Monday, February 8, 2016

Goodbye, Hello, and brb

It's been a while since I sat down and wrote a blog. Almost a month, in fact. But as I've said before, you kind of get caught up in life when you're studying abroad. At home, everything is familiar and, in a way, kind of mundane, and that doesn't happen when you're abroad. Unfortunately, I've also had more than my fair share of issues during the past month or so, ranging from academic to personal. I won't bore anyone with that; instead, I'll jump right into the interesting stuff!

Shortly after I returned from Prague, the day I'd been dreading arrived: the day everyone who was only staying for a semester left. The final days were spent clinging to one another and the precious but very little time we still had together. I could feel cracks in my heart forming as The Day approached. Goodnight hugs got a increasingly longer and tighter every night. We all knew it was coming, but no one dared talk about it out loud, as if ignoring it would somehow not make it happen at all. Instead, we spent hours each night gathered around a table and retelling stories from the previous five months. We told the feelgood stories that left everyone with that pleasant, warm-fuzzy feeling in their hearts and the embarrassing stories that always inevitably left someone at the table a peculiar shade of red, which was sometimes funnier than the story itself. Truly, we talked about everything other than everyone's departures, which we just left to be the massive elephant in the room. Somehow, it hurt less that way.

They say home is where the heart is
so be careful with my heart, friends.
Then time finally slipped through our fingertips and everyone was heading off to the airports, overweight luggage and a lifetime's worth of memories in tow. I accompanied three people to Arlanda Airport: my (now former) roommate Valentine, Ana - who I've mentioned a few times already in previous posts, and Kevin, the best Swiss guy around. Even at the airport, we talked around the subject of them leaving. We poked fun at Valentine and Ana's overweight baggage and referred to inside jokes. Ana and I even made friends with a Spanish guy standing in the baggage drop line behind us. Right before I left them all at airport security, we shared exceptionally long hugs, but I still didn't feel like goodbye. I promised everyone I'd come visit them in their home countries and reminded them that I loved them, then I watched as they walked past the metal detectors then disappeared into the airport to find their gates. I didn't cry. My heart was heavy, but it still didn't seem real yet. I took the bus back to the train station then began the hourlong train ride back to Björnkulla. I was listening to my usual Spotify playlist, but I kept skipping tracks; every song reminded me of
Note to self.
someone that I'd just left behind. It wasn't until Ana texted me from the airport and we exchanged words and feelings as to just how much we loved and meant to one another that I started crying. And when I started crying, it was full-blown ugly sobbing. I think I terrified the poor unsuspecting guy sitting beside me. I cried all the way to my train stop then held it together long enough to walk home, where I returned to my empty room and cried some more. I always thought that you experienced heartbreak in romantic relationships. It wasn't until then that I realised heartbreak comes in all shapes and sizes and that I hadn't just been heartbroken - I'd had my heart shattered.

Not everyone left me! Arnaud, Lilli, and a few
others stayed behind for a second semester!
Just a few days later, we had new people arriving! I still had a heavy heart thanks to the people that had left me so recently, but it was exciting nonetheless. We were eager to meet everyone, so we put together a welcome gathering the night most people were scheduled to arrive. To our surprise, a lot of people showed up! Suddenly, I had the same feeling I did when I'd arrived in August. It was a
whirlwind of new names, new nationalities, new everything. All in all, it was a great night, and I knew right away I'd just met some incredible people.


The next few days were dedicated to meeting everyone and remembering everyone's names. Something no one tells you before you go abroad is that it's easy to remember nationalities, but remembering names is nothing short of a miracle. Every time you see someone and remember their
names, you give yourself a mental high five, but when you can't remember their name, you frantically text the person next to you asking for their name and pray they know. I think, at last, I've mastered everyone's (or almost everyone's) names. Hey, it only took three weeks.

As I said in a previous paragraph, being with the new exchange students reminded me of when I had first arrived. It's almost like a cycle; you meet everyone, you're overwhelmed by the sheer number of people and names and personalities you're encountering all at once, and you all gather every night and sit around a kitchen table that technically isn't big enough for such a crowd and you laugh and
talk and play games until the sun starts coming up, then the next night you do it again. The more time you spend with everyone, the more they begin to feel like family. Almost immediately, I found someone I trusted more than anyone, and he is a constant source of sunshine and happiness in my life. I didn't know I needed a person like him until he saved me from myself like the saviour he is.

