Hello to my lovely family and friends,
Blame the Internet in Tenhult, Sweden for my lack of blogging this past week. It is the devil. Now, on a happier note...I spent this past Saturday in the town of Gränna and on the island of Visingsö. These areas are about a 45 minute drive from my town of Jönköping. I did a trip through the University. Though the town and island itself were quite enjoyable, I was a little perturbed by the amount of wasted time we had on the trip. The leaders were not very organized and we spent a lot of time waiting around when we should have been exploring! I'm all about seeing as many places as possible in the time you are given.
Nonetheless, we had a splendid time! How could we not? The town of Gränna is famous for its candy :) It is impossible to have a bad time in a town that is famous for its CANDY. And not only candy, but PEPPERMINT candy. Now, as everybody knows, I have a bit of an obsession with peppermint candy. Needless to say, this was my kind of town. I went a bit crazy with the pictures (mainly of things peppermint) and found it difficult not to buy the entire candy store. Unfortunately, my wallet would not allow the purchase of the whole store, so I settled for about 100 SEK worth of candy. It's enough to tide me over until the next trip there (because there will be another one)!! We also had the opportunity to watch how they make the candy. They make it in a very similar way to how it was done at the start--back in the mid 1800's. The guy that was making the candy had to be terribly annoyed at the amount of pictures we took of the process. I would imagine he felt a bit like an animal in a cage at the zoo...probably not the best feeling; didn't stop me from snapping away with my camera though.
Our next stop on our day trip was the island of Visingsö. We took the ferry from Gränna to this small island in the middle of Lake Vättern. It was not the sunniest of days, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. Since I spend most of the week stuck indoors at the school, it's always nice to be outside in the fresh air. So, we spent the afternoon biking around the island and exploring small churches and the other beautiful places on the island. Biking was a great way to explore the island. It felt so freeing!! I'm thinking about renting a bike for the rest of my time in Sweden...though the distance from my house in Tenhult into the city is a bit lengthy for a casual bike ride. In one of the churches that we explored, you had the opportunity to go to the top of its clock tower. Now, I feel like most places I go, the stairways to the top would be fairly stable and well lit. You generally expect that when you are touring. Not this little church! Climbing up was the scary part...think dark spaces and cramped ladders. Luckily, the view was well worth the climb (if not, I would have been a bit angry). Overall, it was a very pleasant day trip (except for the incompetency of our leaders who were the only ones in the entire group that missed the 4 o'clock ferry back to the mainland).
On the school front things are going pretty well. I've actually been teaching a number of lessons that have pertained to America and its history. Just in the past week, I have taught about the American Revolution, the Tea Party Movement, the American government system, the political parties, and September 11th. It's been a bit weird to try and explain all these American moments and aspects of American history to foreign students. You really have to break it down. Back home, there are some things that you just assume all students know. That is not the case here. You cannot make such assumptions because the students just don't have the same background. They ask really good questions though :) And, the students are attempting to teach me some Swedish--I'm working on my hellos, goodbyes, colors, and numbers! I'm like a little kid learning how to talk, but hey, it's a start :)
Saturday and Sunday I am headed to the second largest city in Sweden--Gothenburg (or Göteborg if you're feeling Swedish). So, hopefully there will be lots to explore and many pictures to take! For tomorrow, I'm interested to see how celebrating my 21st birthday Swedish style works...wonder if I can get the bouncer to check my license?! ;) The Internet here in Tenhult is not cooperating (surprise, surprise), so I am going to post this and if it lets me I will post an entry right after this with pictures!
Miss and love everybody,