I had my hip surgery two days ago, and it turned out surprisingly well! I am amazed by how much different I feel after this surgery than last time in January. Right now I barely feel much pain and can already walk normally. Can you believe it? Last time it took me like 2 weeks to manage to walk well, and I had pain all the time (especially at night). I remember that my thigh felt like a tense lump that prevented me to stand straight without having pain. Now there's no real problem at all! I can even lift my leg a little, but of course it hurts when I do certain things.
Only one thing that made it hard to walk during the hours after the surgery, was that the leg was really weak. If I put my wight on it and bent the knee (even just slightly), my whole leg would fold under and I would fall right to the ground immediately. I fell 5 or 6 times that day, did never get hurt but it kind of scared me every time. So I used crutches for a while.

This is very strange because I expected it to be much worse, but I like it! :D Hopefully this healing process can go even faster than last time, but I should not stress through it either. It's not even necessary since I actually have more time now.

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Last night I finally got home from Moscow and today was my first day of the summer break!

First of all I want to thank you all for reading my blog and supporting me throughout my first year at the Bolshoi ballet academy in Moscow! I will for sure continue writing blog posts here, since it has been beneficial for me in many ways. Also, I guess many of you are curious about how my journey will continue next year, and I will let you know! I might even blog during this summer, when I feel like it.

I started my first day of summer break with a nice morning walk outside in the sun. I think one of the strongest feelings you get when coming home after being away for a long time is appreciation. You appreciate things at home more than usual I find. You see everything from a new perspective in some how.
Well it's always nice to sleep in your own bed and have a nice shower I must say.
I really enjoyed being in the nature around the area. For the ones who don't know already, I live in a small town located in north of Stockholm called Märsta. You can say that it is a bit more on the country side, our house is basically surrounded by fields and forests. Good for us, because we love nature and calmness!

My mom made Russian сырники [syrniki] for breakfast this morning. Syrnikis are basically pancakes made out of cottage cheese (Творог). In Russia it's common to eat them with condensed milk, but this time we used agave syrup and frozen blueberries.
She mixed 200 grams of fat free cottage cheese (quark, or as we say in Swedish; kvarg), 1 egg, rice flour and coconut flour (1 tablespoon of each) and 1 teaspoon sugar. Then she just fried them in a pan on low heat, the same way as you fry regular pancakes. There are many options for ingredients that you can add in the syrnikis. You can use whatever flour you like, add vanilla sugar, another kind of sweetener baking powder or a pinch of salt if you want.
They are super delicious, filling and high in protein!

Tomorrow we have to leave very early to the surgery clinic. I don't have any problems to wake up early in morning though, woke up at like 6 am this morning. Don't look that much forward to get the hip surgery and go through the whole process of having pain and being unable to even walk properly, but I know it will be good in the end.

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Tomorrow is the day! I'm going home to Stockholm for summer break, finally! I look so much forward to see my family and friends again.
My packing is pretty much done, but I will not bring everything back home. I have a whole suitcase and three boxes filled with stuff that I'm going to keep here in the storage room, plus one more box for my keyboard. So I'm basically only bringing one suitcase and hand luggage with for now.

I got a recommendation to stay as a trainee again for next year, but also they really want that my hips aren't injured by then.

I've decided to give ballet one more try. I will do the trainee program one more year, and actually work my fullest the whole year. I will get surgery for my left hip as soon as I get home, heal it, get rehabilitation from a physiotherapist and work up my strength during the summer. So when I get back to Moscow in September I'll be able to start doing classes full out, work for quality in my technique (especially turnout and flexibility/extensions/lines, but also a lot of jumps since I haven't done jumps since January) and slowly improve. I did improve some things already during this year, but I bet there is much more I can do. I know that I don't have the best physical abilities for becoming a ballet dancer. But I want to work and do my best for one more year, try to get the best out of it and see how far I actually can get. I can't give up yet! I still don't have enough proof that there is no possibility for me to succeed. The benefit for me will be that I already know how everything works here because I have the experience, which will make me much more comfortable from the start.
If I would ever change my mind, I always have a choice get away from it. If next year would end up the same as this time, I would might think of changing my focus.
For now I'm not giving up yet.

Hopefully I will also start doing my Swedish secondary school education, by studying through the internet. Can't wait too long with that.

