Saturday, January 9, 2016


The following list is of some of my favorite memories from the past four months, 2 weeks, and 6 days. I may not have been to a ton of different countries or studied somewhere completely different from the US or somewhere that I’m not knowledgeable about the culture but I did live somewhere outside of the US for four months and that comes with some different experiences and some amazing memories. While the list doesn't encompass all of my favorite times, it's a good sample size since I wanted to keep it short and sweet.

So, in a somewhat intended order, here they are.
  1. Hiking Trolltunga. This is a no brainer. I like hiking and being outside and I’ve always wanted to go hiking in the fjords. The hike was exhausting but going with friends was so much fun and the view and experience was one I’ll never forget. The day our plane left for Bergen, I didn’t believe that I was actually going and it wasn’t until we actually got to the trailhead that I started to come to terms with everything that was happening. Even now, it seems surreal that I did it. I can still remember it and I always will but it still amazes me that I hiked that trail and that the pictures are real life. Next time I do it, I’ll hike it when it’s not raining/ snowing so I can get better pictures and be able to spend more time at the summit.
  2. Skating in Stockholm. UGHHHH. This moment was actually magical and the only thing that would have made it more magical was if I had a real life Viking (re: male Swede) skating next to me and making fun of me for singing along to Mariah Carey. With Christmas music playing, snow falling around me, a Christmas market right next to the rink, lights twinkling around the ice, and buildings rising up outside the park, it was something out of a bad Lifetime movie. It’s one of the more simple moments, something that I could experience anywhere, something that shouldn’t really be special, and it probably isn’t to anyone else, but to me it was magical. 
  3. Hiking in Italy. Hiking the Cinque Terre trail was absolutely stunning; I’d do it again in a heartbeat. The best way to really experience Cinque is to hike the trail between all the towns so you just happen upon them while walking. It’s hilly and tiring and the stairs are endless but I the views that you get over the Aegean Sea are absolutely 100% worth it.  
  4. The ball. Because when else am I going to dress up in a floor length gown and dance to legit music played by a real band? The food was good, the experience was priceless, and the time was insane. I got there before six and didn’t leave until after two. Everything was set up so nicely and it was so professionally done that I couldn’t help but marvel at the entire event. Sorority formals can be fun and all but they aren’t really the same as a ball where everyone is dressed so nicely and there’s great food and amazing music that’s actually good to dance to. Also, I didn’t have to worry about getting a date like I do for formal, so that was millions of kilos off my back and made the ball even better. 
  5. Working brunches. I’m not really sure how this one made it so high up on my memories list. Probably because I never failed to enjoy myself when I worked Sunday brunch. No matter how rough it was to get out of bed and go make other people food, it was always quite fun. We don’t do things like the nation’s brunches in the US so doing it was nice and gave me something to do. Also, listening to Ludvig sing and watching him dance around while cleaning up and seeing him get super stressed before was always pretty hilarious and as much as I tried to not laugh at him, I couldn’t help it. It was just fun and there’s no better way to put it. Also, after the brunches I’m pretty much a professional vegetable cutter but it’s no big deal.
  6. Wendy’s birthday in Lomma. A group of us went to the nearby beach for a friend’s birthday in October. We watched the sun set over the water and ate too much food laughing all the while. Even though it was a simple time, it was carefree and we planned it at the last minute, making it even better. Nobody really cared about anything except being at the beach and having a good
    time. I’ll always remember the feeling of the cold sand between my toes and the sight of the sun as it dipped beneath the waterline, giving off hues of deep indigo and bright orange. 

  7. Svensk jul med min svensk familj. My mom’s cousins let me spend Christmas with them since I was in Sweden so I took the train up to Vimmerby after my exams were done to spend some time with them over the holiday. It was so fun. I ate way too much food (three julbords), walked in the forest with my cousin, and just spent time relaxing. After the week before, it was nice to just sit and sleep and chill instead of doing work all the time. Swedish Christmas is the best too since it’s so much good food like herring, salmon, bread, and potatoes so I was in food
    heaven for a couple days. I also got to watch Kallenka, the Swedish program that gets more viewers than churches get attendees.* It’s pretty much a bunch of Disney short films all put together and I loved it since I’ve been watching the movies in it for years. The only thing that would’ve made it better was if it had Frozen but life goes on. On my last day in Vimmerby and Sweden, it snowed all day which was very special. I went for a walk in the woods in the snow and I fell in love with Sweden all over again. The simplicity of Swedish Christmas and the time spent with friends and family hit home for me since my family is so small and suddenly I was part of a huge group of people. I don’t know the next time I’ll be able to eat that much food without feeling like I’m going to barf but it was fun while it lasted.
*Just making this up, don’t know if it’s actually true but it probably is because Sweden is great

