Today was my choir’s Christmas concert.  It was a lot of fun.  I wore this velvety red dress that I bought yesterday, I also bought a red shirt to go with my black pants-like-things incase I didn’t like the dress anymore.  But yes, chose the dress.

I had to be there at 2 and it was at the little church next to the massive one. Haha.  The concert started at 4 or 4:30, I was surprised at how many people showed up.  I actually got kind of nervous at first, I haven’t felt that nervousness since standing on the marching band field waiting to go to set one. Oh man oh man.  It quickly poofed though.  I think we did pretty well and I especially loved Amelie’s solo songs.  She has an amazing voice!

If anyone posts videos or something on YouTube I’ll try to remember and post them up here. 🙂

Monday at choir wasn’t exactly the best experience this time.  I mean I felt bad already that I didn’t bring fika, but if you want something relayed to me and you know I don’t speak Swedish…isn’t the logical thing to do to send me a message in English? Lol.  It’s not like I forgot the things on purpose, I just wasn’t home when bestest leader Anna sent me a message 30 minutes before practice so I didn’t know where to get cookies and stuff.  But honestly.  I didn’t even know there was a separate address list or a fika list.  Until last monday I thought people who liked baking and cookies just randomly brought those in for everyone.  If I had known ahead of time I so would’ve made rice crispy treats again…  So, I walked to ICA during our break and got some cookies, which it appears no one ate anyway. 😦 Oh well~  I know for next time now and I’m on both lists so it shouldn’t be a problem.

In other news, yesterday it was slushing.  I say slush because it was like a mix of rain and snow, but it wasn’t sleet because I wasn’t getting hit in the face with ice pellets.  So, this was fine and dandy because it appeared it was melting for the most part.  Since I had double classes yesterday, I was at Engelska Parken a lot longer than usual so I couldn’t see the mess that was happening outside.  Speaking of double classes, that was tedious.  I’m in for another rude awakening when I get back to Purdue, how do we manage going to 3+ classes a day?  We’re pretty hardcore!

But anyway, I went outside to leave after classes, it was 4pmish and already dark out.  It’s only November and it’s already darker earlier than it ever gets in Ohio.  I think it’s time to start taking vitamins before seasonal depression sets in early as well.  But yeah, outside was a slushfilled mess.  It didn’t look too bad where we were at so I was going to walk home, but I couldn’t find my iPod so I just decided to take the bus.  Can’t walk without music, but let me tell you how good a choice that was.  Walking to the bus stop was a task in itself, the road between the cemetaries to the bus stop was completely slushy and slick, I almost whiped out about 5 times before getting to the bus stop.  This was a flat surface at least, I almost slipped going up the huge hill at Flogsta as well. This winter will be interesting, I’ve fallen about 4 times at Purdue in the winter, and it’s flat.  There are hills here… I think it’s time to get some better shoes.  I have boots, but I’m not sure I trust the traction, they look flatter than my tennis shoes.  But maybe my tennis shoe soles are plastic and not rubber?  I’m a shoe failure.  Coming from a land of ice and snow, shouldn’t I know the correct kind of shoe to wear? One would think, YES. YES YOU SHOULD.  Worn out sketchers =/= the correct shoe.  I do know this.

Late last night the salt/sand/dirt truck was going next to our buildings dropping stuff.  So, I woke up this morning and from the view of my window things look pretty good.  No ice or anything.  I needed to go to ICA and get bread, milk, and toilet bowl cleaner…so I was happy to leave with no ice.  However, once I got to ICA it was a big surprise.  First the grassy hill down to ICA was layered in a sheet of ice that I almost whiped out on at the bottom aaand the parking lot was also one thick sheet of ice.  Someone definitely missed the parking lot.  I wonder how many old people break hips here by the end of the season…

Getting those spikey things for your shoes and looking like a complete dork doesn’t seem like a bad idea right about now…

Everyone, thanks for the warm comments on my last post.  Thanks for praying/thinking about my family and all, I think I’m better now and I’m not sure if it’ll really hit me until I get home.

