...Literally haha. Optional track practice started Monday, and real practice starts tomorrow (Friday). I'm ready to get back on track and start working again, and see where this season can take me. I've been going to the gym frequently lately, but during Christmas I was slacking quite a lot. I just didn't feel like going for some reason. Not going to be disappointed about that though, because sometimes it's okay not to go to the gym, eat healthy and just not care. If you don't feel like doing it, just don't; Simple as that.

However, back to track; When I was doing cross country, we had like 30 people on our team, which I tought was a lot, but now, on track, there're around 60 of us. Most of them are guys, but there are also a lot of girls on the team. I already know some of them from cross country, but there're obviously many new faces too. It feels like a good bunch of people and I think it'll be a good season.

But for us to succeed as good as possible, our coach wants to buy some new equipment, and to be able to do that, we need some money. I usually don't like to ask for money, but if any of y'all would be able to support my team, please contact me. We're having a fundraiser and it's all online donations. Every amount counts and we could really need some help!

I hope y'all have a great end of this week and that y'all take care, hugs!

Move your blog to Nouw - now you can import your old blog - click here!

Likes

Comments

So I was at DNOW Friday-Saturday this past weekend, which was a thing with church. We had worship, bible study and other activities, and stayed in a host home for two nights. We were divided in groups by age and gender, and I therefore spent my weekend with the 11th-12th grade girls from our church. In these small groups, we also had our bible study.

I'm not really religious, I've always wanted to be, but am not. However, I'm not going to dive in too much in what I believe in... But it was fun to meet some new people and to listen to what they believe in and how they see things. Church is a much bigger thing here in the South and I think it's interesting how much faith can shape a person, but also how we are all the same in a way, no matter what we believe in; After all, we're all human.

Writing this, I realized that I haven't written much about church at all, so I'll have to do that soon... But that'll have to be for another day. I hope y'all have a great week and I'll see you again soon, hugs!

Likes

Comments

Many people think that an exchange year is like a vacation and a year off from the everyday life back home. In one way, they're right, but in another way, completely wrong.

Going away to another country felt like a vacation at first. I got to see new things, in a new climate, and was surrounded by strangers. It was new, different, and nothing like my everyday life in Sweden; Just like a vacation... But it wasn't. And it's still not. After a few weeks, months, it started to kick in; The everyday life. It wasn't the same as my life in Sweden, but a new one. I started to learn more English, about the area, and all the norms. I got used to the climate. Strangers became friends and family. Everything fell into place, and I started my new life. My American life.

Life is a lot different here, but also very similar to my life in Sweden. I go to school, go work-out, hang out with friends and spend time with my family, just like in Sweden. All that's different is that it's a different school, a different gym, different friends and a different family. It's an everyday life, just a different one. But different doesn't make it to a vacation - far from.

Vacations are easy, and I can assure you that this isn't. First of all, you're away from your family, friends, and in my case boyfriend, for one year. You come here like an outsider, a foreign person, and don't know much about the place. You have to adapt to a new society and try to figure out how fit into it, without losing yourself at the same time. You have to be strong, create a whole new life for yourself, and believe that you can do it. And if you think all of this is easy, I don't even know what to tell you other than try it yourself.

But even though it's not like a vacation, this year is amazing. It's an everyday life, but a special one. Many people think it's going to be like a vacation and I'm tired of hearing it. Because you know what? It's not going to be one, it's going to be better. You're going to find a new family, new friends, and make so many great memories; People and memories you'll never forget. And that, my friends, is better than any vacation I've, and ever will take. That, my friends, is an exchange year.

Likes

Comments

Christmas 2016 was definitely a Christmas to remember and a bit different from how I usually celebrate it. In Sweden, we celebrate Advent four Sundays before Christmas Eve, and then celebrate Christmas the 24th, instead of the 25th, as they do here. I usually celebrate it with my family and my grandma, with food, Donald Duck on TV and Santa. Our Santa actually comes to us and gives us the presents, and we get to see him, instead of him coming at night as he does here. For the last few years, I've been the one playing Santa, but my dad got the honour this year, since I wasn't home. Being away from my family in Sweden during Christmas was hard, I'm not going to lie. It felt really weird, breaking traditions, and I missed them more than ever during December.

Pictures from last year

But although it was hard to be away from my family, I had a wonderful Christmas here in the States. Since most of my host family's relatives live around the area, we celebrated Christmas throughout December at a few different places. We started the Sunday after Coronation, celebrating it with Kim's (my host mom's) dad in the morning and went to her mom after that, celebrating again.

Decorating Sandy's tree, Christmas as Nana's

Throughout December, I also tried to bake some Swedish treats to share a little bit of my culture with my host family. I've always helped my mom and grandma with it but never done it by myself, so some of them didn't turn out the way I wanted, but I tried my best and they enjoyed it in the end.

Swedish saffron buns and gingerbread cookies

Last but not least... Christmas! I started of Christmas Eve with calling my family in Sweden and talked with them for about one hour before I got up. Their celebration was just about to end, and mine hadn't even started... One of the weird things about time difference, haha! After that, I went up and got ready, and then we all went to Shawn's (my host dad's) parents. We ate and then had a scavenger hunt for us kids to find our presents. It was definitely something different and I liked the idea a lot.

Christmas at Shawn's parents' house

Christmas Day started in a bit of a shock for me since they woke me up before 6 (without telling me they would), so I thought something was wrong at first. But then Aric shouted "Santa was here!!", and I realized the woke me up for that and not because the house was on fire or something. Barely awake, I followed them down to the living room and we got to open our presents... And there were a lot of them!!

Aric on Christmas Day (the picture is as blury as I was tired)

Christmas in America was something for the books and I really did enjoy it, even though I missed my family a lot. I got more than I could've ever imagined and ate more than my stomach could take. Breaking my Swedish traditions was weird, but not celebrating Christmas in America next year will probably be just as weird. Just like this time, I will miss my family more than ever too, just my other one (I don't even want to think about that right now, but...). Oh well, hope y'all had a great Christmas!  I know that this post is about one month too late, but  rather late than never... Right? ;)

Likes

Comments

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!

Likes

Comments

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!

Likes

Comments

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...

Likes

Comments

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. :)

Likes

Comments

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!

Likes

Comments

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!

Likes

Comments