2016 in review

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Goodbye 2016

I feel I owe you a year end wrap up, reader. After all we have been through, it seems to make the most sense. Since coming home from Sweden, I have been lost in reflection and relearning what it means to be an American in America. That means remembering how to drive, ordering food, grocery shopping, and thinking about classes. It has all been quite strange but comforting in the same time. I still say skål instead of cheers, but I do not plan on ever changing that. Anyway, it is January 1st, 2017, and this is my end of the year reflection. Continue reading

Thirty thousand

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Of course it was sunny

Well, reader, it is almost over. After all of these weeks of blog posts about my time here in Sweden, I am one week away from being home. Next week will not be a standard post, but a look back everything I have done. For now, though, here is this past week (spoiler: I spent four days in Amsterdam).

November 28th, aka the day Julia sleeps

No surprise here, but I spent the day in bed. I have no idea how it happened, but I spent the entire day asleep. I suppose the excitement of the weeks has finally caught up with me.

November 29th, aka the day Julia finishes a class

I woke up and headed to my ten o’clock in the morning class for the final time. My group and I did our presentation on lagom and how it appears in the Swedish school system. As the final presenters said “thank you,” a month of social anthropology was over. I wish I could say it was fun, but it was something, that is for sure.

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Pepparkakor is my everything! Also marshmallow Santas

November 30th, aka the day Julia asks a stupid question

After getting out of my class, I sent Jenna a message asking if she wanted to go to Malmo for the weekend. We could rent a hotel room and everything! She, thankfully, hated the idea, and asked instead if Amsterdam interested me. The answer was an automatic, YES! So, she came over and we sat and planned the most last minute trip I have ever had.

December 1st, aka the day Julia learns about Christmas

As it was the last day in my Swedish Film class, my professor taught all of us foreigners about Swedish Christmas traditions and food as we watched a Christmas movie. It put a smile on my face and an ache in my stomach as I ate way too much in terms of sweets.

December 2nd, aka the day Julia flies again

Jenna and I departed our home at 9:30 in the morning to catch our flight out of Copenhagen at noon. Much to my panic, the train to the airport ran late, and to make it even better, it completely bypassed the airport! So we had to get off and take the one going back. I have never felt so angry about trains before. By the time we got to the airport, we were ten minutes away from boarding, so Jenna and I flew through security and ran to our gate. To our embarrassment, the plane was also running late and boarding had not yet started. We were huffing and puffing and waiting once more. Finally, we got on our plane

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Fishing for bicycles

and an hour later we were in Amsterdam!

Due to our insane amount of travel together, we easily conquered the bus system to get to out hostel, located in the heart of the museum quarter. Upon arrival, we encounter more problems: the hostel overcharged me by 100 euro (an issue later resolved, thank goodness) and we had to pay entirely in cash. It was too much stress for me, but once we were in our private room and our stuff was done, we went to a restaurant for a midday snack. We indulged in creme brulee and champagne, and it really relaxed me, in the end.

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Flower Market

Afterwards, we took a nice stroll through Amsterdam, taking in our surroundings and enjoying the old, skinny buildings. Finally, we arrived at our favorite destination: a canal tour of the light festival. This time of year, the canals are decorated with art installations truly visible at night, so we took a boat tour! Our night ended at a small, but very cool restaurant and we went to bed.

December 3rd, aka the day Julia cries over “The Bedroom”

Our hostel offered breakfast of bread and spreads, so we started our morning off in style. As we went to the kitchen, I met one of the hostel cats, which was the sweetest and kindest cat ever! He just wanted to be pet and sleep, it was cool.

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Still never learned the cat’s name

From there, we went to the Van Gogh Museum, which was a two minute walk from our hostel (shout out to me for booking a place in the museum quarter), and we were able to get right in without the queue because we bought our tickets online!

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The only picture taken inside

The museum was huge, with a collection of his original works and letters he sent to his brother, whose son established the museum after his mother fought for Van Gogh to be recognized after his death. I got the chance to see my favorite piece of all time, The Bedroom, and spend some time studying the brush strokes and colors and really living in the moment.

After some morning art, we went ice skating in from of the museum and ate some tasty Danish treats and warmed up with hot chocolate. It was a super fun experience. From there, we did some shopping and headed back to our hostel to drop everything off after lunch. Later in the afternoon, we went to the Red Light District. It was actually full of so much history and beauty, so we went to

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The Red Light District

the Prostitution Museum to learn about the history of the Red Light District and what the girls do. It sounds weird but it was really fascinating.

