I could go on and on about my love of fika, but for the sake of finishing this blog and starting on my lesson plans, I will try and continue with another topic (*sigh*). This weekend in Jönköping was exciting, educational, exhausting, but most of all AWESOME (side note: had to use that word...awesome is a very 'American' word according to my mentor teacher, Sören). Beginning on Saturday afternoon, I spent the day with my "Swedish family", the Carlquist's. They are a family of five--Karin, Göran, Maja (15), Lisa (11), & Alfred (11)--that the University matched me up with. It acts as a way for me to get a peek into Swedish life and also get some home cooked meals and some family love, since my own family is so very far away :/ Both of the parents have spent a good deal of time in the United States, but the kids are still working on their English. But, I could not have asked for a better contact family. Granted, I have only spent one day with them, but they were more welcoming than I could have ever wished for! They fed me not one, but TWO meals (As both a college student and an international traveller with a limited $$$ supply, you accept all the free food you can get). And yes, this is where I got my first taste of real Swedish meatballs (delicious!), among other tasty treats!
The Swedish meal took place at lunch, but the dinner was very similar to a typical American cookout--hot dogs and chips, ketchup and mustard. Only difference from a cookout at home? The ketchup wasn't Heinz--I know Sam would be disappointed had he been there! And, you've heard the phrase, "as American as apple pie"...well, I am considering personally altering that catchphrase because Karin (the mom) made some homemade apple pie (they have an apple tree in their backyard) that was to die for! If I was a baking pro, I would surely steal the recipe :) In addition, the family showed me around their beautiful house (with a great view of the lake and valley). I also got to shoot around at the kid's basketball practice (I still have some of my old bball skills) and meet a few other Swedish families. The family also has a ping-pong table. We played a game that consists of running around the table and trading paddles...very active and very fun!
Now, onto Sunday. I know, busy weekend with lots to tell! Gary (my PSU travel buddy) and I were invited to go on a history tour of the areas surrounding Jönköping with my mentor teachers--Sören and Stefan. Apparently they do this with all the PSU students who make their way to Sweden. We got the opportunity to tour old churches/cathedrals, burial grounds, a monastery, "judgement rings", as well as the beautiful Swedish countryside. Plus, we really lucked out...the weather was mid-70's (or mid 20's if you're feeling brave and want to use the celsius scale), and wonderfully sunny! Just a measure of how many great sights we saw--I took over 200 pictures. I do admit, this may have been a tad excessive, but hey, that's what digital cameras are for, right?! Well, over the course of the day, Gary and I learned SO much about the history of the area, as well as the importance of fika (of course). We stopped twice for fika and once for a fantastic lunch, with an even better view. It was a tiring, but great day! I will include some pictures below because words don't do some of these sights justice.
|My name tag at school :)|
|Playing round-the-table-ping pong|
(with some of my "swedish family" and some neighbors)
|Near one of the ancient burial sights|
|Machine in cathedral...to make donations even easier HA HA :)|
Love to all,