Skiing in Norway with Ida, Jonna, and Elin!

This is what it looked like as we were skiing in Norway

Me and my first semla!

18th Birthday dinner for Lovisa!


February 24, 2024

Dreaming in Swedish

The weather is starting to get warmer now with temperatures around zero degrees. However, I’ve been told that there might be one more cold blast coming through in March. It’s dark most of the time and rainy, so the few days we see the sun must be taken advantage of, as they might not come again for another three weeks. I noticed that I have adjusted to the cold because one day it was 1 degree and I stepped outside and said it was warm. I would have never said that a year ago. Recently, I had a cold, and I’m not sure if this is just a Swedish thing, but their food “remedy” for a cold is ice cream.

I had my first real dream in Swedish! Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve had dreams where people were speaking Swedish, but in the dream, I was thinking or responding in English, or the dreams were too short to actually count. But in January, I had two dreams that were entirely in Swedish. The dreams themselves didn’t make much sense, even though I understood what was being said. They were set in Sweden but I was in my American house with my American mom and she was speaking Swedish back to me and there was a lot of talk about plates…very odd.

I’ve also made significant progress in reading. I can now read adult books, although not perfectly. It surprises me how much I comprehend. I picked up a book that my friend was reading and found that I could understand it with relative ease. In Swedish class, we’re reading a book that uses old Swedish, but even that I can understand. I’m catching jokes, keeping up with conversations, and people speak Swedish with me without being reminded. This might not seem like a big deal, but it certainly feels like one.

On the downside, my English skills have noticeably diminished when I speak, but I see this as a good thing. Even in English class, I find myself forgetting words like “bookshelf” or “remain.” It’s worse when I don’t know the word in either language because I usually know it in Swedish but not in English. It’s okay when I know it in Swedish because I can simply Google Translate it.

Ida and I traveled up to Trysil, Norway for a girls’ ski weekend. We met up with Jonna (Claus’s girlfriend) and Elin (Claus’s daughter). Jonna owns a place in Trysil where we stayed. In three days, Ida and I did about 115 km of cross-country skiing. The tracks were perfect, and the views were incredible! Sometimes I got distracted and lost balance because I wasn’t looking where I was skiing…oops. Norway is really similar to Sweden in my opinion, in a good way. Definitely an incredible experience to get to go there.

School is going well and most parts are fun. In architecture we got to design our own apartment, put it into CAD, print it using the laser printer, and build it! Each student got to do their apartment how they wanted, so when we put them together it looked so cool because of all the unique shapes. I expected math to be going better because I thought math was math, but I was wrong. Even the formulas are different. We have labs every week and get to mix chemicals in chemistry and run different tests in physics. Plus, after school sometimes my friends and I just go to the city together and have some fika or something.

A few of my friends recently celebrated their 18th birthdays, and 18 is a big one here. They’re really fun to go to, especially because they almost always end with kladdkaka with ice cream and strawberries. Kladdkaka is like if brownies were cake. It’s so good. Birthday parties are pretty similar to the ones in the US. There are snacks and games like charades and karaoke. Lovisa and I won each time, even though I didn’t know what some of the words meant. I’m so glad to have a group of friends that enjoys just hanging out and spending time together.

My favorite part of Sweden and the reason I picked it was because of the nature, and I truly appreciate it. It’s incredible to just go for a walk in the woods that are pretty much right next to the house and have the most beautiful views you could ask for. I get to go running through the powdery snow in the woods and listen to the complete silence the snow brings. I feel as though I’m appreciating the little things around me so much more than I ever have.

There is one major drawback to Sweden: The candy is way too good and it is nearly impossible to stop because it is so delicious and cheap.

Fat Tuesday is a very big day in Sweden. Almost everyone celebrates it. It’s typical to have semla on that day, February 13th. Semla is a cardamom pastry that has a vanilla or almond cream and whipped cream sandwiched between the top and the bottom. They’re very good but very heavy with all that cream. One of the Swedish Kings died because he ate too many semlor. It also used to be illegal for a bakery to sell semlor before Fat Tuesday.

I got to try indoor skiing as well. You have to make a lot of turns but it is very cool to be able to ski indoors! I did not know that was a thing.

Well, that’s all for now. I’m eagerly looking forward to the fun trips coming up!