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22nd March 2007

12:08am: I'm sitting here studying Ancient Greek and regretting my choice of classes. Why, oh, why, on God's green Earth have I chosen this as an elective?! I must love punishment. Actually, I do enjoy studying but I do not enjoy feeling like a moron as I try to study, which is what I feel like once I start looking at the conjugations and declensions and other horrific grammatical inventions the Ancient Greeks have inflicted upon this poor soul. I'm hoping it will all "click" in my head by Saturday when I have my second exam.

As for today, it was a bit surreal. I've been a little down during the past few days. And, without really meaning to, I spent all day today noticing those little things in life that speak to me in whispers. A song on the radio timed just right. A ladybug successfully crossing a crowded downtown street. Admiring the gorgeous view of the Houston city skyline from the sixth floor. Watching white flower petals, newly fallen, being carried on the breeze. Hearing a joyful and honest laughter from people in the distance. They're like little love notes. And they're everywhere.

20th March 2007

8:34pm: I have spent the entire day avoiding my responsibilites and it's driving me crazy. I'm fresh out of motivation. Anyone know where I can buy some? I'm sure Wal-Mart has some for sale. They have everything for sale, except lawn darts. Those things were dangerous, but that has nothing to do with my point. Moving on.

I have a major exam on Saturday (which I'm not ready for), 40 hours of video to watch, 300 pages of reading, a team project, 4 tests, 50 discussion posts, 25 pages worth of papers, and five finals all due before May 11th. This doesn't include the fact that I also need to spend a great majority of that time looking for a real job, finding an apartment, finally getting my driver's license, buying furniture, new clothing, silverware, glasses, cups, bowls, spoons...

And I don't care. I'm so apathetic right now. I'm in that twilight zone place where nothing is real. I'm looking in and watching it all pass by. It's not my life. It's someone else's life. Don't misunderstand me. I love my life. I just don't care right now.

So, I sit here, wasting time looking at webpages that have nothing to do with getting anything done that really needs to be done before May 11th. And I don't know why.

I know I have to do it sometime. It has to be finished eventually. I have 52 days. Fifty-two days.

14th December 2006

11:49pm: I love winter! Hot chocolate is my choice of drink. It's been far too long since I wrote in this journal, but I don't expect to be writing in it too much either. This journal is neglected - loved, but neglected. Oddly, I'm about to go to IKEA again. My last post was about that too. I have a Poäng chair now. Lucky me! Anyway, just thought I'd post a bunch of nothing just to make sure LJ doesn't cancel or delete my journal.

Merry Christmas everyone!

19th July 2005

12:06am: IKEA
Mmm...Marabou. I'm having a delectible bit of Marabou milk chocolate as a midnight snack. At the moment, I'm envisioning it going straight to my hips.

My mother, brother, and I went to IKEA today. The semi-annual jaunts are always something to remember. And, as always, I must visit my Poäng chair. There will be one in my future apartment. Those chairs are so comfortable. They could really be used as a chair and a bed. Save some money that way. The savings would be used to buy Marabou, of course. Marabou can fix just about anything. Stubbed your toe? Marabou. Totaled your car? Marabou. Getting a divorce? Marabou. Nearly died in a freak shower accident? Marabou. Can someone say tröst? --> http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y276/scan131313/trost.bmp

Anyway, we got some Billy products, assorted lamps and a few storage pieces. The Billy is made of beech and that just about explains how it was to load the items in the truck and assemble them once we got them back home. I still love the place though.
Current Mood: amused

14th July 2005

12:01am: I hate that.
Have you ever had so much to do that you don't even want to start doing anything? You spend your time running around town doing absolutely nothing useful or find yourself online at the craziest of sites playing some childish game you don't even care about? What is wrong with people like us? Shirking responsibility, that's the goal. I hate that. It sounds like a case you'd hear on Dr. Phil. But, forget Dr. Phil, I think ripping a page right out of the Nike play book would work all the same, "Just do it!".

I also get to tra-la-la myself all the way up to the University of Houston again to see what books I need for my classes. Funny thing is, I can schedule my classes online, pay my bills online, check my grades online, nearly everything you can imagine, I can do online. But, I can't find out what books I need online. I have to travel all the way downtown, which takes 2 hours by bus, and go to the school bookstore to find out what I need. I hate that too. Yes, I know. The idea is to get you in the store to see what books you need, hoping you'll just buy the books while you're there. But what fun is there in buying the books you need right at the store? Not fun. No challenge. The internet is the way to go. If you can't find what you need on the internet, where are you gonna find it? Nowhere! Internet gateways, indeed.
Current Mood: cynical

10th July 2005

11:30pm: There is so much to update since the last time I wrote anything that I'm just going to bypass all that history and start fresh (again) and try to keep updating.

This journal is really for myself, I guess, just writing about whatever happens and then looking back on it later to see how things changed and what went on. If someone reads it and finds it interesting, that's a bonus.

