Gimme Gimme Gimme ABBA!!!

Voulez Vous Abba!?

My friends and family back home have been waiting for me to post about my visit to the ABBA museum in Stockholm! And if you are a big ABBA fan, you should definitely go if you are ever in Stockholm! It was awesome!

As soon as Milan, Malin and I arrived in Stockholm we parked the car and asked for directions to the museum. It was only a ten minute walk before I saw the pictures and signs of ABBA outside the doors to the building.

When we entered the building we heard ABBA songs playing on the loudspeaker, and everyone seemed pretty pumped! We bought our tickets and headed to the basement where the museum started.

The museum had videos, displays and even activities you could do! They displayed props from their shows like costumes and sets, and they had bio’s on each person. I learned a lot about how the band came to be and how they grew to be so popular. There was this headset thing you could get that even had personal stories, shared by ABBA themselves!

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The activities you could do were really fun! There was one section that had a stage and microphone and animated ABBA characters that were 3D on stage. Basically you could be the “fifth” member and sing on stage with them! Me and Milan gave it a go! It was quite funny!

There was another spot where you could “record” an ABBA song and “try out” to be the fifth member. Malin and I sang Money Money Money.

Also, in one room we could be in one of the music videos! So there was lots to do and see!

Once we got through the ABBA part of the museum, there was another museum in the same building that is new! It was the Swedish Music Hall of Fame! It was really interesting. It had a timeline of how music was recorded, and even rooms with each decade where you could listen to the most popular songs of each year in the decade.

We spent a couple hours there, but I’m sure we could have stayed even longer! There was so many people that it was hard to read all of the displays and we went in January! I can’t imagine how busy it is in the summer. But I highly recommend people to go! Even if you don’t know the band that well, you will learn a lot about ABBA and Swedish music! There is also an awesome gift shop, so you can buy gifts for friends and family who are fans! You will surely be a favourite afterwards ; )

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My Weekend Adventure to Norrkoping!!!

 

What a week I have had! So much has happened!

After all the excitement of the weeks before, I finally had time and decided to contact (this is a mouthful) my sisters friends brother and his family who live in Sweden!

Now I’ll back up a bit and explain…

My sister Amy has lived in Toronto for quite some time now and had met a lovely woman named Savka at her previous job. They instantly clicked and have spent a lot of time together over the years. When my sister told Savka that I was planning to study in Sweden, Savka excitedly told Amy that her brother Milan married a Swedish woman and they live in Norrkoping (which is only two hours away from Jonkoping). What are the chances!?

Savka told her brother of my trip and they really wanted to meet me when I arrived! I even got a chance to Skype with Milan at christmas when we visited Savka. He told me to message him anytime once I arrived and we would pick a time for me to visit.

So last week I thought it would be a good time to do that! (since everything has slowed down in terms of social activities and orientation etc).

When I messaged Milan on Monday, he wrote back in Swedish saying “I don’t know very much English so I will have my wife call you soon”. And within the hour I heard from Kicky! I just expected to touch base with them and have a chat, but right away Kicky invited me to come that weekend! How could I say no!? I booked my bus ticket that night to Norrkoping and they made arrangements to pick me up  on Friday afternoon.

I was very excited when I set out to Norrkping on Friday! I thought it would be nice to have a change of scenery and get to see another town in Sweden and of course be exposed to Swedish culture!

My bus left at 10:15 in the morning and I arrived in Norrkoping at 1 pm. We stopped in a few places along the way. There are so many places that end in “Koping”. I have now been to Jonkoping, Linkoping, Nykoping, and Norrkoping! Apparently there are more of them too! Kicky told me it means town 😛

When I arrived in Norrkoping, Milan was there right away to pick me up! I wondered what it would be like to communicate with each other as Milan does not know very much English but he did fine! Milan kept saying “pinsamt” after he spoke english which means embarrassing lol, but I kept telling him his English was much better than my Swedish!

Milan took me back to their flat, which was very nice. It’s in an apartment building that they own. They live on the top two floors of the flat. Kicky told me she used to live in that flat when she was little, and then her parents bought the flat next door, and her and Milan moved to the old flat! They have a very beautiful home! There are three bedrooms on the first floor, and two on the second. Kicky said they renovated the top floor so that they could possibly rent them to students, but they have never rented them. The top floor is basically the shape of an attic. It has a long open part with a couch and tv, bathroom and then there are two rooms across from each other. Both rooms have their own kitchen in them! Fridge, stove, oven, cupboards…everything! And then there is a desk, shelf and bed! I stayed in one of the rooms and it was so nice! Perfect for students!

