this "country girl" ain't so country

I feel the need to inform you all that today is a beautiful day in Stockholm - the sun is shining, and it's 16 degrees Celsius outside (about 61F). Not bad for almost October, I think. One of the Stockholm guidebooks I read said that light is the characteristic of the city - when the sun is shining the city is so beautiful, mainly because anywhere you look you can see strips of the Baltic Sea, and we all know how gorgeous the sun is when it catches onto the trees when they're changing colors. Everything has that reddish, golden glow to it right now. It literally pains my heart that I don't have a camera yet to document these things...but don't worry, one is on the way. A good one, I might add. I bought a Canon digital SLR, which I'm ridiculously excited about. It will never take the place of my last one, which was honestly probably the nicest, most generous gift I've ever gotten from anybody.
SO - speaking of beautiful, the Norrlands were AMAZING! Again, not having a camera is a tragedy, but I'll do my best to describe it for you. Wherever you live, picture the countryside in the fall, with the big, open fields of hay and green grass, maybe you have some rolling hills here and there...quaint red barns and charming farmhouses...and picture the bluest sky you've ever seen atop it all. Lastly, put this beautiful, rural countryside right on the coastline of the ocean. This is the best description of the Norrlands I can give you - the town I went to is called Skelleftea (Sha-lef-tee-a), and it was this rural little village right on the coastline of the Baltic. Klara's grandma picked me up at the tiny airport, and I spent the day with Klara and her grandparents, visiting friends, going for walks up the road to see the neighbor's sheep, cows and horses, and eating waffles with heavy whip cream and blueberries, and having thick slices of gourmet cheese on homemade Swedish bread...it was all very picturesque.
However - nobody told me that Skelleftea was a small country town and that I'd be taking walks to visit farm animals. When I got dressed in the morning, the first thing I put on was a simple button down shirt, and a cardigan to go over it. Had my sensible, brown J.Crew boots on. But at the last minute I changed my mind and decided that I didn't want to be so casual, so I changed and put on some dressier jeans, a black shirt and black cardigan, and zipped myself into my new, dressy Euro black boots, grabbed my nice black jacket, and ran out to catch the taxi to the airport. I knew I had scored with the outfit - it was one of the few times I've gone anywhere in this country and didn't feel like my outfit screamed Old Navy.
Do you see where I'm going with this story? I showed up in this little country village and spent the day taking walks down a dirt road to pet cows and sheep, raked leaves with Klara, and visited their friends in the village, all the while looking like I'm going shopping in Stockholm. Or to a wine bar. Needless to say, I felt ridiculous all day.
I went to a couple different places this weekend here in the city -

the soap bar - yes, that was the name of it. Kind of an odd name, but definitely one of the coolest places I've been here. It was a bar, but it had a very low-key, classy feel to it. The people were all very trendy and older.
the dubliner - an Irish pub where I had my first beer in Europe! I don't remember the name of it...all I know is that it was a dark one, and I didn't love it. They had a live band that played old 90's songs, and occasionally played an Irish jig.
chokladfabriken - this means The Chocolate Factory in Swedish. A ridiculously cute chocolate cafe that served all sorts of truffles (they called them 'creams' - chocolate creams), and other chocolate desserts. I had a brownie, although it wasn't really a brownie at all. It was more like a piece of flourless chocolate cake. It was heavenly.

So that's been the extent of my weekend. I went to church this morning and had a great time there - the people are wonderful and welcoming, and I met some really nice Swedish girls today. It's nice to know that you have a place to go, and that you feel welcome there. And, on a sidenote, this coming Thursday marks my 1-month anniversary. Hard to believe...looking back it has gone by FAST, but while the time was passing it didn't feel like it was going very quickly. If every month can be as good as this one has been, then I'll be just fine.


