Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hej då

It is 9:00 am here in Sweden and I have a flood of emotions. Today is the day we are leaving Sweden and arriving home in America. It is bitter sweet. I have enjoyed my time here in Sweden tremendously. I have learned so much about myself and how to become a better teacher. I was placed with a cooperating teacher who was exceptional and who I learned from everyday. I was also placed with 2 an amazing groups of kids (5th and 6th grade). I am so happy that I got to take the time to know each and everyone of these students. They became my family while I was here. I am also very excited to go home to my family in America. Being away from all of the people that I love for a month has been tough but very worth it. I believe that because of this my relationship with them is stronger. "Distance make the heart grow fonder" I have a big year a head of me. I am graduating college, getting married to the man of my dreams, the possibility of having a full time job doing what I love, spending time with my immediate and extended family, buying a house, and concerning myself with the things that truly matter in life. I am leaving this experience a much better person than I was before and I am eternally grateful to my parents who made this entire experience possible. They work hard everyday to make my dreams come true and I am so blessed. I hope to one day be able to repay them for everything they have done for me. I love you so much Mom, Dad, Preston, and Isaac and I cant wait to see you soon!

So long for now,

Monday, May 12, 2014

Hej Hej,

Emily, Richelle, and I just got back from a weekend in Stockholm. It was tons of fun and very relaxing. We left Friday evening and took a train to the Capital. After getting lost several times in the train station we got lost again trying to find our hostel. How typical of the three of us. When we finally found the City Lodge we discovered that it was the nicest hostel ever and spent the rest of our night planning the next day and sleeping. On Saturday we slept in and started our day at around 10:00am. Our first stop... Coffee! We have turned into true Swedes and cannot go a day without it. After coffee we walked back to the train station. This is not your ordinary train station. It is a mall, a tourist attraction, and a bus depot. This time we were going to the tourist information desk. We picked out 4 things we wanted to do the entire trip.
1. Vasa Museet (The Swedish Titanic)

2. Kaknastornet (the highest point in Stockholm)

3. Gamla Stan (Old Stockholm)

4. The Royal Palace and the Changing of the Guard (Where the King and Queen live)

I also really, really, really, wanted to get in the Baltic Sea! Which I did!

It was freezing. For those of you who dont know anything about Sweden's climate it is cold and rains/snows all the time. I personally like the temperature but not always the rain. Therefore the water never really warms up at anytime throughout the year.

Having 4 things on our list allowed us to relax and explore at our own pace. Once we left the train station we took a bus to the Vasa. The Vasa itself is amazing but they story is horrible. To make a long story short the Vasa is a ship that was suppose to be for military use. Unfortunately the Vasa only lasted 30 minutes on the water then sank before it ever left the harbor. 333 years later it was removed from the depths of the harbor and pieced back together and placed in a museum. The Vasa is 98% original which is really good for a ship from the 1600's. This was my favorite part of the entire trip, but I am kind of a history buff. After the Vasa museum we went to another museum the Nordic Museum (wasn't my favorite). This museum was recently built and revolved around Sweden throughout the decades. It showed furniture, clothing, toys, etc. After the museum we were starved and on our way to find food we ran into the Abba Museum. Which was super expensive so we just went in the gift shop. Luckily there was a Boston style pub near the shop. For the first time in a month I had a quesadilla and loved every minute of it. For those of you who know my obsession with mexican food you can imagine that I almost cried. After lunch we decided to find stop number 2 on our list Kaknastornet. It is a satellite tower in the middle of no where. We took a bus and got off at the recommended stop. Then we had to hike up hill through the woods to the sketchiest looking tower ever. The entire time Richelle and Emily were complaining that I got them lost. Once we arrived at the top of the tower I was their best friend again. We were all so grateful that we ventured through the woods to the unknown structure. The view was epic. We were literally in a cloud. After spending sometime in the tower cafe we made our way back to central Stockholm to another American restaurant... Pizza Hut. This was the classiest pizza hut I have ever seen. No delivery or take out. This was a sit down restaurant complete with a bar and no bread sticks on the menu. We all got garlic bread instead. With full bellies we ended our first day.