After showing me their home, Milan took me out to see Norrkoping! We walked around for a bit and he showed me lots of things. It is such a nice town! It has around 120,000 people. So many trails all around the river, and a lot of nice buildings.

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After walking for a bit we had a bite to eat and went out for a drink at a sports bar. It was funny to see that one wall was covered in Boston Bruins pictures and jerseys! Sorry to Leafs fans, I guess the Swedes love Boston :p

After the sports bar we went to another pub – Harry’s (which is a chain in Sweden). We met Milan’s friend and had coffee before going back to the flat.

When we got back, Kicky greeted us at the door! She was so nice and welcoming! She told us to come in and have some coffee and cake! When I went to the kitchen dining room, I met their oldest daughter Malin, who is 16 and her two friends. They spoke English very well and we had a nice time.

We relaxed for a bit before Kicky’s sister and her 6 year old niece and 4 year old nephew came over. I’m not sure how to spell their names, but they were Alice and Alegott. They were so cute! But unfortunately they didn’t know english so I could not talk to them. They were having a sleepover that night and seemed very excited!

Soon after they arrived, Milan and Kicky’s youngest daughter Kajsa (pronounced Kyeesah) came home! She is 11. She reminded me a lot of my cousin Ariel at that age! Very cute. She didn’t feel comfortable speaking english as she has only been studying it for three years, but her mom told her ” you should practice!” She was very nice.

After Kajsa arrived, we had supper which was delicious. It was pasta with a meat sauce and salad. You’d be proud Mom, I made the salad!! A funny thing I saw was they put ketchup on their pasta!

After supper Kajsa asked Alice and Alegott if they wanted to watch a movie. Alice said “Barbie!”. Kajsa has a Barbie movie that Alice loves to watch every time she comes over. They asked “but what do you want to watch Alegott?” And he said quietly “Barbie.” So cute!

Malin apologized because she could not get the movie to have english subtitles, but I told her that was ok! haha.

We had candy and cheeses for a snack while we watched the movie, and it was very relaxing!

Soon, the kids went to bed as well as Kicky and I stayed up to watch an old Star Trek movie with Milan! I asked him “Have you seen the new Star Trek movies?” And he said “No!?” He seemed very excited to watch them. Maybe they haven’t come out in Sweden yet??

At about 10:30 I decided to go to bed since we were having a busy day on Saturday! Milan was taking me and Malin to Stockholm!! We were going to leave a 9 am, so I wanted to make sure I had an early night.

It was such a great day. They are the nicest family! I felt so lucky to be able to come and meet them.

The next couple days, Saturday and Sunday were full of fun activities too! I will share in upcoming posts! Stay tuned!

“All Roads Lead To Rome” (And Paris)

I am very excited to announce that my boyfriend Shane has just booked his ticket to come visit in February!!!!!!!

He is flying on the 20th to Copenhagen and we are going to meet up and stay the night before heading to Rome and Paris for a week!! We are so excited to see each other and go on a romantic adventure!

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We had a hard time choosing where to go at first. Shane said he was happy to go anywhere, but I then realized Shane was (as usual) being his nice self, and was wanting to go wherever I wanted. Since this is my third trip to Europe, I put my foot down and said it was his turn to choose (since he has never been!) After days of trying to persuade him to tell me where he wanted to go, he finally cracked and said Rome and Paris! He felt bad to go there since I have already been to Rome once and Paris twice, but who wouldn’t love to go again!?

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Picture of the Coliseum from my first trip to Roma!

 

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Spanish Steps!

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Picture my sister Ally took! Beautiful!

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Bastille Day! Amazing Fireworks. Thousands of people. A night I’ll never forget!

We have booked everything for our trip! Flights, hotels etc, and we have even decided on the excursions we want to take. Now we just have the waiting game….

It’s been tough being apart from each other for so long 😦 Of course I am glad to be here and I am having a lot of fun, but it is still hard to be away from Shane and my family! I’m human, I feel homesick! It’s normal to feel this way sometimes, but I refuse to let it bring me down! I just keep busy and chat with my family and friends whenever I can. I know that it’s only six months until I am home with everyone again and I need to enjoy every moment!