It sounds dramatic. It all sounds dramatic. I know that. But 1) I'm a dramatic person 2) it's true anyway so haters to the left. ♥

One thing I appreciate about all the new arrivals is that I'm having the opportunity to fall in love with Stockholm all over again. When you're here for so long, you kind of forget just how incredible of a
city it is. Stockholm is beautiful. Stockholm is breathtakingly beautiful, and I'm proud to call it my home. We took a guided bus tour of the city one day, and suddenly I was once again in awe of the Nordic architecture and beautiful landscapes Stockholm boasts. It's inspired me to begin doing some adventuring around the city again. There are so many wonders in Stockholm itself that are still left to uncover, and I'm determined to dig up as many as possible!

Almost immediately, everyone started talking about how we should take a cruise somewhere. If you can recall, we did the same thing last semester. As you may also remember, I slept through the part of the cruise where we were on land.  It happens, okay? We soon decided that a cruise to Tallinn, Estonia was in order. Last semester, I visited Tallinn, and visiting the Baltic States is something that was on my study abroad bucket list, so this was a dream come true. I actually shed a few tears while I was ashore during that trip. Did you forget why? I wrote all about it in my blog post about Estonia and Halloween! Shameless self promos all over the place.

Anyway, even though I would have loved to go to Estonia again, another place was calling my name: London, England.

LONDON.

I successfully peer pressured Lilli into coming along with me, and we went off to London on Wednesday evening! The flight there was pretty easygoing, but we were put to an immediate halt at customs. England has a very, very restrictive border, especially for non-EU citizens. So while it only took Lilli 15 minutes to get through customs, it took me over an hour. I got asked everything from why I was in London to why I was in Europe at all and when I would be returning to the United States. That much grilling was entirely unnecessary.

But finally, I got through, then we took a bus into the city, where we met up with Jenna, a friend of mine who visited Sweden last semester (and the same friend that I went to Tallinn with!). She helped us buy our public transport cards then took us out to pizza before we parted ways and we were left to find our Airbnb.

That in itself took another hour and a half and a miracle, but we finally found the place a little past midnight and immediately collapsed in bed. As excited as I was about being in London (!!!), I was also really, really sick, and that kind of put a damper on things. And when I say really, really sick, I mean really, really, really sick. I had no business being anywhere other than in bed awaiting the cold embrace of death, but when London calls, you don't say no.

So despite my sickness, I sucked it up and explored London. We did all the fun, touristy stuff, such as
Tower Bridge
visiting the London Tower and Tower Bridge. The Tower Bridge is beautiful! I loved the aquamarine suspensions; that splash of colour was so much fun! The architecture itself was something absolutely admirable. I'm such a sucker for architecture. I talk and think about it way more than any 20 year old non-architecture student should. But will I stop? Absolutely not - there is too much architecture left to be admired.

Big Ben & London Eye
Obviously, we also visited Big Ben! We kept hearing that Big Ben is even more beautiful in person than in photos, and we had to see for ourselves. Turns out, this is a completely accurate statement. I ended up taking about 50 photos of Big Ben, and none of them can compare to how beautiful it is to see in person. Additionally, we went up in the London Eye, and we go a bird's eye view of all of London! Obviously, London is a beautiful city, but it's even more beautiful when you have a 360-degree, bird's eye view of it. I'll never forget how beautiful the city looked from so high up. Even though it was expensive to go on the London Eye, it was worth every penny and more.

Have I mentioned yet that I met One Direction? Because that was a thing.

Just me and 1D. nbd!!!
Okay, maybe not the One Direction, but their identical wax figures! We went to Madame Tussauds, which is the world-famous wax museum, and One Direction was still on display! It was super exciting, because their wax figures was part of the reason why I agreed to go in the first place. Of course, there were plenty of other great wax figures! Some of my favourites (other than One Direction, of course) were Vincent van Gogh, Aishwarya Rai, and Captain America. And the best part is that they really do look like their real-life counterparts, which was something I was skeptical of going in.

Out of all these things, my favourite thing was the Victoria and Albert Museum, which I wouldn't have even gone to if Jenna hadn't suggested it to us! It's seriously one of the most massive museums I've ever been to, and we only covered the first floor. It included exhibits about Europe during the 1600s-1800s, fashion throughout history, and lots about religions (which is one of my favourite subjects ever). I completely forgot to take photos while we were there because I was so absorbed in
all of the history. Like I said, we only covered the first floor, and, if I recall correctly, there are five floors. So obviously I have to go back and discover all the museum has to offer! But I loved the museum that I paid $10 for a tote bag with the logo on it. Talk about dedication.