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I know you all have been curious to know how my ballet exam went. Today I will be completely honest with you guys and tell you everything what's going on, what I have gone through the last few days and what's currently on my mind.

I did my exam the best that I could that moment, so I did not really get dissatisfied with my performance. But since I've had my hip problems and a hip surgery, I lost quite much time for working full out in ballet and preparing to do all different exercises/movements well. There for I did not show any jumps or pointe work in the exam. The jury (with the teacher I bet) gave me a 3-, because of my hip injury, my ballet teacher said. As you now can understand, I am not invited to the three year diploma program.
There might be a little chance that I could get to stay here as a trainee another year, in other words to do the same trainee program that I'm doing now one more time. Next week I will get to know more about what options there are or if they can offer something for me. So there for I don't know anything for sure yet.

Right after we got our marks and almost the whole day after that, I was feeling horrible. I cried in rivers, thought I was such a failure and that this was the end of the world for me.
Even though I didn't get a good mark (because of course they can't give you a super mark when you don't show as much material), it was not the actual mark itself that made me terrified. It was just the fact that I would might not be invited back for next year like I wanted to.

I have many thoughts going on in my mind. For the longer the time goes by, the more I'm asking myself how I actually want to do about next year and my future in general. Because there are endlessly many things to do and ways to go in life. Life is like a long corridor with doors leading to different rooms, my mom told me. You can open a door and look inside, but if you don't like that room, you can just leave it and go to another room. If a door would just close right in front of your face, you would just move on and try another door. I think you already see my point in this explanation.

If I would get invited to the trainee program again for next year, I could continue working on my ballet technique and try again to get applied to the diploma program for the year after that. But I also need to start my Swedish gymnasium education (I can't wait too long for that and let year after year pass by), so if I'm here next year I need for sure to study from distance.

To be honest I'm actually not sure if this is what I really want anymore. I have a feeling that this might not be the best for me and that there are other options that would me happier in the end. I will always love and have passion for ballet, but getting a career as a ballet dancer is extremely difficult. Even great students who graduate from the Bolshoi ballet academy do not get jobs in companies. It's really hard to live a life as a ballet dancer as well. Not only because of how much hard work and effort it takes, but also many other common things in a ballet life. Stress, tiredness, sacrificing other things in your life, lack of free time, constant self-criticism (most of the time focusing on your weaknesses), being compared, judged and ranked among others all the time, impaired self-esteem, eating disorders and so on. In the ballet world it takes much more to succeed now than for some years ago. Everything is more extreme today. You should be able to do crazier jumps, turns, have extremely good extensions, turnout, feet, be even skinnier, lighter and more flexible. Passion is not enough anymore.
I feel that with my physical abilities it will be too hard to get where I want, and that it's not worth putting myself down so much for it. I might as well not feel that well or happy for living this kind of life.
I'm not saying that I'm going to quit ballet, but I'm thinking of changing my focus/priorities a little. A new plan for next year could be to do more of other dance styles like I used to before I did ballet, try new things, go to regular gymnasium for my studies and live a bit more of a "normal" life. Not because I'm just giving up on ballet, but to find something that can really make me happy and confident, somewhere where I feel that I can shine my brightest and actually enjoy what I'm doing to the fullest. The more I think about and imagine this, the more I feel like I'm already moving on and even getting a little excited for it. I unfortunately lost a little of my joy for dancing during this semester, and I really want it back, because I am BORN TO DANCE! I can't live without dancing and I love it from all of my heart.

I will go to the international office to hear what they say first of all. I'm still thinking about it.

A few hours after our ballet exam, we had exam in historical dance. Even though I was feeling destroyed, I got my shit together and actually did the historical exam well. I got a mark of 5- in historical, and I'm very happy with it! I want to thank my historical teacher Olga for being such a great and inspiring teacher, I know that she reads this blog once in a while. It has been wonderful to work with you this year! I think you introduced this dance style (probably new for all of us) very well.

No matter what will be next, I will always keep this life experience. I will never ever regret coming here! I am so so grateful for this journey, my opportunity to study at this academy, improve my ballet technique, learn much new things, meet new people, get inspired and learn from others, discover the beauty of Moscow, get experiences from living without my family, learn a such difficult language as Russian, improve my English, get piano lessons from a great piano teacher, see some of the biggest stars in Russian ballet dancing in the Bolshoi theatre and much much more!

