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Thanksgiving must be my new favorite holiday, well, after Christmas, but still. I love the idea of celebrating being thankful and getting together to enjoy each other's company. I think it's something I'll take back with me and start celebrating in Sweden, and will for sure have to get some southern recipes to take with me!

My Thanksgiving consisted of food, food, and food. I probably gained a pound or two this break because of it, but it was worth it, haha. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, cranberry sauce, gravy, pecan pie, and banana pudding... the list is long and and it was so so so goood.

During our Thanksgiving dinner, which we spent at my host mom's aunt's place, they had this really cute idea. Her aunt went around with a toilet paper roll and everyone got to take how many pieces we wanted to. We were then told to tell the others things we were thankful for, one thing for every piece of toilet paper we took. I had three pieces and said family, friends, and just life in general; it may sound cheesy, but I love life right now and couldn't be more thankful for everything and everyone in it at the moment.

We spent the night at Nana's and then went Black Friday shopping early in the morning. We never went to Walmart, which I'm glad for, since I'm now still alive, but many other stores. It was crowded, but being used to Stockholm, it wasn't too bad. The deals here are definitely better than the ones in Sweden; some of the sales were insane. I found a few things, but most to put away for Christmas. It was overall a great experience and I really needed some new clothes, which I'm going to blame on all the food here. Oh well, I'll try to write again soon and I hope y'all have a great week, hugs!

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Field trip! Last Friday was a very long day, but totally worth it. I'm not going to write a whole essay about the day, mostly because I don't have time for it today since it's Thanksgiving (!!!), but also because there isn't a lot to say about it. We woke up around 5, and arrived at school around 6. We left for Georgia and I slept for the entire ride (wow what a chock). We started with going to Franklin D. Roosevelt's Little White House, where he used to spend his summers; spent some time there and then continued to Callaway Gardens and a bird show, butterfly emporium and some snacks. My favorite stop must have been the last one, when we went to a Santa tent full of Christmas stuff and a Jolley Trolley ride with Christmas lights everywhere. I may be a little addicted to Christmas, not to lie hehe. After that, we just ate and went home. It was a lot of fun, and we got one day more of Thanksgiving Break, which is pretty great if you ask me.

Now I'll have to get ready for Thanksgiving lunch and dinner and put something stretchy on (not even joking, I'll need it). Excited for Thanksgiving today and thankful for everyone in my life, as well as this experience. Hope y'all have a great Thanksgiving and I'll try to write again soon, hugs!

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Since I've been in the States for almost four months now, I've had a lot of homesickness at times. I've also learned how to deal with it, and would like to share it with you. It might help some of you, who are on an exchange right now,, or it might just be fun to read about. However, it's something I've wanted to write about for a while now, so here we go.

Stay busy. The most basic thing and maybe the easiest thing to do to both prevent and overcome homesickness is to do something to keep your mind of it. By doing so, you'll not only think about other things, but also get some great memories from it. And by saying doing something, it doesn't have to be doing something big. Sometimes it just helps not being alone.

Cry. Sometimes you just have to do it, sometimes you just have to let it out. You're away from the one's you love and missing them isn't weird at all. It's okay to be sad sometimes, as long as you don't get it too often and it affects your daily life. Sometimes you have to let yourself be sad, but most of the time, you should try not to be.

Create a new life. I got a second family when I got here, who have helped me a lot with dealing with my homesickness, but you also need new friends. Get to know people and create new relationships; Find new friends and hang out with them. Your friends' and family's lives will continues back home, and yours has to as well. As much as you want to continue talking to them, you'll have to cut down on the time you do, since you have a new life you have to live. Talking to them too much can also make you more homesick, and is something you'll want to avoid.

Let people know. Sometimes you're just homesick and can't handle it on your own; Sometimes you need help. Tell someone, whether it'd be your host family, your friend, or someone completely else. We're humans and are not made to cope with everything ourselves, and it's okay to ask for help sometimes. They'll understand what you're going through and will try to help you the best they can (even though they'll never know how hard it actually is).

