One of the weird, but yet amazing, things about exchange is getting a new home; To have lived in the same house, with the same people, for you whole life, and then move into a new house, with new people, and still feel the same feeling. To meet strangers, get to know them, and become a part of their family.

One year ago, I didn't know anything about the Nelson's, and now they're my second family, a family I'll never let go. They really took me in as one of their own, and have made this whole thing worth it. I've always put family first, and having a good relationship with my host family has therefore always been important for me. I really feel like one of the Nelson's, just with another last name, and that I can only thank them (and Staphanie, my IEC, for finding, and giving them my application!!) for. It's strange to say, but sometimes it feels like I've lived in Southside forever, just 'cause it feels like home.

I'm forever thankful for what my host family has done for me, as well as my real family. They've not only made this whole thing possible, but made my life great overall. I don't think I've ever been this happy in my life, or in myself, and a big part of that is thanks to them. I don't think I'll ever be able to give back for all they've done for me, but I hope I can someday, somehow.

The weirdest thing of all about this though, is that my families don't know each other, they've never even met. They have no clue how the others are, how our life looks like or what we do, more than I've told them, which feels kind of odd. The most important people in my life... And they haven't even met? The thought never really leaves my mind and I can't put it into words, but it's just... Weird.

I love y'all, and thank you for everything. I'm sorry if this was a bit emotional, but that's just how I'm sometimes. I've had a lot of thoughts going through my mind lately and just felt like writing about them. I'll write about something less deep next time, haha, but until then; Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Goodnight!

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Since my host family have season passes to Six Flags over Georgia, we've been there a couple of times since I got here. We have fun fairs in Sweden too, but this one is so much better. Just like most things here, it's bigger than the ones we have. There are more rides, and they're higher, faster and simply scarier too. And if that wasn't enough, they have themes for different holidays too. The last trip there, that I wrote about, was from their Fright Fest, close to Halloween, and this time they had Holiday in the Park, since it was close to Christmas. The whole park was decorated in Christmas lights, they were playing Christmas music, and even Santa was there. They also had hot chocolate cups that you could buy and refill how many times you wanted throughout your visit, which we did. On our first visit, we did s'mores as well, which has become a big favorite of mine... 100% American and 100% worth the calories. You should definitely try it if you haven't already, and definitely go to Six Flags too if you ever get the chance!

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Everything good has an ending, and how sad it may be, sometimes we just have to accept the fact that it's over. XC was one of those things for me. A thing that started in August, and a thing I never thought I'd even like; I mean, who likes to run anyways? The practices were hard, both mentally and physically, but I pushed through it, and ended up loving it in the end.

Cross country was more than just running for me though; it was a place where I met some of the most amazing people, people whom I don't know what I would do without today. They were the ones who made it fun, and made all the work worth it. I don't miss the races, because they were the most painful thing I've ever done, but I definitely miss my team, and running with them everyday, cheering them on and dying during practice together. The XC-season is something I'll never forget, and I would do it all over again if I would've the chance, but sadly I don't.

However, exactly like everything good has and ending, it has a beginning; So I decided to make a new one and join track. We had try-outs last week and will know the results Wednesday, but basically everyone makes the team, so I'm not worried about it. I'm excited to try something new, and even though I'm not a sprinter, I'm curious to see how much I can improve the months that are left. It's going to be interesting and all I can say is wish me good luck, because I'll definitely need it on this one...

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I don't think I'll ever stop having firsts in America; Doing Christmas cards being one of them. My mom is not a big fan of some things on Christmas, like having a lot of decorations, Christmas lights outside, Christmas cards etc. so it was the first time for me being in one. As per usual, Sandy took our photos, and they turned out great. It was a little bit of a challenge taking photos with a four-year-old, but we got the photos we wanted in the end. Both Kim and I wanted to use the one with her and Shawn having their hands on their hips, but he refused, so we ended up with the one on the top. Too bad Kim posted it on Facebook for everyone to see though, and that I'm posting them here... So sorry Shawn, if you're reading this, but I had to post it. :)

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Long time no see! And this time without excuses. I havn't been too busy (even though I've been doing a lot of stuff), but simply haven't felt like writing on here for a (apparently very, very, very) long time. It just feels like an everyday life here now, and since I'd never blog about my life in Stockholm, it felt weird to do it here. But, after a lot of complains, maybe I should. I don't only want to tell y'all about what I'm doing, but also want to be able to go back and read it myself... So I thought it might be a good idea too catch up a bit and write what I've been doing this last month; Starting with coronation in the beginning of December. Hope you'll enjoy it and hope to see you again soon!

Coronation was for sure a night to remember. As some of you might know, we didn't have a homecoming dance, so this was my first of two dances here. December 2nd, we checked out from school after lunch and drove about 40 minutes to our hair appointment (and yes, Americans go all out, they even pay someone to do their hair for a dance. Some even buy dresses for hundreds of dollars, God knows why). Kaylee, Kelsi and I got our hair done and then went back home. Kaylee helped me with my makeup, since we all know I don't know how to do my own, and we all got dressed. Kelsi's childhood friend Avery and Kaylee's date who I won't name, came to our house and Sandy took our pictures... Which were a few; here only showing some of them.

After pictures, Kelsi and I went on to take even more pictures with Avery, Sam and Hannah, followed by dinner. None of us had a date, so we decided to go as a group, which I'm very glad for. I had a lot more fun with them than a would with some guy I barely know. Jokes aside, I'm also happy I didn't have a date since I didn't have to tell them I wouldn't grind on them, like most people did, lol. It was a fun night, and I'm definitely looking forward to prom this spring!

Until next time (which will probably be tomorrow); take care, and lots of love for y'all who still read my blog. Long time no see, but this time I'll be back for good, I promise!

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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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