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!