I'm happy that hurricane Dennis didn't create as much damage as was predicted. I lived in Pensacola several years ago and it's difficult to see one storm after another wash away everything. I was watching live news coverage on CNN and saw a Ramada roof being torn off and blown away as it happened. I wonder about the reporters that go out there and report from the sites. One day something bad is going to happen on live tv during one of those reports. Here is the live report video from CNN of the roof tearing away. (http://www.cnn.com/video/us/2005/07/10/lok.dennis.pensacola.wear/content.exclude.html)

I'm about to fall asleep on my keyboard, so I'll leave it at that for tonight!
Current Mood: sleepy

9th January 2005

11:47pm: My "update"
Yeah, nearly 3 months later and my Jenny report still isn't complete nor is my brainy idea to document my job in Sweden. I sure didn't see that coming. *note sarcasm* AJ reminded me I actually have this journal so I thought I'd at least update it. So, there it is. Update done. Too late to sit and come up with something semi-intelligent to write.

15th October 2004

9:36am: Continuing from yesterday...

After the Julafton song, she talked about a guy telling her she would sing about flowers when she was 16 and at that time she didn't think it would be (shades of Hunnebostrand..*smile*) but she then mentioned that she's written a lot about flowers. She then said that when the cd came out in the US it had a rose on it (ok, someone's a bit fuzzy here I think.) and that she was attacked and wrote a song about it and the only word she didn't write in the whole song was flower. She had written plant there instead but Tommy Ekman came up with flower for the song. She then said she was going to sing three songs about flowers, 3 "autumn flowers". She mentioned that "Povel sang the first" (Povel Rommel is an older Swedish singer).

-- Song by Povel Rommel (Don't know the name), "If I thought you'd ever change your mind", "Life is a Flower" - LIAF was a bit more jazzy than I remember in Hunnebostrand. Excellent!

Jenny then says "Mer Kärlek" to Jakob and he says "Mer Kärlek" back. I think it was a note to him where to go in the program.

Jakob then talks about a song he wrote for a friends wedding last summer. His friend asked for a song that he could dance to. So Jakob wrote a song in the style of a waltz. But, when Jakob played it for the friend, the friend said that he couldn't dance to it. Then Jakob stops and says to the audience "it doesn't seem like you understand anything" jokingly. There was no reaction from the crowd, like they didn't get what he was saying. Then the crowd laughed. Jakob then went on to describe the song as ups and downs in love. Sometimes it storms and the wind blows and that was reflected in the piece.

-- "Mer Kärlek"?? (Not sure the name) - This song might have been played at HNBSTRND but I cannot recall.

After the song Jenny continues on. "There is one, yes, three, two, three words - Psalmer för Livet - in your program there" and says it is a project of Jakob's. She tells the crowd to sing with and learn another one of the songs. She says they will turn off the lights during the first and second verses for a "light effect of some sort". They turn off the lights then Jakob explains further about the song. He said he got the idea for the music thinking about a child standing outside of a playground. He said the music in the beginning doesn't really sit with the rest of the song and said listen and we'll discuss it afterwards, jokingly again.

-- "Att vara rädd" - The intro sounds just like the one on the cd but you don't, of course, hear the children talking and playing in the background on live versions. It sounded great. One of my faves again. Jenny actually does sing this one on the cd and I was singing it on the way up to the concert... "att famla fram mot en okänd ort" (<--thinking literally when I was on the bus on the way there). On the last verses people sang along with the lyrics in the program, just as they had done before. They were supposed to turn on the lights for those verses so people could read the lyrics but it didn't happen. You could see Jenny nodding to someone by the lights but they didn't get the clue.

After Jenny said it was fantastic to stand up there and be able to hear how nice it is (the singing from the audience), "fantastic it is".

Then, Jenny says that she'd like to read a passage from the Bible. "It is long so relax and listen but with your heart and the rest." She read the majority of Jesaja 43 verse 2-5 (http://www.jcsm.org/StudyCenter/swedish/B23C043.htm). Which is Isaiah in English...

2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD , your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
...
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you,
and people in exchange for your life.
5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you ...

She continues on and says that God has something special with our names. She talks about when she was confirmed and tells a story. I didn't quite get the whole story but I'll have to fill that in a bit later. The point of the story I got anyway..lol. Here was the point, after her confirmation she said "God owns me", "I do what he wants". She said a bit more. And then she talks about God's love as a strong love that burns and ignites and we can go through fire and water. He does so that we will go to Him. And she mentions that there is a Eurovision song - Min Kärlek - "May I sing it for you?" she asks. And continues, because I believe Ingela "Pling" Forsman (spelling?) has read Jesaja 43 (Isaiah 43)... the entire room gives a little laugh. Don't know if it was an inside joke or something to do with the songwriter or what but I believe that is the same woman who has co-written songs w/Jenny...the ones that are listed on the Warner Chappell site that Jessi found and published a while back. She continues to say that the song is something that God says to us...

-- "Min Kärlek"

[Ok, my time online is running out again and I don't have the rest of my notes with me so the next installment will have to be tomorrow or the next day. There is more concert and story afterwards]

14th October 2004

6:00am: 867-5309
Ok, a third time I have tried to write this out due to internet problems!!! I tried to write it on Tuesday but it didn't work and just wrote out half of it and then another internet problem!! Driving me nuts!