On Thursday we have our last exam which is in character dance, got to stay sharp for that. I want to end this school year as good as possible!

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Attention! Plans have changed.

Our ballet exam will be on Friday instead of tomorrow. We were all expecting to have it tomorrow, my classmates got quite frustrated because they all felt ready and well prepared for that. I do really understand them! But for me it was kind of the opposite to be honest, because I didn't even feel ready to have exam tomorrow. Even if I want to get it over with, I'm actually glad that I have a few more days to prepare. Most because of that I still don't have enough excitement inside of me, not really in the mood basically.
If I'm lucky, my leotard that I ordered from France might arrive in time too!😂 I would probably enjoy wearing that leotard in the exam much more than the one I have now.

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Only 3 DAYS until our ballet exam. They changed it to one day earlier, to the 7th instead of the 8th. It feels crazy and scary. Or I guess we all are quite excited for the actual exam, to perform and dance your best in front of a jury. But what scares most of us is how the results will be, what mark you will get and if you will be accepted to stay here next year or not. We can never know for sure what the judges (including other ballet teachers and the academy's head leader of ballet) think, they could have completely different opinions than our ballet teacher. Maya gave us marks already, but they will probably change some of our marks. Apparently you have to get 3+ or higher, to be accepted for the diploma education or another year as trainee (depending on what you signed up for, I signed up for both just in case, even though I want to get diploma). I got a 3 from my ballet teacher, so I really need to do my best to make the judges raise my mark to at least a 3+.

Something that really stressed me out was that the leotard that I ordered will probably not arrive in time. This week I emailed the Wear Moi store in France where some of us ordered from, because my friends already received their orders but I didn't, even if I ordered the same day as them. And apparently they forgot to ship my order, so they did it the day after I contacted them. I also said that we have exam on the 7th and I really need it soon, they promised me to do their best to make it delivered to me on Tuesday, but of course they cannot guarantee. It is of course way too much to wait until Tuesday night, so I had to go to a dance store here in Moscow and find a similar leotard with at least the same colour.
Yesterday I did! It's another model (just a plain leotard), but the same colour. Jihyun (my classmate from Korea) had a problem with her order from England as well (it was sent back to England, because some rules got changed and they were not allowed to ship to Russia anymore). So we both bought the same plain leotard here in Moscow, and I'm not alone with wearing a different model than the rest of the class.

So now I can breathe out and just focus on the actual exam. The stress has affected me in class too, it has been a bit harder to focus on my dancing. But what I'm struggling with most is my balance, especially in the centre combinations, so this is something I currently work more on in my free time. We are working hard in general, in ballet class we work through all exercises in barre, centre, jumps and pointe, without any long pauses. In our free time we workout, practice and stretch a lot.
I want to feel comfortable and have good confidence. I'm going to show the judges my love to dance and how much I want to be here!

As I said about the weather here, it changes all the time and you can not trust it at all. The hurricane we had recently was shocking. I was inside that day and just practicing on my keyboard, meanwhile the storm was going on outside, so I wasn't really affected at all. We all saw it outside of our windows though, trees were falling, parts of the rooftops fell down too and birds were flying around, struggling in the wind. I felt really bad for the birds.
But news I heard about it afterwards and all the pictures and videos people posted was the most shocking. That 11 people (or more) died and many people got injured as well.
Most of the mess got cleaned up fast, I could only see a few signs of this storm the day after when I went out (which was a very sunny and nice day actually). They even had to fix the walls on many houses, because some of the bricks, or I don't know parts of the wall fell of.

Also want to mention about the weekend market that takes place next to our nearest metro station Frunzenskaya (on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays). It is a very nice market, they have so much nice fruits, vegetables, flowers and other products. Now in springtime, they have a lot of strawberries too!

Some of the graduating students who stay here had a ceremony in the dormitory lately. They had different nominations and were singing, dancing and having beautiful speeches to the dorm ladies who have worked here for many years. I heard that some of the students got invited to companies in different theatres, some girls and boys even to the Bolshoi theatre!
I congratulate all graduates and wish them the best, no matter where they will be in the future!

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Only 2 weeks until the ballet exam! I feel scared but excited. I want to get it all done and just go home (with good news hopefully), but at the same I'm scared because I don't feel ready for this day to actually come.