On Friday I left to go on the Körhelg (Choir Weekend) with V-dalakören (V-dala choir) to Järlåsa and I just got back yesterday~

I think it was an adventure from the start. I met with Evelina who had brought me a sleeping bag and a little blow up mattress type thing that Ulrika had let me borrow, but she wasn’t going to come until Saturday.  Anyway, yes so we met at Ekonomikum and took the Sala bus line to our little cabin/house dealio.  It kind of reminded me of our old girl scout cabins and such.  But, the place I guess can be rented out for weddings and all that fun stuff.

So, we took a looong walk into the woods to find the cabin thing and when we did we all got settled in.  And of course, we sang!  It’s choir practice/weekend/fun/adventure after all.  It really reminded me of band camp.  We would sing, eat, sing, eat, and that consisted of our time.  So, we had hot dogs our first night, I don’t usually like hot dogs, but these were really good haha.  And on Saturday we also did the same thing and we had fika as well.  2 fika in one day, it was like a dream come true!  I love fika cakes and cookies.  So delicious.

Anyway!  The real adventure came on Saturday night.  Saturday ingeneral was a bit hard to focus on.  I didn’t sleep well the night before because my makeshift bed fell apart in the middle of the night and I ended up on the floor, the room was also extremely hot, (which I personally think is better than extremely cold, like here at Flogsta) and yeah…so I got maybe an hour or two of sleep that night.

Saturday we practiced more, but then we all split off because us newbies to the choir weekend had to perform a Spex, which is a funny comedy of sorts, usually a parody of something, but this time it was just a funny skit.  We decided to have a circus theme since 3 people in our group can juggle.  Martin is especially good, he can juggle 2 balls and an apple, and take a bite out of the apple, and keep going, without dropping anything.  He really belongs in a circus.  So yes, we had jugglers, Maike, Eugene, and I formed the exchange student triangle, and Gustav was the “lion” lol.  After that we all sang a song from Monty Python, though the beginning part 2 of the swedish guys changed the lyrics to funny stuff in Swedish and yeah.  So, that was our plan for our spex later in the evening.

After our practice of the spex, we all got dressed up and went downstairs for our “formal” dinner.  We had a weird way of picking who we would sit by.  We all had to draw a paper, the guys I believe had a character, and the girls had to sing the theme song from whatever was on our paper.  I got Beauty & The Beast, so I sang that and I ended up being paired with Marvelous Martin, not to be confused with Machine Dish Washer Martin who I was going to do the spex with, though he did sit across from me.  I also sat near Amelie and Karin who has the 3rd best dog in the world, Ville! Sooo cute~! Before I forget, earlier in the day we had learned everyones names by going in a circle and playing a game like “Patrik the penguin” etc etc… So, if I describe people later by that, you’ll know why: hence Marvelous Martin and Machine Dish Washer Martin.

Körhelg Dinner
Körhelg Dinner

So, dinner was delicious.  It was like a gasque.  We had a 3 course meal (Bread-stuff that tasted like licorice to me because of the olives (starter), Salmon & Rice (entre), and New York Style Blueberry Cheesecake (dessert))and plenty of singing and toasting.  I drank water mostly, aside from a drink I had before the actual dinner, which tasted more like delicious juice! Alcohol is usually nasty, but this was actually pretty good.  So, while people were getting drunk throughout the night, I got to laugh at them, because I uh…wasn’t?  But, basically after you sing a song you do this formal way of toasting, that’s really a process.  I’ll show everyone once I get home.  But, yes you sing after a speech or something special, then you drink.  Or you make a “tsss tssss” sound, and the person in charge (Sofia) gets up and starts a song that we’ve been learning in choir or something most people know, and after that people drink again with a toast.