Especially now that Shane is coming to visit, I have something to look forward to. It will be hard to say goodbye to him for another three months, but I am exciting for what lies ahead for us! We have been together for almost five years and six months so I know he’s not going anywhere (right babe? 😉 )

We have gone through hard times and long distance before back home, but if we got through that in the past we can get through it again!

Studying abroad can be lonely sometimes, and can make you miss the comforts of home, but I am glad to be having this experience.

All I need to do is have faith, have courage, and know everything will work out fine!

As my friend Emily once said “Live Your Life! Love Your Life! No!” Meaning, live each day to the fullest, love everything you do, and have no regrets, negativity or self doubt. 

With that I am excited to have this experience knowing that I will soon see Shane and we will “‘Rome'” where we want to” and realize (especially you Shane) that “Paris is ALWAYS a good idea!”

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First Hockey Game in Sweden!

Tonight my friends from res and I all got tickets to a hockey game! It was a great time!

The australians were particularly excited because they had never been to a hockey game before!

The two teams playing were HV71(Jonkoping) and Skelleftea AIK (Skelleftea). Both are Swedish professional hockey teams and they play in the SHL (Swedish Hockey League) which is the top tier league.

We took a bus for ten minutes to get to the arena and it was packed! The seats are go up so high and it’s really steep looking down from your seat (as you can see from the pics!)

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This game was unlike anything I’ve witnessed back home! There are fans who chant the whole time, and there is even a person playing the drum in rhythm with the chants! They were yelling different chants the whole time, and it seemed pretty organized! It was also loud because of the noise makers they provided at the stadium. Everyone was really into it!

They would chant even louder when Skelleftea had the puck which is different than at home. Usually we only cheer if our team has the puck. My friend Gig told me that it’s to motivate the home team to get the puck back, which makes sense I suppose!

My Australian friends asked a lot of questions about hockey which I hopefully answered correctly. If my boyfriend Shane was here I’m sure he could have explained it much better, but when I told Shane what I told my friends he said I did a good job! So I guess I know more than I realized! (Or Shane is just being nice…hmmm)

Another funny thing they would do is when someone scored a goal, the announcer would loudly shout out the person’s first name and the arena would follow by yelling their last name! Very nice!

It was very cute at half time as they had a bunch of children playing hockey games in the rink before 2nd period! They seemed very proud of themselves, as they should be! They were all very good!

The most important thing…HV won the game!!! It was 4-2! Really intense and so fun to watch! Everyone was really please! And the best part was it was really easy to get out of the arena and catch our bus. We were home quickly.

After all the excitement we were so hungry which made Viivi and Rachel yell out “Time for second dinner!” (We eat a lot here…haha, mostly chocolate 😉 )

I did my part and brought up a delicious chocolate bar for everyone to munch on! The boys have been buying chocolate for us girls so I thought I should return the favour!

I really hope to go to another game sometime soon! I think everyone should at least once while they’re here. Hopefully I can bring my friends and family when they visit! Something to look forward to!

🙂

Jag älskar Jönköping!

I love Jonkoping and studying abroad! I am really enjoying my time here so far, but how could I not with such a great town, friends and school! Sometimes when I’m walking out and about alone I catch myself thinking “I can’t believe I’m here, and “this is really happening!” This time last year I was just applying to the exchange program, and it always seemed so far away, like a dream. But now here it is, a reality! I’m having so much fun already, so I cannot wait to see how the next five months go!

On Sunday my friend from Ecuador Daniela and I went on a big walk around Jonkoping! It took us four hours, but we saw a lot of the town! We walked down one of the main shopping streets and looked at some churches and then walked towards the lake and all along the beach.

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Daniela!

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Once we got to the end of the path, we trekked up a big hill to a beautiful cemetery that had an amazing view of the lake. You might find it weird that I said the cemetery was beautiful, because graveyards are supposed to be depressing, but this one was beautifully landscaped with big trees, and bushes. I didn’t take any pictures though because I thought it wouldn’t be respectful.

We continued from the graveyard up the hill further to a nice park that is around a residential area. The homes are so lovely! Very European with the small streets that can only fit one car. The hills were so steep in that area that we could hear the screeching of car wheels as people were trying to drive up the icy hill.

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We went into the park, and it is very nice! It has an amazing view of the whole town!

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It also has playgrounds, and a stadium. It will be really nice to go there once the weather gets better.

