Design your blog - select from dozens of ready-made templates or make your own; simply “point & click” - Click here
Now it's only two weeks until the exchange is over and I go back to Sweden.
During the last weeks, I've noticed I've been a lot more like a native. I eat English breakfast every morning, which includes eggs, bacon, beans and tomato. I've also started to talk with the same accent as the native people do. It's actually a special accent here in the northern parts of the UK. The accent is called Geordie. It was actually pretty hard to understand what people said when I came here. Now, I talk the same and it's not that difficult anymore to understand other people. I've also got way much better at English overall. Before I came here, it was sometimes hard to know what to say and it took time to find the words and formulate the sentences. Now it's definitely not that uncertainly in the speaking. It just happens naturally, which seems really good, because that means my English has evolved a lot.
My host family asked me, if there was something I would like to do, before I go back to Sweden. It was pretty easy to find out what I should answer, because me and my friends talked about it in a similar conversation only a day earlier. It was my friend Jessi, who had made this such a thing with her family. The activity was kart racing, which involves driving a small and really fast purpose-built car, on a track consisting of asphalt. I'd never done this such a thing before, so when I heard my friend Jessi talk about it, I suddenly got excited to go kart-driving some day. I mentioned it to my host family and they also liked the idea, so they booked a track next day.
So the next day, we went to a place called TeamSport Indoor Karting Newcastle. I was pretty nervous actually, but I wouldn't have been that. It was definitely one of the funniest things I've ever done and I'm really glad we did it. I'm sure my host family liked it as much as I did.
After the karting, my host family took me out for a special dinner at a restaurant called Babucho. I ordered my favourite kind of pizza, including parma ham, mozzarella and basil. To drink I had a coke. After the dinner we also ordered some drinks, which also was really tasty.
Before we went home, my host family gave me a souvenir to remember my Homestay here in Newcastle. The souvenir was a key ring with typical sayings in Geordie (the accent here in the northern England).
I've also bought some typical English snacks for my family and friends back home. I have my favourite snacks from English grocery stores, so I think it would be nice, if I bring my favourites back home. The snacks I've bought, are Skittles, which are fruit-flavoured sweets with different colours. Another snack, I've bought is strawberry-flavoured twists called Twizzlers. This is my favourite, because I'd never eaten this kind of candy before I tried this one. The other snacks I've bought for my family and friends back home, are two different flavours of crisps. I don't really like crisps, but my friends back home do, so I want them to try English crisps to see if they'e better than Swedish ones. The flavours are worcester sauce and smoky bacon.
Of course I bought some extra Twizzlers, for myself.... I would like to buy hundreds of them, because they're so incredibly tasty. The only thing that stops me is because I don't have space in my baggage.
The last days before my mom and sister would come, I couldn't wait to finish the school and go meet them at the airport. They came to the airport on Friday at 12 o'clock, so I actually made me free from school the last two hours, for meeting them. I was so glad to see them and I actually cried a little because I was so happy. My mom cried too, so it was okay. My mom's first reaction about Newcastle was about the weather. Swedish people say it's raining all the time in Sweden, but in England, it's worse!! It's raining almost every day and it's never nice weather when we want it.
We took the metro to my host family's house. They hadn't come home yet, but I had an own key, so there was no problem. We started to pack up some things. They had brought some Swedish snacks to me, because some of my favourites from Sweden are impossible to find here in the local grocery store. The snack I've wanted the most, was licorice and bulk confectionery, which is typical of Sweden.
The next day we went to the football arena here in Newcastle. My host father recommended us to do it, because this weekend it was a big game between Newcastle and Liverpool. It was fun, because I'd never seen a big football game live before. The bad thing was that Liverpool won.
I've also shown them the most important tourist spots in the city. We went to the Millenium Bridge at the Quayside and to my favourite restaurant "The Five Swans", where me and my host family ate fish and chips the day I came here. On the last day, we also went to the place where the movies about Harry Potter took place. I haven't seen the films yet, but after this tour of the castle, is it definitely a must-have to see the Harry Potter movies. It took an hour by car to the castle in the place called Alnwick, but we took the bus, because my host family didn't want to come along.
It was time for them to leave Newcastle on Sunday morning, which was an emotional farewell. I told them to not worry and that I'll see them in a few weeks. It felt good when I said it at the moment, but now when I came home, I realized it's just one month left, until I go back to Sweden. My Homestay is 2/3 over and it makes me feel sad. But it's not just bad feelings about leaving England. It'll be great to meet my friends again, because I've missed them so much.
