Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When in Rome...

I have taken a Roman Holiday...literally. Tonight I am in Milan staying at the home of my friend Priscilla who I met in my group in Iceland and tomorrow we will travel the city together and look around. Friday we will meet a few other girls from Iceland in Roma!! It is so wonderful to be able to stay in an Italian household to really experience the culture and the daily life! More to come more to come!! :)

Monday, October 24, 2011


Mina kära kompiser och familjen.....förlåt för att inte skriva på så länge. (Can you tell I am practicing my Swedish?) Whew! It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks here and I can't believe I haven't written in nearly two weeks! If you would like to have a sneak peak to what I have been up to, check out my friend Avery's blog
With that, I leave for the night, but will be back tomorrow. Gear up for some reading....otherwise known as the really long post. Gamla Uppsala and more goodies!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

birthdays, friends, cakes, surprises, and fall as the icing on top

A little over a week ago, I turned 20. It's weird to say that I'm 20. It seems so old. I've lived for two entire decades! In any case, it was probably my favorite and most memorable birthday. On thursday night before my birthday, a few of my friends and I went out and hit the town for the best Uppsala had to offer on a regular Thursday night. Just before midnight, we ended up by the riverside to ring in my birthday and the mild, balmy temperature must have tempted us all to jump in for a birthday swim. When else is it socially acceptable to swim while screaming in a river? Only when you turn 20. So I did it. Usually I don't do such ridiculously sounding things, but then, that's what makes life interesting right? I want my life's novel to have a little bit of fun! Ooooh, the water was cold, but it was memorable and it will never be forgotten. To aid our chills, we all sprinted home on our bikes and jumped into the sauna (each building has a sauna, perks of living in Sweden). In the morning, the sun shone brightly and it was incredibly warm. I mean, incredibly. It was about 70 degrees. That's no lie. I was sweating as I was cycling. Fall was in full bloom and everywhere I looked I felt as if I had just stepped into some kind of painting. The colors popped, and the city bustled with life as everyone wanted their fair share of soaking up the sun. After class, I met Avery and we joined Amy for a lovely lunch outside at Linné cafe. I know it's kind of cliché, but it was so worth it. My caesar salad was amazing, and what was even better was the blueberry princesstårta Avery and I shared. It was a slice of heaven.

Incredibly sunny


Café Linné <3
Anyway, after our lunch in the sun, we enjoyed another visit to the last day of the Linnaeus garden right across the street. It was just as lovely as the day before, and I wanted to buy everything in the gift shop! It was a perfect harmony of typical Swedish, with Carl Linnaues, all wrapped up in nature! How could it be any more perfect for me? :) Here are some pictoral recaps. The garden popped in the wonderfully golden rays of the sun.

Amy soaks up the last bit of the garden

As Avery and I were cycling home, we scoped out this wonderfully fall scene....we had to stop.

It was so beautiful!!

I arrived home and was getting ready to go to Karlskrona for the weekend when a friend text me and said to come over immediately, as I arrived in the corridor, I was hurriedly stopped by Charlotte at the entrance to the corridor as she yelled to Babsi that I was there. I had no idea what was going on and finally, I was allowed into the kitchen and I was greeted by the most beautiful looking princesstårta I have ever seen along with many excited "happy birthdays" from friends and some screaming on my part in overwhelming happiness and surprise. It was beautiful and wonderful, and I almost couldn't bring myself to cut it and eat it. Babsi and Charlotte worked on the cake for two days straight and Thursday Babsi sadly couldn't join Charlotte and I for an afternoon on the river, little did I know Charlotte had to distract me from coming over to their corridor :) I have never in my life heard of anyone making a homemade princesstårta, but Babsi took on the challenge because she knew how much I loved it so much. It was really one of the best birthday presents and birthdays I could ever ask for :)

Behold the beauty!!! The next few pictures are devoted to the shear wonderfulness of the cake

Isn't it just beautiful?! 

SO happy!

Babsi and I :) THANK YOU!!!