From the park, we walked down the hill towards the downtown area, and I showed Daniela where St. Franciskus is. When we went inside the church it was so cozy warm and peaceful. I lit a candle and said a little prayer (“for youuuuu”) before we left.

When we left the church we decided to go back to our residence. We were so cold!!

When I got home there was a bunch of food on the dining room table! Rachel and others in our res got ingredients to make Nachos for everyone for supper that night!

We all pitched in for the ingredients, and they made five plates! They had beef, peppers, chilies, mushrooms, and onions (and of course cheese) on them!

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We all sat in the dining room and ate (as the Australians would say) “heaps!”

It was so delicious. I think it will become a regular thing at Delta house! People from other residences heard about it and said “I’m coming next time!”

On Monday it was back to class! My project management class seems really interesting and the teacher is very good! It’s kind of nice having a different schedule every week because sometimes I get days off, which is a nice change.

When class was done at 12 I met up with my friend Daniela again and we had lunch before setting out on a journey to pick up my textbook. I had ordered my textbook for project management on Amazon and I missed the delivery, so I had to take a bus to the depot and pick it up.

The BEST part of the day was when Daniela and I went to this bakery/coffee place close to our res. I ordered a Semla dessert and a vanilla steamer and it was delicious! The foam was amazing and so creamy, and the Semla tasted exactly like our family friend Annmarie’s swedish coffee bread! I wish I could bring one back for you and Nancy Annmarie!

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Vanilla steamer and Semla, sooo good!

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Me and Daniela!

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Daniela had a marble cake cupcake! Not sure what it is called in Sweden! :p

When Daniela and I finished at the bakery, we went to Hemkopp grocery store to get some groceries! She told me she doesn’t know how to cook so I offered to teach her a few basic cooking skills! And in return she will teach me ballet! It’s a good deal!!

Today (Monday) I had an appointment to get my biometrics and photo taken for my residence permit card. Canadian’s are advised to complete that upon arrival in Sweden instead of getting it done back home. It took only five minutes to get everything done and they said my card would be ready in five to ten days. I’ll be happy to have the card because then I can get an account with a Swedish bank! SEB bank apparently allows people to open accounts for six months, whereas the others do not, so I am happy about that!

It was a very eventful and productive couple days! I feel like I still have so much to tell everyone but if I wrote about everything in this post I think it would never end, so I am going to break it up over the next few days.

Stay tuned until then…vi ses!

The Last Kicks of Kick Off Week!!! Jonkoping University – Sweden!

 

Well, another week finished! I can’t believe I have been here for over two weeks! It seems to have gone by slow and fast at the same time. It was so much fun this past week.  We had more activities from the organized kick off week and our Fadders kept us very busy! These “Fadders” are basically the leaders of the groups and there are Fadders that represent each school (Jonkoping International Business School, School of Communication, School of Engineering, School of Education and School of Health Science).

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On Monday we had a fun activity after classes where we were divided into our groups, (go Mighty Ducks!!!). It was a night we had to wear our overalls! There were organized activities all around Jonkoping that we had to compete in. Depending on how well we did (in terms of the number of activities accomplished or how well our time was) we earned points.

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The first activity started at Akademien (Aka), which is the student club. Funny enough, we played flip cup, which is something we play back home in Canada. But apparently many of my friends had never played or heard of it before. It is a drinking game, but since it was only 4 in the afternoon we drank water instead of alcohol. To start, you have to divide into teams (just two usually). For this particular game we played as one big team, and were competing against groups that would later come to Aka. You stand in a row down a table, and pour a bit of whatever you are drinking into a cup. When the game starts, each person in the line has to drink their shot and then try to flip their cup so it lands perfectly upright. Once it lands upright, the next person goes and so on. Once everyone is done, the game is over, and the team who finishes first wins. They were timing us to see how fast and how many times we could flip our cup in five minutes. Since this game was close to home for me, I of course did well and flipped my cup upright the first try! Everyone else was pretty good too! I’m not sure how we did exactly, but I think we probably got to 25 ish.

 

 

ImageImage  Next we went to another spot around town and had to make as many shapes with our bodies (as a team) as fast as we could. The examples of shapes we had to make were dinosaur, cat, circle and heart, LOL! Our team members were very organized so we made it work!

 At the next activity we had to fit as many people as we could into a small telephone booth! We managed to fit all 19 of us (I and many others were on people’s shoulders).