My sister said to me, before they went to the airport, how much I've evolved during this exchange. She said it felt like I've been another person, because I've grown so much in my personality and expieriences. I totally agree, but my head hasn't really admitted it yet, that I've lived in England in three months with people I didn't know before. It's a big thing to do at my age; to live in another country without their family or someone else familiar. I've learned so much during this exchange and it's definitely the most worthwhile I've ever done.
Wow, the last two weeks have been pretty interesting, but bustling. The famous singer Mark Knopfler; also known as a member of Dire Straits, came to speak at my school. He talked about how he followed his dream to be a famous singer. It was very interesting to hear his history, but it wasn't the first time I saw him. Me and my mom were at his concert in Berlin two years ago. It was a really big thing for my mother, because Mark and his band Dire Straits (which doesn't exist anymore), was one of the most popular bands in Europe when my mom was young.
After the speech, I got a chance to meet him, which was super cool. I also told him how much my mother likes him and afterwards I even got his autograph. I'm not going to keep it to myself though. It's for my mother. She's going to be so glad when she hears about it and even get his autograph. I don't think my friends know who Mark Knopfler or Dire Straits is, but I'll tell them anyways, because it was really nice meeting him. His speech and the meeting made me totally forget about the homesick. It just felt really good and I'm happy to have something to talk about with my mother, which is going to make her really jealous that I've met him and she haven't.
Lately I've been talking a lot with my family. It helped me a lot when I was homesick. To get rid of the homesick, we talked about how it would be, if they came to visit me here in Newcastle. It was most current two weeks ago, but now my mom and sister have decided to actually visit me here in Newcastle. They're coming next week, so I'm very excited! It'll be so fun to show them my host family's home, my school, the city and also meet my host family. The most excited thing, is that they're going to live with me and my host family, HOW NICE?!?!!!!!! It's so kind of them, to help me greet my family.
I've also talked with the father in my host family, about different things we can do to make my family remember the visit. I don't want to show them the typical tourist attractions, like museums and other historical sights, because I don't think it's interesting. Of course we'll visit the bridges at the Quayside, because that's what associates in the city. Instead I would like to do an activity with them, so my host father recommended football. It's not really my favourite thing to look at, but I think it'll be fun visit a big arena here in Newcastle, watching a game between Newcastle and another football team.
My sister likes shopping, which is really good because Newcastle has a really good offering of stores. I really like the shopping here, even though the city is pretty small.
I've actually been thinking about doing a trip to London with my mom and sister, but it's pretty far away and it'll take a whole day by car, which seems unnecessary. Otherwise is London a really nice city to visit. My favourite part is absolutely the shopping and the atmosphere as compared to my hometown in Sweden, which is really small.
It's been a national holiday this week, so I've been free from school in a whole week, which was so nice. I haven't done so much though, I've just palled around with friends and with my host family. Actually, we've also celebrated the easter, which is a national holiday here in England. It's an important holiday for my host family and they celebrate it a lot. I haven't really asked them why it's so important for them. Maybe they're religious to the Christianity or maybe it's just a tradition without any religious thought. I don't usually celebrate the easter at home in Sweden, so this has been interesting to see.
This year the east was on the 1st April. We made Hot Cross Buns, which is traditional spiced, sticky glazed fruit buns with pastry crosses. These buns were really good! It was a lot of different flavours that I couldn't recognize, even when it was well known ingredients. We mainly celebrated the easter by brunch, getting together with the family and painting eggs in different colours and patterns. I think the way of celebrating Easter in England, is like the same way in Sweden. It was cozy, because it was only activities with the family.
Anyways, today my teacher talked about Mark Knopfler, who is a singer from Newcastle upon Tyne. She said he's coming to town in two weeks and he's going to speak at my school, which made me think a lot about how much I miss my family. My mother has been listening to Mark Knopfler and his ex-band Dire Straits's music, since she was at my age. I've actually been listening to his songs a bit too. About two years ago, me and my mother went to Berlin together, to watch at his concert. It's one of the most powerful things I've ever done, even though it wasn't my taste of music. The thoughts about Mark Knopfler makes me feel a bit homesick. I miss my family and my friends back home. I just want to cuddle with my family in front of the TV. Of couse everything's fine here too, but it's not like the same way. Everything's just different here. To get rid of this homesick, I talk to my family in the phone everyday. I'm so glad we're living in this time, so we can just send a message or call, without any problems.