I think that about sums up the past month. It was full of heartbreaking goodbyes, heartfelt hellos, and plenty of adventuring! So lots of highs and lows and everything in between. Just when life begins to feel dull, it throws me for a loop just to shake things up (and thank god for that; I would hate for life to feel boring). I'm still sick, but once I get to feeling better, I can't wait to get to exploring Stockholm - maybe I'm a little late in doing so, but better late than never, right?

Hejdå!
- Lee

London and Stockholm are both beautiful in their own way ♥

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

American high school students should travel and learn more about the world

"It is better to travel ten thousand miles than to read ten thousand books." This is a famous Chinese saying that was cited by the first lady Mrs. Obama during her speech in Beijing University in 2014. Traveling is the most popular learning style in Ancient China. Taking the greatest philosopher, educator and thinker of china, Confucius, as an example; He took his students to travel and study in more than nine state, and he believed this is one of terrific approach of doing self-cultivation. This opinion is also appropriate for today, and it get more popular because of the benefits of traveling are developing independent ability, building up communicative skill, and providing opportunities.

Based on the online statistic, only 35% American have a passport which means 65% American don’t even have chance to travel abroad. A lot of American study hard through high school in order to get in to a good college. Unlike other country such as New Zealand and Australia, the students usually take a gap year to travel and see the world after high school. In china, high students are love to visit or take summer school in other country during long-term vacation. Student can learn a lot of things during traveling.

First of all, independence is an essential quality for America high school students to adapt in this diverse world, and traveling is an excellent method to develop this trait. During the travel, students have to package and be responsible for their luggage. Specially, for the world trip, students need to package depend on their destination. Before the trip, students need to do some research about weather, location, culture, food and people. For example, students want to go Brazil in January, and at that time, temperature in there is 27 degrees Celsius. Students need to prepare more summer clothes not warm clothes. Because students travel in different country, where people may not speak English, problem solving skill is essential. The first thing I learned when I travel to different country is to remember the emergency call and the number of Chinese Embassy. When I’m in danger or meet some emergency situation, I can find somebody to help me. Personal safety is extremely important during travel, and knowing how to ensure their own security is a signal of being independence.

Second, communication is another lesson that people can learn from traveling. One online research shows that almost 80% American can only speak English. Some people may think they don’t know other language, so they cannot go travel to another country. Actually, this is fault thought, because language is only part of communication. When my uncle traveled to Russia last year, he only knew a little bit Russian. He used picture on the menu to order food, body language to ask round and electronic dictionary to talk with the other people in the bar. He had really great time in Russia, and he made a lot of friends. High school students should practice communication as soon as possible, because it is very useful skill in future. When people travel to different countries, they have to deal with diverse type of people. Students will meet the people who are really nice, who are don’t care about you or who want to steal your money. Because students will deal with many different people in travel, they will prepare and not panic when they meet the same situation.

In addition, the purpose of travel is to enrich people’s vision, and people can find a lot of opportunities during or after traveling. One of my classmate found an internship when he traveled to Japan. The man that he met during his travel is an office manager work of a huge company. The manager really likes him, and he offer my classmate an internship opportunity. Also, having unique perspective is helpful when student apply jobs. When students visited many place, their worldview and the way of thinking will become mature than others who only stay in their own country. Nowadays, businesses are looking for people who have unconventional or divergent thinking. The perfect way for high school students to lay the foundation for their future is to travel.

       Indeed, traveling for high school students seems waste time and money. However, becoming a responsible, social and mature people helps adapt themselves to the social development. Toady, having only good grade is not enough to catch up the development of this society. Experiencing different culture is the key to success in future. Every year, over million visitor come to America which explain this is a diverse country. However, this is not an excuse for not traveling. I suggest every American high school student don’t wait other countries’ people to visit American. They should go abroad and use their experience and knowledge to spread the American Dream. 

