Sunday, September 11, 2011

What goes up must always come down.....

Another week in Uppsala has brought its fair share of new experiences abroad for me. The week started off on a very high note when I FINALLY got a bike! It's pretty nice I would say, and I got it for a great price! Bikes are in high demand here in Uppsala, so you've got to scoop up a good deal if you see one. It is so much easier to get around town and get to class without relying on the bus and my commute to the city center has been cut from 40 minutes, to just 8 minutes. I am excited to explore the city by bike!
Tuesday morning I woke up early in time to make my 8am lab. Something felt a little off, but it wasn't enough to keep me from going to class, so we rode our bikes and started lab work. Over the course of the 4 hours lab lasted, my ill feeling went from mild to unbearable as I was almost in tears by the time I left. I could feel my pulse in my temples, my neck hurt, my back ached, and I felt flush. I couldn't concentrate on the lab procedure and once I finally made it back to my room, I remembered a thermometer I had in one of my coat pockets from the last time I was sick at the end of spring semester and took my temperature. The thermometer read 100 degrees and I instantly got into bed. Thankfully, Avery brought me some soup and bread and another friend brought some tea and crackers. I stayed in bed all day, despite the beautiful warmth and sunshine present outside. I got up just to use the restroom and heat up my soup again for some dinner.
The next day, I luckily didn't have any class, I took it easy and Avery and I met Amy, one of our program coordinators for organic soup lunch at our nation. I was feeling much better (no fever) and just had a little tinge of a sore throat. I thought for sure it was just a quick flu and I would be good for the rest of the week. After a long lunch full of yummy food and good conversation, Avery and I went to the grocery store and headed home to make some dinner before our first Swedish class. Thursday we enjoyed Sweden's favorite lunch on a Thursday, pea soup and pancakes. We are hoping to partake in this tradition often! The pea soup was yummy, but the pancakes weren't as good as my Mom's :)  That morning however, it decided to start raining 2 minutes before I was ready to hop on my bike and head to class. I debated taking the bus, as the rain was coming down pretty hard, but in the end, we decided against it and attempted to cycle. I am now going to invest in a big, yellow rainsuit. On our 6 minute ride to class, we got entirely soaked. My jacket soaked through and my shirt underneath was wet, my pants were so wet that the water was running down my legs, and my boots got soaked through. After class, the first thing I did was hop into a warm shower to cure my chills. On Friday, I didn't have class until the afternoon, so I was hoping to get some work done in the morning and soak up the sun that was out. (every sunny moment these days has to be taken advantage of before the rains move in permanently) However, upon waking up, my symptoms of sickness took another turn for the worst as my throat was so sore I could hardly swallow. After taking a look at it with my trusty headlamp and seeing what looked like strep, I quickly headed to the doctor. Luckily, after my throat swab results came back, I found out it wasn't strep and the nurse told me it was then a viral tonsillitis and there was nothing more she could do. Now I am letting the virus take its course and using good old remedies like drinking lots of tea with lots of honey and lemon and eating a lot of garlic to hopefully ward off my sickness. I don't know how much they are working, but it's the thought that counts. Currently, I am left with symptoms of a cold, I've got a cough, a stuffy nose, and a slightly sore throat. Hopefully this week my sickness will clear up admist the rain in our forecast.
Yesterday was a great day as I was able to go on a tour of Uppland, the province here in Uppsala. I got to go the one and only Carl Linnaeus' HOUSE! Oh, it was amazing. The desk where he wrote his books, the cabinet where he developed his classification system, AND I got to see a plant he actually planted himself. No kidding, they took DNA samples of specimens in his herbarium and compared them to specimens still in the garden and found a couple of exact matches. Now, I know this isn't cool to all of you non-botany geeks, but bear with me. This is like the closest to Carl Linnaeus I will ever be. It was a dream come true, really. I soaked up every minute of it and more. The day was beautifully sunny with the most wonderful clouds, white and puffy (perfect for cloud watching) and the countryside was absolutely beautiful. There was forest, farmland, and open fields. It looked and felt like we were in a story book. Oh, it was just gorgeous. A moving postacard, really. There was only one problem, when we got out of the bus at Linnaeus' cottage, I take out my camera (obviously) to snap a photo of my first view, and I come to find the battery is entirely dead and I did not have my spare. Thankfully, Avery let me use her camera from time to time! After Linnaeus' house (where I could have easily spent all day), we drove to a castle right on Lake Mälaren where we got a personal guided tour for our group and had lunch (who doesn't enjoy having lunch at a castle??). It was beautiful and we even got to snag a couple of apples from the orchard on our way out! Lastly, we made our way back through storybook land to Sigtuna, Sweden's oldest city. Like I said, storybook land. There was a race just finishing through the town's main street that looked like loads of fun. Since we got there at the end though, we were able to walk through the main street and check out the shops after all. I got some wonderfully delicious tea for really cheap and Avery and I broke away from the formal tour and strolled around town on our own. We browsed through the shops, walked down small streets where flowers were blooming in front yards, and apples were left in a basket for welcomed guests. Our stoll took us down by the water where we sat and enjoyed deeeeeeeelicous ice cream. I know, I had delicious ice cream last weekend, too, what can I say? Sweden has got some amazing ice cream flavors. This time, I enjoyed my good ol' favorite pear :) Here are some pictures of Saturday's tour (photo credits mostly to Avery) and some of my first week in Uppsala for you to enjoy! (including pictures from Linnaeus' botanical gardens where university students get in for FREE!! does it get any better?!)

Front view of Linnaeus' garden

Linnaeus' summer house :)

Linnaeus' moss garden


Beautiful day

Here is the actual plant Linnaeus planted himself

Potentilla rupestris

Lovely clouds

Living roof

Lake Mälaren and the old harbor

YUMMY Swedish desserts!

We got apple cake (mine also had vanilla sauce, YUM)

And some of the best lax I've ever had

Avery and I in front of the lake

Mums, you would LOVE this shop!

I love all the ceramics!


Avery's camera can do this really cool panorama shot

YUMMY päron glass

We enjoyed our ice cream to this view

My favorite cafe has this in their window dislplay :) 
Only open till my birthday

Here's what I painted last semester

The garden is arranged by family and flowering time

Pollinators in action

The "autumn" garden

Fritillary is Uppland's flower!

Here it is, the Linnea flower itself :)

Family: Linnaeaceae :)

Genetic evidence that it is its own family :)

So Swedish

This design is so cool!

Fyris river

Amy and Avery walking to Håga

My nation! Västgöta

Organic soup lunch: Gazpacho

Uppsala cathedral 
Main University building

 With that, I leave you stuffy nosed but ready to enjoy yet another week in Uppsala. Let us not forget the many who lost their lives on this day 10 years ago.

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