So there you have it, a couple memories that sum up my time in Sweden. I’ll come back but it won’t be the same. The past few months have been some for the books and I wish I could relive them all over again ten times over. 
Even though I’m back in Colorado now, I still miss Sweden and am not ashamed to say that I cried not only on the train from Lund to Copenhagen but on my flight from Copenhagen to London too. I’m pretty sure that the flight attendant thought I was crazy but no regrets. Even though I know that I’ll be back one day, I still long for my little Ikea apartment and the cobblestone streets.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Hey Door*

It's over and done. Exams and presentations are finished. Christmas has come and gone, and I am now on my way back to Lund after spending some time with my svensk familj and tomorrow I leave for the US.
This picture is my favorite. OG for lyfe

Honestly, I never thought this day would come. In August it seemed so far away, as if I had a lifetime between leaving and coming back. And in a way, I did. It may have only been four and a half months but the things I did span experiences that altered my point of view and will stay with me forever. Another post on some of my favorite memories to come.

Great moments coming from altered plans
I'm returning to the US a different person than when I left. Yes, that's an awful cliche and I hate saying it and yes, I was living pretty much the same quality of life here in Sweden as I would in the US, but it wasn't without alterations and complications that made me more self-aware. They may have been smaller things like slicing my own cheese or bigger ones like being able to legally buy alcohol. Having the freedom to choose exactly how I wanted to spend my time and money gave me the ability to really understand myself. Living a life without a real schedule made me realize how much I like having a day to day routine that never changes and how much I really hate last minute changes that alter my plans. Even though things don't always go as planned, I realized you just have to accept them and move on because there's nothing that you can do. If you live your life constantly unhappy about what didn't happen, you won't be able to enjoy the smaller moments.

Meeting people from Australia to Guatemala and everywhere in between opened my eyes to the sheer number of people and cultures that we are part of. An individual is nothing special. As awful as that may sound, I think it's the truth. You can do nothing by yourself. Independence is really great and being able to do things by yourself makes you stronger, but in the end I don't think that you can live a wholesome life alone. We're all drops and together we all form one larger community that evolves and helps the members become more self-actualized.

Maslow said that to become a self-actualized person we must first fulfill basic needs like food and housing but I disagree. In order to know how we want to fulfill our basic needs or whether we want them fulfilled at all, we must first know ourselves. Living abroad helped me gain a deeper understanding of who I am underneath the Bean Boots and leggings and a deeper confusion of what I want to do. Is the path I'm on really the right one? Am I doing things right? Is my behavior in line with my goals? But in the end, I just need to trust that everything will work out eventually.

After four months, I'm ready to go back to the land of drive thrus and Thursday Night Football. Where I can not feel like a jerk for speaking English and where I have a schedule for every day of the week. I am extremely fortunate to live the life I have for the past few months and will always be grateful for the people I've met and things I've experienced. I never thought that southern Sweden would be home, but Lund will always have a special place in my heart.

While I am ready to go, I don't want to leave the person I am here behind. We become different people when we move and must trust that the best versions of ourselves are still to come. Every experience alters us in a new way and the best ones we take with us forever. With that being said, I can only trust that I bring the good aspects of my character in Lund back with me to Denver and not pack the bad ones in my suitcase.

So Lund and Sweden, this isn't a goodbye but a "see you soon." I'll be back. I'll be a different person when I return but I'll come back for your fresh sil, fika, schnapps, lake skating, and some 3pm sunsets.