to the norrlands

Tomorrow morning I have the extreme pleasure of catching a taxi to the airport at 6:30am to pick up the little peanut, Klara, from her grandparents house in northern Sweden, which is also known as "Norrlands." I have literally no idea where I'm going tomorrow, just that it's, well, North. Klara has been spending the week up there with them, and she's too young to fly alone (just turned 5) and so they're sending me up there for the day to pick her up and bring her home. My flight leaves at 10am from Stockholm, and departs from the norrlands at 5pm. Or 17.00h, as the Swedes would say. Most people know northern Sweden for that famous ice hotel, and for the northern lights, and the all-day sunshine in the summer and all-day darkness in the winter. Apparently it's gotten cold up there already, so I guess I need to bring a winter coat. It'll be nice to see a different part of the country, cause I really doubt otherwise that I'd make much effort to go any farther North (read: COLDER) than I already am.
I also would like to complain about the banks here, which I've probably already done before. But seriously, how can something be THAT inefficient and nobody cares?!? One thing to point out is that the banks here are not like the banks in the states - you don't wait in a teller line to make a deposit, or cash a check. You don't sit at the banker's desk to open an account, or sign up for Internet banking. Nope, you walk into the bank and take a number. Number 79, not bad. You hold your breath as you walk around the corner, praying that the flashing number being serviced right now isn't lower than 75. Inwardly you groan in annoyance when the number is (of course) 71. You take a seat in the already-full lobby (probably next to a lady with a dog...in the bank), and wait as person after person goes up to the counter to conduct their business, whether it be cashing a check or opening up an IRA fund, with one of the two people working.
I've noticed here in Stockholm that customer service is definitely not a priority for companies. It is not their job to serve you. It's their job to stock merchandise and get the store discount. Sales associates are usually not dying to help you out, or be in detail with any question you ask them. Except of course, at the bank. The bankers-tellers-managers love to sit and talk, and explain this product, and that policy, and what you need to do when this happens, or that happens...all the while you're waiting next to the lady with the dog as the numbers sloooowly creep up to 79.
The sad thing about all of this? I only went to get the balance in my account. Needless to say, I signed up for Internet banking today...


new favorite

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I can tend to get overwhelmed by things - namely, large quantities in which I have to make a selection. I guess I shouldn't use the words "have to" cause typically those "selections" I'm making are along the lines of jewelry, clothes, or ice cream. But stores like TJMaxx, Marshalls, Ross, etc, all tend to overwhelm me a bit because there's no order to anything in their store. You're simply broken down by size, and maybe style. You'd think that would be enough for me, but it usually just frustrates me cause I feel like finding one great shirt in a giant row of 200 shirts is like finding a needle in a haystack. This is also how I justify not buying clothes that are on sale; the sale racks are usually disastrous and overran with women who want to add just one more $8 shirt to a pile of shirts they already have, that they probably don't even wear. I ALWAYS wear my expensive clothes*.
Also, recently I've been looking at all my clothes/shoes and thinking that I like my clothes, but sometimes I wonder if I'm getting the full potential out of them. Meaning, am I missing combinations that I could be putting together? Or adding the right accessories? Lord have mercy, where are Christina Strot and Claire Yeager (WHAT is her new last name??) when you need them...
So anyway, shopping can usually overwhelm me, but yet I love an outfit that's really complete. And you know who always has a complete outfit? CELEBRITIES. I love looking at the clothes they wear, cause I either really like them or really hate them. To get to my point, I've discovered a blog - frugal fashionista - that takes outfits that celebrities wear, usually on a day-to-day basis, and breaks it down for you in a cheap way. Like the shirt that Cameron Diaz had on that probably cost $400? Here's one from urban outfitters that cost $29.99! She does this with the entire outfit, including accessories, and her "cheap" finds are usually nearly identical to what the celebrity is wearing.
This, my friends, is genius. In my mind, at least. I've already picked out a couple of outfits that I know I can put together with clothes I already have, but I never would've thought to wear on my own. And it helps that most of the stores are located in the US, so buying the clothes isn't really an issue for me :) I would also like to add that many of the outfits these celebrities are wearing are very European-inspired. This country does something to your mind...makes it want to suddenly care about your hat matching your boots. I didn't even wear hats back home. And yes - I'm eating my words. I said before I came that I'd never get into Euro-fashion, and here I am...Boot-crazed and searching for the perfect handbag to go with my new scarf.

*In my defense, I DO buy clothes on sale. Sometimes.


i miss...

Having just finished my third week here in Sweden, I would say that homesickness is starting to kick in...nothing bad, I'm not coming home anytime soon, so don't worry! It's not so much that I miss HOME, but rather, certain things back home. Let me walk you through them...

1.) the fall in minneapolis

something about this picture (from my new favorite photographer, see below!) automatically makes me think of the perfect autumn day spent at the orchard, picking out apples and pumpkins, drinking hot apple cider underneath a blue sky with a cool breeze, all the while bundled up in a thick sweater and tall boots...and for me, at least, something about autumn makes me want to be with people I love, spending those great days at the orchards. Don't get me wrong; autumn here in Sweden has been beautiful. But there's something about a good 'ol Midwestern fall that you miss when you're not there.