Hug :)

Lucky am I to have such wonderful friends to spend my birthday abroad with in Sweden! :)
From left to right: Avery, Teddy, me, Charlotte, and Babsi

Just as wonderful inside as it was outside (and just as tasty too!)
After a cake celebration, Avery and I cycled to the train station to catch our train at 8:10, or so we thought, once on the train, we realized we didn't leave for another two hours. This was just the beginning of our train adventures that night. By the end of the night, we were just laughing at the idea of "did this really just happen?" Stories to come. More birthday celebrations were to be had. Stories and pictures to come. I'm a little behind, playing catch-up. My 20th birthday was definitely a day to remember :) Thank you to everyone who even played the smallest part in making it such a wonderful day!! It's amazing to feel so loved even when I am thousands of miles away from home, and it fills me with joy that new friends in Sweden are becoming such meaningful friends, as is evident from my cherished memories of this week! Thank you to everyone! :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

last day of being a teenager

My birthday last week was perhaps the best ever. I have so many people to thank for making it such a special, wonderful day filled with memories that will last a life time! Festivities started on Thursday when class lasted for a mere 10 minutes. Afterwards, two of my friends and I decided to go to the Linnaeus museum and garden before it closed on my birthday (how coincidental). We enjoyed the last flowers of the garden and the warmth of the sun (I even had to take my tights off!) and took some pictures. We then took a tour of the museum of which used to be Linnaeus' home right here in Uppsala! It was a lovely little home right in front of the about a view! 

Charlotte and Teddy pose in the garden
Enjoying the last of the flowers


Sadly, pictures were not allowed inside the house.

Charlotte and I then grabbed lunch at a favorite cafe of mine and Avery's called Ofvandahl's. Their sandwiches are delicious and they offer a generous student discount! We took our sandwiches and coffee to the river side and sat and chatted for hours soaking up the sun, the warmth, and each other's company. We both agreed we can never enjoy such lovely, small things in life during the school year since we are always busy trying to fit everything into one day. It was just wonderful to sit and enjoy the water's edge, the people, and life. Finally we have found a balance between school and life that allows time for academia and learning, but also for enjoying days like Thursday and taking it what daily life has to offer. These are the things that keep us sane day in and day out, it's no wonder that when I am at Willamette stress has it's way of creeping in and taking over, I don't have time to sit and enjoy the water's edge on a Thursday afternoon. Academic life here is both appalling and refreshing. I can't believe university can be so relaxed while also managing to get everything done. It is so refreshing to be able to study in an environment where stress is the last thing that is cultivated. Here is where I have found my learning style. Charlotte agreed and beyond talk of school, we were able to enjoy many more meaningful conversation topics with each other. The breeze blew warm bursts of air, the leaves shivered and fell, the sun shone a bright golden yellow, and the people flocked the streets to soak it all in. 
As if the day hadn't already been full of good friends and conversation, I was also able to enjoy two birthday skype calls which made the day even better! I was finally able to talk with Emilie for a long while and forgot how much I missed her presence and the friendship we have. I was also able to skype with a few lovely girls from the house and both put a smile on my face! 
Thursday was, as Charlotte's way of saying it "the day we celebrated your last day as a teenager." There was celebration to be had and memories to be made.

Such a yummy sandwhich! 

Fall colors in front of the cathedral

Enjoying the warmth!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Autumnal adventures

