Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Christmas is a coming!


Well its into December and getting darker and darker earlier and earlier every day. There are lights up all around the town centre and huge christmas tree just like in the movies, so it definatly feels as though christmas is coming despite the lack of barbeques and lazy days at the beach.

Since I last posted on this blog I have stayed at Nikolina's in Karlstad. She was an exchange student living in Auckland while I was home. It was pretty cool catching up with her and seeing a familiar face. Strange saying goodbye though as we dont know when the next time we see each other will be, but it was fun weekend.

the following weekend we got the first snow of the season and it really snowed down. Lots of fun, was in copenhagen at the time so the train ride home through denmark was pretty. Same weekend I had a night at Alana's in Kristianstad and caught up with a bunch of exchange students living there at we had a fun saturday night together. Adele was also there and unfortunatly we had to say goodbye that sunday. But she lives in Australia so its not goodbye forever.

Other then that life has been going on normaly, just the usual friday night happenings and meeting friends etc. This morning however I was woken by an earthquake, the only one in sweden in ages that reached about a 5 on the scale which was my first earthquake and very exciting in my opinion.

Thats it from me,
See you all in 3 weeks!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Into the New Year

Hey hey,

well I have been very slack on the blogging lately, hope I can remember everything thats happened since my last post. Well I have changed host families, had a lovely send off from the Leijonhufvud family as we went out to dinner. So now I am back at the Steiner family where all is chaotic as usual with 6 of us kids running around, although now one cat less, but also as of last week with a puppy. Now dogs aren't really my favourite animal as a
few of you may know, and so I was rather worried about a rotweiler joining the family but she is just so cute! Other than the fact that she uses the kitchen floor as a bathroom.

Well I had a couple of days staying with Adele, I arrived to her town at about 10 on the sunday and we just chilled out for awhile catching up then had lunch with her family which was moose pattys!!! Finally I have eaten moose! Yum! Then we joined 2 of her friends and spent the
afternoon/evening in the spa/sauna and did the whole run from the hot hot sauna and jump in the freeeeeeeeeeeeeezing cold pool.Then watched a movie in the evening. On the monday Adele's host sister Hedwig drove us and a friend to stockholm for a day trip where Adele and I met up with two exchange students who we met on eurotour, Stephanie from Brazil and Megan from Australia, which was lots of fun. We would be looking through shops and then just have to leave and go have a coffee because we would jsut be standing talking the whole time! haha so was lovely catching up with them. Then on tuesday Adele and I just relaxed and hung out that day. On the trip home cancelled trains plus a confused little kiwi resulted in me staying at alana's house that night instead of my own, so was nice to see her again.

The rest of the one week holiday wasnt terribly exciting, and then it was back to school. Last weekend, Will, josh, Ngaire, Natalie, Alana and myself got together in Lund for one last get together before we all go home. You see we are all the aussies and kiwis who arrived in a certain area of sweden at the start of the year and had language camp together and ski trip and eurotour etc so we have seen eachother through the year and had a fun weekend to say goodbye. Strange already saying goodbye to people! Anywho Johan, who was an exchange student in Alana's district was also with us. It was a good weekend, met up late saturday arvo and did the usual 18year old thing
on a saturday night and then recovered at Expresso House, a popular cafe) all sunday. Great times :D

Yesterday Anna and I went to a scrapbooking class for 3 hours which was so much fun. Not quite up to Grandma's standard but its a start! I have a whole new appreciation for all you scrapbookers out there! Anywho Anna is close friends with the instructor and so we are going to get together through the week casually which will be fun as these cold
winter nights get colder and darker!

Speaking of which its getting darker earlier and earlier again and lighter later and later. It feels like 9pm at 4pm! Crazy!

I feel as though I have done a lot more in the past weeks but nothing is coming to mind so I will leave it at that. On friday I am g
oing to stay at Nikkis in Karlstad which is exciting.

