Hello sweethearts
It was a while ago and now I am here to give you a little update. Right now, I am sitting in bed under a blanket, tired after having "finished" my week of classes. Ahead of me, I have a weekend of studies but from now I can take it in my pace since I have no classes Thursdays and Fridays. You´ll probably find me in the library the following days. I have a pile of essays, midterms and other work to get done.

This morning I went up early to do some last minute studies for my 8 am . It went well and the day went on. I finished at 4:30 pm with a tutoring session to get help with my essay. When done I got to FaceTime my sweet Matilda back home. I miss my family and friends today and long for their hugs and having more everyday nearness. At the same time am I very thankful for the people I have here. I am being a little torn by knowing that I will be separated from them soon and at the same time longing for my people back home. Isn´t it crazy that I, in exactly three months, officially have finished my year as a Rotary Scholar? Time Flies

I really gonna use my time wisely. You probably won´t hear much from me here during my last months.

Take the chance to hug your close today, I envy you!
Lots of Love

Hugs Victoria

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I fell asleep on the bus in Boston.... and woke up to this:

New York - New York

Finally, I got to see the city I have dreamt of  

I was in chock. Or very overwhelmed. I am used to biking around in Falköping. The Subway system was difficult, the traffic was intense and there were people EVERYWHERE. Imagine the whole of Sweden in one single city. Wow.

Skate rink at Rockefeller center, we watched the Christmas decorations

We met up with Sofie from Denmark, who was gonna stay with us, and Maggie who had a stopover. Poor Maggie. I will never forget that Aussie walking round in New York, without a jacket, in -5 Celsius (-15 with the wind factor). Those quirky girls made this evening unforgettable. Just look at the following pictures:


Looks like I was hit by a car, but no, I just walked over the crossing.

Can I and alice we get sponsored by Fjällräven now?

Maggie :´DDDDD

my dear dear Dane <3

Who brings sunglasses to Times Sure? Maggie, Of course,

"It´s bright"

*Happy*

*and cold*

Photo cred to Maggie <3

Hugs Victoria

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I have no idea how to finish this recap on my travels. We did so much every day and I now associate travel with being exhausted. How did we manage to take in all of this in such a short time?

- It was amazing though, feels like a dream


Let´s have a look at our last days in Boston.

The destination for day 3 was Cambridge in Boston, where MIT and Harvard are located.

(I don´t know what level of travel/maturity/nerdiness when you are a 19-year old college student and enjoy walking around in Universities, bookstores and sit at cafe´s people spotting).

After having done a tour at MIT for prospect students, led by a current student, we had lunch at a student hangout spot. The whole day was such authentic. I really felt like I was a student there.

Favorite area - Harvard square with its cute bookstores

MIT/Harvard - MIT! They seemed to have such a good mentality that "we are all in this together" and help each other.

Biggest realization - Those students, going to the best universities in the world, are HUMAN. I really felt that it was within reach. Us deadly can also attend those schools! (If you have a great scholarship)

I don´t wanna know what have happened to this foot

Do you recognize this MIT hack? or the 1000 paper cranes?

So cute bookstores,

I bought Malala´s biography,

We jump straight on to our last day in Boston, day four on our travels.

We walked in Downtown Boston.

Prydlig
Boston Tea Party

The Finish line of Boston Marathon

Boston public library!
I actually saw this on Pinterest before we went there... I can understand why

Newbury street

Trinity Church
It was cool to see those old buildings among surrounded by skyscrapers

360 view of Boston from Prudential Center Observatory - Thanks Malin for the advice

After this day, I felt very done with Boston. We really did it thoroughly in our 3,5 days and I have no need to go back. A kinda good feeling. And off we went to the next city...

Hugs Victoria

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Good afternoon everyone on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

My Wednesday is running away quickly. If you wonder what I am up to this semester: I have classes from 8-3:15 on Mondays and Wednesdays. Today I had Digital Media, English composition, and Spanish. On Mondays, I have 2,5 hour of History - Western Civilization, instead of English. We work on a project in those classes and will go to Washington D.C in April to do a simulation of the UN Security Council. So excited!

I really think this spring will run away quickly. I mean, it is already February tomorrow. Those weeks have been weird. I went from Mexico to snow days in Georgia (school was closed). Now I walk round in a college sweather and have spring feelings. You know the feeling you get in late March-early April in Sweden when the birds start to sing, it is bright outside and you can go outside without a jacket? My body-watch is messed up, but it makes me happier.

