaroni with meatballs, with some chocolate pudding for desert. Then when the night came we built some fires, and then John and I went for a swim in the lake which was FREEZING, while the counselors and the kids laughed from on shore. Then we warmed up and the kids went to their shelters. Then for about the next hour or so, John and I crept around the woods and scared the kids, which they thought was hilarious. Then at about 10:30 we went to bed. It was very cold during the night and despite having several layers on, it was tough to sleep without waking up from the cold. The next morning we had some oatmeal and sandwhiches for breakfast, and then headed back home. All in all, it was a very fun camping trip with the scouts, and hopefully we will get to do it again.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Rotary Sailing and School

Well i have been here in sweden for over a month now, and this past month or so has flown by. Some general info. I am doing well. No health problems or any other sorts of problems, which is always good. I am finally begining to learn and understand Swedish! I am taking classes two times a week in the big city of Goteborg, and i am also learning from a book and CD set at home. I can tell that every day I am able to understand more and more Swedish! Two major things that have happened in the past month, i went sailing with the Rotary kids in our district, and i have been attending school for three weeks now.
Sailing with the Rotary Students.
About two weeks ago, there was a two day sailing trip for all of the 22 rotary exchange students in our district, down in the town of Udevalla. So saturday morning i got up and took the train into goteborg to meet the other exchange students. Then after a very confusing hour and a half of train rides and walking, we ended up where we were supposed to be in the town of Udevalla. There we met the rest of the exchange students, and then went over to tour the nearby museum located in Udevalla. This wasnt very exciting, but it was fun talking with the other exchange students. Then after the museum we headed to the boat. The boat was a fairly large sail boat, with just enough room to fit us 22 kids and some crew. So we got on, had a speech on ship saftey and rules, and the headed down below deck to pick our beds. The sleeping quarters for us were basically one large room below deck, with a couple of benches in the middle. The walls were linned with bunk beds stacked three high and were only covered from the rest of the room by a curtain. So needless to say, there wasnt a lot of privacy, but it was fun being in one big room with everyone. So after picking beds and getting set, we all went back up. The rest of the night consisted of us just sitting on deck, eating, and talking, which was very fun. Then we all headed to bed around 11 and were asleep by 11 30. The next morning, we got up at 8, had some breakfast, and continued to sail. First we sailed to this small inhabited island and got off to look around. The island had a small, very stereotypical swedish sea-side town with small winding roads with yellow and red housed built into the rocks, which was quite beautiful. Then after some walking, we made it to the coast of this island, which was very rocky, much like the north shore of lake superior, without the forrests. So we got to explore around the area for a while, and i went to go climb on the rocks and take pictures. After some free time we headed back to the ship. We then set sail for home. On our way home, we were told we could go swimming in the sea. So some of us got changed and came back on deck. When we looked into the water that we were going to swim in, we found there to be a good number of jellyfish. So, we ended up jumping into the freezing cold water anyway. While in the water, the people on the boat yelled and pointed to where upcoming jellyfish were, so we could swim around them. Despite being a little scary and cold, it was very exciting and fun and no one got stung. Also while we were sailing, the captain let us put on these harnesses, and crawl out over the front of the ship, onto a net dangling over the water, and play out there, which was also scary, but very fun. So after another half hour, we returned to harbour and headed home. all in all, a very fun trip!
Swedish School.