There were 3 songs that were especially fun to sing.  Helan går (toast song of sorts), the ABBA parody song, and Circle of Life.  Circle of Life was the most entertaining though because out of nowhere Fabian (I think?) got up and started singing it and then the rest of the choir joined in, so I joined in with the sopranos singing what I thought they would be singing (which luckily they were haha).  It was so much fun.  A few more songs that came about just in our little section of the table was ‘Bumbi Björnarna’, the swedish version of Gummi Bears, which I just so happen to have! I was amazed, because I knew it and I didn’t learn it at choir.  And also when Machine Dish Washer Martin and I sang Aladdin’s “A Whole New World” together, but I did English Jasmine parts and he did the Aladdin parts in Swedish, so it was amusing. XD The most funny though is still the ABBA parody song about spanking and stuff lmfao.  This choir loooves ABBA. Smiska här, smiska där, piska mig, piska dig~HEJ~ (Sing it to the tune of numanuma…and stuff lmao)

After dinner, we all did our spex and that was entertaining, I think the others watching were amused. So yay~  Aaand yeah, then it became more chaotic and we eventually cleaned up and I talked with Kool Karin (not Ville Karin) and we all danced a bit or went and sang.  Eveeentually we all went to sleep.

Then the next morning, the sopranos (meee) had to get up and do breakfast and such.  We all cleaned up then and played some games before heading to the bus stop to go back home.  It was pouring cold rain that day, so yeah.  Some people drove back, some people offered to take people, but after all of that cheesecake and stuff, I just walked to the bus stop.  Probably not the brightest idea with only having a hoodie and such on.

When I got home I definitely had a warm shower and it was amaaazing, let me tell you!  I also found out when I got home that Matthias will be going back to Germany with his mom, so things are all packed up.  I hope he doesn’t have any brain damage and gets out of this okay. =\  He’ll be in my thoughts.

Also, my doorbell was rang a few minutes ago, so I went to check and see who it was.  We don’t have a peep hole, so I couldn’t tell if I knew the person or not.  Well, they started to speak to me in french, and then realized I wasn’t french.  Which was fine, and I thought maybe they would leave. But, no.  Instead she whipped out her bible.  And they started asking me about what I thought about the future and if I thought it was scary or something.  I told them no, the future isn’t scary when you live in the here and now.  So she read me some prophecy in Isaiah. Or something.  And asked what I thought of that and if I thought it was a real one, and I said no.  Because I think to make the world perfect and nice we have to work towards that.  I think the bible is a fine guide, like most mythology books on morals and stuff, but I don’t think it predicts the future.  Theeen after a few minutes, she whipped out The Watchtower.  I’m not even kidding.  Back home I just don’t answer the door if they come, so I’ve managed to not get involved, but it majority athiest Sweden…this happens? What’s going on?  It’s especially amusing because I watched ‘Zeitgeist’ last night (well part 1 & 2, I need to finish it) which taught/reminded me of a lot.  Put puzzle pieces together, that I didn’t know where to put before.  So, I have an even different view on Christianity than what I had before I left for Sweden.

Finally things are looking up.

I went to class today, the final “real class” of history.  I’m thankful for that and thankful I finished my stuuupid paper.  I was so scared when Dag looked at it and was all, “You want to turn just this in?” and gave me this “are you serious?” look.  Luckily! He was just joking. ooohoho~ Don’t do that! :O

After that I went to this kebab-pizza-place and got some pizza with SuYin~ =9 I couldn’t finish the pizza though, even though they’re thin..it was still TOO MUCH!