Think about it differently. One most important things I've learned is to appreciate the ones you have rather than being sad about missing them. I've learned that you should be happy that you have them in your life, rather than be sad about the fact thay you can't see them all the time. Think about how strong they make you, how much they love you, and how they still care about you. Think about your bond, and how it doesn't break, even though there's a long distance between you. Think about the fact, that you now have people you love in two completely different parts of the world, and how how lucky you are to be able to have them.

Dealing with homesickness can be hard, trust me, it can feel impossible, but it's not. You're strong, and you can deal with it, because I can. Stay busy, stay positive and stay grateful. Changing your mindset will take time, but once you do it'll get so much easier, just like everything else. Hope y'all have a good night, good morning, or good day, depending on when you're reading this. It's getting pretty late here in Alabama, so it's time for me to go to bed. Lots of love. Good night!

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Halloween... Where do I start? We celebrate Halloween in Sweden too, kids go trick or treating there and all of that, but it's still not the same as in America. I mean, like every celebration appears to be, it's bigger here. More decoration, more candy, more people involved... Just more of everything.

We hosted a Halloween party for the exchange students in our area Saturday which was a lot of fun. We had food, competitions and my favorite part; a haunted hay ride. Since Aric dresses up as a police, I went as a thief to match him. Y'all should've seen the smile on his face, it was just adorable! As always, it was nice to meet the others, as well as some new faces. It was a successful evening!

Sunday we went truck or treating at church with Sandy. They had their trucks (or cars) parked out in rows, decorated and with bowls of candy. They also had a lot of other activities where the kids could win candy or small toys, and jumping castles all around the parking lot.

Last but not least, Halloween. We were not allowed to dress up in school, but most teachers had candy which they gave out. In the evening, we all went trick or treating in a neighborhood nearby. Aric dressed up, but we didn't. At least one of us got some (actually a lot) of candy. I went with him from door to door, so I did get the experience, even though I didn't wear my costume.

I loved my Halloween in America and will for sure take it with me back to Sweden. So be prepared for that y'all!

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Since I've gotten a few complains (hi mom) for not writing on here in a while, maybe I should. I have a lot of things to write about and show pictures from, so I guess I'll have to split it up in a few different posts. So first up... Homecoming. Our homecoming was pretty late, later than most schools'. We had themes for every day that we were supposed to dress up after; Merry Christmas Monday, Twin Tuesday, Tourist/Safari, Frat/Sorority, and Toga day(for seniors)/Spirit day. They were okay, maybe not the themes I would have picked, and apparently not the rest of the school either, but some of us still dressed up for it.

However, it was a good week, and ended with our homecoming game, which also was our senior night. Everyone dressed up and they recognized the seniors from the football, volleyball, and cross country teams as well as the cheerleaders and the pride of Southside; our band and the dancers. We got to walk the field with our parents (/host parents) while they called out our names. It was pretty cool, even though I'm not very fond of that kind of attention... Well... At least I didn't fall, so I guess that's always a good thing! Since it was homecoming, they also announced homecoming queen during halftime. Talk about the all American experience!

Our homecoming game was, sadly, also our last game. We never made it to play-offs, so our season is over. I would have loved for it to continue but I knew it wouldn't last forever. I never thought I'd enjoy watching a sport as much as I did, but being there at the games in that atmosphere and with friends made it fun. I'll miss it, for sure.

One thing, which my school did different from other high schools around USA, is that we didn't have a homecoming dance. We'll have a Christmas dance, coronation, on December 2nd though, so it's not like I'm missing anything. Since it's less than a month away, people have started asking each other to it, most of them with posters. I don't have a date yet, and I honestly don't care if I get one either. I'd rather go with friends than with someone I barely know or who'll think it's a date or something, because I'm obvioulsy not here to date since I have a boyfriend. Super excited for it though, I think it'll be a lot of fun!

I'll try to post more the upcoming days since I have a lot to tell you about, but just like last time, you'll never know about me. Oh well, many hugs and I'll (hopefully) write again soon.

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Just wanted to say how proud I am of my team for winning county yesterday. I'm so glad I decided to join this team and how far we've all come this season. I've met some of the most amazing people through cross country and I wouldn't want to win with anyone else. So proud of y'all and I love you. Now let's kill it at sectionals!