It is always a good idea

      Have you ever thought about how people live around the world? According to the United Nations (UN), the Earth has 190 different countries. Each one has their own culture, their own history. Even though you speak the same language that they speak you probably do not are equal. So, come with me to see some things that can interesting you and make you want to "discover" the world.
      Fist, you have to want to experiment new things. At the beginning it is not easy, but in the long run you will see how much you learn and enjoy it. No excuses, you can travel by yourself or with family/friends. Each experience is unique.
      People that travel learn a lot about different culture, especially if they live a period of time with someone that is native. Besides learn another culture you can make a lot of friends, and maybe flirt with someone. You can learn about different method to do some kind of food or a different method to study math. Another thing is that you can learn more about yourself, overcoming challenges that you though you could not do. You can learn all this and much more and it is not a boring way to learn.
      Brazil is a big country and each region has kind of a different typical food, animals and accent. Brazilians that live in the south is more like Germany and Italian people, because in the past this people lived there. Their typical food is barbecue (churrasco) and their typical animal is maned wolf (Lôbo- Guará). But, in the other side, people that live in the middle is not like Germany or Italian and even though that people eat barbecues it is not their typical food. Their typical food is pequi, and it is very popular there.
     As you can see in just one country you can learn more than one "culture". Don't be shy and do not waste time. You can learn more about Brazil or more about any country. I'm having a wonderful experience traveling. I did not finish this trip but I already want to do another one.

HW JAN19

Today I’ll teach you about importance of travel in our life.
In the world, many kind of situations are happening at same time.
This means when you just stay in your place like your hometown or country, you can’t see what’s happen in many other world.
 
Just go and see many other things! Don’t be shy about another culture.
You can dance and sing that another country’s tradition. Don’t be shy! When you shy for these things, you can’t catch gorgeous thing in their culture. You must change your concept. If you change your mind and travel around the world, you can find most important thing in your lifetime. And feel sense of freedom.
You can do anything that you want!
 
 
When you experience many other things at different place in your life, you can find your talent or you can find your job which one is fit on you. This means If you stay in one place like your hometown, you can get your which you don’t want to do. Do you want to do what you don’t like? No, you want to do what you love!
The last thing that I want to say is “ Just get out of your place. Feel, touch, taste, see and find what you want to do.”
 
Thank you for listening.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Gatlinburg pics of heaven!

The best place to experience American lifestyle and its cultural . Gatlinburg is one of the most important rigion ,visited by a million of people a year .Furthermore, it opens every single day to attract tourists to it.  Gatlinburg is surrounded by trees and it has a lot of animals that you may not see  in another place . Anyway, when we arrived at the hotel ,our room had a spectacular view that has a balcony.The next day , when I got up early as usual , I made a cup of  coffee and took a chair and sat on the balcony. "This is unbelievable," I said. When I meditated on the phrase I had said and I looked after that ,I saw pics of heaven that led me to be thankful  of Allah which creates everything, glory be to Allah, charming landscape with older original Smokey Mountain. The sky was clear and the sun was shining. Bird's songs , river and a nice atmosphere , they should be enough to relax and enjoy drinking a coffee. Morover I was into my family because I had called them the day before, and they were well. In conclusion , Smoky Mountain is a beautiful spot you won't have ever seen a remarkable place like it ! You should visit.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Tourism, is it good or bad?

   Tourists can be every where especially if the city has some pastimes or good adventure. They can be very helpful or they can not be good for the environment and for the people who lives there. But there are a lot of ways that people can help the place visited. For example, they must reduce the trash (recycling and buying less), they can use less resources such as electricity (turning off the lights or taking off the plug TVs, computers) and water (taking shot showers) and they can not use a lot of car to reduce the pollution, it's better just walk. All this things can also help the environment.
 Despite this the tourism has a lot of pros and cons. Some cons are the lots of trash, usually thrown on the floor by the crowd, the deforestation so hotels and restaurants can be built, excessive use of non-renewable resources and many time of pollution. A few pros of tourism are the money that the city receives from the hotels, shops, restaurants, parks and museums, the publicity of the city and the activities that have there. Also the tourism it's good for make new friends, know new places, meet different cultures and experiences that give always new thrill for all kind of people.

HW jan15,16,17

My favorit place in the Gatlinburg is ski resort.
When i went to ski resort, i was very happy. because i'm crazy in skiing!
I can feel wind and snow when i'm skiing. and i also can see breathtaking landskape at the top of mountains.
We have two groups kai, balboo and me was group 1 and group 2 was Natalia, Isabela and Abadi.
Our group want to go up to the beginner's ski rope. but we couldn't find any sign of beginner, expert or pro.
We just go up to the expert's way and walked down to the beginner's way!!
Kai and Balboo wanted to kill me.
But it was our mistake.
After this crazy situation i taught Kai how to ski.
It was fantastic experience for me!
Because i was first time to teach someone by English!!
These are why my favorite place is ski resort.