School here is quite different from the US. The school that i am attending is Lerums Gymnasium, which is the swedish equivalent of high school. Gymnasium has three years, and is divided up into different programs. The first year, you can decide from programs like economics, music, natural sciences, international, and other programs. Then for the next three years you will take some general courses like math and gym, but then the rest of your schedule will be devoted to your course of study. I joined the Music program in the third and final year. Classes are also different here. In each program, everyone has the same basic schedule (except for maybe like one or two electives), so you are with the same people all day, every day, which is good because now i have gotten to know everyone in my class quite well. Also, the lengths and starting times of these classes are different every day. For instance, on mondays, i have only one class from 10 to 11 40, but on thursday, i have 4 classes starting at 8 20 and going to 2 15 with random breaks inbetween classes. The classes that i have are Swedish, (which is like an english class in the US, they have some project that they work on and i just read stuff in swedish) English, (right now they are reading english classics and doing papers on them. This is also my only class taught in English) Relgion (from what has been translated to me, so far its more morals and ethics then learning about religions, but that might change), Civics (right now they are talking about the swedish elections and politics), Modern Art, Ensemble learning (learning how to lead a band or music group), and Ensemble. In Ensemble, the teachers have split all the musics kids into three different rock bands. Then bands are to pick and perform 5 songs and a promotional gig in november at other schools in the area. This is by far my favorite class. We basically sit around and figure out songs and then jam out. So far my group is doing Highway Star, by deep purple, during which i sing, and One by U2, during which i play guitar. A couple other differences between US and Swedish schools. The lunch is free, so you can take all the food and milk that you want, which is a great thing. There are a couple of cafe's around the school, where you can buy a cup of good coffee for 5 kronor, or like 7 cents. Also, none of the bathrooms are labled as bathrooms, so it is very hard to find one. also, the bathrooms are not divided up by gender. So in the bathrooms that are just a big room with different toilet rooms/stalls, i find it odd that there are also can be girls in there at the same time. I guess it isnt actually that odd, but it feels a bit weird.
So yes, Sweden is amazing thus far. School and my friends are great and i am keeping busy, which is good. hopefully i will write again soon.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Parties and School

Since my last post i have been quite busy. I have met with other exchange students, met my other host families, participated in a triathalon, and explored the city among many other things. Although there is a lot to talk about, i will foucus on two important things, attending traditional crawfish parties and swedish school (if you would like any detail on anything else i have done, feel free to email me Firstly, the crawfish party. These parties only occur in august and are normally held with close friends or family. the first one i went to was a party for the three of us exchange students in my town of Lerum, and all of our host families. The main part of these parties is the crawfish, which are normally shipped in from somewhere else in the world, although they are found in the local lakes. At our party we had both crawfish and large, whole, ocean shrimp. Now here in Sweden, they eat the whole crawfish or shrimp, not just the tail like i am used to (they also eat the whole crab, not just the legs). So, i will describe to you the method of eating a whole crawfish, as explained to me by my family. First, you break off the tail from the body. You then peal the meat out of the tail like you would a normal shrimp, and eat it. Then, you grab the claws and legs of the crawfish, and seperate the body from the head region. Now comes the interesting part. My family told me that although you cant eat the body because thats where the organs and other stuff of that nature is, you can still suck the juices out of it. after talking to other people, not many people do this, but i did it anyway and it didnt taste bad, just like salty water. so after that, you discard the body. then you move onto the head. My family then told me to put my thumb into the head, and get whatever meat i could onto my thumb and eat it. apparently not many people do this either, but once again, it was good. so after that, you break open the small claws and eat whatever meat you can find in there. And that is how you eat a crawfish or shrimp in Sweden. I am sorry if the description is gross, but that is what is done here, and it really isnt that bad after you get used to it, and in fact, is quite good. The crawfish parties also have another key component, singing. when my family mentioned this at first, i thought they were joking with me, but they weren't. apparently, swedish children learn swedish drinking songs from a very young age (although we were quickly reminded that they were not allowed to drink at such age). so at these parties, at seemingly random points in the meal, people began to break out into drinking songs and then say the swedish version of cheers at the end. although this was a bit awkward at first as i didnt know any of the songs, it was nice because everyone joined in on the singing and it was just very festive. So in the end, the crawfish parties were good, although it took a bit to get used to.

