Sunday, August 28, 2011

Days 27 and 28

This weekend I went sailing with the other exchange students in my district. There were ten of us that had met at language camp, five oldies (kids that got here in January) and two Swedish girls that had just gotten back from Australia. It was a big boat and we didn’t actually sail much. Mainly we just motored around and then sailed for an hour. It was also raining most of the time, so we just sat in the lower deck playing cards.

Chilling in the lower deck
The bunks

Japan, Australia and Canada don't like the USA
It finally got sunny so we went for a swim

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 26


Today my school did a sort of scavenger hunt around the city as a get to know each other thing. The problem was, my group did not speak to each other at all, so they didn’t even know the I don’t speak Swedish very well and they probably just thought I was shy. But anyway, for the scavenger hunt we were given a clue that led us to the amusement park in the city, then a teacher met us and gave us a map. The map led us to Delsjö, a big lake near my house. There we just sat around for a while then put on some weird plays that I had no idea what they were about.
It’s amazing how relaxed school is here. In the US the school could be sued for taking us all through the forest and the city without a teaching in led, kids were smoking at the lake, and in one of the plays a guy stripped down to his underwear then jumped into the lake.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 25


Today was my first full day of school, though we didn’t have any classes, just get to know each other activities. First they put all of the music students in the Aula (auditorium thingy) and talked at us in Swedish. They talked quickly and people were chatting, so I couldn’t really understand anything they said, but somehow I managed to
figure out they had split us into groups then assigned each group a place to go. I went to the right classroom on my first try! First we sang. It was some Swedish song that they all knew, but I didn’t so I just kind of moved my mouth and pretended. Then everyone else got their schedules set up, but for some reason they are having problems doing mine so I don’t have one yet. Then we went to some classroom and a guy talked really, really fast about something (I’m not sure what) and then they gave us an hour for Fika. During fika a girl in my class came up to me and started talking in Swedish. She spoke slowly and clearly, and I could actually understand her easily! I even spoke Swedish back to her! We chatted for a while, mainly in Swedish but occasionally going to English if I didn’t understand something. Lucky for me, her English is not very good so she doesn’t default to English and she moved to Sweden from Vietnam five years ago so she knows what its like to not understand anything. We ate lunch together then hung out in the school while we waited to get our student cards. She is new to Göteborg and I actually knew my way around better than her and I even gave her directions on how to get to her tramstop, which was a pretty good feeling.

After school, I stopped at a little shop to buy some chocolate (it’s sooooo good!) and in the line in front of me there were two British guys asking questions about buying a phone card. Once they finished I went to pay and the lady started to speak English to me then said in Swedish “Oh, Swedish, not English” and I was able to answer her in Swedish and she had no idea I was American! I’m not sure why, but that made me really happy! Then I walked down to my tramstop but didn’t feel like going home yet, so I sat by the canal and ate some chocolate while listening to music. Then I went home and took a nap because I am always tired now.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 24

One building of my school
Today was my first day of school, but it wasn’t actually school. We just sat in the classroom for about an hour while the teachers went over the basics, then we went home. At first I was absolutely terrified. When I walked into the classroom my heart was beating soo loud and my mouth was dry. I walked up to the teacher and said “Jag är utbytesstudent” (I am an exchange student) which is something that I’ve said probably a hundred times in the past three days. I told them the basics in Swedish like, Jag kommer från USA, jag heter Danni, and they asked basic questions in Swedish which I replied to in Swedish. Things like, how long have you been here? Tre veckor. Vad spelar du? Jag spelar cello. Then I sat down and the teachers started talking. It was all in Swedish but I was actually able to understand most of it. They called roll, then had the three new students introduce themselves, and then they introduced me. People seemed interested, but no one really made an effort to talk to me. Then the teachers started talking about school stuff, and I started understanding less and less. After about an hour they finished, and one of the teachers was nice enough to stay behind and explain what had happened to me so I knew when to show up tomorrow and such. A couple of kids introduced themselves to me, but no conversation went past ‘where in the US are you from?’ I’ve noticed that a lot of people ask that question, but unless you say New York, California, Florida or Texas, they have no idea where that is. When I left school I was in a bad mood because I was stressed and upset that I didn’t understand anything, so I took the tram home and played my cello for a couple of hours.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day 23

