It's early morning in Atlanta and it is more snow than it's been in six years. The schools closed yesterday, we ran to the store to store up on groceries and so on. Glad I got to experience that! At home I would just have taken my bike to school, and I have seen pictures from up North in Sweden where they Graduated in this weather, in June!

Alice's host family, the Alexanders, have been taking well care of us the last days. Yesterday we had homecooked dinner and kept up with the Kardashians. Now, Mike is drivning me and Alice to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta AirPort. We are on our way to northern latitudes, to Boston! This is a pretty spontaneous trip and I look forward to stroll around in the "Bean Town". The plans for today is to visit Beacon Hill and eat at an Irish pub. We'll probably sit down in the magnificent Boston Public Library to make plans for our coming three days in the city. I have received some great tips, but don't hesitate to hit me up with more! Love to be more spontaneous.

To you Atlanta folks: take care in the snow
To the Swedes: hope you catch up on us soon with the weather.
To all of y'all: have a great Saturday!

Hugs Victoria

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I am still catching up so here is what I did last weekend:

What I did:

Got my VISA signed so I am ready for my holiday travels

Got a tour of the Counties that my host father Frank represent in the Georgia Senate

Had an amazing dinner with Frank´s family at the Georgia Club

Slept on a couch in my host sister Catherine´s college apartment in Athens. They had lights like in Stranger things!

Met up with my friend Sofia at the University of Georgia and went downtown to do some shopping. We had a tasty lunch at this authentic place, Last Resort Grill. I can highly recommend you to go there and I have to go back and try their cheesecake. I have been missing seafood so I had this salmon beef.

We had no shopping luck so we went for a coffee, gossiped and enjoyed the University atmosphere

We rang this Campus bell, which you are supposed to ring in when you are happy. This bell rings all night long every other Saturday when UGA wins football games.

I just have to add that my friends at UGA have the best view from there bathroom. They can literally sit on the toilet and watch the Sanford Stadium where Georgia Bulldogs play. Right now they are ranked third in the nation!

I went for a Rotary Christmas dinner and met so many interesting Rotarians that shared great stories with me. I also stood up to give a short thank you speech. Maybe not the best speech I have given in my life but it was spontaneous. I really appreciate how well they take care of me and that they have given me this opportunity!

My host father sent me back to Athens with that evening's performers, an acapella group from the University. That was the most charming car ride I have had in my life. They sang Christmas carols and an acapella mashup with Beyonce´s songs all way back.

Back in Athens, I got to spend the evening with my international friends, Sophie from France and Orla from Scotland. You were fun girls!


Saturday morning we went with their roommate, Hannah, and her family to her hometown Watkinsville for their Christmas parade.

After noon I lifted with Hannah and her mom to Atlanta. It was fun to talk to them and I guess they enjoyed the football game they went to. I spent the afternoon in Atlanta with other GRSP friends and we heard the happy shouts from the pubs when Georgia Bulldogs won the game!!

In the evening I went back to the Thornells, Alices host family that I almost perceive as my own. I slept like a princess and woke up to a waffle breakfast. The best part was that Alice had brought some Kalle´s Kaviar for the boiled eggs.


In the evening I talked to my family and a friend on the phone.

A good start of the break!

Hugs Victoria

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Pictures from my Thanksgiving weekend at the Ginn´s farm

Monday after Thanksgiving was a 6am-9pm work day. I, as many other college students, procrastinated all school work during the break and I had a ton to finish when I got back. On Monday, I had two presentations, an exam I hadn´t practiced for and an essay to write before midnight. This might sound very bad, but I did great and it was good for me to spend less time preparing and practice speaking more freely on my presentations. My grades here can´t be transferred to Sweden and school is not the main focus of my scholarship. It has been fun to take classes I was genuinely interested in this semester and I learned things I can use in everyday life. That generated good results, which is an indicator for me that the Swedish school system has prepared me well. I took American Government, Sociology, psychology, Tennis, and Management. Next semester I will try to develop better study techniques, Also, I will work on an interesting project, but first I will enjoy this Winter break.

And yes, you read right, I have gone on Winter break! I had my last class Wednesday the 29th of November. I have one online final this week but that´s multiple choice and a piece of cake.

From an evening by the fire with the Kubas

Hugs Victoria

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I had 19 years of thanksgiving to catch up on so I compensated by celebrating two times this year. First with my host family the Kubas. We prepared the food together, had dinner and talked about what we would do if we won $100 000. We watched Macy´s Thanksgiving Parade, played card games, watched a movie and had some family time. They really make me feel like an extra sister, are interested in my culture and like FIKA. What a great American family I have!

Then to the next Thanksgiving dinner. While everyone did Black Friday shopping (I got stressed just by the thought of it when I saw my friends start going to the stores right after the Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday) I celebrated with my second host family, the Ginns. They had forty people(!!!) at their house which was overwhelming. Two very different Thanksgiving experiences. I also got to shoot on some pumpkins and clay pigeons. The Meatballs I brought to the Thanksgiving dinner was popular.