Sunday, October 10th was quite an interesting day for me. I was supposed to speak at a school in Skene, just outside GBG, on Monday the 11th. I had booked my train tickets and everything when I find out Jakob and Jenny would be giving a concert that Sunday evening just outside of Skene after I was to arrive. So, I was happy and on Sunday the journey began.

I had gotten up at 7 in the morning to get ready, got on the train at 10, got off the train at 15.00 and then grabbed something to eat and got bus tickets, then on to the bus at 15.15 for a long ride to Skene. I get off the bus at Skene and realise that there is no bus that will take me to the place where the concert will be, Lärjungagården. You could best describe it as a Christian retreat center. So, here I am, one hour from concert time and 17 km away with no way to get there. Hmm...thinking thinking! Taxi, bingo! So, I call the taxi company and get a very expensive ride to the center. 250kr lighter I arrive at the center.

Thinking I could stay there for the night because the center was supposed to have rooms to stay in, I took all my luggage with me to the center. I walk in with all this junk hanging off my shoulders and a few women walk up. I ask them about a room to stay in and they explain to me that the rooms aren't open during the autumn months. But, the woman who owned the center (with her husband) said that I could stay with them in their house for the night. How great is that?!!! So, I had a place to stay and they let me put my heavy bags in another room.

I speak with the woman who co-owns the place and she looks out the window and says, here come the two musicians now. Out the window was Jenny and Jakob walking up the hill. Jenny had a business suit on with a dark pink shirt, Jakob a beige suit with a tie. They looked good, as usual. Yeah, so at this point, I look really awful because I have been travelling for almost 8 hours. I take a little break to make myself look presentable.

I then sit down and wait to purchase a ticket. I have a nice conversation with the woman selling the tickets. She was also there when I came in and heard my "place to stay" dilemma. She asked about what I did and I told her about going around talking about student exchange and I mentioned YFU. Then she says she was an exch. student to Iowa with YFU. Small world! She was really nice and we had a great conversation about Sweden and exchanges. So, I purchase a ticket from her and decide to go to the concert room. All the people I meet are very nice and welcoming, even though they don't know who I am. Really nice!

I walked around the corner and down a hall and stop to pull out my camera and waste the last pictures I had on the film to put in a new one. (You'll read a bit later why this was totally a waste of time..lol). While I was doing this I was leaning up against a wall and beside a door. A man walks by me and opens the door. I look up and it's Mr. Petrén walking in the door. Yeah, a little suprise there. Obviously, he was getting ready for the concert in that room. Anyway, I continue into the room and someone hands me a little folded paper with some concert info.

I go into the room which is the size of a large classroom. Not very large at all. There were about 80 seats crammed together, very closely together. I chose a nice seat in the second row. First row is a bit daunting even for me..lol! The room fills up quickly and I am the only person in my age group (so I stick out like a sore thumb). There was a piano in the front and a microphone with a stand. I was about 7 feet away. We wait for the concert. To the left of me was the woman who was the exch. student and her husband. To the right of me is the woman who co -owned the center. The concert is supposed to begin at 6 but starts at about 10 minutes later. The woman's husband gets up and starts to introduce the concert.

He mentions that Jenny was in a famous band called...(well, you know). He said that anyone under 40 would remember that band and almost everyone there laughs. Almost everyone was over 40 I think. And he says that Jakob is an accomplished composer and pianist. He then continues to say that the two have toured everywhere and said something about how they said that they barely need a place to live in GBG because they're rarely home. Then he welcomed them in..k

Big applause...

They come in and I they probably gritted their teeth when they saw me... ("oh, great, an Acer". haha...no just kidding!) They look great! Jakob is wearing the same thing as before when I saw him. Jenny is wearing something a bit different. A black dress with white pearls creating a belt and white dots around the waist, long black boots that go to her knees, and a yellow shirt over the dress that looks kinda like the WMA Ravine shirt or the shirt at Victoriadagen (I think she had a yellow shirt?). She had a sunburn too. (Wonder what that's from, I thought. Oh, honeymoon probably, I reasoned. * Wondered where they went*)

[Stops writing to answer her Unspeakable ringtone on her cell phone. People in the internet cafe look at me like a nutcase]

Oh, and the ring. Wow, sparkly and bigger than the normal Swedish ring I believe. Quite flashy. She didn't hesitate to show it, that's for sure..lol!

They start of with a song... (The concert was similar to Hunnebostrand but with a few differences)

-- "Du är aldrig ensam" - The acoustics in the center are good but not as in many churches. I did record the concert but it was not the best recorder one could say. But, it's on tape anyway.
The song sounds excellent! A great choice to start the concert.

A little talk after the song. Jenny said she travelled all the way from GBG for this concert (little snickering) and then Jakob said that this area was like his home area. He then talked about the next song he would play. He said it was called "Drömmar" (Dreams) and that he wrote it before he moved away from home.

-- "Drömmar" - The song was played at HBSTRND too but we didn't know it's name or background then. Amazing the way he plays. He could play for hours and hours and I wouldn't get tired or stop being surprised about how amazing he plays. Maybe he'll release his own cds too.