Today there was a sort of welcoming party for the first years at my school. I’m in the second year, but Johan helped set it up and told me I should go. I had to take them tram there and back by myself, and I didn’t get lost what-so-ever! I was very proud of myself. When I got there I just sort of followed people around having absolutely no idea where I was supposed to go. Finally I found someone in charge and in very broken Swedish told them that I was an exchange student and had no idea where I was supposed to go. They led me to the principle area and I met with music head master and got registered for my class and got some stuff figured out. Then I went and stood awkwardly in the middle of the courtyard. All of the other students already knew at least one other person there and none of them where in my class. Finally a girl came up to me and started chattering away at me in Swedish. I said ‘Jag är utbytesstudent. Min svenska är inte bra’ (I am an exchange student, my Swedish is not good) She got very excited and told me to follow her. Turns out her friend was from England and spoke fluent English and she was leaving for a short term exchange to Korea in a week so we chatted in svengelska (Swenglish) for a while and then she gave me a tour of the school. I also found out the my school has a movie club and a Rubik’s cube club, I think I’m going to enjoy this year. After the thing at school was over, I took the tram home and studied my Swedish for a couple of hours (my Swedish Word Wall has exploded.) My first day of school is tomorrow, but I real classes don’t start until next Tuesday, I think.

Sorry if my posts are rambling and confusing. My English is steadily getting worse.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Days 20 and 21

Elisa and Me on the boat tour

This weekend there was a culture and music festival in my city. On Saturday my host mom, dad, youngest host brother Oskar, and the Italian exchange student Elisa went into town around noon. At the harbor there was an old ship that had apparently sailed to China a long time ago and there were a whole bunch of people dressed up in old traditional Swedish clothes and making old traditional Swedish food. Then we went to a platsen (plaza) that had a whole bunch of stalls with food from different countries. I had an authentic bratwurst and it was delicious! Then after lunch we met up with the Japanese exchange student and her host family who will host me later on and went on a paddan tour, which is a boat tour through the canals of the city. We couldn't understand what the tour guide was saying so we just made stuff up and took pictures of us. After the tour we went back to our house for dinner then took the tram back into the city took hear some bands play.
On Sunday I went into they city again with my host brother Johan to meet up with an Australian exchange student, Ari, and two girls that had just gotten back from exchange in the US. Johan left to go to a soccer game but the rest off us sat by the canal and listened to some bands play while they enjoyed listening to Ari and I practicing our Swedish on them. After a couple of hours I managed to find my way home on the tram on my own for the first time!

Language Camp

So, I actually have an excuse for not posting for the past week and that reason is that I was at language camp in Borås! There were 52 exchange students (29 from the US, 8 from Canada, 6 from France, 3 from Japan, 2 from Taiwan, 2 from Brazil, 1 from Austria and 1 from Italy) so basically the US just took over. There were even THREE Coloradans! The first day we just sort of chilled. There was a lot of sitting there listening to the director talk for hours. The second day was all language learning, except, not really. The classes were more geared towards those who did not study the language what so ever before coming here so basically I sat there having to repeat ‘Jag heter Danni’ ‘Jag kommer från Colorado’ ‘Jag pratar engelska och lite svenska’ for six hours. On Tuesday we learned an Afro dance (no one knows why) and we learned some tradition and culture stuff. Wednesday morning we had more Swedish lessons, which again, were pretty useless and then in the afternoon we did a soccer tournament with some college exchange students. I played soccer for about ten years but after two years of not playing I was really bad. Thursday we worked on our country presentations and practiced our Afro dance again. That night we had some local Rotarians and some of the exchange students that had been here for six months (oldies) come for a fancy dinner where we performed our dance and every state and country did a presentation about our area. The Coloradans did a power point, but it ended up not working so we just showed some pictures and talked and I got to dress up like a cowboy! On Friday we went over some rotary rules then went home around noon. The camp parts were boring, but the best parts were definitely hanging out with the other exchange students.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Days Ten and Eleven

View from my bedroom
 So the past two days were not too eventful so I’m just combining them into one post. Since my host mom was at the summer house, my host dad was at work, my youngest host brother is away sailing camp and the other two host brothers like to sleep until two or three, I spent a lot of time studying my Swedish. I also used sticky notes to make my ‘Swedish Word Wall’. Every time I learn a new word, I am going to write it on a sticky note then stick it up on the wall.
I spent a little bit of time downtown with Johan and his friend but it was pouring rain most of the days so we just sat in a café for a couple of hours. I also spent some time at an ICA, which is like the Swedish Wal-Mart, but not fat and disgusting, so more like the grocery version of IKEA. Grocery stores here have this awesome thing where you actually check out with the cool little scanner beepy thing when you put the item in your cart, so you don’t have to wait in a line. I’m not really sure how it works, but is seems really cool.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day Nine

The wheel and one of the smaller freefall towers at Liseberg

Today we left the summer house around noon, after a small fight between my host mom and host brother, which seems to happen quite often. We got back to Göteborg and picked up Ellen and Satomi, then went to Liseberg which is a big amusement park close to my house. I think it is the biggest in Sweden and it has the highest freefall tower in Europe, I believe. We went on a lot of rides, and I even went on a rollercoaster! I have never been on one before, and was pretty terrified, but it turned out to be really fun! They even had a ride called Colorado, but spelled wrong, which was supposed to be a river ride going through an old mining building. The building actually looked a lot like the old abandoned ones you see on the passes, but the river was much calmer than anything I’ve been on. The three of us spent about four hours there, then I took the tram home, and managed to find my house all by myself!

