Monday, July 25, 2011

Possible Delayed Departure and Packing

So... There is now four days until my departure date (well, actually three considering it's 00:05 right now) and I have a couple of things to talk about.

First: Visa Trouble
I have still yet to hear from the Swedish Embassy. The visa office is closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays, meaning if I don't hear from them tomorrow, my departure date will be pushed back a couple of days. I am supposed to be in Sweden by August first, so hopefully it will only be pushed back by three days, but it is possible that it could be pushed back even more than that. Because the embassy changed their policy on July 1st and they don't have time to figure it out, instead of sending me a visa, all they have to do is email me a letter saying that I can get my visa when I get to Sweden, so I am rather angry that it takes them this long to send me an email, but there is nothing I can do about it.

My four suitcases

Second: PACKING!!! 
My larger suitcase
Okay, so packing really worried me, because I tend to over pack and I had no idea  what to bring, but it was actually much easier than I expected it to be. At this moment, my bags are completely packed and the only things I need to add when I leave are my laptop and my camera. I do have to tell you that it is a strange feeling to have your life packed away into four bags. I am checking two bags (the two red ones) and I will carry on a small suitcase and a backpack. The smaller checked bag is about forty pounds and the bigger checked bag is about forty eight pounds. They are samsonite brand and the collection is some sort of fancy ultra light so they actually weigh less than my carry on. I am allowed fifty proud, so I am pretty proud of myself for this pack feat.
My smaller suitcase
Inside the bigger case is most of my clothes and toiletries with a couple of host family gifts. Inside of the smaller checked bag is almost all host family gifts and toiletries with a few days worth of clothes, just in case my other bag gets lost. Also, as you can see in the picture to the left, I have a ton of candy, and nooo it's not just my extreme sweet tooth (though, I do have a major sweet tooth) I am bringing a lot of it to show the Swedes what American candy is. And, yes, I am bringing Swedish fish, which are actually not Swedish at all, but American.

Part Three: Host Family Gifts!
For those of you not familiar with exchanges, it is customary to give each of your host families some gifts and things from your country. I'm bringing quite a few host family gifts, because I will have a lot of siblings while I am there. Here is a list of what I'm bringing: (if any of my host family members stumble across this, please don't read this unless you want your surprise to be ruined.

First Family:
Dad - Mug with Colorado map
Mom - Mug with Columbine (Colorado's Flower)
Dad and Mom - Matted photo my father took of a lake near where I was born
Johan (18) - Colorado themed T-shirt
Axel (16) - Colorado themed T-shirt + hat
Oskar (12) - Colorado Avalanche shirt
And a nerf flag football set, so I can try to teach them football (even though I've never played)

Second Family:
Dad - Mug with Colorado map
Mom - Mug with cute bear on it
Dad and Mom - Matted photo my father took of my town
Ellen (16) - Mickey Mouse t-shirt
Kristian (14) - Colorado Rockies shirt
Martin (9) - Colorado Avalanche shirt
And a game of Twister

Third Family:
Dad - Mug with my town's train on it
Mom - Mug with local flowers on it
Dad and Mom - Matted photo of a valley near my house
Fredrik (18) - Colorado themed shirt
Patrik (16) - Colorado themed shirt

I'm also bringing a lot of American candies, Swedish Fish, two rubiks cubes, two other photos my father took to give to Rotary members, brochures from my area, powered chili, and a soap/lotion set made in my town. There are a couple of other things, but I can't think of them at the moment.

Part Four: School!

Hvitfeldtska Gymnasiet
 I also now have a host school! At first I was going to attend was Vittra Vasastan. That school had a facebook page with a whoooole bunch of pictures and videos with lots of them being of musical performances by the students, but in the videos, most of the students were not all that talented. A couple of weeks after I was told I would go to Vittra, my host father emailed me and told me that because Vittra was mainly a self directed learning school, and I don't speak Swedish very well, it might not be the best match for me. Instead, I will attend Hvitfeldtska Gymnasiet and I will be in the music/esthetic program. A cool thing about Hvitfeldtska (besides the fact that I have no idea how to pronounce it) is that is much older than the United States. It was founded by Queen Christina in 1647. It is just so amazing to me that it is that old!

Vee and I in our Rotary Blazers on my back deck

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