Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Spy...Reese Witherspoon!

Hello all! [sorry if the title is deceiving, no, I have yet to have a celebrity sighting in Sweden...sighhh]

My apologies for the lack of blog activity in the last week or so.  I have been quite the busy lady these past few days between traveling and lesson planning.  The former, I'm okay with, the latter takes entirely too much time! So, between my birthday and today, I have visited two big cites, another country, taught many many lessons, yelled at Tenhult's internet more times than I can count, and met the mayor of Jönköping.  Needless to say, I've been a busy lady.  I will try and hit all the high points (meaning, I will devote entirely too much time to the beautiful city of Oslo....I think obsessed is a good descriptive word to use to try and describe my feelings for this wonderful place!).  

So, I shall start with a few of my usual Sweden musings... 
1. I am constantly amazed by the very diverse nature of Sweden, specifically Jönköping.  Now, I know everybody assumes "blonde hair, blue eyes"...and there are a number who fit this description in Sweden, but by and large, this is not the case.  In my school especially, the immigrant population is very large and my classes are far more diverse than they ever were at good ol' WHS.  There are a number of students from places such as Somalia, Sri Lanka, Iran, Iraq, etc.  This was never my image of Sweden before, but apparently it is quite the destination for immigrants. 
2. I said it once, and I will say it again because it just baffles me so...the amount of white chucks here is insane.  People wear them with everything.  They will have this very sleek, "European" outfit and finish it off with white chucks.  Swedish style is very nice for the most part.  It's all about skinny jeans, scarves, and layers (yes, for the boys too).  But, the problem is, there is just very little variation in style.  Most everybody dresses the same! 
3. Reese Witherspoon ads are everywhere.  She models for a brand called Lindex and her ads are all over the place in Sweden and even Norway. It's awesome (after all, I am a big Reese fan).  You could quite easily play "I Spy Reese" games all over Scandinavia.  
4. Yes, McDonald's truly is everywhere.  Yes, it tastes better in Europe.  
5. When a hostel says "Just a 10 minutes walk from the city center", you better check how fast those people are walking! 
6. Sweden and Norway do not have KFC, but they do have NFC...though I'm not entirely sure what it stands for...guesses are appreciated... (Norway Fried Chicken? Northern Fried Chicken? Never Fried Chicken?) 

Now onto more important (but not the most important) things...my weekend trip to Göteborg or Gothenburg for us English folk :) This occurred the day after my birthday (so, September 17-18).  For those of you who are not familiar with Swedish cities outside of Stockholm (join the club!)...Göteborg is the 2nd largest city in Sweden.  I wanted so much to really love the city, and it was nice, but it did not impress me as much as I hoped it would.  I think my expectations were too high for my first weekend trip.  Nonetheless, Göteborg did have its good spots.  I swear, between reaching our hostel and going to a million museums and sights, we walked alllllll over the city! Unfortunately, for reasons beyond my control, my camera was MIA for my trip to Göteborg--luckily it turned up upon my return to Tenhult.  However, that meant I was camera-less for the weekend--had to rely on my trusty ipod touch (thank goodness it was fully charged)!  

We spent most of that Saturday exploring a variety of museums.  By "we" I mean myself, Gary (my PSU travel buddy), his roommate Lorenzo, and another guy, Kevin, from Germany.  We started by heading to the docks and checking out the giant ferris wheel the city has--very picturesque!  Probably my favorite part of the entire day was the maritime museum in Göteborg.  We were able to explore a number of warships, submarines, and other boats.  By explore, I mean literally crawling through the submarine, climbing all around the ships, and pretend steering the boat!  It was a big kid's dream :) But, one thing I discovered is that I NEVER want to be stuck in a submarine for 4 months...it's just not for me.  The remainder of our Saturday was not especially thrilling; we walked through a few more sights.  One was called the Viking Ship Museum, but was a bit misleading.  You would think that with all the Viking history Sweden possesses, there would be quite a display. WRONG.  This was not the case (Oslo's Viking museum was MUCH more impressive)!  

On Sunday, Göteborg began to redeem herself (except for the torrential downpour she sent our way before our bus trip home...that wasn't so nice).  After placing our backpacks in a luggage locker at the train station, Gary and I headed off to do museum tours round 2!  We began at the city's Rosarium.  For lack of a better word, this is Göteborg's botanical gardens.  They had some really beautiful flowers and plants; I was in picture heaven.  Knowing how much my Grandma loves flowers and gardening, I always try and take some really lovely pictures of all these things...now, I've become a bit obsessed!  All the colors are so very beautiful, I can't help myself.  My facebook albums (Oslo especially) are filled with flower picture after flower picture :) They make me happy!  Plus, the Rosarium had some real, giant lily pads--reminiscent of the Baltimore Zoo.  I definitely had the urge to hop across them!

We also went to the National Museum that housed some wonderful artists (the likes of Monet and Picasso). Mags, knowing your love for Monet, you would've enjoyed this place to the max! I was curious about one thing...here's my question to all you museum gurus out there: Is it frowned upon to take pictures of paintings and other artwork?  Does it take away the "integrity" of the piece?  I wasn't sure what the protocol was on that front...And, last but not least, we explored a cultural museum (sorry, I can't quite recall the name of it).  This actually turned out to be very interesting. It's different from the stereotypical museum scene; it was actually very interactive and modern.  There was a travel exhibit that discussed the different forms of travel that you don't always think about.  It went from leisure and business travel to immigration and forced removal.  It really made you think and had some very vivid pictures.  In the same museum, there was a "feelings" exhibit.  Now, for this exhibition, you had to take your shoes off and put on slippers that they had at the entrance.  It was part of the quiet, relaxing, emotional environment.  I just thought it was nice to give my feet a rest! In this portion, there were giant water couches that you could lay on, a type of planetarium, and spinning circles, among other things.  I am aware that these descriptions are a bit unclear, but just think of the interactive/slipper environment and you get the picture...another museum for the little kid in me :) 

Apparently, I had more to say about Göteborg than I anticipated.  So, I will save my gushing about the city of Oslo for my next post (and maybe the next one after that, and after that...).  Overall, Göteborg was worth the visit, but in retrospect, we probably could've done most of it in one day and been content.  Oh well, the more traveling, the better :)  Here's some pictures of my Göteborg adventure.. Enjoy! 


Ferris Wheel :) 
Into the Submarine! 

Too many chucks! 

One of the many beautiful flowers at the Rosarium 
Favorite picture of the whole trip!
 This little boy would not stop staring at the little boy figure!
He literally spent 5 minutes there! 


Exact advice Uncle John gave me before I left! 

Slippers at the exhibit! 


  1. Ok, I'm going to forgive you for the Reese Witherspoon teaser as long as you come home with at least one true celebrity sighting! ... Will you be wearing chucks when I see you next time?

  2. I figured that might upset you!..I will try my best :) And I pray that I will not assimilate into the chuck-wearing population, but ya never know!