Vi ses snart,


*Hej då på svenska means goodbye. A little play on words because who doesn't enjoy a good pun?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Goteborg and Stockholm

Stortorget, Stockholm
It’s now the middle of December. It’s cold, rainy, and gray and slightly miserable. My coffee consumption has increased tenfold and I now resemble Lorelai Gilmore the majority of time. However, the short days and long nights and cold weather haven’t stopped me from finishing up my travels. I’ve spent the past two weekends travelling to Sweden’s two largest cities that together are about the size of the metro Denver area. Goteborg I did alone for a day or so and Stockholm I did with a couple of friends for a long weekend. The Christmas markets were open in both cities and everything was decorated and it was beautiful. 

Goteborg was a ton of fun. It was cold, rainy, and windy but it didn’t stop me from walking literally
everywhere and wondering around the city. It was the first trip that I’ve taken where I was alone and not planning on meeting anyone which was a little odd at first but ended up being extremely refreshing. There was no pressure on doing things and nobody made fun of me for wearing my Bean Boots or liking the smell of the fish market. It smelled like low tide and fresh fish and it was beautiful, very ocean like.

I came in with few plans as what I wanted to do or see and I believe it worked out for the best. although I’m still disappointed that I didn’t make it to Liseberg, the amusement park/ Christmas market, or the archipelago outside of town, I enjoyed the city and it’s probably one of my favorite places I’ve been. As nice as it was in winter, I’d love to go back in summer and actually enjoy myself a little more. Walking around and actually seeing the city move fluidly around me was such a change of pace from Lund where there’s so few people and cars and things going on and it takes 30 minutes to see the entire town. 

The week between was filled with class and work until Thursday when I went to a workers’ sittning at my nation. They held it for everyone who had worked at least three times and even though I was the only non-Swede there it was super fun, and free which made it better. I skipped the club after since I was exhausted and had a 5:30 train the next morning to go to Stockholm.

I got into Stockholm at 11 the next morning after the train ride from hell. I woke up that morning still recovering from the night before and the train was freezing and got stuck so I could only doze and not sleep. My exhaustion was alright though since Stockholm was beautiful and the sun was shining, which I didn’t know was possible for Sweden in December. I met up with a friend from DU and Lund and we went over to Vasamuseet and walked around Stockholm to some Christmas markets and other random things, just wandering until we decided to go back to our hostel. 

The new members of ABBA
Saturday we set out early to go watch the changing of the guard and to see the ABBA museum. The changing of the guard was absolutely freezing and we left early since we couldn’t see a lot. It took a while to walk to the museum but it was sunny again so we took our time. The ABBA museum was fantastic, they had all of their costumes, a piano from one of their houses, and it was so interactive. 10/10 would recommend and I’ve had Dancing Queen stuck in my head for three days. I could go on for days about how great it was but I'll save everyone the misery.

When we got back, we decided to go on a Tinder date. The night began with us sitting at a bar in Gamla Stan and ended over by the university. It was completely random and so much fun since there were two of us and three of them. We just talked forever and except for the fact that they wanted to talk politics it was so nice since there were no strings attached and I didn’t have to worry about impressing them since I won’t see them ever again. I would definitely do something like that again since I got to see a new part of the city and talk to people that were curious about the US.

Smiling because life is magical
Sunday morning we woke up late and went to walk around Sodermalm, a neighborhood in the southern part of Stockholm. It’s an up and coming area with all of these interesting shops and things so it was fun to walk around even though it was absolutely freezing. We got a little lost walking around but it was a great way to see yet another part of Stockholm since it’s so diverse. After walking back through Gamla Stan and stopping at the Christmas market, we went skating! I think it ranks in my top 5 favorite memories from study abroad so far, right after hiking Trolltunga and right before the ball. They had Christmas music playing, it was snowing, and it was right in the middle of Stockholm, needless to say it was pretty magical. Skating again, even just going around in circles was super fun, since there was no pressure and I could just enjoy myself again. It’s like the NHL Winter Classic, doing something the way it was meant to be done outdoors adds another element and reminds you why you started skating, because you love the simplicity.