 After we went to the student union building and listened to someone explain what they do (so not really a challenge for us but very informative!)

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And then we had to complete a challenge where we had to match countries with their flags. I stayed away from this, as I am not Sheldon Cooper when it comes to flags… (sorry for so much big bang theory references, it’s my favourite!

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After the flag challenge, we had to match cultural items according to the country they belonged to. We had pictures of things (food, clothing, dates on a calendar) and had to pin them to a map of the Scandinavian countries (Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland). Once that was done, we walked to the new campus arena and did a sack race (talk about hard on the feet!)

 Then, once we completed that task we did another good team building exercise (probably our most difficult one for the night). We had to have 30 of us on a tarp and completely flip the tarp over and move it from one corner of the room to the other without anyone stepping off! If someone’s foot hit the ground, they penalized us by five seconds. We could not figure this one out very well, but we still had fun!

 We also had a scavenger hunt type challenge. There were many funny things we had to retrieve. Examples include, bras, underwear, tank tops, coke (the drink, not the drug), book from the library, and chewing gum! We didn’t do too bad!

 The last activity we did was the most hilarious. We all had to tie strings around our waste and then tie a string to the one around our waist that hung down to our knees. With the hanging string we then had to attach a piece of hotdog. The object of this challenge was to swing the rope with the hotdog and catch it into our mouth! It was very entertaining and painful! I got my hotdog right into my eye…ow! (Don’t worry Mom, my eye is ok J ) I only managed to scrape the hotdog with my teeth before I gave up. Most people were able to catch theirs, so we had success! (sorry for no pics of this…)

 Once the hotdogs were caught, we headed back home to get ready to go to Akademien! It was the first night it was opened so many people went and all were wearing their overalls! Each school has a different color. JIBS is green, school of communication and education are red and blue, health science is white, and engineering is yellow.

 Aka was amazing! I think it’s the best student club I have ever been to. It is run by students and only attended by students, which is cool! The nice thing about Aka too is that there is a spot for every type of personality! There is a dance floor that plays old music and pop kind of songs, a dance floor that has the loud bass techno kind of music, and then there is an upstairs that is quieter with couches where you can talk! Another great thing about Aka is that it’s a five minutes walk from my residence. So it was a very fun night overall(s) ; ) !

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At Aka!

 The next day, in the evening, was the welcome dinner! We all got dressed up, which was fun, and took pictures before we left! We didn’t have to leave too far ahead as It was just down the street from our residence. It was at a very nice restaurant that they closed just for us! My friends and I managed to get a big table so we could all sit together!

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This pic is courtesy of my friend Rachel! Check out her amazing photography skills on her blog – “Rach In Sweden” on wordpress!

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It was really exciting to have authentic Swedish food! There was three different types of meat (Salmon, Beef and Chicken) and there was potatoes and salad. It was delicious. For desert they made a cheesecake type thing and a jam dish with cream on top, yum!

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So good!

On top of the nice dinner they had some skits by the showcase association and they talked about the upcoming trips that would be happening this semester!

It was a really nice night, and afterwards my friend and I just hung out and chatted. Some even went out to Aka again, but I thought I had enough excitement for the week and decided to go to bed early (I know I’m boring… zzzzz).

 After the past few days I was so tired I couldn’t participate in the following days activities. Apparently they were very similar to what we had done the previous day with all the challenges (one challenge involved shaving each others legs, so I’m a little relieved to have skipped out on that!).

 I was really happy to have participated in the last activities of kick off week. I made so many new friends, and got to know the town really well! I even earned a few more patches for my overalls, which I am excited to glue on!

 It is true that life is what you make it, so I think while I’m here I’m going to live it up (reasonably) and make the most out of this experience. I don’t want to be cooped up in the room all the time (though I know I will have to do some studying) because then I will miss out on what’s going on, and you all know I have FOMO! It’s time for some YOLO living people!

 Until next time, which will be soon!!! Thanks for reading : )

Pics! Jonkoping University Campus And View From My Walk Home!

After my class today I took a walk around campus so I could take a few pictures to share with you! The campus is beautiful, and the fact that it is only a five minute walk from my residence makes it even more amazing! The buildings in Jonkoping are lovely and the street that I walk down to get from school to home is very pretty. Hope you enjoy!

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The white round building is JIBS – Jonkoping International Business School! All my classes are in this building. It’s very nice inside as it is outside!

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Very organized!

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