For our second day in Stockholm we started even later 11:00 am. What was the first thing we did? Coffee, but this time we found the only Starbucks in the entire country. Richelle was so happy I thought I was going to have to drag her away from it. After Starbucks we walked to Gamla Stan on the way there is when I got to touch the Sea. Which I don't think was actually allowed. Once we got there we were of course lost again. So naturally we wondered until we unknowingly wondered right into the back of The Royal Palace. While visiting the palace we saw the treasury, the royal apartments, the changing of the guard, and the three kronos museum. For some reason Swedish people are not infatuated with their royal family instead they are all fascinated with America. I mean this slightly joking and slightly serious. 90% of the people I have seen in Sweden are wearing the American flag or some other American logo on their body. I have seen everything from hats to shoes. It is crazy! After leaving the palace we went to lunch at another pub called Pickwick's and I ate a pulled pork sandwich. It was good but nothing like where I am from (the BBQ capital of the world). After lunch we went shopping and wondered our way back to central station where I found the perfect graduation dress! After shopping we boarded the train to start our last week in Linkoping. HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY MOM! I LOVE YOU!

Friday, May 9, 2014

E2R (The Queen Elizabeth the 2nd)

I am so sorry that I have not posted about London. It was a life altering experience (in a good way). While we were there we visited so many different things that it would be impossible for me to write about all of them. My definite favorites were Westminster Abby, St. Paul's Cathedral, and Harry Potter Studios. If you would like to hear more about my trip I will be happy to tell you all about it when I return home. I am so busy here in Sweden and I want to enjoy every possible minute that it would not be fair to you or me to write it all on here. This evening I will be leaving for Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. Hopefully it wont rain and we will have a great weekend. Talk to you soon!

Selfies everywhere!
Changing of the guards!
Tower Bridge 
The Eye

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Last Wednesday started the Swedish holiday of Valborg. To celebrate Emily, Richelle, Megan, and Katie (our friends from UK) went downtown to the square and listened to a pep band and a mens's choir. The holiday also consists of fireworks and bonfires. The best place for a college student to go to celebrate is Uppsala. Unfortunately we could not go because we were leaving very early the next morning for London, England.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Next Stop London

Hej Hej,

Right now it is 12:15am in Linkoping and I am still awake. Not only am I up late on a Wednesday but tomorrow morning I leave for London around 6am. There is all sorts of excitement in the air as everyone is celebrating Valborg (May Day/Spring) this evening with bonfires, music, fireworks, etc. Noise is echoing throughout the student housing where I live. The May Day holiday has brought Emily, Richelle, and I a few days off from school thus allowing our trip to London. My students were so excited when they found out that I was traveling this weekend. They suggested tons of places and things for me to do but then made sure I was returning on Monday. My teacher also invited me to her home on Sunday if I am not to tired. Either way when I return on Sunday I will make sure to blog all about London and Valborg. I have some really neat pictures and videos from the celebration.

International love,

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Just for Fun...

So just for fun I am starting a Sweden list. This list will be comprised of things that Sweden has that America doesn't and vice versa.

1. At IKEA in Sweden they have towels with hooks. What genius thought of that and why didn't they share it with the USA or Kentucky? After all we have IKEA's in America.

2. Where is all the ice in this country? I like ice in my drinks and the only place I have really found ice is McDonalds.  :(

3. Why is there not Fika in the US. Fika is amazing and every teacher needs a fika break. My only suggestion is creamer. I cannot find creamer anywhere and I have looked in several different cities.

4. Environmentally friendly: America could learn a few things from this country. They recycle everything and have tons of public transportation (with no stigma attached). I walk to school everyday and if I need to go anywhere else I take a bus or a train and so does everyone else.

5. The sun practically never sets here during the spring/summer months. This makes it extremely hard to sleep especially if you are not from here and every night you are battling a time difference/ jet lag. In the winter months they have no sunlight and in the summer they have to much... you just cant win.

6. Architecture: I am not an engineer or designer or anything even close but the architecture here is unbelievable. Unlike in the US things here are made to last. There are buildings in this city that are so beautiful I could cry. Everything is extremely detailed and historical and the city takes great pride in its architectural appeal. Don't get me wrong there are some beautiful places in America too but it is just different.

7. Why is everyone so obsessed with us? I am totally kidding. Everyone here wears the American flag design on their clothing all the time. I have seen american flag leggings, hats, sweaters, you name it I have seen it. Is it OK for me to just wear some other countries flag?? I just want to fit in.

8. Watch this

As I find more differences I will continue to post them, so stay tuned in for more!!!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Downtown Linkoping and Norrkoping, Fika, and Linkoping Cathedral

Since I didn't have any pictures on my last post I thought I would start this post with one. This is a picture from my trip to visit my friend Erika in Norrkoping, Sweden. Norrkoping is the twin city to Linkoping. Richelle and I took a bus and a train yesterday to get there. Traveling one way, the trip took about 45 minutes. 
This was my first time traveling by train. 