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Once in a while, I like to stop for a moment and think about my life here. How the exchange has taught me things about myself, the world and other people. But most of all how it feels like.

I've had a lot of homesickness and have had to learn how to deal with it. To still have a life and don't let it effect my daily life more than it has to. Also not to spend too much time being sad about it. I still talk to the people back home, I still miss them, and I still want them here. But I've learned how to deal with it.

I've learned to speak better English, better than I ever would in school, and even though it's still far from perfect, I'm getting there. I'm improving every day and will be completely fluent in it at the end of this year. Fluent with an accent.

I've also become less shy. Not that I talk to everyone I meet now, I don't think I ever will, but I'm more open to talking to strangers now and to be the one starting the conversation than I've been before. And this I've learned while speaking another language, something which at least I think is pretty cool.

I've met a lot of new people, most who don't share my opinion; People who have become my friends. We're different, very different, and have been raised in two completely different places and ways. But some way it just works with some of them. We don't have the same beliefs and opinions, and we don't have to either. It's okay not to and I still love them just as much as my friends back in Sweden.

Because of this exchange I now know how to deal with things most people my age can't, and I'm proud of it. Because most teenagers would not be able to do this, just like I thought I wouldn't. But I'm doing it and I'm doing okay. To be honest, I'm actually doing pretty good. I've learned so much so far, I'm growing every day, and I love it. Going on an exchange is hard, harder than anyone can imagine, but trust me when I say this; It's so damn worth it.

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Just came home after 3 amazing days at the beach. We left after school Thursday and then spent the weekend there, missing one day of school. My host family goes there every year for the Shrimp Festival, usually with some other relatives, and this year was no exception. We went to the festival, ate at some really great restaurants and enjoyed our time at the beach. I, as usual, tried a lot of new things including fried alligator (!!!), crab hunting and the best rolls ever at Lambert's Cafe. Just what the exchange is all about, right? We ended our vacation with some shopping at an outlet nearby which had some really good deals. To conclude, I had a really great time and it was nice to get away from our daily life here for some family vacation. So thankful for all of these people and hope y'all have a great week, goodnight!

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Sunday, Six Flags over Georgia and my host family. Could my weekend have had a better ending? Probably not. We left the house at 9 and stopped for lunch at 12 their time (in other words, 11 o'clock in Alabama). We continued to Six Flags and got there around 1. They had a fright fest, since Halloween is coming up, and had decorated the park with spider nets, coffins, and a lot of other Halloweeny things which was pretty neat. They also had zombies and other creatures walking around the park after 7. The idea was good, but I don't think they had enough people dressed up for it to get scary. I was more afraid of the rides than the monsters but I still liked the fact that the did something for Halloween. USA is great at celebrating, and coming from Sweden, it's a big contrast. They do it way bigger, and way better. Just waiting for Halloween to come at the moment and looking forward to the fall weather that's approaching. Something I'd never say in Sweden, haha. Hope y'all have a great week and take care!!

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One of the things I've heard from the start of this whole exchange thing is that you're probably going to gain weight during your year. Not the funniest thing to hear when you're a teenage girl, and a fact that I struggled with at first. I was afraid of gaining weight for a very long time, and as I thought, "get fat". And no. I would not get overweight if I gained a few pounds, but as a teenage girl in today's society you still get affected by it. You don't want to gain those extra pounds and do whatever you can not to. Many people do more cardio, eat less and start overdoing the whole health thing to be skinny and what many consider healthy. People do it too much and plan their life around it.

And trust me, I've been there, I've been afraid and I've overdone it. But I'm not there anymore. Sure, I still don't want to gain weight, but I'm no longer afraid of it. In fact, I've gained weight since I got here, not much but enough for me to notice. It may be fat, but can also be muscles from running so much. I don't know. And I don't care, at least not as much as I used to. I still have those days where I feel bad about gaining weight and still struggle with it sometimes, but I don't cry over it anymore and don't eat less or work out excessively to stop it or to lose the weight I've gained. As long as I eat healthy, work out and feel good on the inside, what will a few pounds change and matter in the long run? The answer to that is simple; Nothing.

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