Satomi and Me

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day Eight

Today was a very lazy day. I went for a walk with my host mom and Gibson, and met my host mom’s sister, then we went back to the summer house and sat there doing nothing for a couple of hours. Footloose was on TV with Swedish subtitles so I watched that, even though the songs all bother me after hearing so many times when my theater did Footloose for our fall musical. Then around nine o’clock my host dad decided he wanted candy, so we took the little boat over to the next island and bought candy. I thought it was a funny but very typical Swedish thing to do.
My host dad on the boat

Sun setting, this is maybe 10:30pm

Sampling of Swedish candies

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day Seven

I still hadn’t remembered to take pictures, but oh well. Around eleven o’clock my host mum and I went over to Ellen and Satomi’s house (the family that will host my later on). We played some card games, I taught them Spoons and Ellen taught me some Swedish games. Then we played the wii, which Satomi and I had never played before so we weren’t so good, but Ellen’s little brother Martin kicked all of our butts. After a couple of hours I had to leave, but I got to take home Ellen’s cello which I will be using for the year while she is in Japan. We stopped by the house for a couple of minutes then we drove out to the summer house and had dinner with some of Anna’s friends.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day Six

Another lazy day! I kind of forgot about my camera for a couple of days, so I don't have any pictures, but oh well. Today I went for my usual morning walk with my host mom and Gibson, then we had köttbullar (Swedish meatballs) for lunch, and they were absolutely amazing!!! After lunch I studied some Swedish. For fika (coffee date sort of thing) a family that will host me later on who have a daughter, Ellen, going to Japan and are hosting a Japanese girl came over and we ate gingerbread cookies and cinnamon buns. After Fika we just hung around in the back yard and played with Gibson. For dinner we had Thai food that made me think of Vee, the girl my family hosted last year, and even though the food was good, it made me kind of sad because I miss her.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Day Five

This morning was pretty lazy, we just hung around the summer house, I went for a walk with Anna and Gibson, then we had hamburgers for lunch. They don’t taste the same as American hamburgers, they kind of taste like they actually make them with ham instead of beef, but they were good none the less. After lunch we dropped Axel and Emilia off at Marstrand then drove back to Göteborg, and I slept most of the ride. When we got home we just hung around for a while, then I thought my host mom asked me if I wanted to go to school with Johan. I was confused because I already knew I was going to the same school as him, and I also knew that school hadn’t started yet, but I said yes anyway. So we drove into town and she dropped me off at the school I will go to. I stood in the parking lot kind of confused for a minute while she drove away, but then Johan showed up and led me into the school where he and his friends were filming some sort of video for the school board. It was a parody of The Godfather, so they were smearing ketchup onto Johan’s face, which was pretty funny. After they finished filming, Johan, his friend Tim and I went to a grocery store to buy stuff for dinner then we walked over to Tim’s house where we cooked pasta with sausage and carrots. We ate, then walked through some old cemetery, then they took me to a candy shop and we bought a whole bunch of Swedish candy for me to try. We ate the candy while watching some really strange movie, then Johan and I got back to our house around midnight.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day Four!!!

4th of August, Thursday/Torsdag

The dogs, Gibson and Kenso, in the summer house
I finally slept late! Well, I slept until around nine thirty which now feels kind of late for me. After breakfast we went for a bath, which seems like the only thing they do when they are at the summer house. I'm still not very used to changing right by the water as they all do here. In America, you could be arrested and put on the sex offenders list just for quickly changing, but here it is completely normal, and they are much more accustom to nakedness. Anyway, while we were there, Anna introduced me to her friend Fredrik who was really nice and had spent some time in Colorado. After talking to him for a bit, he got a call from his friend who was coming to visit him saying that he couldn't make it to our island because the bridge gave him vertigo. So to help him out, Fredrik, had Anna and I drive his fancy BMW convertible to the next island to pick his friend up them we drove back. It was my first time in a convertible, but sadly I am not allowed to drive here. When we got back to our island, we had lunch of ham and pineapple then Anna and Oskar went somewhere and Johan and I watched Watchmen. Johan left about half way through the movie because he had to do something for his school, but Magnus got there shortly after and Anna, Oskar, and Oskar's friend came back not long after. We had middag (dinner) of spaghetti and pork, then my other host brother, Axel, and his girlfriend, Emilia, came over. Axel had done something he wasn't supposed to (I don't know what, I just know they were yelling at him in Swedish) so we just sort of sat around for a while, then Johan, Axel, Emilia, Oskar and I went for a bath, even though it was really late, the water was surprisingly warmer than during the day. When we got back to the house they kept yelling at Axel, and because I can't understand Swedish when it is spoken very fast, I went to sleep.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Day Three