Homework 13/1/16

My faivorit musician is Shine down.
 becuse they play rock ballad. I love rock ballad!
 and they also good listener for their fans.
 They did many concert with their fans.
 Shine down is male group which plays rock.
 Their mambers are
 Brent Smith,Zach Myers , Barry Kerch,Barry Kerch .
 They came out at 11/30/2002.
 Their first album was  Leave A Whisper.(I really love this album.)
  Each mambers part is (Brent Smith, vocal), (Zach Myers, guitar, vocal), (Barry Kerch, drum), (Eric Bass,bass, piano).
 Their music is awesome! You must listen their music.

Homework 11/1/16

I will teach you one korean game.
It's name is 3.6.9.                      
How to play this game?  It's very easy to play.
First choose where we start.
Second say the number one by one like "1" next person "2"~~
and who's have to say 3,6 or 9 must clap his hand.

If he's number is 30,he must clap his hand one time.
If he's number is 63,he must clap 2 times.
If he's number is 936,he must clap 3 times.

For example, if your number is 93, you clap just 2 times and you can't say your number. When you say your number with 3,6 or 9 , you lose this game.

I think this game is easy for you.

skiing!!!!!!

      Experiencing the worst service in Dick's restaurant, tasting the spiciest pepper in Pepper Palace, and relaxing my whole body in the hot and smooth jacuzzi, compose a part of the Gatlinburg trip. Speaking up the feeling of the another half part of the trip is mixed with a little bit thrilling, some of chilly and a lot of fun.

     Gatlinburg is famous as skiing and snowboarding, every year many people come with their family to have fun in Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area during the winter time. The activities include ski, snowboarding and snow tubing from 9 am to 10pm, and because of the price, we decided to go there at night. After we putted on the long socks and several warm clothes, all of us expect for Faisal were ready to meet the challenge of ski. For most of us, this was our first time to ski; Jae was the only experienced skier.

     Actually, there were a lot of people went to ski at night. Some children carried the heavy ski equipment with their hands red with the cold. Some professional young people came as a group with the colorful ski board and bright jacket, the heavy ski boot on their feet seems like fashionable boots with the unique decorations. Not like us, we took us almost one hour for changing ski suit, finding locker and figuring out how to put the annoying and ugly ski boots.

     I know how to ice skating, and I thought maybe that’s the reason that I’m not afraid of snow. Although this is my first time to use snow board, I feel more excited than nervous. However, the reality wasn’t as simple as I though. After I struggled with the balance a little bit I can barely stand on the snow. Because of Jae are better than us, I asked he to lead the way and teach me how to ski. He told me that knowing how to stop is important for beginner. I listened very carful and tried so hard to do what he said, but my ski board and my legs just out of control. I only can use the ski pole to make myself move. Jae though abadi not first time to ski, so he decided to take me and balbo to experience the “real” ski. I stumbled to the access where people can take a cable seat to go up the mountain. It was a long cable railroad. The temperature started to get cold. I can clearly see clearly our breath steamed in the air, and our view were fog. Gradually, I cannot clearly see the front red cable seat. When we realized some thing was wrong, we already far away from the noise and crowd. Sliding on the top of the tranquil woods; surrounding by thick fog; those scenes that we only can find in the scared movies emerge vividly in front of us. The railroad we picked was not for beginner. We are going to the top of mountain, the professional area. For Jae, he had confidence to ski from that area, but for me, ski from the hillside with the steepness of almost 90 degrees, it is play a joke with my life. The only way to get down the mountain is to take off my ski board and walk down.  

     Snow is the most mystical creature in the world. When I was young, my favorite thing was trampling snow. The squelch sound when I stepped on snow was the euphonic. However, my perspective of snow was totally changed after I left my footprint in the snow. Because my two legs were too weak to keep balance, I have to sidle up to walk down. The squelch sound was not pleasing anymore. Visibility was really poor that I can only reach less than10 meter. The snow board started to get heavier, and my speed start to slow down. Looking at the professional skier roared past beside me, I started to get excited. I asked myself, are you really want to walk on the side of the ski slope? The answer of course is negative. I asked joe to teach me how to control my speed and try my best to make my ski board listen to me. Although I was fall down many times, I was very calm. Maybe it’s because I was born in North China, I felt I belong to the snow and more relax when I was skiing with high speed. I will never forget the experience of learning how to ski and enjoying the happiness of skiing.   

Labels