Notice: This post was supposed to be posted last week!
Remember when I said I decided it was going to be fall? Well, this week, fall has delivered, big time. I think my love for this time of year grows with every autumn I spend where leaves turn, temperatures drop, apples grow, and the breezes turn from cool to crisp. The only thing missing this autumn is a good old pumpkin spice latte and some pumpkin itself. Otherwise, I have been taking part in what autumn has to offer these days. This week, my schedule for toxicology has been significantly less than that of last week and the weather has just been so perfect, this only means one thing....get out! More on this later.
My busy week last week ended with a wonderfully relaxing friday night with Avery as we both couldn't muster up the energy to go out. Instead, we decided to take the liberty to cook a yummy dinner and watch a movie, oh, and let's not forget that ice cream was included! Our first time buying ice cream at ICA and oh boy did we discover a hidden treasure! First of all, ICA sells that delicious ice cream I got when I was in Stockholm a few weekends back....saffron honey. It's the kind of ice cream that makes your eyes roll into the back of your head with pure indulgence. We are hoping to make some wonderfully delicious ice cream cake soon! We curled up and watched a chick flick (yes, the Notebook, for those of you wondering). Saturday we worked fika at our nation and then enjoyed another night in due to exhaustion from a long day's work. Sunday, oh Sunday was such a lovely day. I woke up a little later and lounged in my room to the sounds of fall outside and the scents of fall inside while I worked on (trying) to write for my toxicology class. Avery then texted me and we decided to take advantage of the fall weather and ride our bikes to town for some fika at Cafe Linné. First of all, Cafe Linné is located on Linnegatan right across from the street of the Linnaeus garden (which conveniently celebrated it's last day open for the season on my birthday) and Linnaeus' house. As if this already doesn't make it the coolest place in town, the spread of pastries was to die for and the atmosphere inside is cozy and comfy, perfect for those lonely November days when the daylight is diminishing and the winter cold is creeping in. Sunday was different, we ordered coffee and sweets (Avery had a HUGE meringue and I had a cookie with banana cream and white chocolate on top) and sat outside for a good two and a half hours enjoying the fall weather, people watching, working on some Swedish homework, and some good old conversation. It was a lovely way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon!

Monday morning I woke up to the sun pouring light through the yellow leaves of the trees outside my window. It was a warm morning and I was able to cycle to class without a heavy coat. After class, a few of us went into the center to grab some things and after most of us dispersed, my friend Babsi and I decided it was too nice of a day to just go home. We hopped on our bikes and rode to my nation for their daily organic soup lunch for a mere 35 SEK!! That is a bargain for a full lunch, or meal for that matter! The soup was amazingly yummy with leek, potato, carrot, peas, and lots of other veggies. It came with creme fraiche on the side, along with a really good salad with apple and the best bread I have possibly ever tasted. We sat outside and enjoyed the sounds of fall and the opportunity to have a quality, one-on-one conversation. After we left my nation, we decided to try to get lost and ended up at the castle overlooking Uppsala. It was just breathtaking! I was cringing the entire time without my camera. The city is beautiful from above, and it was spotted with red and yellow trees! We then decided to try and get more "lost" and go to one of the city's forests. We didn't get lost, but we did end up in a forest where we wandered around looking for mushrooms and enjoying each other's company. I love when I get to spend quality time with a new friend and make lasting memories. The breeze blew and the leaves shivered and we meandered around the forest in hopes of finding some dinner. It was lovely to see another part of the city I have not explored yet, and better yet, it was spent with a new friend!

Tuesday was not as eventful as I was writing all day (no class, woohoo!) but Avery and I did go apple picking which included climbing an apple tree to grab some fruit and filling our bags with enough apples for the week. Who needs a grocery store when you have apples practically in your backyard? Oh, I love fall.

Wednesday we only had class for about 10 minutes and then we cycled home and I had the girls over at my place this time for some lunch. These girls are from my toxicology class, and they also live in Avery's corridor, so we often have lunch and/or dinner together, and we get to spend the days together in class. Charlotte and Teddy are from the Netherlands and Babsi is from Germany. The three of them came over for lunch and we all cooked curry together and then headed to my room for a fika complete with buns! During our conversation, favorite movies came up, and it was discovered that Teddy had never seen The Notebbok. So, we decided then and there that we were going to watch it. What the was gray outside, we were all cozy anyway, and we had nothing else to do! So we all curled up on my bed with some fall candles lit and watched The Notebook on my computer. Yeah, it's sappy and cheasy, but we all sat together crying on my bed, but it was cozy and it was lovely, and that's all that matters. It was an afternoon well spent with good friends!

The week continued on with wonderful memories and unexpectedly warm, sunny weather. More to come. Pictures to come.