Sunday, September 4, 2011

Flogsta, Uppsala, Stockholm, around town

This week was my first full week of classes. In the beginning of the week, I started off by taking Limnology. The class was interesting, but after looking at the schedule and realizing that it wasn't as exciting as I had hoped, I decided to switch into Toxicology instead. I couldn't be more happy with this decision! I love toxicology and have met some pretty cool international students in my class, PLUS the lectures are incredibly interesting, and when you have lectures for 2-3+ hours a day, there's got to be something keeping you there. Thankfully, my professor is also a hoot and understands that the best learning won't happen when you lecture straight through. He is an old Swedish man who wears the same thing everyday, a striped button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up tucked into khaki or navy blue shorts, and birkenstocks. He lectures for a max of 40 minutes at a time and then gives us a 10-20 minute break. Sometimes I am so engrossed in the lecture since the last break that I don't realize so much time has passed and I'm not quite ready to take a break. He also gives us mental relievers during the lecture by putting up a picture of his cuuuuuuute grandson, or his beloved sail boat. He says it's to give us something else to focus on for a minute. It actually works quite well and I find that I am very receptive to this type of teaching. The class ends on October 21st, so we have class everyday for a good chunk of the day. Thursday we had 3 hours of lecture and 2 and a half hours of lab with an hour lunch break. Lab was interesting, to say the least. Not something we would ever be allowed to do at Willamette, but I'll spare you the gory details. I had to buy a lab coat though! Watch out WU bio! ;) All in all, I don't mind doing work/studying for the class because the information is so incredibly interesting.
Bio center.....The building in the front is the Evolution museum. The path in the front is where I walk every morning.

The quad for bio students....sorry WU, this is moving quickly above my list above Olin. Labs are on the left, and they are really nice!!! 

The building on the right is where my lecture halls are, the second floor balcony area is a nice, large restaurant and dining area. Uppsala has really got the students set for all-nighters here! ;)

My walk every morning from the bus stop (which HOPEFULLY will turn into a ride really soon as I really need a bike) to class is incredibly beautiful. I walk first next to the city cemetery and through Engelska Parken, on through the botanical gardens, and then to the Biology area. Here are some pictures.....MUMSIE! These are for YOU! Recognize anything? ;)

My favorite part of the walk in front of the history building in Engelska Parken 

Here is where I enter the gardens, looking towards the Orangery 

Lovely view of Uppsala Castle

This just makes me smile :)

The Orangery, Carl Linnaeus wanted the Orangery to be the central part of the garden for visitors

I like standing in the middle, because it feels like you are a tiny person standing among an over-sized world

This is for you, Em-J. I saw it at all I could do was smile because all of our stories we made up that day on the bank of millstream while baking in the sun to remember our plants :)

The botanical gardens have a new surprise everyday! I discovered this pocket of the woods yesterday

This magical little bit of lawn peeked in where the sun was pouring through and the world was like a gem

Ange, I saw this and thought of you :)

Front view of the Orangery

Mamma! Here ist he Engelska Parken map!

My walk on this path through Engelska Parken :)

Mamma! Here is the cemetery, remember?

This house is my favorite in all of Uppsala, I think I would rather like to live here someday. First of all, it's YELLOW, and second of all, the garden in the back is absolutely breathtaking! It also has 1823 on the front, the year it was built :)

There you have a small taste of my walk in the morning to class, here is a taste of my lovely room in Flogsta

Flogsta from afar

My foyer....note, that white coat, is my LAB COAT!!

Foyer again

Bathroom from the foyer

My windows open up all the way, so on a sunny day like today, it feels like I am sitting outside!

This is my view from my window

another angle

Here are some lovely faces I look at everyday....miss those girls! :)