2.) country music...on the radio

As you all well know, I love me some country music. It's almost all that I listen to on the radio, back home...and here there is definitely no country music station. Understandable...I doubt Swedes want to hear songs about being a proud American. But I still miss it. There's also something about the fall that makes me want to roll down the windows and play some Sugarland or Rascal Flatts really loudly. However, the radio stations here aren't bad. They do play an odd mix of songs, but there's some Top 20 stations that I like listening to. But it's not country music, and that's what I want, dangit.

3.) my favorite food in the world AKA chipotle

Was anyone waiting for this one?? Okay, again - the food here isn't bad at all. I really like it, actually. But when I think about the things I miss, this definitely tops the list for me. Believe me when I say there is nothing like a vegetarian burrito bol loaded with all the bad stuff...cheese, guac, sour cream. My mouth is watering at 10am just thinking about it. I think one of the things I miss the most about Chipotle, though, is its convenience. You go in, order food, and take it home. Or wherever. But here, there don't seem to be many of those places, and cooking at least two meals every single day gets a little old after a while.

I had a short talk with Annelie's father last night. He was in town for the evening to pick up Klara to take her home with him for the week (I'm actually flying up to the "Norrlands" to get her on Friday...it's very far North and the place where it's dark all day in the winter and light all day in the summer). So I ran into him, and he was asking me if I was a Swede yet, and we were laughing and I said not yet, but well on my way. I mentioned that I was beginning to miss home a bit, and so we started talking about homesickness, and he made some really good points - he said that it's important to not always long for home, and that you CAN be living somewhere physically and have your mind be living elsewhere emotionally. Meaning, I might be living here in Sweden, but missing home (and the things of home) so much that I'm emotionally living at home. He also said that it's important to not just live in a culture and understand the way people speak, but understand why they think the things they do. He's a smart man, and while I wouldn't say that I'm emotionally "living at home" in any stretch, I would say that his words spoke to me and where I could potentially see myself going if I'm not careful.
The solution to homesickness? I think it's to get out and see things. There's so much of Stockholm that I haven't even began to uncover, and nows the time since the weather is so great! I'm not so motivated to go and look around, honestly, cause I can't take pictures of it. But I ordered a camera and it should be here soon! Then I'll be all ready to spend hours walking around and getting lost.
Alright - laundry is calling my name and I'm getting paid to answer it. Here's to Mondays around the world!! Love you all :)


yes, please.

I'm in love.

Thanks to my new friend Connie, I've been introduced to probably my most favorite photographer that I have ever seen. Her name is Lauren Clark, she's young, and she's from Texas. Her colors are beautifully vibrant and fresh, and she picks some amazing locations for her shoots - for instance, one of her favorite places to shoot is the junkyard. And - my personal favorite - most of her photos seem to have a touch of country to them :) You'll notice that many of the girls in her photos are sporting cowboy boots - one bride even wore them on her wedding day!
Be still my heart...



I am one of those people that is easily overwhelmed by a number of things - shoes, jewelry, beverages, ice cream, cereal...the list could go on. What overwhelms me about them is not really relative to the point of this post, but just so you know, what I find so overwhelming is the amount of selections we have. Every time I go into a gas station, it takes me forever to pick out a drink. Brad and I went to get ice cream at the grocery store one night, and I didn't want what he picked, so I decided to get my own. We were in there easily 30 minutes as I wandered back and forth between the 3 freezers full of ice cream. Let's just say I have a hard time narrowing things down.

However, what I'm overwhelmed about today is the goodness of God. I realize that going into something like this could've really turned against me...this family could've been crazy, or I could've hated the city, or not had any friends yet. But at every corner, there is something good waiting for me. Now, I know that hard times will come. But literally, everything here has been beyond what I could've even thought to ask God for. Seriously. As I've said before, my family here is amazing. They are so generous and kind, and always welcome me in their home, and have basically said what is theirs is mine.

The best thing that happened this last week, though, was meeting a girl named Matilda and going to church on Sunday. I met this girl, Matilda, very randomly - okay, on MySpace...I had to make connections, right? - and she ended up being a Godsend. She loves the Lord with all her heart, and was immediately willing to take me in to her group of friends. I thought about it before I met her, and I realized that, sadly, I don't know that I'd be so welcoming to a foreigner in MY country. Sure, I would welcome them, but would I take the time to meet them, and invite them into my life? Probably not. But she took me in, and took me to church with her on Sunday. It was so, so great, and exactly what I need while I'm here in Stockholm. This church is amazing - they're very prayer-focused, love worship, and really understand the idea of a community. It's in an old theater in Stockholm, and it's not set up like a traditional church - instead of having row after row of chairs, everyone sits at little tables that are stocked with coffee, tea and sweet bread. While I was there I met a couple of other American girls (and other girls, just not Americans), but Matilda is in a cell group with them and has invited me to come along. Hopefully I will be able to go...my schedule changes a lot, so it will vary weekly.

