Monday, January 27, 2014

The Big Adjustment

I find it hard to believe I have been here for 3 weeks already, but it's true! I have been absolutely loving my time here, but I would be lying if I said it was a seamless transition. After week 2, my brain seemed to switch out of vacation mode and the way my body has decided to deal with that has been to be. so. tired. all. the. time. Between 19 hours of darkness a day and having barely any responsibility as compared to "normal" for me, it has been all to easy to sleep the last few days away. I am hopeful that the week ahead will be made much easier by this stockpiling of sleep and I am excited to get more into a routine here.

I am finally to the point of generally knowing my way around, being able to maneuver the bus system, cooking for one, and knowing where to go if I need something. I am pretty okay with going places alone, especially with how safe I feel here. My trips to the grocery store are down to a mere 2 hours (1/2 the time of the first time), while I still find it the easiest to just live on fruits and veggies and chocolate. It is all about balance, right?

A lot has happened in the past several days, and I have a couple pieces of exciting news to share! First, I got a job as a nanny for a wonderful family with two adorable little girls. They wanted a native english speaker to come over for a few hours a week to babysit and, most importantly, strengthen their childrens' english speaking and writing skills. I am very excited to spend time with a normal swedish family and further understand the country I am living in with the help of this experience.

Second, Chloe, Sarah (an Austrian exchange student), and I all made the auditioned women's choir  (Sot Likor) here at Karlstad University! Our first rehearsal is tonight. We are all excited to get to spend time with all swedish students and attend their events and be a part of their performances. We all have prior choral experience and are really happy to get the chance to continue.

On Saturday night, Daniela (an Italian exchange student) and I went to our host family's home for dinner. Anna and Jonas are their names, and we had an extremely nice swedish dinner. We had 3 types of wine, caviar, smoked salmon, moose meat, roasted veggies, and mushroom soup followed by cloudberry ice cream cake for dessert. It was a wonderful evening spent discussing our different cultures and learning more about swedish points of view, which was very interesting. I didn't have a watch on me, and when Jonas mentioned the time I was absolutely floored- we had spent 9 hours there, talking the entire time! I feel very lucky to have the contact family that I do and am excited about all the plans we discussed for the semester. We are meeting again this sunday to walk by Europe's largest lake (only 4 km from their home) and have a fire. Thanks to Daniela for the pictures :)

So, now that I am all settled in, the next order of business is planning trips. I am extremely antsy to get traveling around! Number one on my priority list is London, but I am also very dead set on getting to Ireland for St. Patrick's Day. Wish me luck as I navigate all of these websites in Swedish (no, translations are not always available). Have a great week, everyone :)

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