Now here are photos loooooooooooooong overdue! Some dating back a couple of months! It is too hard to order them though so they are randomly

stephanie and adele
With Meaghan

host sisters

host parents

with sonja
my host sister anna from my second host family
friend Helena
with good friend Louise

exchange student get together with singstar

eating my cinnemon bun on cinnamon bun day
Helen came over from Denmark where she is on exchange to visit
Morgan Alana me Louise
Matt from France
Morgan and Alana

Thursday, 16 October 2008

A Beautiful Autumn

Hej Hej!

Well I have enjoyed a lovely few weeks since returning from England. It is now autumn here in Sweden, and it is just so pretty. IT is a real treat ony my way to and from school I walk through a park that has these huge trees making the ground just a sea of beautiful orange and red leaves. Just loving it! The temperature is starting to come down now, nice to change into jumpers and cardigans again although I fear all too soon it will be freezing temperatures!

I haven't done anything terribly exciting, but thats not too say I have been bored. I am swimming once a week with a few girls from my class, hanging out with friends through the week, and being invited here and there on the weekends which has made for several fun friday nights!

I am looking forward to two trips that I have planned in the next month or so, in the upcoming autumn week holiday I will spend 2 or 3 nights in Motala with Adele from Australia. Ill have a look around her town and we will drive up to Stockholm for a day trip with her host sister which should be really cool, I have only been there once with Rotary which meant we were at museums etc the whole time so it will be nice to go there just with friends.

I am also going to go and stay with Nikki in Karlstad ( its about as north as oslo), who was an exchange student in NZ in my district. So that should be lots of fun for the both of us seeing each other again. Hopefully this will be another great weekend!

Not much to report really, just having fun being home really since my trip to england. Yesterday ( wednesday) was an american exchange students birthday so I went to Kirstianstad, it was really nice being able to hang out with the 4 exchange students there as I dont see them terribly often, its an hour and half train ride away but costs about $20 there and back.

This weekend I am moving back to Gantofta to my first host family again. This has been planned since day one, nothing has happened to bring about this change. Although it will be nice to be back with that family, almost like going home!

I went to a play on tuesday night with my class, a play that we are studying in swedish class, however it was written about 120 years ago in old swedish so it was rather difficult to understand which made for a rather boring evening. However I did feel much better when several swedes at the end of the play were still sitting there making comments such as ' I dont get it..'!

I had dinner with my Rotary councellor ( my contact person who helps me if I have problems with families etc) at the house of a man from Rotary who takes care of my banking, and his wife. I had a suprisingly very enjoyable evening, to be honest I had been well ´not dreading it but wasnt exactly excited about it, however I was pleasantly suprised and laughed all the way through the evening. About 5 minutes after we had arrived the couple hosting us turned to me and asked me how I was going understanding the conversation. Well I must admit when it comes to people suggesting that I cant understand something in swedish I have a tendancy to get rather defensive and offended, so of course my reply was Of Course I Understand, I have been here 9 months!! To my suprise they just laughed and explained that the wife was actually from Norway, and therefore not speaking swedish but norweigan instead! Granted it wasnt full on norweigan, it was a little swedish-ified with the accent etc but she still used different words and pronounced lots of words differently. I had just assumed she was from northern sweden, as we in the south dont speak proper swedish but skånska ( a southern dialect/pronounciation). Well they just thought it hilarious that I hadnt noticed that I was speaking with a lady who was replying in a different language!

This reminds me of a story Anna, my first host mother, told me about her son Anton when he was about 5 years old he played with a danish boy. When Anna asked Anton and the end of the day whether he understood everything the dane had said to him he asked her what she meant, having had no idea that the little boy was from another country speaking danish!

Anywho I best be off, will post some pictures later,


Wednesday, 24 September 2008

England :D

Hey Hey,

Well Alana and I have had a lovely time in England staying with Helen and with Alana's parents. We arrived very late thursday evening after a 2 hour delay at the airport and went almost straight to bed.