From there, we headed to an Argentinian restaurant because STEAK and LAMB were necessary in our diets at the moment. We spent a good two hours eating and relaxing, as we began our walk to an improv show. The venue was really massive and awesome, and the group was American, so it felt like a slice of home. The group was spectacular, and there were very few moments of boring work. To make things more interesting, they gave Jaeger shots to the most creative ideas shouted out. Jenna just had to be good at ideas and ended with three at our table. Still angry at her for getting me to drink one.

Finally, with soar feet and tired eyes, we headed back to bed. 30,000 steps all together that day made for some deep sleep.

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The improv location: Boom Chicago

December 4th, aka the day Julia sits

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By Banksy

Jenna and I both decided well ahead of time to have a relaxing Sunday and not walk too much because the day prior was to be filled with lots of adventure. We slept in a bit, then headed out. There was a Banksy museum, so I could not say no to that. It was super amazing to see his work in person. There was also an Andy Warhol exhibit in the same museum, so we explored those works as well. Street art is my favorite style and Banksy is the king. I hyper loved this museum.

From there we walked to where we planned to have brunch but it was full, so we walked around a bit until we found somewhere else to eat. Luckily for us, it was a short walk, and we happened upon an insanely yummy place to eat. The pancake I got was more like a crepe and was the size of my head twice.

Finally, we spent the evening walking around and enjoying the warmth and light we so rarely get in Sweden nowadays. After a fondue snack at the ice rink, we rested and had dinner at the place we started our adventure. It was super delicious.

December 5th, aka the day Julia leaves

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The view outside the Anne Frank Huis

This would be why my blog is going up so late. We stayed in Amsterdam until Monday, and by the time the day came to an end, I had no energy to do anything but shower and head to sleep.

Anyway, we woke up very early that morning, had our hostel lock up our bags, and walked to the Anne Frank House. Jenna and I did not say a word to one another as we walked around inside and saw what people hid in. We learned more about her life and felt the pain of her father, who was the only one of the eight people hiding out to survive the Holocaust. It was just a quiet time of reflection and learning. Tomorrow is not a promise.

Finally, we grabbed a quick and delicious lunch, and headed off to the airport. I slept the

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Goodbye to this beautiful city

entire flight, and when I walked in the door home, my router was broken, so any hopes of getting work done went out the window. I suppose it was a blessing in disguise, as I showered and went to sleep, and I slept insanely well, reader.

That brings us up to date on my adventure. It is a little sad and exciting and scary and wonderful knowing that this is my last week in Sweden. This is my last week studying abroad, and soon I will be home and in the long drive to graduation in June. But those thoughts are for another day.

Do good things today, reader, and remember that tomorrow is not a promise.

(Oh yeah, I ate a ton of good food! Some Danish, some Argentinian, all delicious)

Studying lagom

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It has been a very rainy week

Hello again, dear reader! As I said in last week’s post, this blog is coming out two days early because I want to spend time with my family, who will be arriving in Sweden tomorrow! It has been an overall productive week, but I am most looking forward to sharing next week with you the most.

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Sleep, sleep, sleep

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Don’t bike in the snow

I feel as though it needs to be said: the next blog post will come two days early because my parents will be in Sweden next weekend! It is motivating me to keep going this week.

Overall this week consisted of time in bed, stress over the US election, and skyping friends. Shall we begin, reader? Continue reading

Sing the rainy day blues

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Just call me the next Master Chef

It has been an extremely difficult week for me, dear reader. As much as I wish I could constantly be positive, it seems this entire week has been a downer. I suppose we cannot all have the best week ever every week. I do not know if the cause is knowing I get to see my family again soon or that I get to go home soon; it may even be because it has rained practically every day this week. In the end, though, I did get to have new experiences, so it is time for sharing. Are you ready? Continue reading

Papers, please.

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Reina had a fun week too

This week has been… interesting to say the least, dear reader. You would think the week following a vacation would be great. You continue to ride the high that vacation gifted you, but sometimes, you have a week like mine. It was… neither good nor bad but interesting. Let’s do this. Continue reading

Master of Naps

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Reina went hiking while I spent time in bed this week

Well, dear reader, it has been yet another week in Sweden. I wish every week could be this magical adventure which I could share with you. I want to make it worth your time to open the link leading you to this story. Sometimes we all need some down time.

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