Jenny talked about that it would get dark outside during the concert but that there would be lights on them. Then she mentioned the fantastic colors on the leaves right now and that it was quite beautiful She then mentioned about the next song that she had 20 minutes to learn the song before she was supposed to sing it at a church concert. Jakob then talked about the song and talked about the most important part is to believe but also it is important to also dare to doubt as well.

-- "Tvivel" - Here the song was a bit different. Jakob sang the first verse and the third verse, I believe while Jenny sang the other parts. Quite different to hear them singing alternating verses. Big applause after this one.

Jenny continues on, "we like love, me and Jakob. It's good" (laughing.) She then mentions what the next song is about... to promise to stay together..

-- "Fall in love with you again" - The song is very catchy and the crowd gets into it a bit. The woman who owns the center sitting beside me liked it a lot.

Then there is a litte more talk.. Jenny says that we rely on strange things in life. She takes taking a bus as an example. She says that when she takes the bus, she relies on the fact that the bus driver knows the way and will drive safely and so she falls asleep. Then she adds, "thenI ususally wake up like this" and turns her hand downward (to show how your head slumps over??). The audence didn't get it so not much reaction...Jenny speak there...lol! The next song is "one that Mary Magdeline could have sang. She relied on Jesus. He was executed and died. She would be surprised (later on)"

-- "Du får inte dö" (You can't/musn't die). A lot of emotion in this song. It was written by Lars Westerberg so I believe it to be a part of the PFL series. We might see it on cd a bit later on in the year. Don't know if Jenny will be singing it there though.

Jenny mentions we will listen to a bit more of Jakobs compositions.. Jakob describes that this song is from a musical he was writing. The musical was about a guy who knew he was going to die and was searching for answers. The song expresses both joy and sorrow. (He had little jokes throughout each description. He is a funny guy and can really hold an audience's attention).

-- Musical Composition -- Jakob did not mention the name of the composition.

Jenny mentioned the "beautiful cross made by Eva Spångberg" (spelling?) which sat on the wall behind them. (And a few more words but don't have that down on paper.) Then she mentioned that we could put in names of people we knew or thought about during the next song as a sort of prayer for them while she was singing. The song has lyrics about praying for different people in different situations. They turned off the lights for the first few verses and before she started singing, Jenny said "oh how cosy, how cosy" in a joking way when they turned them off. (or maybe it was when they turned them on? lol..in any case) The lights were turned on and she mentioned that some of the lyrics were in the program we got and that we were going to learn the song, that we could sing along during these verses if we wanted to.

-- "Juldagen" (PFL) - It was nice to sing along with this song because this is one of my favourites from the PFL series! Jenny does not sing on the original on the cd but it is an excellent song!!


Now I am going to add this to the journal even though it is only about halfway done. I will add the rest tomorrow morning hopefully! But, right now I am going to meet Mamma Najs here in Uddevalla and have a little Acer chat over a cup of coffee. Until tomorrow, Take care Acers!!

2nd October 2004

5:58pm: Presentation anyone?
Presentations presentations... the main part of my job. Well, I send out requests to schools to see if they want me to give a presentation to their students about being an exchange student. I give my experiences here (and DAMN RIGHT I mention AOB every time), talk about the reasons people do go on exchange, and tell them how they can do the same. It's quite interesting really. The presentations usually take about 45 minutes. If there is more time that the teachers want me to use I usually talk about the US and that has yielded some interesting results, but more about that a bit later.

Sometimes I speak to students in the 9th grade and they're usualy 14 or 15 years old. The other day I spoke with a group of 8th graders who were even younger. That was a challenge. The younger the audience the harder it is to keep their attention. The speech is in English most of the time. You know, teachers like it when a native speaker comes around. It's good for me cause I get to tell them about the possiblities of going abroad and good for the lesson cause the students get to listen to and interact with a native speaker. Win win. Hey, I like that win win!

But most students are about 15 to 18 I speak with. Kinda funny cause before I started this job that age group kinda intimidated me..lmao! I am 22 and they intimidated me, can you imagine? What was wrong with me? LOL!

It's pretty cool cause I get to travel out to all these different places and experience different cities and different parts of the country. Let me tell you the furter north I travelled, the harder it was to understand everyone. The northern accents I have a hard time understanding. Can't wait until I travel to Skåne..woah! Maybe I'll need an interpreter there..hehe. Many different people I meet too, of course. It's really interesting cause each class is different. Sometimes the classes are really into the speech, other times I wonder if they are even alive while I am talking. A lot depends on the teacher. If the teacher is strict, the students don't dare react. If the teacher is too free, the students don't pay attention. But, if the teacher gives a lagom amount (sorry, that's the only word I can think of..) of discipline and freedom, then the students listen well, react well, and ask questions. Those are my favourite classes, of course. But, I won't pick out any specific class or school in this journal. That wouldn't be too nice. I won't give names that is. Mabye I might refer to a few by information but no names.

I have probably given the speech about 50 times by now and spoken with 1,500 students by now. I'll give some interesting details about some of the speeches. Twice I have been interrupted by a fire alarm in two different schools. It's really funny cause it doesn't happen much and then to have it happen twice, one Friday and then the following Monday in a completely different school in a completely different town. Kinda funny. It kinda cut the speech short but gave me a bit of a breather. And the students speak to me during the alarms, so that's cool. A big pet peeve of mine so far has been cell phones. Nearly every class there is always a cell phone that goes off, or someone is late and comes in later. Really throws me off when I am giving the speech. So, if you're ever in a class, please come on time and turn off your cell phones. Now I know why teachers get so aggrivated with that!