Now for school. Although i dont actually start school until tomorrow, i did get to go visit my school a couple times and decide which program i will do (that will be explained more later). So in Sweden, the last schooling you go to before a university is called gymnasium. Gymnasium has three grades, and is divided up into different programs or courses of study, some of which include Economics, Life Science, Industrial Technology and stuff like that. So the three of us exchange students who are in Lerum and will be attending Lerums Gymnasium all had a meeting with the school principal to decide our course of study and which year we will be in. I decided to do the Aesthetics line which includes music, art, and theatre in the third and final year, and will be specifically studying music. John, one of the other exchange students in Lerum, also chose this course and year. Although at first they said that there might not be room for both of us, they managed to fit us in and said that we should come take a tour of the music building. so a couple days ago, we went to the music building at the school. It was amazing. there are tons practice rooms and teaching rooms and all sorts of different music related rooms and instruments. One thing that was odd and very cool was that they have three full recording studios in the building, which the students can use. I found this quite sweet. So after a tour of the building, we got our schedule and headed home. The schedule is very different than say a high school schedule. every day is different when it comes to what clases there are. Also, the number of clases i have and the times at which these classes are are different from day to day. for example, monday i only have a music class from 10:00 to 11:40, and then i am done. thursday on the other hand, i have 4 different classes starting at 8:20 and ending at 2:20 at random times and with random breaks in between. Although this is very confusing, i think it will be nice to have a bit of variety in classes and times. As far as i can tell my classes include, English, Swedish, Religion, Civics, Choir, and Modern Art. I also have an optional 30 mins of instrument or voice lessons, and 20 mins of lessons on learning a new instrument. Also, there is a class period in which students practice in different groups on their own, which to my understanding means a class made for jam time, which i deffinitly approve of.
So yes, although i dont know much about how school is yet, i start tomorrow and will definitly have more to tell then. Hope to write again soon.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Getting Settled

Well, it was only a little bit longer than a week ago from when i first arrived in Sweden. Now thankfully, I have fallen into a somewhat normal schedule. Here is what it is like. I wake up around 10 30 and get ready for the day and then I have a breakfast of cereal at around 11. as my host parents are typically out working at this point, i either read (which i have been doing quiet a bit), go for a walk, or do chores. Then after lunch, my host brother ludvig and i will head out and do something in town or in the near by city of Gothenburg. After said activities, we return for supper at around 7, and after supper we watch a movie on TV with the family until bed time. Although it is not a super crazy schedule, i like it quiet a bit. Now, for a quick commentary and a related story. The Swedes love nature. My family and i spend most of our time outside, either walking or biking or sailing or swimming. the majority of the things to do here are done outside, which i love. also, most places you go that aren't actually down town Lerum (the only way to describe the city is its like they took a town and placed in the middle of the boundary waters, everything is surrounded by woods and lakes), the paths and woods are linned with edible berries. This thankfully includes my backyard which on its own contains at least four different kind of berries or fruit, which you can pick and eat as you walk where ever, which includes the berries in public. The most common by far is rasberries, which is everywhere here but i have also seen wild blue berries and other berries i dont know the name of. Another common activity is swimming. First off the lakes here are amazing. The water is not incredibly cold, and it is very clean and clear. The lakes (there are many around the town), are surrounded by forrests and what i would call, short mountains. So a common thing to do on a summer day is head off to a lake for a day of swimming and grilling by the lake, which is in my opinion a great day. so this leads me to my story. So my host mother and brother and i decided to go to a near by lake for a quick swim one evening after supper. so i grabbed my swim suit and we headed off. after a short drive, we pulled over on the side of the road and got out to walk the rest of the way to the lake. so after some hiking and picking of wild blue berries in the woods, we arrived at our destination. It was a small rocky clearing by the lake, just beautiful. I was the first to arrive to our destination and noticed two women swimming in the lake. i couldnt see them that well, as i did not have my glasses, but it appeared that they either had very light or skin colored swim suits, or they were out for a nice naked swim in public. so after waiting at a safe distance for a bit, my host mother and brother arrived. Ludvig walked on down to the water so i began to follow as my host mother talked to the older woman and her daughter in swedish. then as i got the water i was informed that in fact the two women were naked, but didnt mind if we swam, as long as we were in the water when they got out. So as we hopped in, and in a little bit they got out, and despite being a bit suprised at the situation everything was good. But yes, besides that, nothing incredibly funny has happend to me yet, although i am sure it will. The rest of my time has been spent attending a Rotary Meeting which was ok, going to a going away party and meeting a bunch of cool Swedish and Rotary kids, and exploring the town of Lerum. Nothing crazy new, but still an amazing time thus far.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The First Days of Sweden

I have finally managed to get some spare time after being here for three days, so i have decided to share my adventures thus far.