Aaand after that I went to choir practice and it was nice~  It’s amusing though because everything is directed in Swedish so during directions I try to pay attention to hand gestures and guess what’s going on. Haha~ Well, we’re singing some swedish and latin songs.  But, some of the swedish songs are ABBA songs, but I think they’re parodies of some sort.  Unless the swedish version of these songs are “dirty” hahaha~  I also got tested at the end of rehersal, even after the director told me to sing 1st soprano today so one of the girls wouldn’t be alone, since I didn’t know what I was for sure (I just assumed 2nd) but anyway, yes after rehersal I was tested via piano and I guess I can be 2nd or 1st soprano.  Though this Stella song is a bit difficult to sing if I do 1st soprano, but I guess it’s hard for the all-the-time 1st sopranos too.  SO, the director said I could basically pick if I wanted to be 1st or 2nd soprano.  She also said since it’s my first time doing choir in a LOOONG time (lol 4th grade) that if my voice develops and i feel more comfortable in one or the other (if I didn’t pick it) that I could switch.  So woohooo! ;DD

It’s kind of strange though, I think I have a lower talking voice compared to most girls…but I can still hit those high notes bahaha~

Oh, and before I switch topics: I might go on the choir weekend trip in October.  It should be fun, and it’s 100SEK cheaper for me since I’m a new member. 😀

And the better news of the day was a message mom sent me on skype, probably when I was either at class or practice~

“we pulled pa-pas breathing tube yesterday and he is doing well. He is all happy and talkative and kept me awake all night chatting….which is better than the alternative (not breathing at all).
[1:25:18 PM] Dee says: I have had NO sleep so I am going to lay down…nighty night  :)”

^– YAY!  I’m so happy he’s doing well off the vent.  I mean, that doesn’t fix the cancer.  But, it made me so happy to hear that he’s able to talk and all that stuff.

Alright, so yesterday was definitely a down day.  I think I’ve learned over the years to just kind of smile and try to be happy when those days happen.  But, it really hurts and kind of sucks.

So, anyway I didn’t really want to go to the choir practice thingy.  But, I figured I probably should since I e-mailed Anna and said I would.  So, I went.  And I’m glad I did.  It was the better part of my day and everyone was so nice. Anna and another girl ( I can’t remember her naaame) kept translating stuff for me when the fake-conductor was talking. I guess their usual one is sick or something. So yeah. I’ve never read sheet music and sang along, aside from in Merritt’s class but that hardly counts because it was band, not choir.  But, it was fun. I think I’m getting the hang of it, and the girls kept praising me and being so nice, which made me feel really good.

Yesterday after class I also talked with Per for about an hour outside, mostly about football. Yes, the American kind.  That was pretty exciting, yet ridiculous.  I miss that about home.  Going to the football games, or at least watching them on TV. I actually listened to the OSU v. USC game on the radio here until like 4 in the morning, or whenever half time was, the other day. Then I figured I should probably go to bed.

So, plans this week are to get waffles with Miriam at OG on Tuesday aaand go shopping with Lisa on Friday. 🙂

I still wonder if I can keep this up for a whole year though…

I’ve honestly been too lazy, or perhaps too tired to update this.  I figure I better force myself to though, because if I don’t I’ll regret it whenever I get home, right?

Well, it’s pretty official.  I’m going to Scotland from November 5th~10th.  I’m pretty excited and I’ll be going with Suyin, Peter, Jenny, and Lisa~  I hope it’s a lot of fun!  😀  Though it’ll be in November, so we’ll see.  I really hope we get there for fireworks.  Someone said they do fireworks for you know the “Remember remember the 5th of November” or whatever. Haha~

I’m also probably, maybe, going to join the V-dala choir.  I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t really felt like doing anything other than school work and relaxing.  I didn’t even go to the “test” because I was too tired to ride back into town.  But, the lady e-mailed and texted me that there is a spot open for me if I want it, but I have to go get a test on Monday.  So, I dunno…I guess I should do it, I might as well right?  Practice I think is every monday from 7:30~9 or something like that.  It’s not very long and not very late, but I’m just thinking about how much those hours are going to suck when it gets dark at like 3pm.  Haha~

I’ve just been running around doing stuff lately that I’m honestly just burnt out.  I have a few days off, and that’s good but unfortunately I’ll have to read during those days if I want to keep up and finish this lame book for my history class.