Oh, I'll tell ya how the students take the AOB reference. In the beginning I mention why I choose to go to Sweden..got interested in Swedish music. And that's where I mention the band, only for a moment, but I dwell on the name and say it very slowly..haha! The most common reactions are students giving looks to those sitting next to them, laughs from some, poking their friends in the side with their elbows, and so on. If I get a class that almost laughs together during that part, I add that they should be proud of the bands that break through internationally. That usually gets them to quiet down. Maybe I should mention how many people have learned about Swedish culture and Swedish language through the bands from Sweden. Kinda sad that the 'next generation' has that idea of AOB too. It flowed from one generation to the next. Hoping that will stop one day.

Some interesting times have surfaced when I speak about the US. I ask them if they have any questions, if they're wondering about anything and so on. Students in smaller cities don't really ask questions, due to the being afraid to make a mistake in English but the students in Stockholm have certainly been the ones to ask the most questions. Let me give you some sampilings of what the Swedish youth are wondering today...

Many questions come from Michael Moore and his films, which I haven't seen. A lot of questions about US politics and I am woefully unprepared for that as I don't really keep up on it. I have had to start so I can answer their questions.

After I tell the students there are 50 states some give me strange looks and ask, "aren't there 52?" For some strange unknown reason a lot of Swedes learn there are 52 states. I asked them, which are the other two? They tell me Alaska and Hawaii. I then inform them that those are actually 49 and 50. Most of them say, oh ok, there are 50 then. But one student argued with me and insisted there were 52. Same thing happened with a teacher. Well, the teacher didn't argue, nor did the teacher disagree in front of the students, but she certainly kept pointing to the fact that there were 52 and said a collague of her's could count them out. I never got around to meeting the fabled one who could count all 52 though.

What else? They wonder if the US is as violent as they see on tv shows. They wonder if school in the US is like they see on Boston Public. "Does every school in the US have armed cops and metal detectors at the doors?"

Many wonder why it is so easy to get a drivers license in the US. Compared to Sweden it is much cheaper and easier. I think it's due to the fact that the car is really the only good method of transportation in the US unlike here in Sweden where you can take a bike, bus, train, plane, car, and so on.

I've had some questions about Texas..cowboys, cowboy boots, hats, rope, horses, and so on. I get thoses types of questions when I go to other states in the US though, so no surprises there.

There's surely a lot more I can add and they'll pop up in my mind later, but that gives you a fairly good idea. If anyone out there who is reading this is wondering anything themselves..please ask..leave a comment and so on. I'll try to be dilligent about responding to comments.

Until next update... Stay ACE!
5:11pm: Ok, another update here...

There was the Acer Meeting in GBG to kick off my time here in wonderful Sverige. That was the best way to start things off! Good times good times...

After that I travelled to Stockholm to start my work and that was August 4th. I hadn't slept at all the night before because let's face it, who sleeps during an Acer Meeting anyway? So, there I was in Stockholm lugging around 65 kilos of crap, no knowing where I was, with no sleep after a 4 hour train ride. That's when I knew this trip was going to be quite the memory. Sweaty and lost, I finally made it to my workplace, 2 hours late. Hello, nice way to start off an internship..haha!

I met the people I work with and they're really cool. They've been working with exchange students, host families, and so on for a long time. They're real people persons, good at reading people's needs and emotions. They're very good at what they do. But, after that interesting arrival of mine instead of working I left with the other intern from Bulgaria to meet my first host family. (He's really cool, into music and has an awesome hair style). We travelled to Tumba on the outskirts of Stockholm. Here I would live for the first month.

There in Tumba I met my first host mom and host sister. My first host mom was in her 60s and my host sister was in her 40s. They were extremely nice. I lived there the first month, from August to the beginning of September. I had a fine time with them, learning how to eat crayfish, enjoying sitting outside and eating, learning about cooking cause my first host mom was really good at that!, and smelling surströmming..not recommended. (Notice I didn't say eating surströmming.) Quite the time!

That first month I prepared my schedule for travel around Sweden, prepared my presentation that I would give to the students, did general office work and learned how things went. My Swedish was very rusty and I was very quiet in the beginning. I am talking more each day which is fantastic!

Then in late August the fun began. I had my first presentation (God bless their poor hearts) and I thought it went fantastic! Now I know it was just ok compared to how the presentations go now but I was proud! Surprisingly, I thought I would be completely nervous about it but it wasn't really so. Of course, I have a little adrenline kick everytime I am about to give a presentation but after the start, it goes away. The first few presentations were in Stockholm then I moved on to Uppsala for a week. That's where I understood that during this job the world would be my office. I'm not sitting behind a desk very much during this job, I am always on the go, always out and about, meeting people, finding my way around, calling people while walking (up straight)in the sunshine and watching the leaves blow around on the ground. Fabulous! I've learned how to read maps and timetables really well.