All this has shown me that God does love us infinitely and perfectly, and wants to give us good things...the good things that we don't even know to ask for. And for that, I'm thankful.

On a side note, everything is going well here. I am confirmed for Paris (yay, Connie!! www.parisaupair.blogspot.com) in October for my birthday, and don't have any other travel plans, as of yet. For the fall, at least. Possibly in November will be going somewhere. And for New Years, we'll be going to Phuket, Thailand - yeah, the place where that plane just crashed? - for two weeks. Oh! And for those who know me well, I got my first parking ticket...yes, it's possible that even on the other side of the world, I can't escape them. But really, I have a good excuse! I can't read the machine...and the coins I'm trying to use don't seem to fit in the slot. So, there.

I have to go pick up the kids now. But to end on a funny note, I've fallen twice this week. Once on the street in Stockholm (can I help it that it rains every 20 minutes here and the ground was wet?) in front of a TGI Fridays, cause apparently they have them here too. And the second time I cashed it down the stairs in their house. Their stairs are spiral-y, meaning they turn around on themselves, and narrow in on the sides. I must've been stepping there, and was in some slippery socks, cause I caught an edge and fell alllll the way down. Yes, it hurt. Bad.

**design credit for the above graphic goes to Ashley Baldwin...I am not smart or artsy enough to have created that on my own**


2 weeks down!

Today marks the last day of my first full week on the job completed. I've now been here for almost a full two weeks, and it's been great, so far. I couldn't have asked for a better family to work for - they are definitely a gift from God!
So, I have good news, and bad news. We'll do the bad news first, cause that's what we all like to get out of the way: I lost my camera :( It makes me sick to think about it, and it's just a weird situation...I went out with a couple of American girls I had met this last week, and I took my camera to the girl's house, was taking pictures, and then we all left and I left the camera at home. We came back late and all stayed the night there, and the next morning, the camera was nowhere to be found. Searched the house...and it wasn't there. These girls all had their own cameras and none of them would be likely to take it...so I have no clue where it could have went. So, I'm living abroad without a camera. Sucks, cause it's not even motivating for me to go out and see things cause I can't document all that I see. If you know me, you know that I LOVE taking pictures. That will have to be resolved somehow, soon...
But the good news is that I'm spending my birthday next month in Paris! I've met this awesome girl named Connie who is also an au pair but in France, and she asked me to come visit. Well, my family here is going to be in Chicago over my birthday, and didn't know that they'd be gone on my birthday, so because they felt so guilty for leaving me alone they're going to fly me there! Can't get much better than that.
I don't have big plans for the weekend...I'm meeting a girl tonight for dinner, and Klara is having her birthday party tomorrow, and I might hang out with some of the girls in my Swedish class. Sunday I'm going to church, which I'm suuuuper excited about.
Hm...that's all the news here. Thought I'd share with you some more Funny Things About Sweden:

1.) Dogs are everywhere. People bring their dogs to restaurants, into the bank, into the subway...it's incredible.
2.) Some smaller homes/apartments (such as my cottage) have this funny little shower - there's no fixed walls around it, just these two movable glass doors that close in on each other when you're not using it, and you open when you are, to block the water. So, there's no barrier, really, to keep the water from spreading all over the bathroom. It's very annoying.
3.) They don't fold their towels here, they're all on hooks. Bathroom towels, kitchen towels..they all hang on a hook, not on a bar.
4.) The radio stations that play the Top 40 also play kind of strange American music - I've heard these random Phil Collins/Genesis song a few times, and some Madonna songs that haven't been played in years, and the occasional George Michael song. It's funny...but I don't mind it, cause I usually have like those songs in the past and forgot about them.

And, I made my first couple "Euro-fashion" purchases this week! I bought a pair of zip-up boots to wear over my jeans, and two scarves and a little black hat. That's about as Euro as I can get...Connie, my American friend in Paris, tells me it grows on you. That will be an act of the Lord.