Casual Stockholm sunset
After skating, I got on a train and headed home. I got back to Lund really late and promptly fell asleep. It was a great way to spend one of my final weekends in Sweden and now I’m faced with packing. I don’t want to leave and would willingly stay longer but I know that this is necessary. It’s time for me to get back to real life soon and I’m going to enjoy my last two weeks in Sweden.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sista Månaden

I’m getting quite emotional writing this already. It seems like yesterday I was throwing things in my suitcase and hugging my dog goodbye, and yet here I am over three months later, writing about how in a month, I’ll be back in the US. Back in the land of Chipotle, Target, and Chick-fil-a milkshakes. Back to my dog and being within 3000 miles of my best friend and family. Back to watching sports from the press box. Back to waking up at 6 every day to go skating. Back to life.

The result of getting lost in Italy
It’s been such a good few months here and as excited as I am for everything listed above, I can honestly say that I don’t want to go. I may not have studied somewhere exotic like South Africa or Australia, or somewhere underdeveloped like Africa or India, or somewhere where I stick out like a sore thumb like China or South Korea, but I studied away from what I’m comfortable with. I went through intensive language courses, got lost in Norway, Germany, and Italy, was confused in the grocery store, survived solely on cheese and bread for an entire day, and went to a ball. A BALL. 

Thanksgiving with the Swedish Fam. I'm not drunk, I promise

For a while I didn’t think that this day would come, the day sometime after Thanksgiving that I’d be writing about my last month and the three months prior. And yet here I am. Sitting in bed at 1pm since I haven’t left it all day, under an IKEA blanket, listening to Swedish Top 40, and typing away. The past three months have been an insane series of events, a winding road through hills and valleys with a speed limit that doesn’t exist.  I never thought I’d celebrate American thanksgiving with people from across the world, that I’d stay out until 2:30am, that I’d drink Minttu (don’t judge me mom). I’ve done all of those and I don’t regret any of it. Minus the morning after my first Minttu.

I’ve loved living in Sweden and even though I only have 30 days left in this beautiful, cold, gray country I’m busy. Spending my days travelling to places I haven’t been yet, spending Christmas drinking fresh cider with family, and getting as much coffee as I can. 

I can accidentally on purpose lose my passport so I have to stay longer, but it’s doubtful that it would work. I can’t prevent my departure, only accept the inevitable. 


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Flick of the Thumb

In the midst of blue, white, and red profile pictures, Bernie Sanders quotes, and digital candles lit for the victims of various terrorist attacks, I came across this article from Vanity Fair. Now, I don’t religiously read Vanity Fair but if an interesting article comes up, I will most likely spare the time needed to read it. And this one happened to catch my attention for a couple reasons.
  1. 1. I met my last boyfriend on tinder. Sorry mom, we did not meet in a coffee shop. Technically we did but not really.
  2. 2. From my experience, Tinder use varies greatly across cultures. The US may use it primarily as a hookup device, but not everyone does.
  3. 3. I was in the middle of doing work that I didn’t want to do so I figured it would be a somewhat educational way to put it off
Although I respect what the writer was saying, I don’t know if I’d go so far as to define Tinder as a “dating apocalypse.” It seems a little bit farfetched. Yes, I do notice a difference between people that use it and don’t and between the US and Sweden, with two veryyyyyy different ideas surrounding dating and relationships. 

It’s a common conception of the double edged sword for females in the US. If you sleep with someone on the first date, you’re a slut. If you don’t then you’re prude. And yet, we all talk about the guy we “hooked up with” the other night while the men are trying their damndest to “rack up 100 girls you’ve slept with in a year.” Honestly, the entire thing just disgusts me. Although my opinion is very different from a good portion of my gender, I’d like to say that I don’t want someone to message me with the questions “sex?” or “nudes?” it’s a turn off and you’re wasting your time and energy. 

In the age of instant gratification, we seem to have lost our sense of self. What happened to getting to know someone? There’s nothing wrong with coffee or dinner or a walk with someone; getting to know them before you fuck them. Unfortunately, we just want to know if someone likes us or not, the instant gratification that we get from Tinder just fuels it. Yes, I will admit that it’s nice to see that someone matched me, but I’d much rather meet someone naturally than through an app. Ridding ourselves of the personification that comes from relationships dehumanizes the whole process. 