A big new in my host family, is that they've decided to get a new dog. They actually already have a dog. His name is Luke and he's a big one. I don't know what breed he is, but he's a big one with white fur. The new dog is considerably smaller and I guess he's another breed. He has brown and white fur. The puppy didn't have a name when my host family got him, so they've given me a task to find a name. It feels really good that I'm the one who decides the name. It made me feel like a part of the family and it really helped to cheer me up from the homesickness.
After a lot of thinking, I've decided the puppy's name is going to be Bruno.
It's been a month since I came here and I've already got comfortable with my routines. I've almost the same routines every day. I wake up at 6 every day, which is pretty early for me usually, but I've got used to it. I take a shower and then I get ready for school. Me and my host family always eat breakfast together at 7 before everyone goes to work or school.
The breakfast is normally fried eggs, bacon, sausages, bread, beans and a beverage such as coffee or tea.
I've never been a person who drinks coffee, but it has actually been a part of my morning routine. Without coffee in the morning, I feel tired the whole day. The typical English breakfast is okay, I think. I don't really like the sausages, but I eat it anyways, just because I don't want to be hungry the rest of the day. I've already started to like beans in tomato sauce. It's usual to eat in Sweden too, but it's more usual here, because it's a big part of the typical English breakfast.
Especially my morning routine has changed from the routines I had in Sweden. In Sweden I woke up at 7/7:30. It was a little bit stressful every morning, but I never came late to school and it was because I lived only 100 meters from the school. Of course I always ate breakfast, but not as much as I do here. In Sweden I just eat a sandwich or some yoghurt before school, because I don't have time for more. Then my host mother has been up since 5.30, to make breakfast for the family.
Now I have to take the bus to school. The bus stop is beyond the house and the bus ride takes about 20 minutes. Some students in my school already have an own car to drive with. My friend Alice has one and she has asked if she may pick me up on her way to school, so I don't have to take the bus. But I've said no because I don't want to be depended by her. If I would live in England for a longer time, I would also like to have a car at my age. People here can have a driving license when they turn 16. In Sweden the age limit is 18. It means that I have two years left to wait, which is really boring.
I go to school every day, Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 16 pm. Some afternoons I have basketball practice with the school team. When I come home, I am really tired. My host mother does the dinner for the family and then we eat it together. After the dinner is it time for studying. I go to bed at 10, depending on how tired I am.
Last Tuesday me and five friends went to a trampoline park in Sunderland, an hour with car southward. In Sunderland is one of UK's most attracted activities, namely Gravity Force Trampoline Sunderland. I've never jumped on this kind of trampoline before and honestly I was quite nervous. I learned to do 360° flip forward and backward. It was really scary at first, but then I got more comfortable. The only bad thing, was that I hurt my left wrist, when I landed wrong after a flip. It hurt a lot, so we decided to go to the hospital for injury check. The doctor said it only was a sprain, so I got bandage around my sprained wrist and then we drove home to Newcastle.
My mom got really worried when she heard about my sprained wrist, but I told her she doesn't have to worry. I tried to calm her saying to her it would be even worse if it was something bigger and more serious, like a broken leg or a concussion. She agreed with that.
Now, a week after, is my wrist a little bit better, I think. It still hurts though, but not as much as it did a week ago.
Next week will be very chill, because it's an easter holiday so the students are free from school, which is well needed. I've got a lot of school stuff to do, like an article I'm working on at the English classes. I'm not done with it, so I have to work at home. It's about holidays and traditions in the UK. It's extra hard for me, because I'm not from the UK, but I'll do as good as I can. Easter isn't a notably big holiday in the UK. Some people celebrate it, but the majority doesn't. It's like in Sweden. The easter holiday is pretty important in my host family. I don't really know why or what they do to celebrate, but I'll find out.
The most major holiday in the UK is definitely Christmas. St Patrick's day is another one, but it's mostly in Ireland, which is also a part of the UK.
The weather has been really bad this week. It's been raining everyday, which actually is pretty usual for Newcastle Upon Tyne. My host family said the weather in this city is normally pretty bad. It's not getting super hot in the summer and it's not a lot of snow in the winter. They described the average weather as grey and boring, which I can relate to, because the weather in my hometown in Sweden isn't so nice either.