Friday Helen took the day off work so with her Aidan, Alana and I went to Borough Market and tasted lots of yummy food before heading off to the river thames along which we walked to the popular tourist sights like tower of london etc. That night we went to Brick Lane for dinner, a street filled of indian restaurants where workers stand at the door calling out to you to come into their restaurant offering discounts, and you walk along bartering for the best deal. We successfully drove a hard bargain and got such a discount that when we explained to our waiter our deal he wore such an expression of shock and had to go and check with the boss that we were telling the truth! So that was a fun night and first day.

tasting with Alana and Helen

Helen and Aidan on the underground

With Alana by the river with Tower of London Bridge in the backround

By Big Ben

Saturday was a girls day out at Camden market, a slightly alternative market! Quite cool to chekc out before hitting Oxford Street to check out the shops of London. Helen, Alana and I then went to a comedy show in the evening which was a mixed bag, but had a great day.

The Camden area
Sunday, Aidan, Helen, Alana and I all went down to Brighton where we spent a lovely day checking out 'The Lanes' which a lots of cute boutique shops in little streets, ate fish and chips on the beach, and tasted Pims, a yummy english drink, then relaxed at home in the evening. We were very lucky with the weather, perfect for our day trip. Brighton is a rather alternative area and it was really cool to see all the different people out and about.

Train to Brighton

By the pier
the beach

by the pier

With our Pims

With our Fish and Chips

With Helen and Aidan working on Monday, it was off to Thorpe Park for Alana and I, a great theme park. It was lots and lots of fun and we spent most the day on an ongoing adrenaline rush!

Tuesday Alana and I headed off to Birmingham to spend three nights at her parents house. By the time we got there we only had an hour or so to wander around the city centre and check it out and just relaxed at home in the evening. On Wednesday Alana's parents took us to Stratford Upon Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare so we got to check out his house which I thought was pretty cool, and the whole village was really cute and quaint, from there we drove to a small town which I believe is called Woodstock for lunch at the pub before having a wander around Oxford. It was such a lovely day although we were exhausted by the time we got home! Thursday saw Alana and I pass our day in the shops which was nice. That evening we had yummy curry :)

Just chilling outsides Shakespeares, as one does

the token phone booth photo :)

Then Friday Alana flew back to Sweden whereas I returned to London, and hung out with Aidan at the park while waiting for Helen to finish work to meet our cousin Nick before going to the Lion King show that evening. It was cool to catch up with Nick and the show was just amazing! The costumes, the voices, everything, well worth going, we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Then on Saturday, Helen, Aidan and I went to our cousin Darren's wedding which was in a beautiful grand old church with a lovely reception at a lovely old manor. It was a lovely day and everyone looked fabulous, and it was great to catch up with Darren who I havnt seen, we worked out, for about 4 years. And seeing Mark, Christine, Glenn and others was also lovely.

Darren and Maddie

Helen and I

Helen and Aidan

On Monday I had the day to myself to run around London and do all the bits that I hadnt had the chance to do yet, so the day started at Harrods which I just fell in love with. It was so cool, I walked into the cosmetics area and a lady asked me if i would like to try the perfume so of course I nodded and then after spraying she informed me that it was 'Laundry Fresh', so i smelt like clean clothes all morning! haha but I couldnt spend the day in Harrods so it was onto Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard, but I got bored with that and left half way through! After being at the Kings birthday in Stockholm, it didnt compare at all so I wandered along and found myself on Park Lane and at Hyde Park before heading to Trafalgar Sq which I just loved! I lost an hour or so there eating lunch and checking out the national potrait gallery and that was very pleasant. Then I wandered along a lovely street past some museums etc before taking the tube to Kensington where I found some nice shops on my way to the Kensington Palace. I got to walk through the palace and it was really cool, such beautiful artwork etc and very interesting. they also ahd an exhibition of Princess Dianas dresses which was actually quite nice, the dresses were of course lovely. From the palace I made my way back to Leicester sq about 6pm on the tube in peak hour and learned what was really meant by everyone being squashed into the tubes, they were jam packed! I met up with Helen and Aidan and we went to Chinatown for dinner which was a nice end to my great trip.