You may argue that you use Tinder because you don’t want a relationship: you don’t have time, you’re focusing on yourself, etc. but does that make being used worth it? Now, I don’t have time for anything other than some sleep here and there but I’m not about to go fuck random people that I find online. But a lot of my generation sees that instant gratification that they’ll get and go, in other words, we’re starting to take the work out of things that really need it. It’s a lot easier to flick your thumb right and respond to a message than it is to actually go have interactions with people. If Tinder were to merge with Venmo, it would be almost like a more modern, less obvious form of prostitution. 

Although my experience with dating in Sweden and Swedish guys is minimal (re: non-existent for the most part), I still see a great difference between cultures. Swedes definitely are a lot more respectful, I can go running in a white tank top and not worry about being cat called or followed, and guys will generally ask to dance instead of coming up without you knowing it. It’s a similar story on Tinder: for the most part guys ask questions and instead of just sending “sex?” or “nudes?” There’s nothing wrong with adding a little bit more personality to it all.

It’s come to the point where some friends and I separate the guys on Swedish Tinder into two groups: Fika or Fuck. However, no matter what group we put them into, they always seem to walk with a little bit more caution than Americans. Guys will usually wait for girls to make the first move and as someone who can’t make the first move, it can get really frustrating. The two groups are usually about the same size too while in the US the “fuck” group would be a lot bigger than the “let’s get coffee” group. If you’re willing you’re gold, if you’re not, then you’re shit. 

Online dating is here to stay and we need to accept that. Stop judging people for using it because at least they know that they’re having trouble and are doing something about it. But on the other hand, don’t let it consume your life. It’s upsetting to think that you can’t meet someone in a coffee shop or on the street if you’re too busy swiping left on the person that’s staring at you from across the room.

Just a little something to make everyone think.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


A lot has happened since the last time I sat down and wrote a full blog post. That's not to say I haven't been writing but that I can't finish what I've started. Nothing seems good enough and I don't want to post something that I'm not proud of. I think I've started three or four posts that are just sitting on my computer waiting to be finished. This one I will finish.

The past few weeks I've been in a rut of sorts. Nothing sounds appealing, there's no motivation, and I don't see the point of doing things. I think that this has come as the result of being halfway through studying abroad. I'm not quite ready to leave and prior to this, I wasn't sure how to put what I felt into words, or just how I was feeling in general. Luckily, the past few weeks and many unfinished posts have given me a clearer mind.

Since I last posted, my family has come and gone, I've spent a week in Italy, visited a friend in Salzburg for a long weekend, celebrated Halloween, started season 9 of Friends and finally started another class. So a lot has occurred.
Watching the sun set over the Alps
Our Christmas card!
Although it was really great to see my family and show them Lund, I must say that seeing them made me happier to be in Sweden than in the US. I love my family, I really do, and words can't express how grateful I am that they came to visit but seeing them made me realize what I miss and what I like about being by myself abroad. I've never been extremely close with my family but seeing them after two months and spending more time with them than I have since March was a great change of pace. Even though we don't always get along and I was definitely frustrated with my mother at times, I realized how much I meant to them and vice versa. 

My brother, mom, and I then flew to Italy to spend some time in Genoa and the Cinque Terre. It was beautiful. If I were a millionaire, I'd buy a house on the Ligurian coast in a heartbeat. I studied Italian culture for a year in high school so being able to taste legit Ligurian pesto was pretty much a dream come true and I was geeking out the entire time. I annoyed both of them but don't care. 

Italy was warm and beautiful and the food was so good and I'm pumped that I could go but I was so happy to go back to Sweden. Lund is home. I love the Swedish culture and the people and being able to order a black coffee without being judged and eating cheese and vegetables for breakfast. Real coffee doesn't come with 2 parts milk and one part coffee, it comes straight and trains come on time.

I never thought I'd see some small town in southern Sweden as home but honestly, I've felt more at home in Lund than I have in Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, or Tennessee. There's a certain freedom that comes with studying abroad and even though I don't think I've fully capitalized upon that, the new perspective I've gained is life changing. 

My time in Sweden is on the downhill and as I come closer to returning to the US, I can feel myself wanting to stay put. The nomad has become settled. I still want to travel but I would be perfectly content living in my IKEA apartment for a long time. And that's something by itself. 