Guess if I was tired on Saturday and Sunday? It was perfect to sit down on the sofa and watch a three hour long football game (Go Dawgs!) before I went to my third host family. At the Garrinergs, I got to show off my basketball skills before we landed on the couch for some more football watching. Sunday we went to church, I made Swedish chocolate balls and we watched "A Christmas Story".

Host mom Marcie showing how it´s done

I give this Thanksgiving 5 turkeys out of 5 turkeys in review. The history which this tradition derives from can be discussed... but I am always up for spendning time with my people! I am not too excited about the food though... I mean, we ate Sweet potatoes with marshmallows!? But the turkeys, they were DELICIOUS. Also, I love the idea of getting together with friends and family, cook food, eat and spend time together. Thanksgiving is not as stressful compared to Christmas so we could really enjoy the time together. It was a good break before going back to school for finals.

Who´s up for a Friendsgiving next year?

Hugs Victoria

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Hi yáll

It´s been a little while since you heard from me. I have been out and about a lot, finished the school work for this semester and much more. I experience so much here in so it is difficult to keep up with the blog. Also, it can be difficult to take the time to write posts when there are so many other things I want to do. I have been thinking about that it feels weird to write about my life like this. But it seems like you have appreciated it (Tell me!), Also, it´s a great journal for me to look back at, and a way for me to give back to Rotary for my scholarship, by sharing my experiences. I also enjoy photographing and here I have a platform to share my perspective.

I hope that some of you find inspiration in here!

I will now give you a recap of what has been happening in my life. I have posts waiting for you about Thanksgiving, winter break and my spontaneous weekend. This will lead up to a post about thoughts about what has happened in my life lately, and an update on my travel plans at the end of this week.

Welcome back!

Hugs Victoria

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Hey Yáll
Or maybe I should Hej since this is a more Swedish post. Today we´re preparing the Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, I have to give some Swedish contribution and the self-evident choice was Meatballs. I can´t really brag about my cooking skills but my sister Anna helped me. We also listened to ABBA music so I got feeling. Two phone calls home later we managed to put it together, and they are delicious! If anyone is interested in the Recipe, just comment below and I´ll post it.

I now sit with my 3 o clock coffee and a skeptic face expression, watching my family doing stuffing (the thing you have in the Turkey). However, they don´t put it in the Turkey because they think it is a bit grose. This will be interesting. I guess I can´t say anything before they have tried herring.

The plan for the evening is to make a fire outside and grill hot dogs and s´mores. I start to get a holiday feeling. It is actually difficult to get that feeling when you have never experienced this holiday before. For example, I get a christmas feeling when I smell gingerbread, candles and see snow. But I have nothing to attach to the Thanksgiving feeling yet. However, soon I will think of my Thanksgiving in America as soon as I get some Pumpkin spice in my coffee.

Hugs Victoria

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Hey Yáll

It is time for me to celebrate my first Thanksgiving. I will spend this week with all three of my host families so I can do some catch up on the 18 years I´ve missed. Also, I am introducing some Swedish traditions. Yesterday we made Chocolate Tosca and had Swedish Fika. My host sisters, mother and I sat down for over one hour with coffee and talked about differences and similarities in our societies. Glad they are so interested! It was a struggle to find the right ingredients but the cake turned out very well. Later, we went to the town square. My sister Anna is this years Miss Merry Christmas. We ended the evening by watching the best Thanksgiving episodes from Friends.

Hugs Victoria

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Hey friends! This week swung away with three intense days of studies, midsummer dancing, meetings, nice November weather, cinema, bad blog-updating, bad November weather and a climbing trip in Alabama. You are welcome to scroll down and see what I did this week.

I went up 5:30am both Tuesday and Wednesday. It is finals period and I had underestimated how difficult it would be to memorize and use the right terminology for a speech about Sexual Harassment and the #metoo campaign. I have seldom been so nervous for a presentation. But I did great! Also, those mornings were beautiful.

I listened to the Consul General of Japan. He talked about Japan-US relations including President Trumps visit in Asia and the relations with North Korea and China.

(Photos from Georgia Gwinnett College)

It was the International week at our college and we did some international dances and ate international food. Unfortunately, there were no meatballs left when I and Alice were done dancing. We led the others through some "Small frogs" and "The Priest's little crow" dancing. We also danced to Ethiopian, Middle Eastern, and Bahamas dances. I have to admit that the Swedish Midsummer dancing was the most childish. I plan to convert and become a citizen of Bahamas so I can do some cooler dancing. At least those who led the Middle Eastern dance thought I was a natural talent for their dance.

Thank ´s to three school years with Amir.

On Friday we went to the movie Justice League.

Climbing in Alabama 

On Saturday morning we jumped into Outdoor Adventures van and went to Alabama. I and Alice went for our first outdoor climbing session! They asked if we didn´t want to start with a easier wall. Of course we said, NO, and I came about this high up before I realized what I was actually doing. The wall is straight up, I have no where to put my feet and so on.

And I got all the way up! I can´t believe I did it. So proud!

Alice did too!

I only climbed three walls and tried two more. Then I was really tired physically and mentally. Some of us kept on climbing all day, and more difficult walls then I could do.

Alice very comfy.

We went back to camp, had food, ate s´mores and rushed to our tents when the rain started pouring.