Helen and I in chinatown

Then on tuesday morning Helen and I left the house at 6am caught the bus to the train station where we said goodbye and I took the train to the airport, plane to denmark, train through denmark, ferry to sweden, then bussed home. It took all the public transport to get me home, where I arrived just exhausted but had a fabulous time :) I must admit it was very strange being surrounded by english all the time, I didnt like it at first! It was always a bit strange going into a store or cafe and having to speak english to order a coffee etc, its something I havnt done in english since january! So that was weird!

Now it is back to routine, have lots of things lined up with friends etc so the last 3 months are looking good :)


Sunday, 31 August 2008

End of Summer, New School Year

Hey hey,

Well It has been quite a while since my last blog and I have been so busy! I have enjoyed 2 weeks in the sunny spot of Alicante in Spain with my first host family. We left our house at 3am one morning to drive to Copenhagen airport to be there at 5am in time for our flight. I became very brown with temperatures reaching 40 on one day. The beach was incredible, it was only on the last day as we left at 7am that I actually saw what it really looked like as it is just jam packed with people through the day. It was incredible, you were just as close to those around you as you were with! And the nudity of larger sized woman, oh it was gross. One day we went to the Salt Lakes, the natural habitat of flamingoes, It was very cool seeing all these flamingoes. The lakes are pink and just about 100% salt concrentrated. It was incredible, the floor was just salt instead of sand and you can only float on the water, its too hard to swim. I have never been in anything like it before. And of course we layed on the beach went to the markets and swam in the pool.

Well once home from Spain I had a couple of days to pack my things and move to the city into Helsingborg to my second host family. I have now been here exactly two weeks. It is a very nice house with only 4 floors, although the fourth really is just a bedroom and bathroom for the eldest son. In this family there is the father Axel and mother Christina with Calle 19, Anna 17 and Ebba 12. It is great living in town as it is far easier getting to school, no more 6am starts for a lesson at 8.30! and it makes it easier to meet friends in town. I am also really enjoying having the older company at home as opposed to the little kids running around in gantofta. So the new family is going very well.

I have also started at a new school. My old school didnt work out very well and I am very happy here. I have only had one week at school so far but almost every day have I hung out with people from class after school. They are all asking me to join them with various things, so are a far more welcoming bunch then the old lot, which I am very appreciative about at this point in my exchange. Of course at times it is hard not to get frustrated about the fact that this change has come about so late in my exchange however maybe my swedish skills now and various other factors are helping me a lot more now starting school then to the start of my exchange. But it is a very positive change and I am very happy at this point in my exchange.

It was my first host mother's birthday and so I took her to see Mama Mia at the movies. IT was so much fun watching it together and we went at about 6.30 which meant that the cinema was pretty much filled up with the grandparents who I would assume would be the people who appreciated the songs of Mama Mia most in the world being swedish and all, and so it was fun watching with them as they all clapped and cheered after the songs, and sung at the end etc. good times :D

Yesterday I had a day cycling around Ven, an island between Denmark and Sweden ( under swedish control) with all the new exchange students in my district. It was nice getting to meet all the 'newbies' with their strong accents, all very interesting and does, along with school and the new family, mark the second half of the year, despite the fact that I am well over half way!

There are only 4 months or so left of this year and I am trying to stay as busy as possible, meeting up with everybody and making the most of the exchange. I have a trip lined up in a couple of weeks, going with Alana to England to stay with Helen and Aiden in London and then on to Birmingham to stay with Alana's parents who recently moved over and then to my cousin Darren's wedding at the end of the trip. I am very excited to see Helen and Aiden and also London and England.

All things are going very well and am feeling on top of the world :D
Hope everyone at home is as well and happy as me

Tuesday, 29 July 2008



Well I have just spent a week in Strömstad, on the Bohuslan coast half an hour south of Norway. It was a lovely week with surprisingly great weather, over 30 degrees some days which is amazing for sweden, I was told to expect a week long summer of about 20 degrees really so it has been great. Not too much to report just a week at the bach really, popped into norway for half an hour but didnt see too much. However I was there long enough to listen to some norweigans speak and although I could understand perfectly I must say that they speak very strangley! The rhythm and pitch is funny. I like swedish better. Here are a bunch of photos, in a reasonable order..

Norway pics

Sweden pics again