Ballet classes are working better now though I find. I have no pain in any the of the hips, and I'm getting stronger and able to do even more difficult movements. We are all tired of course (literally everyone at the academy), but there's not much time left until the summer break and we just need push ourselves for a little longer.
The ballet exam is the most important of all our exams. Only a couple of hours after that ballet class, they will tell who gets to stay here for next year and not. You need to get 3+ or more as your mark from the jury to get to stay. So we will even know our results before our exams in character and historical dance, not sure if that's good or bad.

As well as in ballet I feel stronger in contemporary, historical and character now, since I've been able to work harder and do more without pain. My flexibility is also getting better again, even our current gymnastics teacher has told me that she sees improvement.

Many classes, most of the Russian classes, have already done their exams. Every day you can see big flower bouquets outside of the studios, that are for the teachers. Our class and some other international classes are the last ones to do the exams.

Today mom booked a flight ticket to Stockholm for me on the 18th of June, feel very excited to be honest!

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Today we had nice weather again!☀️ But you can really not trust the weather here in Moscow, it can completely change by the next day. Sometimes it's really cold and rainy (even started to snow once or twice this week), but other days are sunny and very warm. The worst thing though is when it's sunny but the air is still really cold, so before you go out you don't put enough clothes on.

What's also too cold is the fridge in the dormitory. I usually keep my veggies and stuff in there and they get frozen all the time, which I find very annoying.

Anyway, today it was sunny and nice! The Gorky park was crowded, people were walking, biking, riding roller skates, skateboarding and eating corn, cotton candy or ice cream.

Yesterday I had my Russian exam in speaking. Could not get much better! Afterwards my teacher said: "Конечно у тебя есть ошибки, но нет ни одного, который никогда не ошибается. Я конечно даю тебе хорошая пятёрка".
It means: Of course you have mistakes, but there is nobody who never make mistakes. I will definitely give you a good five (as the mark for this test).
I'm proud! I actually did it even better this time, even though I got the same mark last term.
We have two more Russian exams, listening and reading comprehension. Nothing to study so much for I think.

We can now focus even more on the dance subjects, our combinations for the exams in June, all the technical details and also the expression in our dancing, which is also very important when you dance in front of a jury. The jury will include the head director Marina Leonova and a few other ballet/dance teachers at the academy. It kind of scares me how close the exams already are, but also I just want to get them done.

Last night we celebrated Lara's 19th birthday! She ordered a cake from a lady who makes vegan cakes. I'll give myself some credit for these pictures of her when she cuts the cake. I like how she looks like a serial killer with her knife and all.😁😂
The last photo is very beautiful!💕🌸

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С Днём Победы!
Today is the victory day, which is a big and important day here in Russia. Russians celebrate the victory of the 2nd world war in 1945. There was a big parade in the centre of Moscow and you could watch it all on TV (or just go outside to the Red square). Everyone in the dormitory got woken up by loud russian traditional music playing in the speakers. We watched the beginning of the parade on TV, with the soldiers marching and Putins speech and all. Have nothing more to say about that.

Imogen and I had a wonderful evening on a boat trip (with Radisson cruise) on the Moscow river. We enjoyed the nice views of the city, took photos and drank tea. Thank you again Imogen for this wonderful time and great idea!

Tomorrow we have classes again after a loong weekend. We have our ballet exam on the 8th of June, following with historical dance and character exams the days after. On Friday and Saturday we have Russian (language) exam in speaking, which I find is the hardest part. We already had the grammar and writing test, the listening and the reading part is coming up soon.

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We have had like summer weather here in Moscow the past few days. More than 20 degrees and sunny! It was also great to have mom and sister visiting me this weekend! Since we had day off on the 1st of may as well, I could stay at the hotel with mom from Saturday to Monday. We walked a lot and enjoyed the nice weather outside, had dinner with our friends Yuri and Belinda who live here in Moscow, went for shopping in the Europeisky mall (which was right near the hotel) and also watched a ballet gala performance at the Stanislavsky theatre. In this gala performance young dancers were dancing. But it was also a ceremony for nominated dancers and teachers that got prices. It was a nice surprise to see Joy Womack from the Kremlin ballet perform the black swan pas de deux with her partner. In the Stanislavsky theatre there are many framed photos on the walls with male and female ballet dancers from the past. We actually found two photos of my ballet teacher in Sweden, who used to dance in Moscow for many years ago! It was easy for us to recognise her on the photos.

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