Also while visiting Erika, Richelle and I learned how to make Swedish meatballs! They were amazing!!

Future Swedish Chefs!

Today Emily, Richelle, and I met up with our friends Megan and Katie (from UK) for Fika. Fika is a break during the day where you drink coffee or tea and usually eat some sort of Swedish pastry. Megan and Katie have been in Linkoping for their entire student teaching placement so they know all of the best places to go. For fika today they took us to Tropikhuset near the canal in downtown Linkoping. Tropikhuset is a green house restaurant in the center of a park. For fika today I had cappuccino and blueberry cheesecake. 
 I kind of spilled a lot of my coffee. 

After fika, we went for a walk through the park and to the Linkoping Cathedral. The cathedral was so beautiful.

A Gazebo made by a woman from Buffalo, NY.


 The inside of the Gazebo. 
We have these in America, but not the tall ones. 
Linkoping Cathedral was first built in the 12th century. In 1230 the cathedral was changed from its original cross shape to the one I saw today. The church has a large tower that is 107 meters high and was added in 1885. 

The entrance to the Cathedral. 

Once inside the cathedral I was in architectural awe from the extravagant pulpit to the Triumph Crucifix. Today was a wonderful day and I cant wait to see what this week has in store from me. I start teaching this week! It should be interesting. 
Livets Trad (The Tree of Life) 

 The Pulpit
 The main altar
 The Triumph crucifix

 The altarpiece in the Quire

Thursday, April 24, 2014

We Arrived

Hej Hej (Hey in Swedish),

We arrived in Linkoping, Sweden on  Monday at 4pm Swedish time. In America that is 9 am. There is a 7 hour time difference. So when you all are sleeping I am awake.  When we arrived at the airport Erika picked us up and we went straight to Linkoping University. There we had our student id's made. I bet you can imagine how we looked in our pictures after traveling for 24 hours. Horrible!!!! Afterwards we met up with Lena our coordinator and got the keys to our student apartments. Emily moved in with me because they were not finished remodeling her room and Richelle lives several buildings away. The first few days in Linkoping have been pretty tough; learning the language, buying groceries and other items, finding our way to school, taking the bus, and no internet or phones (we couldnt talk to our families). But now we have settled in and we all LOVE school. The people here speak both English and Swedish which is very helpful but all of the signs and writing are in Swedish. I have found that the more you work at learning their language and speaking in Swedish the more they speak to you in English. Today was my second day at school and I can already understand some Swedish. I have found that I can read it perfectly but cannot comprehend it. I have also found that I can listen to someone speak Swedish and by using body language, tone of voice, and the little bit of Swedish vocabulary I know, I can figure out what people are saying. The students here are amazing! They are so self motivated and genuinely want to learn. School here is very different from schools in America. They have a different schedule every day and they take lots of breaks where they play outside. I feel very blessed to have this opportunity and insight into education around the world. I will be staying in Sweden this weekend to tour Linkoping and Norrkoping. Linkoping is such a beautiful city and I cant wait to see more.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

My First Swedish Experience ( I haven't even left yet)

I know that this blog is suppose to be for my trip to Sweden but I just had to start now. I am approximately 2 months away from my trip and I have already had an amazing experience. Yesterday I had an International Student teaching meeting in Bowling Green and attending the meeting was Erika Wiberg. Erika is an international student teacher from Sweden who is currently teaching at an elementary school in Bowling Green.
Erika sat with me during the meeting and we went to dinner afterwards with my friends Emily, Richelle, Mallorie, Melanie, and Jessica. At dinner Erika answered all of our questions, which was a lot. She even showed us her drivers licence, her Linkoping University ID, and some money that is pronounced like Crowns but I believe it is spelled Kronos? I tried to answer all of her questions the best I could but I think she did a better job. It was so amazing to hear her talk about Sweden and her life and family. She spoke so fondly and vividly that  I felt like I knew them. She also showed me pictures of them, her boyfriend, and different places she has traveled.
After dinner we went back to Erika's room and she let Emily and I try all sorts of Swedish candy. It was so good! Then we went to Melanie's house. There we all played games and talked. It made for an amazing evening and I feel so blessed to have made a new friend. She is such an inspiration to me and I cant wait to get to know her better.

Photo: I had a good time today with my new friends here in Bowling Green :)