It's been a pack week and weekend. On Saturday we took a tour of Stockholm. Our program (CIEE) paid for two field trips through the university for us, which was really nice because all other international students are only allowed to go on one of the field trips to save space. CIEE somehow managed to finagle two trips for us! AND they are reimbursing us for our lunch costs! Anyway, Stockholm was absolutely breaktaking. It's been a while since I have been there, about 8 years I think, so it was nice to refresh my memory. We will definitely be visiting again soon! We started out early in the day and took a bus into Stockholm. The weather was sunny and the sky was gorgeous! It was warm out and we couldn't have asked for anything better. Our first stop was the Vasa museum. I love the Vasa museum! We went there when we visited Stockholm before and I was so entranced by it. The Vasa is a ship that sunk on its maiden voyage sometime in the 1600's, and in the 60's (or maybe it was the 70's) they found it fully intact in the Baltic in Stockholm. The wood was preserved really well because of the water conditions of the Stockholm harbor. Since raising it out of the water the sprayed it with polyethylene glycol (for all you chem nerds) for 17 years. Anyway, I always thought it was fascinating to actually be face-to-face with a ship that was built in the 1600's. I've always loved to go to museums or experience something with deep historical value because I always stand there for a while to imagine the life around that place or object in that specific time setting. The Vasa is definitely a place to go for anyone wanting to come visit Sweden! :) Next we drove around the city a bit and stopped at the Royal palace and took a short walking tour of the old town. After our tour, my group mates (from CIEE) and I walked around together and got lunch at a little cafe tucked between colorful old buildings with streets of cobblestone and narrow passageways. The city architecture is beautiful. The buildings pop with color and bring life to a city that can be so dark and cold come winter. During the summer, the streets are dancing with the hustle and bustle of shoppers and tourists and the wonderful colors of every building costume the city to make them seem like dancers in some kind of year-round performance. My favorite part of the day was by far our stop for ice cream. Ok, so Sweden has got some wicked ice cream flavors. Pear will always have a special place in my heart, but they've also got flavors like raspberry and salt licorice, dunsmur, melon, and my FAVORITE so far which I got yesterday in old downtown.....saffron honey. Oh was it a little taste of heaven. I was stuck in a moment of complete bliss every time the flavor popped on my tongue. It tasted exactly (no exaggeration here) and I mean exactly like Lussekatter, our Swedish Christmas Lucia buns made from saffron. Oh, it was delicious. After old town, our final stop was a small island where we could see the entire harbor and city skyline and we were just around the corner from the area of Stockholm where the Stieg Larsson books take place! Here are some memoirs from my day.

Look inside the top window! :)

Nordiska Museet...on my list of places to go in November when it's cold, dark, and snowy

For now, I am enjoying these scenes outside

Shanny! This Finnish church used to be the royal tennis courts!  I thought you would appreciate that, so I took a picture for you! :)

See what I mean? So colorful and narrow!

Besides the beauty of both color and architecture in this picture, the clouds yesterday couldn't have been more perfect!

Here is where part of the Nobel prizes are handed out. Oh, and did I mention that Uppsala students can enter a lottery for tickets to the ceremony itself AND the dinner afterward at the most beautiful town hall?! Guess who will be entering that lottery? I don't care if that the nerdiest thing to ever be excited about, it would be SO COOL! Sadly, I could not snap a pic of the town hall as we were in the bus when we passed it :(

The gate to the German church. I learned that Stockholm was actually built by Germans and up until pretty recently (well, within the last 100 years) the law just switched from the requirement that the city mayor had to be German born.

The church, like so many of them here, is absolutely gorgeous!

Mums! When we were standing and listening to the tour guide tell us about the picture below, I caught a view of this!! Carl Larsson! Everybody looked at me strangely for taking a picture of this. I thought you would like it :)

Narrowest street in Stockholm

What used to be Sweden's national bank

The famous ICE CREAM!

Royal palace

In front of the royal palace there was some kind of riot, from the looks and sounds of it, it had something to do with a citizenship debate for people of Iranian descent.

I heard music from the castle, so I walked down the street to find this.....for some reason it sounded like Disneyland to me.

Here's that view of Stockholm

Another view of the city and the harbor....beautiful

Today, I took the opportunity to really have a day of rest. I am enjoying my time to myself in my room to just be. When I am at Willamette, my days are packed from the time I wake up until the time I manage to get to sleep and time to myself doesn't usually make it's way into the schedule. Especially when it is time to just be. I think Sweden will be a really nice sabbatical for me, if you will. A time to explore both the world and myself and learn what it means to have a healthy, balanced life. I am excited to experience the world of academia and actually appreciate it. With this, I leave you for another week soaking up the last of the Swedish sun and the sweet taste of life in Uppsala. Happy Monday! Oh, and for those of you in the US....enjoy your day off, happy labor day! Soak up that last bit of summer!

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