Today I had my second Swedish class. It was quite an adventure (again) getting there, as this time I drove the car to the bus station and only had to catch 2 trains to get to my stop called Radmansgatan, which means King's Garden in Swedish. Anyway, driving here is easy for me - they drive on the right here, Janet! - but it gets a little sticky when I'm not sure exactly where I'm going, and then you throw in morning traffic...gets a little hairy. So I get to the bus station alright -but not before I committed the cardinal sin in traffic and cut off about 45 cars cause I didn't know if the big line of them is where I was supposed to be; turns out it was - and go to pay the 30 kronors for the parking pass, and I realize that I don't have the change for it. Not a problem, I can use my bank card. Well. I swipe the card, and the screen starts beeping and does NOT give me a ticket, and everything on the screen is written in Swedish. Which I can't read. At this point I've got about 20 minutes to jump on two trains and run to the school, so I decide that I don't have time to translate word-for-word from my Swedish/English dictionary and race to catch the train. But good news, I didn't get ticketed!
Class was good, we're currently learning the alphabet and how to tell time...and counting. Kind of sounds like kindergarten...
Tonight my friend Anna, who's an au pair across the street for Klara's friends Lovisa and Fanni, came over and we talked for an hour or so. She's a really cool girl, came from Serbia and speaks Swedish, English and Serbian fluently. That is amazing to me...I haven't even figured out how to say "goodbye" in Swedish yet. But her and I just got memberships to the gym (sounds like "yim" here), and we're going to go to the AEROBICS class tomorrow morning! In honor of the event I'll be breaking out my Reebok hi-tops and shiny Lycra pedal pushers. Haha, kidding...I'm just excited to be getting some exercise.
Funny side note - Sixten (my youngest boy - he's 3) LOVES this Sheryl Crow song and knows all the worlds. I'm not sure what song it is, but it says something like, "I'm an American girl...I was born in the South...I've got a big mouth..." Okay, it's not in the order but it's something like that, and when we get in the car he always says "En please!" - I make him say it to me in English, though, so then he takes a deep breath as he thinks about it and then says "One please!" By the way, Klara's favorite song? "Man-eater" by Nelly Furtado. Kasper's is "Sweet Escape" by Gwen Stefani. They're so cute :)
Alright, bedtime is calling my name, and I have to go work out in the morning, so I need to get my sleep. Need all the energy you can get for aerobics, right?


another rainy day

seriously, it's been sunny ONE day since I've been here. The track record is not looking good, at this point...the sun will randomly come out every now and then, but as a general rule, it is always cloudy here. Yuck. But this brings me to an important point -

the necessity of galoshes. Okay, so back in the States I would always look at galoshes and think, "Gosh, they're cute, but I'd never wear them and then would probably feel dumb when I did." So I never bought any. But then I get here and it's rainy every single day, and I've soaked through numerous pairs of shoes and have changed many a soggy-bottomed pants in the middle of the day. While it stinks that it's perpetually cloudy and wet, it does finally make it necessary for me to purchase galoshes! Annelie and I went to InterSport, the sporting goods store here, and they had a pair I liked for 500 kronors -that's equal to 71 AMERICAN DOLLARS. See, everything here is waaaay overpriced. I didn't buy any yet, but I think this week when I'm in Stockholm for class I'll go look at some shoe stores. H&M had a goofy pair that had flowers and laced up...definitely not my style.

I did my first solo driving today. I have to take the kids to dagis (American equivalent to daycare) tomorrow, and so I wanted to make absolutely sure that I knew where I was going. I took a couple wrong turns, but always sorted myself out and eventually got to where I was going.

Well, my stomach is a-growlin' so I'm going to get me some dinner going. I hope everyone that reads this is doing well, stay in touch!!


lazy weekend and quirky things

Here in Stockholm, it's 12 in the afternoon and I'm laying in bed. It's raining out, so my plans to get up and go for a run were squashed, and I don't have anything going on for another hour. So...here I am. In light of my laziness and boredom with the Internet, I thought I would write a blog about the different, funny things here in Sweden that I've come across.

1.) Maybe it is just the Karlsson family and the fact that they have three small children, but their doors to their house are always wide open. It is not uncommon for me to look out my window and see the side door flung open and not a soul in sight. There are no screen doors, so I guess bugs are allowed free reign in their homes?
2.) There are no screens on the windows. I've had my windows open quite a bit - shoot, I slept with them wide open last night - and surprisingly have only seen one flying insect in my cottage. 3.) There are no bars for towels here, just big nails in the wall that you hook your bathroom/kitchen towels on. All towels come with a little tab on the end of them to hook onto the nails.
4.) You never walk with your shoes on in a home here - they strictly come off at the door. Even at the kid's daycare you have to take your shoes off!
5.) There's no censorship on TV here - was watching it last night and was surprised to see female body parts flashed across the screen.

