Delirium.

—is the one word that comes to mind when i try and describe this past weekend.  Here’s a recap of the past weeks events…

   Wednesday—class, laundry, packing, followed by partying at Harry’s and not getting home till 4am.  The bar has three levels, the lowest with a bowling alley, the middle is a bar/dance area and the top is purely a disco.  Spent the night hanging out with all of the international students dancing on stage to MJ’s ‘black or white’, ‘don’t stop believin’ and some other classics.  

   Thursday—somehow woke up at 7am and caught an 830am 6hr bus ride to Stockholm with Laura-who is from Helsinki-and some of the other americans. When we got to Stockholm we had a few hours so we frolicked around town running from store to store to keep out of the cold.  Andddddd being the classy Swedes that we are we enjoyed some fast food cuisine at MAX<—-almost comparable to ino…almost.  Then we boarded our 11hr overnight ferry to Finland..  We then ran into some Canadians who we hung out with the rest of the boat ride.  We pregamed a tad then headed up to the bars…except there was no one there…so then we headed to the disco..again no one there..hmm.  We felt like the only under 25yr olds on the ship so naturally we decided to be creative and made a scavenger hunt around the ship ranging from making a snow angel on the top deck to taking a picture with a staff member, etc.  We split into teams and ran around the ship to our hearts content.  It may have been one of the best nights I have had here, and a night that I will remember forever because all of the random little moments that made for a crazy time.

   Friday—Woke up at 7am after going to bed at 5….currently running off of a total of 5 hours of sleep in the past 2 days.  This is when the deliriousness crept into all of us.  We laid on the floor of our cabin until security eventually had to literally kick us off of the boat as we were cracking up at jokes that made no sense…..always making America look good, thats our groups motto.  After we stumbled off the boat we heard of somewhere serving a buffet so we wandered outside to a hotel and sat their stuffing our faces with an awful yet satisfying meal and then boarded our 3.5 hour train ride to Helsinki.  The sunrise I witnessed on this train ride was like no other.  I could stare at the sun without my eyes burning as it rose bright red in the sky.  Arriving in Helsinki was like being a little child who had finally made it to the North Pole.  It was around negative 10C and the snow was falling all around.  We then went to Laura’s house to get settled then grabbed lunch at her old work spot.  That night Laura had her friends over for a kickback and we introduced them to countless games of Fuck the Dealer and Kings Cup.  We then took to the sauna to relax and get warm…and than run and jump in the snow.  Awesome is an understatement.

  Saturday—Received an amazing guided tour of the city by Laura.  Saw some of the oldest buildings in town, a church built from the insides of a mountain, boats in the harbor frozen into the sea, a bustling meat market, and than crept into a warm spot to enjoy some Turkish kabob.  We went to Laura’s grandparents house that night where they cooked us a 4-course meal-our stomachs were not prepared whatsoever.  Her grandma was literally the most precious person greeting us with warm hugs and forced us to take off our cold socks and put them on the heater while she grabbed us some giant wool ones to replace on our feet.  We enjoyed classic Finnish cuisine from beef stew, to salted salmon, vegetables, warm pies, and an assortment of pastries.  We took a break in the midpoint of the meal and headed down the hall to the workout room of the building where Laura’s grandma led us in some exercises to work off some of the food and make us more comfortable with overeating once again.   After this I do not remember much because the deliriousness crept over me like a disease..literally and I caught a cold—so I spent the rest of the night catching up on sleep and regaining my mental stability.

  Sunday—Superbowl day!!! do i watch the superbowl? No.  Do I care about football at all? Nope.  Superbowl food? oh yes.  Our whole group was on the same page so we headed to the grocery store to pick up some essentials than made some homemade salsa, guacamole, and pizza. We sat around getting to know Laura’s family and sauna-ed one last time before having to wake up at 5am and catch our flight back home to good ol’ Kalmar

Fade into Darkness

  Things I have learned in sweden thus far:

  1. Fika is most likely the best thing ever invented.
  2. Learning Swedish is the equivalent to trying to learn Arabic
  3. People do not freak dance here, so do not attempt unless you want to scare someone away
  4. The best way to defrost is a sauna
  5. You must bring your own bags to the grocery store because they are not provided
  6. Also, there are multiple aisles dedicated purely to cheese
  7. Do not be surprised to see your food in tubes, they like it astronaut style
  8. They have a holiday where they jump around like frogs around a giant penis—-true story.
  9. Everyone here is genuinely awesome
  10. You can walk around at any time day or night, and always feel safe
  11. Boys here are farrrrrrr more attractive
  12. The chances of me ever wanting to to go home is a solid .1%

I have never loved college more than I do now.  The people, the atmosphere…everything is so inviting it is impossible to not be excited to get out of bed every morning.  By far the best people in the world are the exchange students here.  They are all so different and unique, and I feel so lucky to have been able to get to know everyone that I am close with here.  The only time I have felt mildly depressed is when I consider the fact that I have such a short time here.  Saying goodbye to this city and the life here that I will be forced to leave behind, gives me a pit in my stomach of the most awful kind.

Lagom

Weird word, eh?  Not to a swede, its a common word that encompasses the laid-back style of living here ‘enough, sufficient, just right.’  This is not a ‘normal’ study abroad program filled with students across the US, it is filled with international students around the world.  There are only 4 Americans out of about 60 of us; there are many from Holland, Poland, Russia, Finland, Spain, France.  Very interesting group to say the least!

The city of Kalmar is its own world.  There are gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, the streets are mostly cobble stoned, and the town is flooded with little cafes or places to enjoy ‘fika’ which is mostly closely described as a coffee break.  The air is slightly frigid for a Californian hovering between 25-30F, but it is pretty flippin’ unbelievable to walk around and see the lakes freezing over and snowflakes falling from just outside the window.

The communication between us all has probably been the most entertaining.  Learning how to adapt and be flexible with so many languages has not been a challenge, its been so rewarding.  All of us are taking English classes and even only being here for 4days I can hear my friends accents getting slightly more comprehendible and I can tell by their facial expressions that they are understanding more.

As for the nightlife…they do not mess around here.  Any day of the week is a celebration of something or other, and we have been occupying the local pubs and clubs at every available chance.  The best part of these nights is that no matter what language we all speak, when we are out on that dance floor, there is no separation between cultures, we all celebrate each other.

Oh, Bollocks.

So today was the first of many adventures….I drank soup, saw some cobblestoned corners, and happened to get locked in a church.  All in a good days journey.  Being on the outskirts of London may be the coolest thing you could do in the UK.  It is so quaint and so small-town you can’t help but fall in love with its charm.  People are welcoming and friendly and seem to know exactly what to say and how to say it.  Brits are very quick and clever, and it throws you off in the best of ways.

Got to experience my first pub! Which came along with some amazingly rustic tomato soup and sourdough bread.  All of the pubs have low ceilings, warm fireplaces, and quirky bartenders who are all eager to tell you the history of the establishment.  

Then managed to visit it this amazing castle-like church.  We walked in and figured out we were the only ones in the place—looked around for our share—then headed to leave.  Problem was there was no door knob…we continously tried to break out until we bashfully gave in an called the nearby pub to rescue us.  

Stupid Americans…..