But it was hard in the beginning. I had many "what the hell am I doing here?" moments. But, unlike last time when I lived here, I now understood about the social phobia thing I've got and that makes it a lot easier to handle. I just breathe in and out, understand I have to keep challenging myself and not give up. Things always turn out well in the end.

I travelled for two weeks up the coast of Sweden. I went from Stockholm to Borlänge, Falun, Hedemora, Gävle, Sundsvall, Umeå, Skellefteå, Luleå and finally back to Stockholm in two weeks time giving presentations. I plan to print a t-shirt for myself after this is done, thanks to a suggestion by one of the guys I work with who said after looking at my schedule, "You're going to be living like a rock star with all these places, never knowing where you'll be. You could print up a t-shirt." BING! I immediately took to the idea thinking it would give me insight into the AOB experience. And you know what, damn, those two weeks have been like a tour. I never really knew where I was, what school I was in, who I was talking to. There were trains, buses, planes... Let's say I have much more respect for AOB now..haha! But anyway, back to the t-shirt... I plan to have a t-shirt made with all the places I visit, the dates, and the shirt will have something like "Hey Darling Sverige Turné 2004" Whadda think? I like HD because the lyrics seem to fit... "have to tell you baby, have to tell you today. Believe me.." "Have I told you about the rest of the world?" "Take a look around" Then there's the part I'm feeling right about now "You're going to be burned out and you must blame it on yourself. You're burning your candles both ways" "There's no point in being stressed." Yeah, that's what I'm gonna do. If anyone has any suggestions what to put on the front of the shirt...I'm all up for suggestions.

After those two weeks I met my new host family. They really rock! I'm typing on their computer right now actually. I've got a host mom and a host dad and two host sisters. One host sister is in Montana right now on exchange. And my other host sister was an exchange student in Vermont in 2000. So, they all know about the US here. And we get CNN and Fox News. And I was trying to get away from Fox News too but it's haunting me and following me around...ahhhh! Awesome family though! I am living in Anna's room, which is the host sister who is in the US right now. She has a really great room with all these cool colors and pictures on the walls. Very stylish. And I moved on up (Cue the Jefferson's theme... "moving on up to the east side, I finally got a piece of the pie) cause I went from Tumba to Östermalm and for those of you who know Stockholm that's quite a difference..lol! So, here I am in the heart of celebrity central and if my memory serves me correctly, I do believe Ulf and Johanna live around here. Don't worry, I am keeping my eyes peeled for any good looking couples taking a baby carriage out of their expensive car...oh wait, that's nearly everyone around here..haha! Seriously, I've never seen so many of all of those in one place. It's kinda funny cause Johanna's work building is just around the corner from mine, like 2 minutes walk. So we live in the same area and we work in the same area too even though the two areas are totally different parts of Stockholm. My life is so strange! (I keep thinking that, nearly every day.) When Jenny said "it's a strange strange world" man was she right! I live the WIERDEST life! But let me remind you, it's a good weird!

I'm off to Göteborg in a few weeks and that's going to be a blast. I'm gonna meet old friends, my first host family hopefully and all the Acers who live there surely. And I am sure life will get just a little weirder there. But, this next week it's Stockholm and more presentations.

Speaking of presentations lemme tell you how those go.. in the next posting up. (Don't wanna lose my posts, ya know!)
Current Mood: weird
4:53pm: What a difference a few months make..
Ok, I TRIED to update this journal a few days ago. I had sat for 40 minutes writing everything out on a computer in the STHLM train station but it got erased which was a bit of a shame. Now I have time to update it so, here goes again. Will probably take another 40 minutes to write it all out again!

I have decided I will keep an online journal of my adventures (in paradise) here in Sweden. For those of you who don't know, I am now working as a volunteer intern for an exchange student organisation called YFU. (If you go here you can see my name listed... http://www.yfu.se/om_yfu/kontakta1_2.htm)

What I am doing and have been doing since August is travelling around Sweden talking with students in the 9th grade through 2nd grade gymnasium about going abroad for a year like I did 6 years ago. It's really fun and a challenge too. I am learning a lot and the students get to find there are possibilites as well. Win win.

So, I have not updated this journal with any of the happenings these past two months so I am starting to do that now. The job requires a lot of travelling so I won't be able to update all the time. Maybe 3 times a week while I'm in Stockholm and once or twice every few weeks when I am on the road (tonight). As you can tell by that last parenthesis, this journal has been, and still is, through the eyes of an Acer. So, there are a lot of AOB references and it makes it even more fun cause I am in Sweden.

Since I have been here there hasn't been too much AOB news to report on. I've heard AOB 3 times on the radio the past few months. A few days ago I was watching a tv show, a comedy so to speak, Parlamentet, and they were joking about Saddam Hussein wanting to take jail time in Sweden. They texted a piece of news footage of Saddam. The text was supposed to be what he was saying to convince the authorities to let him come here and one piece of text said something like 'and I helped that fat guy in Ace of Base with the pier'. Wasn't very nice. And today, through THB, I found out about an article in Se & Hör that told about Jenny's secret wedding. That's all the "AOB mentions" since I've been here. Not too much. Much less than when I was here last time in 1998-99.