I’ve also started a swedish class, which I may drop.  According to Suyin and Jenny, what the lady has been teaching hasn’t necessaraly been “correct” and I understand that it’s only the 2nd day, but I honestly don’t feel like I’m learning or retaining much from that class.  I don’t know if it’s because by 4 I’m beat, or if I just “don’t care”. Learning German and Japanese has seemed much easier.

Also! The other day I got a postcard from Lauren! My first REAL mail~~! 😀 How exciting.  I was super excited to get it.  I also just got done skyping with mom and she’s going to send me a package.  But she thought it’d be like 10 lbs but it’s like 30lbs.  And there’s a hill.  How is this going to work?  I could try stuffing my bookbag I guess.  I dunno, not complaining. I like mail~ Even if it was super expensive apparently D:

Oh, I forgot to mention that earlier today while messing with my “kick” stand I managed to put a whole into my thumb.  It hurt for awhile, but i can’t really feel it now and it’s all bandaided up, which is good. 🙂  Stupid kickstand.

Yesterday was pretty busy!  I went to my first class which is an American Studies class.  I needed core credits for Purdue, and I figured it’d be nice to get a new perspective on how things are taught over here.  I need a history, politics, and ethnic diversity class for Purdue; so this program gives me all 3 of those plus American Media, which I don’t really need…but whatever!  So, I get to the class and I’m the only one who doesn’t speak Swedish so because of me the class is taught in English haha.  I kind of felt bad and I really hope people in there don’t think I’m in there for an easy A.  I haven’t had an American history class since 4th grade, my high school one mostly talked about WWII so that hardly counts.  It was kind of sad actually.  Dag (I think we call our professors by their first names here) asked a question and laughed and told me not to answer.  I’m happy he didn’t just pick on me to answer, because truth be told…I didn’t know the answer, and two of the swedish boys did! Haha~  How sad is that?  Perhaps I’ll know more in the politics class, but history is not my forte.  So through most of the class I didn’t really say much unless I was asked something, there’s something about being from the nation you’re studying and you being the only one from there…or the only exchange student in there in general, that makes it hard to speak up.  I’d rather just listen to what people have to say and I want people to speak there minds, I’m afraid that now that they know I’m American (my accent gave it away during the introductions — they thought I was french before I spoke lol) they won’t speak their minds.  I don’t care if they have nothing to say but negatives; I want everyone to be able to freely state their mind without worrying about how I would feel.  Not that I’m saying they do, but I wonder if they are more cautious now.

After class I went to find the bookstore by Uplands nation since I needed a textbook: “A History of the United States”by Philip Jenkins.  Sadly after several minutes of looking I asked the lady and she said they didn’t have it in but they were hopefully going to get a shipment in from England of English books and stuff tomorrow (today now). So I left. It kind of stinks to not have this book though because I’m supposed to have chapter 1 read by tomorrow and chapter 2 by Thursday. 😦

Then, I went to ABBA since Melissa texted me earlier and said my bike was finished.  So I went there, and I asked for a red bike the day before (Melissa wanted green), but it turns out I didn’t get my red bike.  Instead I got a black and gold one; which is even better!  I get to show my Purdue spirit here too! Haha~  So, I walked with the bike a bit since we were in a part of town where it didn’t seem like you were supposed to ride your bike.  Well on the way home I noticed my bike making this horrible sound when I pedaled. So, I either need to figure out what that is or I have to go back to ABBA to get my bike fixed. Aiiish. No good.  As I was talking about it in IRC, Peter gave me a site of bikes for sale in Uppsala.  It kind of irritated me, because it would have been nice to have that BEFORE I bought a bike, especially since so many bikes were under 1000 crowns. *cries* :<  Oh, well.  Most new bikes here were more expensive than mine, but it kind of sucks because my bike doesn’t have any gears either…so I it sucks to go up hill, especially because my legs wont fully extend when I pedal unless I stand up…and I”ve never mastered the trade of stand up pedaling.  Woe is me.