Otherwise, a lot is going on. I have so many people around me that I want to spend time with during the spring, my host families for example. Us GRSP students are making lots of travel plans and we are really trying to make the most out of our year in the US. It suddenly struck me that I have no idea what I do in four months. Life is interesting that way but I m really trying to set time aside and think, research my alternatives, and do job applications. It is difficult to balance all of this with full-time College studies and getting some workouts done here and there.

Therefore, I m trying to say no to a few things in February and set time aside for myself. I´ll probably stay at college this weekend.

I guess that's my Wednesday reflections. It´s now 4:30 pm and I plan to sit in the library to study this evening.


I wish y ´all a good start of the new month. I share two pictures from my last February. It´s now one year since I got the news that I had received the Georgia Rotary scholarship. So much has happened since then. Looking forward to seeing what this year has to bring.

Hugs Victoria

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10 December 2017

We stepped out of our Airbnb room on a beautiful winter morning. Airbnb has worked great during all our travels and I would highly recommend it. We focused on living close to transportation systems and having friendly hosts with good reviews. Otherwise, we and our Student-budgets were fine with living cheap on the outskirts, as long as we had a fresh bed to sleep on and a kitchen to make oatmeal for breakfast. We rather put our money on experiences.

Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Key events for the American Revolution, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Siege of Boston, took place there. We had been recommended to walk the Freedom Trail which takes you through historical key places. I was familiar with a lot of persons and events from my American Government class, but I did not know the details. We bought a book and read while walking the trail. Or rather Alice read and I was in charge of taking pictures. We felt like we preserved our poor cold fingers best that way. Doing the trail was a great way to explore Boston and a good wrap up after having lived in the USA for a semester and studied what America is founded on.

I think it took us about six hours to walk the whole trail.

Boston Common, a park in the middle of downtown where the trail started

Massachusetts State House

Old Corner Bookstore

Ladies, this meeting can do nothing more to save he country

Old City Hall

The balcony at Old State House where one of the Sons of Liberty read the Declaration of Independence

Lunch stop: Quincy market. Alice made me try Udon noodles for the first time. And yes, we lived on warm soup those days.

On the way, they had a beautiful and touching Holocaust memorial. The numbers on the windows symbolize the registration numbers tattooed on the people in the death camps.

This is a memorial for soldiers fallen in the war against IS. It was not as easy to melt present war as the old American Revolution war. A good reminder

Old North Church

Alice´s comment on Paul Revere´s house cracked me up.

"This house is just twenty years older than our summer cabin"

That gives some perspective on what is considered old in the United States and in Europe. Still, we enjoyed walking around a whole day looking at not so buildings.

The narrowest house in Boston for those interested

The brittish soldiers practiced shooting on the tombstones

Bunker Hill

We definitely did the trail thoroughly. I have to admit that it was a tired, cold and not super enthusiastic Victoria who, after a whole day out, made it back to Downtown Boston. My mood soon turned for the better, I ended up trying Oysters for the first time in my life! And not just wherever, - at the Union Oyster House. That´s the oldest restaurant in the country.

Lookin Fresh after a whole day out in wintery Boston

We made it back to our Airbnb in the outskirts of Boston. I ended day two in Boston by watching the movie Good Will Hunting. (Thanks for the advice Alva, new fave movie, actually). The movie was a great build-up for next days location...

Hugs Victoria

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Today (Thursday) I and Alice were visiting my host father Senator Frank Ginn at the Georgia State Capitol. He, his secretary and intern had put together a great experience for us. Such an authentic day among American politicians had I, a "tösabeta" from Västgöta-schlätta, not imagined I would ever experience. We arrived by subway system Marta eight in the morning. We went through security check and was welcomed with a tour by an intern. We met up with my host father Senator Ginn and Governor Nathan Deal. We shook hands, made a picture and exchanged a few words about the Rotary program. We then continued to the room where the Senators are in session to pass legislation. It was no big debates today and we got to go on the floor with my host father during the session! He introduced us to other State Senators, and the Lieutenant Governor, Casey Cagle.

I have always thought that my host father Senator Ginn was an exceptionally social man. Today I realized that he is not the only one. The Governor seemed very kind and genuine, other Senators took time to talk to us and it felt quite natural to walk around among the most powerful people in Georgia. Imagine walking around with a commissioner in the Swedish Parliament. Add to that meeting the prime minister, the floor leader and chit-chat with the other commissioners. It is not fully fair to compare. But the Georgia State Government represent as many people as the Swedish government since both Sweden and Georgia has 10 million inhabitants.