A few minutes ago I sent an SMS (my first) to get AOB ringtones for my phone I am borrowing for my job. When I bring it back to the office they'll have a lot of AOB to choose from..haha! Anyway, I have Beautiful Morning and Unspeakable. Still looking for a good ATSW.

Back to my Sweden updates... I am posting this now even though I am not done so I don't loose my posts again.

25th September 2004

5:08pm: Ok, lemme tell ya something. I just spent 40 minutes writing about my first two months here and guess what, it got deleted. That's kinda crummy but I'll try to type it out again a bit later.

7th July 2004

6:58am: I feel like that rabbit in the Alice In Wonderland story..."Im late! Im late! For a very important date! No time to say hello! goodbye! Im late! Im late! Im late!"

Everything is in a jumble right now. It's at that point where I have so much to do I don't want to do anything. It seems like it's not possible to get everything done. But you know, in a week or so things will start to turn around and pick up in the other direction. I'll find a rhythm and things will flow correctly and by the time I know it, everything will be in place and it will be time to go.

I'll be able to breathe out when I'm on that flight. That will be the point where I can 'charge up' for the challenges to come. I'm really looking forward to it all!

So, keeping it short this update so I can get back to everything that must be done.
Current Mood: busy

30th May 2004

6:44am: jag måsta skriva mer på svenska!
Hej alla som läser min journal!

College is finished. I met my goals and passed my algebra course. Yea me! I sold the textbook a few days ago on half.com. Good riddance to that!

Oh, and a few days ago I recieved a wonderful surprise in the form of an e-mail. I applied for an internship in Stockholm a few months back and was accepted for the August to December internship. Alright! I will be having an awesome job. My job will be to go to schools and speak about the exchange student experience and recruit people to take the experience. (If you're thinking about or ever wanted to become an exchange student, what are you waiting for? Get out there and do it! It will be one of the most challenging and most fufilling experiences you will ever take part in. Don't miss out, get to it!) The job experience will be an adventure!

So, I'm here working on my Swedish which has quite an american brytning at this point...usch! ;) But, I have two months to study up...especially the grammatik. Svengelska is my official language at this point.

Also, also, another exciting happening: I have made an appointment with the pastor at my church and will speak to him about being Baptised on June 13th. It is quite an exciting time!

SO SO many things happening this summer. It's a 'cool cool' summer for sure. And another great thing... All of these happenings are a turning point in my life and it's a privledge to be able to realize that fact. This is the beginning of a new chapter!
Current Mood: jubilant

8th April 2004

11:34pm: Yes, mystery commentator. You're right!
Why yes I should write more often mystery writer! It's been over a year!! Incredible actually. Well, what has happened since then? A lot... that I can't remember. I'm going to pull a Jenny here. Babble, forget, babble, babble, babble, forget, forget, remember, babble on:

I'm supposed to be working on my college studies. I waited until the last minute. Can someone say PROCRASTINATION? Now, I'm paying (cha-ching $$$). I have to nearly study all waking hours until May 4th to get all of it done. I'm not complaining though. Guess whose fault it is it things ended up this way...yeah that's right!

My mother always said procrastination is a bad thing. Now, I think I'm finally getting it after 22 years. Ok, I got it before. I just didn't want to admit she's right. :P

Ok, continuing procrastination...

Since March last year I went to Göteborg again and spent an incredible week with some of the greatest people on earth. They rock so much. I can't wait to go again. Yes, I'm going again! Third year. Who knew? Woohoo!!

Oh, I quit working at the grocery store. I quit over a year ago with that too. I started looking for work last August, in Stockholm. Didn't work out though. It's ok. Was a good learning experience. I sent in resumes for two other jobs recently, but nothing. It's alright though. I have too much college work to do at the moment anyway. Will get another job hopefully after this semester ends. With the IAM this year, and attending another college next January, and being 22. Yes, I need money. I'm nearly broke. Any job, any job. Anybody out there hiring? I work well with others, enjoy travel (preferably to Europe, hehe!).

What else, what else? Oh yes, of course all the crazy Ace of Base/Acer things going on. THB3 has been the place to go and enjoy chatting it up about Acer topics of the day. Always a delight and very enjoyable. THB 4 should be up shortly. I know when that will be..razz razz! Yes the luxury of being a moderator. (*Looks at fingernails, shines them on shirt*). I'm so proud. It's the only job I can get apparently. ;)

And another large thing for me since mid March, I think. I'm Christian of course. I think most people who know me know that. I've learned a bunch about it on my own the past five years. I wanted to get to know more about it, wanted to talk with people about it. But, I can't get over change. Change and I just don't get along. Unless it's money, that is. ;o) I wanted to change a lot of things in life and learning more about my faith was a part of that. So, I attended a local church for the first time and the people are really cool. It's a new and different experience. It was very daunting and scary at first. But, I was really welcomed and ushered in, like a whirlwind, into the heart of the congregation. Surpised me really. Didn't expect to be welcomed so much. It's a Lutheran church so i'll be taught about everything and when that is finished, i'll be baptized. It's exciting for me. It's probably ultra boring for some people out there. They're thinking 'church?? Snooze land...ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ'. But, for me anyway, it's good. I don't fall asleep. Not yet anyway. Maybe that comes later..lol But for now, it's nice. What is really cool is that the church uses a lot of music in the services. And me, I love music. Always Have, Always Will (Well, I was mesmerised when I first met you..) The music is more contemporary, kinda like the PFL series. I was there the second week and the band started playing. I thought I was hearing the cds come to life. The good sounding songs, I mean. Ha! I think I just added way too many Acerisms for most people to understand. Well, such is the life of an Acer.