I really don't like when it's raining. It makes me feel bored and I have nothing to do. There's nothing to do outside, because then I just get wet. I can't go to my new friends, because they don't live in the near.
The rainy weather this week caused a flood in the whole city. There's a lot of swamp streets and crumbled roads where the cars can't drive. People's houses are swamped by the flood and a lot of people can't move from their homes, because it's water everywhere. Some have even got killed. The flood made our home, powerless in a few days. It lasted about three days and it was really problematic not having power.
A good news is that the school was cancelled this Tuesday, because of the flood. Some of my friends say the school also got a water damage. I hope the school will be cancelled in a few days, because then I can just hang out with my host family. On Tuesday we watched the news together and I'm almost surprised about my host family's reaction about the water damages. They barely didn't say anything about it, like "Oh, this is so horrible. Poor the victims." After the news I asked the host mother why they didn't react more about the water. She told me, water damages are pretty usual in the north England. It happens a lot and the people in town has got used to it.
I've got a lot of phone calls and emails from my family and my friends back home. They were worried because they had seen the news about a flood in Newcastle upon Tyne. According to the news in Sweden, several people were killed because of the flood, probably drowned. I told my family and friends back home, that I'm alright and everything's fine.
Another positive thing is that I've joined an activity group during my third week on Homestay. It was my friend Alice who already was a part of the basket team in school. We play in an hour, four days a week, after school. I've always thought basket is a boring sport and nothing for me. But now, I really like it! I'm not good at it, yet, but it's really funny so far.
I've barely been here in two weeks and to be honest, I've started to get used living in England. I've got used to my normal routines and I've been really close to my host family. They're really easy to handle with and it makes me comfortable and it makes me feel like home.
On Thursday this week, me and my host mother had an argument about following the house rules. I came home late on Monday night because I was out with four friends from school. We stayed at my friend's house until 11 o'clock and then I went home immediately. I didn't think it was a big thing to come home at 11 on a weekday, but my host mother did. She said they have a responsibility to take care of me and to make sure nothing happens to me, so I have to be home at 10 at the school days. On the weekday I can stay out to 11 if I want to. I have to accept these rules, because otherwise I can't live here.
I have also met the father in my host family. He was out of town when I came to Newcastle, so this was the first time I met him. His name is Charles and he was also in the middle age, just like his wife Maria. He has brown short hair and he was really tall. He said he works as a pilot, so that's why he's not at home so often.
This weekend my host family took me to the most interesting tourist spots here in New Castle. I don't really like visiting tourist spots, but of course it depends on what it is. We went to the Quayside, where it's two well-known bridges. It was dark outside, because the clock was about 6 pm, but the darkness made it look so much more beautiful than it would do in the daylight, i think. There are two different kinds of bridges over River Tyne. That's why the city is called New Castle upon Tyne, because it is situated upon the Tyne. The left picture is a bridge where the cars can drive. It's much bigger and my host family described it as the most well-known for New Castle. I think. It didn't look so remarkable. However, the other bridge seemed more special. It was a pedestrian bridge called Millennium Bridge and it was alight with colours on the arc. It seemed really nice with the colours on the arc in the darkness, but I don't think it looks so beautiful in the daylight though.
We took the metro home around 9 pm. Then it was really dark outside and it was a lot of wierd people hanging around in the city. It was mostly in the metro and I'm sure the creeps had taken drugs, because they were acting really strange. They were talking wierd things by themselves and moved back and forth on the platform. I'll never forget this, because I've never seen such as drugged people before. I can admit I felt a little bit afraid. Not because I thought they would do something to me, but because I was afraid of what they could do to themselves. I don't know what they were able to do, but what if they jumped down to the track before our train comes? I felt scared the whole time until we went on our train.
It's been a week since I wrote last time and I have actually experienced a lot. I've met so many different kinds of people. Some of them are kind, others aren't. I went to my new school, where I'll go every day in three months from now. It seemed okay. The school was pretty big and it was hard to not get lost. Most of the students in my school are fine. They help me to find every classroom and make me to fit in, which feels great. Before I came here, I've been so nervous about how it's going to be when I come to my new school, but I shouldn't have been that.
There are some girls in my English class who think it's funny to pick on me, because I'm from another country and don't speak English in the same accent as they. But I don't really care about what they say. I think they're just jealous because I've got the chance to live in another country for a while, and they don’t.. My teacher is really good at making students feel secure. She sees all the time, when the girls in my class act bad in front of me and then she talks to them after class. I don't know what they say, but it actually works.