Senator Ginns, I, Alice, Governor Deal

Alice had to head back to school and I had to wait for my host father to finish his day in session and in committee meetings. I went for a lunch in their cafeteria. After that, I took some time for myself, sitting outside in the sun, sipping on my coffee. I had a view of the beautiful Capitol building and really enjoy the moment. I realize that the more I experience the more time I need to myself to just think and land. This was one of those experiences when I just had to sit down for a while and realize what I get to experience.

After my break, I went back to hang out with the Interns, Secretaries, and Senators in Frank´s office. He gave me a ride to Athens in the afternoon where I met up with my host mother Robin and her mother to watch University of Georgia´s Lady Bulldogs Basketball team. Great game and we beat Missouri! Made me think of good soccer memories...

Tomorrow morning (Friday) will start with a Rotary meeting. I will then head to Hartwell and spend my weekend with my other host family, the Garringers (And with my school books).


I am still trying to melt my December and January experiences. I process it through looking at and organizing my pictures and putting it into posts here. Except for being a great chance for reflection, an outlet for paths of thoughts and a diary for me, it also helps me connect with you. I get very glad by talking to yáll back home. It feels good that you know some of what I do here, that I don´t have to give everyone a mega-big-yearlong recap when I get home. I want to share it with you in the moment!

It makes me feel that we still live in each others reality, though not physically.

Hugs Victoria

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9 December 2017

Day one started early morning in Atlanta. Alice and I flew out from Hartsfield Jackson International Airport and landed at Logan airport, Boston, around noon. We were curious to get out and explore the city so we bought a Subway card, quickly dropped our bags at our Airbnb, and headed into Downtown Boston.

First stop: Beacon hill. The old high-end neighborhood housed shops, Irish bars and cafe´s.

We spent some time drooling over expensive chocolate our student-travel-budget cannot afford. We got inspired to keep on study hard so we one day can shop here.

The two Swedes had to reload with some FIKA

(Of course).


Boston gave us snow! And cold wet feets in our tennis shoes... We were better prepared day two with plastic Walmart-bags in our socks to keep the wet out. One gotta do what one gotta do. We were not at all prepared for the weather. It would have been a pretty normal winter day in Sweden. But back home I would have had winter boots, I would not have walked outside for hours and I would have had lots of dry clothes to change to when I got home ;) Despite this, we thoroughly enjoyed the first evening of our winter break travels. In an aim to escape the cold Alice suggested looking for rush tickets to any show.

We had read enough to know that Irish bars are a must-do in Boston. This is a picture I captured from JJ Foley's minutes before they realised that we were not 21 and said "Mate, you cannot eat in here on a Saturday". The Irish guys sitting in the bar grinned at us. We drew the touristy I-am-from-Sweden-card and left. At least I captured a good picture! Instead, we got us some hot soup from the Mexican restaurant Rita´s Fajitas.

Warm soup after a cold day was no laughing matter, - Mate!

Then on to Emerson College to watch their version of Pride and Prejudice, a classic!

I remember that Boston was stunning this evening. We went to bed at midnight. Encouraged by how well we had managed to be spontaneous and find our way to local places. A great start of great travels!

Hugs Victoria

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Late Merry Christmas to all of yáll! And god fortsättning like us Swedes say. Seems like there is no translation of that phrase but I basically wish you good days between Christmas and New Years.

I have missed my family extra those days but it has been fun to talk to them over Face-Time. Feels like they are with me and I´m with them. We also share pictures daily about what we do. Still, I really enjoyed this Christmas and felt at home with my host families. Thank you for that!

The past two weeks have flown by. First four days in Boston and a week in New York. I have been busy since I came home and are still trying to catch up on sleep and energy. I arrived in Georgia the 21st of December and rested up a few hours at Alice´s host family, Alexanders. Then I went to my host family, the Ginns, in Northeastern Georgia. We watched Georgia Bulldogs Basket team beating Temple in Athens Colosseum arena. We also watched Pitch Perfect 3 in the movie theatre and binge-watched Stranger Things. I tried "Hot Chocolate on a stick" that I got in Chrismas present from the Alexanders. If that doesn´t exist in Sweden, we need to get it! Also, I stood outside the Grocery store with a bell and gave away "kisses" = chocolate, raising money with Rotary for the Salvation Army.

On Sunday morning I went to my next host family, the Garrigners. While all you Swedes celebrated Christmas Eve, we went to church, had Mexican lunch (which is an after-church tradition) and read Christmas stories. It was hilarious when my host family tried reading with a British, Redneck, Scottish and Indian accent.


