Friday, December 9, 2011

Everything Else

I'll go ahead and try to wrap up everything else in this post. I regret that I have not been more diligent about updating this; there were still a few things worth mentioning that happened before I went home. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chocolate and Boats

I realize I've been pretty lax with updating lately, so I'll try to get caught up in the next few days while I'm still in Sweden with nothing to do. The next trip I took was on October 15th, heading to a couple of great museums in Stockholm.

I went with 3 other people from my viticulture class who were also interested in the museums (and the chocolate festival going on in one of them). We ended up just walking to the museums from the train station and decided to go to Nordiska Museet first, which is essentially a really old museum about Scandinavian history and culture. It also had a first floor full of chocolate!

This man had free hot chocolate stored in that jug on his back! It was a great way to keep warm while waiting in line to get in.

Further Trips and Sightseeing

I took a cruise to Helsinki a few weekends ago with a large group of fellow SLU exchange students. The price of the trip itself was only around $50 for 2 nights on the cruise ship. We left on a Friday afternoon and got back to Stockholm at 10am on Sunday. Apparently Finland is called "Suomi" in Finnish? How the heck did we (and other languages) get "Finland" out of that? Anyway...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Day in the Life

The theme of this post concerns the little quirky things that go on as a part of life in Sweden.
  • Apparently milk doesn't undergo the same extensive heat treatment that it gets in the US; it only lasts about a week after you buy it, which I suppose it why it is sold in such small amounts.
  • Everyone here seems to cook at home a lot- from scratch. Part of this is because eating in restaurants is so expensive. There doesn't seem to be a lot of ready-made food here.
  • Swedes in general are pretty quiet (in general, not always) but they're usually pretty nice once you get them talking.
  • Post offices here are not the only places authorized to handle mail and sell stamps- there is a chain of convenience stores that will mail things for you, sell you stamps, and sell you tickets for the various modes of public transport.
  • Most students here don't seem to own cars. People here rely heavily upon public transit and bicycles.
  • Baked goods here don't seem to be made with as many preservatives so they mold a lot faster.
  • Drivers in Uppsala are generally less aggressive and more courteous to pedestrians.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My First Trip to Stockholm

About a week ago, I took the train to Stockholm with my new friend, Pulan (nicknamed Plant). Our first destination was Drottningholm Palace, which was an additional subway and bus ride away from Stockholm's central station. I'm glad she already had the travel arrangements figured out because I think it would've given me a headache, haha. Anyway, we arrived by bus at Drottningholm around lunchtime. This was the first thing we saw after the bus pulled away:

It was so peaceful and calm. There was even a mated pair of swans swimming near the shore. This place could not have been more stately and picturesque.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Foodie Edition, Part 2

So this was going to be a post about my wonderful ferry trip to the Ă…land Islands. But I ended up missing the bus, not getting to the connecting one on time, etc. so I had to go find something to cheer me up at 8 in the morning after having just missed out on a day trip with my friends.

I first ended up passing a farmer's market on the way home, so of course I had to stop and look around. I ended up buying a bag of homemade oatmeal raisin cookies and a small jar of black currant jam. They were also selling homemade versions of that concentrated drink stuff and lots of other baked goods, on top of the normal fruits, veggies and eggs being sold there.

Having acquired this jam, it occurred to me that I didn't have any bread at home, so I should stop by the store on my way back. Namely, the grocery store a half mile from my apartment that has a bakery. I had never before had the occasion (or motivation) to be there when it opened, so this was a rare opportunity for me.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Gamla Uppsala

Okay, so I am a little behind on posting, as several family members have pointed out to me, so I will try to get caught up a bit today (Tonight? It's past midnight)!

Two weeks ago I went with some friends to the older part of town (Gamla Uppsala) where there were supposedly some interesting historical things to see. In particular there was a museum detailing the area's viking history and a very old church built around some viking burial mounds. Given the viking class I took last fall, this trip was particularly interesting for me, although I don't remember everything that I learned in the class. I hope that I don't say anything horribly inaccurate about this place but I will try to make sure not to.

We first went to the museum. There were re-enactors outside dressed in clothing from the vikings' time period(Iron Age) and presumably doing things that vikings do when they are not plundering or fighting. Apparently if you showed up to the museum in garb from the era, you would get in for free!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Foodie Edition, Part 1

I was wondering what to focus on for my next post and then it occurred to me as I was sitting around and snacking after supper, and then it occurred to me that I had enough odd food lying around my apartment to write about. I'll start off with my absolute favorite:

I discovered these shortly after moving here. They're kind of like reverse-Oreos with much higher quality chocolate and an adorable heart in the middle. They sell several versions of Ballerina cookies. The mint version just happens to be my favorite.

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Day of School

This trip seems to have a lot of ups and downs. Today was one of those worse days. Skip this post if you don't want to hear me griping. I need to vent.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Wednesday marked the start of orientation, which meant that I had to figure out how to get to the university 3-4 miles to the south. Uppsala has a lot of people who get around mainly by biking, but with the impending onset of winter and my only being here until mid-December, I decided early on to travel mainly by bus. It wasn't too hard figuring out which bus to take to get down to SLU. I bought a bus card beforehand and loaded it with money so that the rides would be cheaper overall. I think I might just end up paying for unlimited rides each month because I have already used up most of the money on my card from having to ride the bus every day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Made It!

The past 3 days have been crazy. My flights to Chicago and then to Stockholm were running on time, but Sunday was still a very long day. The flight to Stockholm was strange- it was around 6pm EST when we left and when we landed it was 7:30 in the morning according to the local clock. During the flight there were about 4 hours of darkness, which was disorienting in itself. Cabin lights were switched off during that time to accommodate sleeping, but I had a hard time getting any rest. Plane rides are so noisy and cramped! We were served a (presumably) typical Swedish dinner and breakfast.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Three Days Left!

I just realized I've jumped through a lot of hoops to get to this point. Between passports, registration, classes, visas, housing and finances, I'm lucky things worked themselves out in time. It'll be weird being away for a semester.
My plane leaves Louisville on the 21st(Sunday) at around noon and takes me to Chicago where I get to wait around until about 4:30 to leave for my 8-hour flight to Stockholm. When we land it'll be 7:45am local time(1:45 in the morning EST!). Not looking forward to that jet lag,especially since I habitually stay up so late already. I might just say awake the whole plane ride and then sleep for a few hours when I get to my apartment. Hopefully the buddy I have been in contact with will agree to meet me at the train station after I leave Arlanda Airport so I can find my apartment more easily. It sounds like I'm staying in "Rackarbergsgatan 10:417." I think that means building 10, apartment 417, but I guess I'll find out when I get there.
I will be attending SLU in Uppsala, Sweden, which is apparently an ag school. I will be taking Viticulture, Foods in Europe, and some ag econ class with a long name. This will work out well for my food science/food manufacturing operations majors, even though the classes are really only electives.
Scrambling to pack for fall/winter in Uppsala. Supposedly the climate is similar to Michigan's, so hopefully it'll be only slightly colder than winters in West Lafayette. I'm debating between taking 1 big suitcase or 2. If I pack everything into one, it still may exceed 50lbs and then I'll have to pay for 2 anyway...but I don't think I can tote 2 heavy suitcases around very well, either. Guess I'll figure it out when I get everything packed.