Thankfully, I actually have been quiet busy since my arrival in Sweden, but first things first, starting with my flights. All of my flights went well, with no errors or flaws. I tried to sleep during my long flight to London, but found myself distracted with the endless amount of movies. So i ended up wathcing "How to Train Your Dragon", "Clash of the Titans", and episodes of "The Office", and "30 Rock". So, after my arrival in the Gothenburg airport, I wandered around the airport looking for baggage claim. After a bit I managed to find it and make my way to pick up my bags. I then continued to the lobby like area after baggage claim. As I came around the corner, I looked around the masses of people to see a group of people holding a large american flag. after some eye contact, I quickly assumed that they were my new family and I walked over to greet them. There was my first host family (Father Lars, Mother Lena, and Brother Ludvig) and my extra host family. After some pleasant chatting and pictures, we made our way to the car. After about a 2o min drive we arrived at my new home. It is a large, old, white house on a very large property. There is a stable which serves as my moms office, and a large yard for activities, with a river providing the back edge of the property. The inside is very nice as well. I will include some pictures here but all of them can be found on the albums on my facebook page, which should be viewable to everyone and which you should look at because there is stuff in there that i will not cover here. Anyways, after a tour of the house and meeting their very friendly Irish Setter Elliot, we went into the large city of Gothenburg to shop and walk around. Then, my brother and I went to see the movie "The A-Team". The whole expirience was new because you pre-ordered tickets and then had reserved seats, and the movie had Swedish subtitles, which was nice for learning some Swedish. After that, we returned home and I finished unpacking and went to bed.
Friday July 30th,
I woke up, around 10 and then had a breakfast of corn flakes and a cup of coffee. after that my family and i met with another exchange student and his family, as my mom is his counselor. After this, my family and i went down to the bank to set up my account. after some time waiting, we finished up and went home. Then, my brother Ludvig took my to the local gym. Now, I never visit any sort of gym in the US, but apparently every typical Swedish teen visists the gym, so I thought it would be fun to go. So after a lot of arm and stomach work outs, we headed home. That night i could barely lift my arms over my head i was so sore, but it was very much worth it. Later that night, my brothers friends invited us to go play FIFA at one of their houses so we headed off to do that. There I met four of Ludvigs friends, who were all very nice, and then played some FIFA 08. Although i was not great, it wasn't horrid, and it was nice to be able to talk soccer with some people my age. After that, we played a game of charades. This was nice because they were very considerate and decided to play in English for me. In the end it was a lot of fun and i very much enjoyed hanging out with Ludvig and his friends.
Saturday July 31st,
Today I woke up, got ready, and headed downstairs for breakfast at about 10 15. After some breakfast we headed out to the west coast of Sweden to go sailing on my familys boat. After a short drive (well it seemed short because i fell asleep in the car like always), we arrived at a harbor. We then loaded up the 40 foot sail boat with some grocerys that we had bought and headed out. It was quite windy so we could actually sail which was nice, and i even got to steer which was cool. I felt a little bad because there was a lot of work to be done, and all talking was done in Swedish so i had no idea what to do and just felt in the way. But anyways, the Swedish coastal area was very cool! it was quiet rocky and there were many islands that were filled with cool houses and harbors. So after some sailing we headed to a public harbor for lunch. after docking, we had lettuce and shrimp salad sandwhiches and very fresh shrimp. Then after a walk around the island, we left the harbor to sail back. Once we got back we cleaned the boat a bit, and then left for home. After another car journey, of which i slept throught, we arrived back at home. we then had some down time during which my brother and i played some Madden football on his PS3, which was a lot of fun. Then we had a dinner of some grilled meat, potatoes, and corn, which was excellent. We then sat down to watch "Monsters Ball" on TV. After the movie finished, we headed off to bed.
So in the end, it has been a very busy, but very fun time. Hopefully i will begin to get into a normal schedule soon, and hopefully i will be able to blog again! talk to you later!