The rule here is apparently that Christmas begins when the kids wake up. So, at 7 am on Christmas day morning we started unwrapping presents. Santa had been here and had eaten the cookies, trail mix, and coke that was put out the evening before for him. Five Christmas stockings hang by the chimney, one was golden and had Victoria 2017 embroidered on it. I got very neat Christmas presents, (way more than I had expected!), that I can keep as memories back home.

College sport is a huge thing here, SURPRISE, and my host sister have started a new college - Clemson. Therefore, of course, every grandparent had to be given a Clemson college shirt. I got an Indiana basketball sweater since that is their favorite team. Hope I don´t get in trouble here in Georgia for wearing that one ;). Georgia Bulldogs will play the Rose bowl and Clemson will play the Sugar bowl the 1st of January. I also got to try Reese´s Christmas Tree (Chocolate with Peanut) and I am hooked. Unfortunately, the package my parents had sent for me, including the Christmas presents and candy I was going to give away, is stuck somewhere between Postnord in Sweden and the Garrigners House in Georgia. I got some nice Chrismas cards and Face-time wishes from my grandparents and cousins, which I am glad for.

Christmas breakfast and present unwrapping

We hung around in our pajamas the whole day, went out to play "spike ball", ate lots of chocolate since "Christmas calories don´t count" and had smoked salmon for dinner.

Merry Christmas to yáll and God fortsättning

Edit: I just received a package from Sweden! Not the one my parents sent but from my friend Alva = my hero. She sent me a Chrismas card, Kexchoklad and Skumtomtar!!! My Christmas is saved. Thank you <333

Hugs Victoria

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This has been an intense semester.

Except for the experience of moving to a foreign country and study in another culture and language, I have met a huge amount of new people. I have got extra families, new friends from all over the world, traveled in Georgia, visited South Carolina, Alabama and Florida. The only place I really have "for myself" here in America is my college dorm room, where I sleep about four days a week. My weekends are spent with my host families, my friends' host families, other families, GRSP friends, sometimes in a tent or on the couch in a friends college dorm.

On adventures!

I have gone through what we among international students call the "honeymoon phase" and "frustration phase". At first, I walked on clouds. Everything new was overwhelming and amazing, I was everywhere and did everything. Since then, life has continued to be fun and exciting, and I also passed through the "frustration phase". Everything I have experienced has started new paths of thoughts. I have seen positive and negative things about both America and Sweden and questioned others and my own values. I have good friends around me to bandy thoughts with, and sometimes their experiences can be different from mine. That struck me especially when I and other GRSP friends from Scandinavia talked about how weird we think America's gun laws are. Then, another friend from Zimbabwe said that he doesn´t see it that way. He wished they had it more like that in his home country. That was an interesting point of view for me, considering the current situation in Zimbabwe.
I got an eye-opener.

What a journey I get to experience!

I have now stopped up for a few days and reflected over those four months in America, and also over this year. I have really changed everything in my life. I left the three things that filled up most of my past three years: high school, my friends and family, and soccer. I have made a huge internal journey, and I have done it on my own. Of course, I have had great support from my family, and friends back home. I have also met new friends here that have, in a very short time, become close friends.

So far it seems like I have skipped phase two, the homesickness.
Of course, I do miss my people from back home. But It is not a sad feeling, I just make me glad when I think of what beautiful and lovely people I have to get back to, and everything I will do next year. I believe I will appreciate the snow, mom´s hugs, and good coffee way more when I get back. But despite me missing them, do I not long to get back. I really feel that I am in the right place right now, exploring the world and myself. I do not long to the day I fly back because I have so many fun things to do in America before that. But I look forward to going home when this year is finished. It will be so much fun to bring my new experiences back and head toward new challenges and adventures.

I could not be more thankful for this. Thank you, Rotary, and thanks to everyone who has supported me, here and back home. I miss you guys!

My people <3

I am now starting to look ahead, toward 2018. What I want to get out of the other half of my year in America, and what I want to do when I get back.

First, I will focus on really living in the moment this following month.

I would like to say that I have just settled here, found my safe place in myself. It is now time to go out of the little comfort zone I have created here around my room, my college, my home in Georgia. It is time for me to live in a suitcase for exactly a month. It´s time to start travel! And I will stay with four families, visit two big cities, go on a 22-hour bus ride down the whole east coast, exit and reenter the country.

First up: Four nights in Boston

Hugs Victoria

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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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