I was nervous about how my parents would react to the whole 'God thing' as they say..lol. They're not into any type of spirituality. Although, I'm beginning to think my mother has a hidden side of it. They reacted in an interesting manner to the start of my 'church going days' a few weeks ago. I got home from the first week and they were actually a bit hostile. Not crazy or anything, but it was bubbling under the surface there. I think it is more from not understanding than anything else. My step father asked, 'when did you get religion'? I picked it up at the local supermarket, dad. I didn't say that though. Later on he said, 'you got some sins you need to confess or something?' Well, actually...

It's been about a month or so since then and my parents are not hostile nor pulling away, which I feared both of those might happen. It's funny sometimes how people react when you bring up God. Now, a month later, my mother asks me how things went and what was talked about after I come back from services. I came back from last week's service and my brother (8 years old) asks me where I went. I told him and he says 'church...booooo! then razzes me and gives a thumbs down. My step-father heard this and said to him 'hey boy, it's not bad. church isn't bad.' Wow! From hostile commentary to defense of in less than a month. Unexpected, again. Positive outcomes so far.

Yes, the world never ceases to amaze me. I love that life never gets boring. Something is always happening.

Well, now that I've incoherently babbled away nearly an hour. I'll spare you readers (that is if you're still reading by this point) until the next update... April 2005! Ah, ah, ok. I promise to update before then. No neglecting the journal any longer.
Current Mood: pleased

31st March 2003

2:43am: Wow, I must've been crabby when I made that last entry in November...yikes! It's nearly 3am and i'm up working on my music appreciation class. Ok, that and downloading mp3s and music videos. Have to have a little fun while I work. :)
Current Mood: cheerful

21st November 2002

10:54pm: *yawn* age of time...

dejà vu, been too long since the last update. trashing this journal comes to mind. not much use really. something to do when i'm bored. *blah blah blah* *yawn*

21st July 2002

10:39am: Acer Meeting of course!
Mhmm...Can't forget to mention the International Acer Meeting. It went very well! We were able to do so much. We needed more time though. Next year it will be longer for sure.

Another Acer and I stayed a few days after the meetin gand we got to meet Jenny! We just ran into her out of the clear blue! What a blast!

All the info for those interested (if anyone even reads this journal anymore!) is at http://www.happynation.net/acermeeting.htm
Current Mood: grateful
10:36am: new album
New AOB album is coming out soon! August 5th is the radio date for the first single, "Beautiful Morning". And the end of September is the album release. The release is only for Europe at the moment. Rest of the world is being decided...hopefully North America will get a release as well.

The fever is beginning. An album release is the best thing I can think of as a fan. The most exciting!

1st June 2002

10:42am: Sverige baby!
Going to Sweden in 10 days! Whoo hoo! Not ready but can't wait!

26th March 2002

9:05pm: Updating to keep the page alive. Double managing at work now. Going to get the drivers license by late summer and going to start college finally in august. The Acer meeting is going strong. Bought my plane tickets a few days ago. Can't wait!

Sara
Current Mood: listless

18th February 2002

10:59pm: well hell!
don't even know why i bother updating this thing if it's every 3 or 4 months. Blah! I can barely remember the url anymore. but anyway just posting on the new hallo boards tonight and working on the acer meeting in gbg. all crap that's started after my previous post so anyone who reads this has no idea what i'm talking about so basically i'm talking to myself. oh well as long as I don't reply I guess.

Sara

15th December 2001

9:49pm: It's been so long since i've posted that I forgot the internet address. I've been working at the tortilla kiosk for two months now. Getting boring but it's better than sitting doing nothing. Still haven't learned how to drive nor gone to college. But, I am going back to Gothenburg in June..YEA! Can't wait. Don't know why I still do this journal..guess so I can look back to see what I was doing. Have never been good with keeping up with them and it shows. Been posting a bit at TH tonight...should be cleaning but too bad. The cleaning can wait. This post was brought to you by the letter P for procrastination. *Yawn* Back to reality now.
Current Mood: silly

25th October 2001

10:29pm: Acer time
Yep, i'm still here and still thinking about one day actually keeping up with this journal. Someday! But for now just updating every few months. Been working like crazy..I think I have about 52 hours this week. I'm a manager now which is cool. More money but more responsibility..blah! Been watching all my AOB tapes today. Gotta love the stuff from 92/93. Boy, it's obvious with the clothing back then. I got a new vcr for my birthday and it has the spiffy freeze frame and slow mo so i've been going through videos like ngsis and bl to see if I missed anything. Posted a lot at TH today too. Today was my only day off this week so it was great!
Current Mood: nostalgic
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