So, this is just a little list that I'm sure I'll be able to add more to over time. Things are still going very well - felt my first bite of homesickness this morning, but it was nothing bad. Just a little loneliness.
I'm going driving today with Annelie to practice using their car. I already know how to drive a manual, thank God, but the roundabout things seem a little tricky. It'll be nice to finally get behind the wheels of a car!
Here's a couple pictures for everyone -

This is Klara...she's 4, loves pink, and loves to say, "mine sit on your ka-nee?" - translation - "Can I sit on your knee?"

Me on the day I arrived, in my cute little cottage

This is my cottage! It's small, but very nice.


the first adventure

Today was my third day in Stockholm. Very hard to believe, cause I honestly feel like I've been here about 2 weeks already! I think it has to do with the time difference/jetlag, and the fact that I've been going all over the place for the past few days. But, today was a more eventful day than the others cause it was my first day of Swedish school!
So, until last night, the plan was for Stacey (the family's current au pair) to ride with me into the city and then I would go to class from 9-11:30, and then we would have lunch with another au pair. To make matters short, she had to stay with the kids, so I ended up going into the city by myself this morning on a bus system I have never ridden on, all written in a language I can't make sense of, and on a continent that my presence has graced for a mere 8 hours on a layover this summer. So, needless to stay, I was a little confused. I actually did okay until I missed my stop and ended up going to the end of the line and then had to go BACK the way I came, and ended up being about 20 minutes late for school. And of course the teacher had to speak to me in Swedish when I walked in, so not only did I have a frenzied, frustrating morning, it was slightly embarrassing to have someone speak to you in Swedish when they KNOW you don't know it in front of a room full of people.
Anyway, that was my class. It went well, except for the fact that I don't understand anything at all :)
I met a couple of other au pairs today. One of the au pair's is Annelie's best friend's host mom. So, her and I will be doing some traveling together, both with the family and on our own. She's from Texas. The other girl is in our class, and I don't know her so well, but she's really cool. From New York. And, coincidentally, her father was the CFO for the company I worked for. How completely random.
Went to lunch today with Stacey, Nikki (the au pair from TX) and one of Stacey's friends. We ate at this little cafe...very nice. It's weird to be sitting at this cute little cafe on a Thursday afternoon with not much of an agenda, and to go do some shopping in the middle of the day...I think, "shouldn't I be at work??" cause it's such an odd feeling. But nice :)
I'm growing closer to the kids, which is great. They're starting to talk to me more(their little accent when they say "seanna" is too cute, it's like SHO-nah), and I watched cartoons tonight after dinner with Sixten and Klara, and they were both cuddling with me. Makes me feel good, cause I know they're growing comfortable with me, which is very important. Stacey and I put them to bed tonight cause Annelie and Joakim (the parents) were on a date, so I just got into my cottage a little bit ago...definitely a long day.
Tomorrow I'll hang with Stacey in the morning, and then I'm going to swimming class with Annelie and the kids, should be fun. And after that we're all going out to dinner (I think)....Saturday I'll do some driving of my own to make sure I know how to get places, and then Saturday night I'm going to go out with Stacey and her friends, plus the two other au pairs, so it will be good to see a little bit of the city.
Thanks for all the comments! It's good to be encouraged. I'm thinking of you all here, and trying not to miss everyone too much :)


I really am...

...an American girl in Stockholm! I touched down this morning at 7:30am and have spent the day meeting my new family and seeing the city of Stockholm and the island of Lidingo, which I'm living on. I'm absolutely exhausted and jetlagged right now - on my way to bed in a moment - but I wanted to write and let everyone know that I'm HERE and there is no other place on earth that I'm supposed to be except for here. It was difficult saying goodbye at the airport in Chicago - I cried for about an hour after my family left, all the way through security and to my gate - but as soon as I landed in Stockholm, I immediately felt peace in my heart. I know this is where I'm supposed to be, despite how much the unknown scares me.

A few notes -
1.) Stockholm is actually laid out a lot like the US road system
2.) My Swedish family lives in this big, beautiful white house that has all sorts of windows AND A PICKET FENCE
3.) My cottage is adorably cute and cozy
4.) So far the food hasn't killed me...had a good salad for lunch and salmon for dinner

Okay, I'm going to bed. My poor little eyes are hardly staying open right now.