Looking back, I think one of the major reasons for my rut was that I was unwilling to accept the fact that I have to leave. But unfortunately the semester is on the downhill and I need to start preparing myself to get on the plane bound for the world of drive-throughs, football, Chipotle, and Target. But from this moment on, I want to exploit my time abroad as much as I can and be grateful for the opportunity instead of disappointed in it's completion. 

A few of my favorite things

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cykla, Resa, och Festa

Time seems to just have flown by the past few weeks! I finally started having legitimate amounts of work for my classes and other various activities that have made me wonder where the time has gone. On one hand, I can’t believe that my time in Sweden is halfway done but on the other, it’s hard to fathom that it’s only been a little over a month and a half. I’ve experienced and learned so much and met so many people from all corners of the world that it’s strange to think that so much has happened and I’ve changed so much in that time.

The crew at our birthday beach picnic
The past week and a half especially has been full of adventures around Lund and Copenhagen. Last week, one of my friends and I decided to bike to Lomma, a beach town about 10 kilometers away from Lund. The weather was absolutely beautiful, it was sunny and warm for the first time in days, so what better way to enjoy it than on bikes at the beach? It was probably the best use of time ever although somehow the ride is uphill both ways and we were riding into the wind the way there and the way back. But the beach was deserted and it smelled like low tide so it was completely worth it. It was so nice that we ended up coming back on Saturday to celebrate our other friend’s birthday with a night picnic. 

On Friday I took the train to Copenhagen for the day with a friend and some of her classmates. I’ve only been in the Copenhagen airport so being able to see the actual city was really nice, especially since it’s so close and so cheap to get to. Luckily, it was beautiful outside so we were able to walk around and take a boat tour without being completely miserable. We didn’t get to do a lot during the day but Copenhagen is so close that I know I’ll be able to go again and see more of the city before I leave. 

I swear it's grape juice
Unfortunately our great day was capped off by the bridge between Sweden and Denmark being closed and all trains to Lund being cancelled. So we took a two hour fika and then went straight to dinner at a local Italian restaurant. I was exhausted and a little hangry so good food was definitely welcome. Even though I had plans that night, I’m glad that we got stuck for a couple hours and wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. I had such a good time on the train and ferry back that I forgot about my plans, and sometimes you just have to accept what’s happening and know that you can’t do anything about it. Adventure is out there, whether it’s taking 4 hours to complete an hour and a half trip or whatever else.

The next week was pretty normal, I wasn’t feeling great so I was chugging homemade tea and Swedish Emergen-C to try and feel better. I watched waayyyy too much Friends, slept a little too much, and spent too much time in cafes not doing work but it’s fine.

The dining room decked out in OG colors
On Saturday, my nation (like a sorority or fraternity but not) hosted a ball that they have every two years. So needless to say, I had to go. I skipped prom twice so I felt like I earned my right to go, dress up, and dance badly. The first four hours (!!!) was a sittning with sooo many speeches, some cool performances, a couple home movies, and a ton of singing and drinking. It was all in Swedish so I didn’t understand most of it but it was great to experience a Swedish tradition. I’m only here for a couple months so I want to immerse myself in the culture as much as possible, something that’s really nice about LU and about studying abroad during the school year.

After the sittning was over, we waited outside while they removed the tables and chairs to make the room into a dance floor. Once that was done they had a legitimate band playing: four old guys on piano, drums, guitar and something else. They played actual dance music, which made the skater in me so happy since I started doing ice dance in my heels and long dress. The only thing that was missing was a partner and my skates. Nobody in the US really plays traditional waltzes and foxtrots anymore so being able to hear that outside of the rink and live made my week ten times better. Unfortunately (or fortunately as I didn’t have a partner…) the band eventually left, and the club club started. Even though I set a time for myself to leave, I was dancing long past that and eventually left at 2:30 and fell asleep an hour later. 

I love this picture too much to not include it.
OG Novisch group 5 for life
This morning was rough but looking back at yesterday, I’m content. Content with my choice to go, and content with everything. Life here in Sweden is so different from what I’m used to at home and I love it. The culture is amazing and the amount of spirit that Swedes have for whatever they do is miles beyond what we have in the US.

Anyway, sittnings are super cool and #SoScando so keep an eye out for another post about them. Everything from history to how to survive one without wanting to kill yourself too much the next morning.

Vi ses!


Sex and the City takes Lomma