So, on the way back from the bike place Melissa called and her and Mattia were making lunch and invited me over to eat…soo! I went to Mattia’s place in Flogsta 5 and we had such a good meal.  As Melissa said, never question an italian’s cooking.  The whole thing was very basic, but it was so good. I’m not even really sure what it was.  It was some kind of smaller rice and it had cucumbers, tomatoes, and cauliflower in it.  Mattia later added in an egg, which I think also added to the yummy flavor.  After that I left there and went to head back into town for the V-Dala welcoming bash for new students.

This is where I had my little meltdown the first day.

This is where I had my little meltdown the first day.

So, on my way to V-Dala I decided to take a picture of my rock since my mom really wanted to see it. :p  This is the rock I sat on the first day I was here where I was having a mini-meltdown and Mattia came up and talked to me…followed by several other exchange students (Hannes, Melissa, Emma, and Genevieve).

So, anyway.  I went to V-Dala and we were all split up into groups, first exchange students and swedish students, then our exchange student group was split up.  I was amazed at how many people were there, and it was only NEW people…I mean there are other people in the nation who have been there awhile and obviously did not show up.

First we were given a tour of the building.  It was a bit chaotic, I don’t think they realized that so many people would show up.  I really felt bad for anyone who might have been even mildly claustrophobic. I may check out the library there later and see if my American History book is in there since I couldn’t find it earlier. I don’t think they will, but maybe.  I may check out the university and city libraries as well.  I really hate to spend money on a book I’m going to use for 4 weeks and that I know I won’t crack open ever again, not even in the states.

After that we got our table and such upstairs and then I went around and checked out the clubs.  I signed up for a few.  Sadly there’s a meeting for the International Committee tonight, but I already made plans with Ingrid for dinner a few days ago…so I don’t want to bail on that.  SO yes I signed up for V-Dala’s International Committee, the culture club, and I may go audition for the choir as well.  I’ve never sang by reading music.  I can read music for clarinet, but if I have to read on paper that could be troublesome.  I’m very good at singing by ear though, so if I hear the tune once I should be fine. 🙂  I also showed interest in the Uppsala Association of International Affairs, which holds debates and lectures and stuff, several in English.  And I also got a pamphlet from the Blåsorkester & Balett (the band and the dancers) so if I ever get a clarinet (either my own or Mattia’s or someone elses) then I’d really like to go join them.  I asked if I could join for winter semester since my clarinet isn’t here now, and she said definitely I can join whenever.  First I asked if clarinets were even allowed and she said of course and that they needed them I believe.

After checking out the groups I went and sat down at the table.  The hall was so huge and the whole setting kind of reminded me of Hogwarts, lmfao!  So, they gave us food and the different groups went up and either talked or did well…what they do!  For example the choir sang, the theatre group did a skit (that was funny but then kinda dragged on), and yeah!  My favorite was definitely the Blåsorkester and Balett, it was so entertaining and there was only ONE girl playing clarinet! There were 3 flutes, I think 4 saxes, and some brass people as well.  Very very small group, but still looked like a lot of fun! I really miss playing my clarinet and it’s been almost 3 years since I’ve played a note so I’m sure my chops are horrible and my tone will be horrible, but I can work up to being okay I think eventually. 🙂

After the festivities, Matthias and I headed back home since we both live on the same floor.  Haha, it was kind of funny though half way through he decided to push me, kinda like how John did for me when the pedal on mom’s bike was falling off.  But, the only reason he did this I think was becuase he was sick of hearing the sound of my stupid bike. Haha~ It was pretty amusing.  So, yes I got home and had a nice shower and talked online for a bit, hoping that mom or someone would get on skype, but no one did. :<

So, today I have plans to go to Ingrid’s later and have some dinner.  It should be nice, I haven’t seen her in a few days and she was fun to hang out with last time.  I found out she joined SNerikes, as did some other people I talked to…I really hope I made the right decision in picking V-Dala over SNerikes. =\