August 3, Wednesday/Onsdag

The view from the summer house
Today I finally managed to sleep until eight o'clock, which sort of feels like a major accomplishment for me, haha. After eating breakfast, I was going to charge my ipod, but the fancy, expensive converter we got, blew a fuse, although the cheap, three dollar one works perfectly fine. So, since the internet was down, and I needed to get my bank account set up, Johan and I went into town. We bought some Cokes which actually taste much better here then they do in America because they use real sugar here instead of the fructose crap. Then we met Magnus and got my Swedish bank account all set up and Magnus had to go back to work, so Johan and I went and got lunch a some market. It was a very typical Swedish meal with breaded fish, potatoes, salad and this yummy sauce that I can't remember the name of. Johan had to go to a music store after lunch, and while I was sitting there waiting, I had my first Swedish conversation without first being introduced as 'Danni from Colorado' or 'our exchange student'. It was a simple conversation, the guy asked me what I played, I said I played cello, he looked at me confused because they didn't sell cellos there, so I pointed to Johan and said my brother plays guitar. Then the guy asked where I was from, I said the US and he nodded and walked away. It was simple but I was proud of myself. Anyway, when we finished at the music store, Anna picked us up and we went to the summer house where we went for a bath in the ocean, I made them tacos for dinner, then we watched 127 Hours, which really freaked my host mom out.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The First Days

1st of August, Monday/Måndag

I woke up at five o'clock in the morning due to jet-lag and the fact that the sun rises really early here.  So, I spent about an hour unpacking and organizing my room. Which now looks like this:

After I was done with my room, I went down stairs and had my first Swedish breakfast with my host dad! Breakfasts here are pretty simple, toast with butter and meat, tea or coffee, and some yogurt or something like it. After breakfast with Magnus, I went back to my room and finished organizing. After about two hours, I was hungry again, so I ate a second breakfast with my host mom (I know, I'm a pig, but my stomach was finally settled after flying, so I was hungry.) Then Anna (host mom) and I went for a walk with their dog Gibson, and the dog they were watching while it's owner was away, Kenso. There is a huge golf course/park/lake area by my house that is absolutely gorgeous. After our walk, Anna, my host brother Oskar and I drove to their summer house in Instö which is about an hour away from Göteborg. There we swam in the Swedish ocean, which is surprisingly warm, met Mormor and Morfar (Anna's mom and dad), and ate and watched movies.

Me jumping into the ocean at sunset

2nd of August, Tuesday/Tisdag
I woke up early again, this time around six o'clock, and had another Swedish breakfast with Magnus. Magnus' vacation had ended, so he had to go into work, so most of the day it was just Anna, Oskar and I. Oskar and I watched a movie while Anna taught her aerobics class. Then we went to a near by town called Marstrand. It is a sort of summer and tourist town with an old fort on it. We mainly just wandered around the town, and ate this weird cactus and lemon sorbet ice cream stuff. For lunch we had what they called French hot dogs. I'm not sure if they are actually French or not, though. They look just like American hot dogs, but taste much, much better then American ones. Then we went for a bath, which is just a swim in the ocean, that is just how it translates to English. After a little while we took the ferry back to the mainland and drove home to Göteborg. In Sweden they have this thing called Fika, which doesn't translate to English, but it's basically just a sort of coffee and chat, but anyway, when we got home I had Fika with my host brother Johan and his two friends. It was really nice to hang out with people close to my age after spending so much time with only my host mom and my twelve year old host brother. Afterwards my Rotary counselor, Jonas, came over to talk about the club a bit and to figure out my insurance and cell phone.  After dinner Johan decided that I needed to see the 'real' Göteborg, so the two of us took the tram and toured the parts of Göteborg that wouldn't be on a group tour as Johan put it. Once we had walked through most of the downtown area, we stopped at a 7/11 (they are everywhere here) and bought some Swedish candy and drinks then went and sat at the harbor watching the sunset as he taught me some Swedish.

More to come later =)

  • Sweden is much more friendly to us lactose intolerants than the USA is, and the food actually tastes good! They have great soy yogurt and lactose free butter that tastes just like butter.