I've made a lot of new friends though. It started when I got a "buddy", the person who helped me the first days in school. She was appointed to do that, just because the school wanted me to feel comfortable, which I did! She was the one who became my first friend. Her name is Alice.
However, it's so much different here, compared to my home in Sweden. Students has to were school uniforms, which is a big difference compared with the Swedish school. I have to pick my own lunch with me, because the school doesn't serve food for free to the student. My host mother sends me lunch boxes everyday including a sandwich, some vegetables and a chocolate cake. It's tasty, even though I don't get satisfied, because I am still hungry when the lunch is over. I've noticed how little the students eat. I'm the one who eat "so much" even though I don't think it's a lot. To drink I have chocolate milk, which I don't really like actually. There's something I've been wondering about. Does people here never drink just clean water? EVERYONE in the schools cafeteria drink milk, juice or chocolate milk, we drink juice to the dinner in my host family and when we go out on the restaurant is it obvious to drink soda.
It feels like English people doesn't take care of themselves as much as I think they should. Many of them doesn't brush their teeth. They doesn't eat healthy, especially not people in school, because they don't eat at all. I've also noticed the people here wears so few clothes, even though it's really cold outside. It's January and only 5 degrees outside, but people still wear a thin jacket and a skirt without thights. I'm just freezing when I'm seeing it.
Aside from the English school and the weather is it another big differences. The cars drive on the left side on the road, which is the opposite from the swedish traffic, where it's on the right side. It's frustrating because I always have to think before pass a road.
Now I understand what people mean when they talk about "culture shock". The people here act differently than what swedish people do. In my host family it's really important to wear shoes indoor, even at home. We only take off our shoes when we're going to sleep. At home, in Sweden, we take off our shoes when we come home. I think it's yucky because the floor seems un-clean here all the time. It's broadlooms in every room and it makes the floor even more un-clean.
Yesterday I fell asleep at 2 am. I stayed up late because I wasn't done with my baggage. It was so much clothes to clean up before the journey and it was a lot of things I had to dig out.
So, this night I slept for three hours. The alarm clock rang at 5 o'clock and then I was REALLY tired. It felt like my eyes would close it selves and all I wanted was laying in my bed for hours. But I had to get up. The next hour I took a shower, packed my last things and ate breakfast before I left my house, to the airport in Copenhagen. I bought a coffee, before the two-hours long journey to Newcastle International airport.
Newcastle is a medium-sized city in the north part of england. The reason why I'm here is because I'm taking an exchange termination (but just for 3 months) in my studies and I'm gonna live with an english host family.
When I got off the plane, the host family met me at the gate. They hugged me and seemed really nice. They had a dog with them, which I felt a little bit uncomfortable with, because the dog was big with sharp fangs. I'm not used to dogs and I'll never be either, so I thought this would be another dare. I think their way to talk seemed really funny. They had a special accent, which is usual in the north England. We went to the car and drove about 30 minutes until we came to their house. It's really big and is situated by a big road. They said we live close to the city (Newcastle Upon Tyne), almost as close so I can walk.
My host family is really nice. The mother in the family is called Maria. I guess she's about 50 years old and she has two children in my age. They don't live at home, because they are studying in other cities. Their names are James and Isabelle. They were at home when I arrived, so I met them also. We talked about what we would like to do in the future and about movies. Unfortunately wasn't their dad in Newcastle when I came home. But he'll be here in a week, so I'll meet him soon.
They showed me my room, which is pretty small actually. The colours in the room was orange, grey and brown, which makes the room look kind of warm and nice. It's a bed in the middle of the room, a desk and too doors that leads to a bathroom and a small walk in closet. The room looks bigger on the photo though....
On the evening we went to a restaurant called "The Five Swans" in Newcastle city. The resaturant was more like a pub though. We ate fish and chips, which is typical for England. The meal includes breaded fish (probably cod), chips and some vegetables. To drink I ordered a coke. It was really tasty.
Now is the clock 10 pm and I'm laying in my bed, about to sleep. The day has been really interesting, but demanding, because I've done so much today. I've almost been awake in about 17 hours today. For now I don't feel any homesick at all. Everything's been sooo good so far and I can't wait to see what happens next. One thing I'm kind of nervous about, is the school start. I know it's going to be okay when I comes there, but the first day will always be kind of nervous only because it's a new school with a lot of new impressions.