We was going to sleep in tents and climb Sunday as well. But it blew up to storm so we had to collect our belongings, rush to the cars and go back home. I have never slept so well in a car.

​​​​

I can now check off Outdoor climbing and another state from my bucket list. It is time to take on a new Monday. I  have one test,   two classes and then I go on Thanksgiving break. Have a great week yáll!

Hugs Victoria

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I have lived in America for 100 days! Time flies.

I am tremendously thankful and wish everyone got to explore the world and live in new cultures. What a developing experience it is. Here are some ways in which I have changed:

I have started to eat more vegetarian food. The reason is that I have easy access to vegetarian food in the dining hall and that the vegetarian food often is "better". More natural and non-processed products compared to the meat they serve. I basically enjoy that food more so it has become a natural choice. I eat a vegetarian meal approximately once a day.

I have expanded my comfort zone. Before, I could be nervous before calling someone I don´t know. Now, I am used to talking to people I don´t know, in english, all the time. For example can a Rotarian I have never met before pick me up for the Rotary meetings and I have to keep a conversation with them for 1,5 hour back an forth. I also use Uber a lot and meet new people. Since I do it so often I don´t really have the energy to be nervous about it, I just do it! And it is interesting to meet new people.

I have realized that making travel plans is surprisingly time-consuming but fun! Back in Sweden I was used to my parents doing these things and it would have been a huge thing for me to go to New York with a friend. Recently I did some research, found accommodation and booked a one week trip to New York without hesitation. I am excited to explore this city with my new friends!

I have discovered the importance of being able to express myrself and have good arguments. It started with me coming to the insight that I can´t justify my opinions to be more right than someone else´s. It is important to be able to see things from another persons point of view. To communicate my ideas, I have to be good at arguing and to have facts to back up your arguments with. Some people consider themselves to be right just because that they are older, have better experience and so on. If that is the case, I want to hear a good argument backed up by facts, and I want to be able to take the opportunity to express my view when the chance is given.

I consider myself to speak English fluently. I do some grammatical errors and don´t have the best vocabulary, but I can speak without having to think too much. However, my new challange is to learn to use new words. I know a lot of words but I have a hard time to integrate them into my daily conversations. I want to improve that!

I am way more open-minded and let new ideas influence me. It is interesting, developing and creates a little life crisis when you start to question yours and other´s values and create new ones based on new experiences and knowledge.

I have become more interested in politics. I think this is an effect of me being away from my culture and living in a new one. This new perspective makes me more aware of systems in society. I see both pros and cons with America  as well as Sweden. My class in American Government and Sociology has helped a lot.

Most of all, I am incredibly happy :)

Hugs Victoria

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Sunday again and another week has flown by. The week was filled with normal routines, studying, classes, exercising, sleeping and so on. When Friday came I felt satisfied and had the Friday feeling I have been longing for. I started the weekend by drinking a Christmas coffee with Tehara and began watching Stranger Things. The series feels more for real when I can relate to the surroundings. The village they live in looks very much like the ones my host families live in and many scenes are actually filmed close to where I live. The woods, for example, is filmed in Stone Mountain, 20 minutes away from me. Maybe you can relate to the pictures I am showing in this posts? It struck me how strange it is to live in a place that is referred to in movies. For example, when I watched the movie Geostorm with Tehara a few weeks ago, the protagonist lived in Atlanta. Also, the Walking Dead, Twelve Years a slave, Fast and Furious, Hunger Games, Captain America is either taking place in or being filmed in Atlanta and Georgia. I mean, no film character ever lives in Falköping? (Except Arn)

We had taco-night with the Thornell family Friday evening and watched the first Christmas movie for the year (already!? feels like this will escalate).

On Saturday morning I and Alice watched the Scandinavian Championship in Team gymnastics, which Alice has competed in. I could not watch the Alpine World cup in Levi on global SVT, but I saw that the Swedes did well. It actually was somewhat the same feeling to sit in 10 degrees Georgia watching Team Gymnastics as sitting in cold Sweden watching the alpine skiing or cross country skiing on Saturday mornings.

Ulrika picked us up at 11 and we headed toward North Georgia. We picked up Alice number 2 at Brenau University, bought trailmix, water, bread, guacamole, ham and went to Yonah Mountain. We spent four hours hiking, talking, breathing the fresh air and saying hi to people we didn´t know. We even met people we do know.

Easy to take great photos when you have so beautiful friends. (Alice is not sponsored by Under Armour yet)

Georgia is now filled with autumn colors. It was a beautiful view from up there and the scene is now printed in my head.

We listened to music all way back to my college. We ordered Uber eats and watched the movie Wild. The food tasted extremely well after a day outside

Alice and Ulrika left at noon after a sleepmorning and conversations over breakfast and tea. Since then, I have talked to my father and wished him happy fathers day. Right now I enjoy reflecting, writing this text and listening to Oskar Linnros. I will soon end up under a blanket and watch some more episodes of Stranger things. My coming week is intense with final school projects and the plan is to Climb in Alabama next weekend. I´ll have a special post up or you tomorrow. I wish everyone a great week.

Hugs Victoria

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