Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hold up, wait a minute

Time has FLOWN by.

It feels like I've been here for maybe a month, but I've been here in Sweden for about three. I leave in three days to head back to the States and I'm pretty excited about that because I get to see my family, Cory, and, of course, all of you guys!

I have been considering something, though, and I think it's good for you all to know before I actually get home. I really want to come back for winter school here and I applied for a visa and everything and praying for a way for money to come in. Well, the staff obviously knows that I've been trying to work out all the details, and they have offered me a scholarship for spring school if I come back for winter school. That means that I will just be in Sweden for free. I won't have to pay for tuition for that year, or anything besides personal expenses.

Before I actually got to Sweden, I never really prayed about it very much. But once I got here and started to experience God in a new way, I really started praying about it a lot. And seriously over the course of two days, we found a way to apply for a visa (long story), and I was offered that scholarship. So I think God may be opening some doors for me to come back. It's still not definite, but I wanted you to know.

We (the girls) pranked the guys last night. They ALL went out for pizza as an end-of-the-semester thing and we went and stole their sheets, pillows, and blankets. Each girl had one guy's stuff and we left them to go on a scavenger hunt in which they eventually found out which girl had their stuff and had to do what the card said before we would give it back to them. 95% of the guys said it was a good prank and did what the cards said, but then there was that last 5% that had really bad attitudes towards the whole thing. My philosophy is, if you can't take it, don't dish it out. This prank on them was revenge for the two pranks they pulled on us. They just need to put some M-A-N on their attitudes. Oh well, it was fun.

Everyone packed up their rooms today which was a weird feeling. We find out who our new roommates are tomorrow and then we're putting all of the stuff we're not taking with us in those rooms and staying one night with our new roommates. I'm pretty excited about that.

That's all for now.

peace, love, and coming home soon.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I'll Blog if Yule Blog

'Tis the season, as it's said. Well folks, it's that time of year again... the time when everything around you is red and green and you hear "Ho ho ho" everywhere you go. Unlike Thanksgiving, Sweden does celebrate Christmas (I hope you understand my humor) with lights and advent and Christmas trees, just like we do. All of this is making me very excited because I get to go home for Christmas in less than two weeks. Crazy, huh?

For the past month and a half-ish, we have been preparing for the big Julkonsert (Christmas concert) that is held at Alseda Kyrka (a really nice Lutheran church) and it's been happening every year for about 30 years. We spent many an hour practicing and preparing and tweaking for this thing, and it was well worth it. Megan, Jenn, Julia, and I got together and wrote our own arrangement for "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." It started off traditional, and then the last three voices were more upbeat and jazzy. We each had a solo verse and had sick harmonies in the chorus. Also, a group of nineteen of us sang "Silent Night" in four different languages. There was a small group that made up "the band" and sounded freakin' fantastic. And then there was Tyler, Danny, Spencer, Colleen, Joanna, Steph, and myself that performed The Everything Skit for the 400-500 local Swedes, most of whom had never heard about Jesus. That was exhilarating. It was very emotional for all of us. Well, you guys have seen it. You know. I will be posting a video of it on my Facebook soon. (The picture was from the dress rehearsal, so not everyone is in their full costume.)

What's even cooler is there's a Christian TV channel here and on December 10, our entire Christmas concert will be on that channel. How awesome! More Swedes will be able to hear and see the love of our God. Uhh, exciting much?

Afterwards, we invited everyone back to Holsby for some fika and conversation. It was really neat to be able to speak with them afterwards. I was COMPLETELY exhausted at around 10pm, so I signed out of breakfast and slept in.

peace, love, and still catching up on sleep.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Walk, Jog, Run

So I have been working on some songs lately, but they're not quite finished yet (that's why they aren't up on my Myspace page). But I want you to be able to see the lyrics and let me know what you think about it so far. Here you go:

"Walk, Jog, Run"
By Kaeli Riccardi

Where do I go from here
Now that Your Name's in my ear?
I can't escape it
This hurling wave is
Pulling me on down
Why are you so near
When I have to give is fear?
I'm being so selfish
I feel so worthless as these
Screams fall from my mouth

I'm battling with myself

I run to You
Putting all my fears aside
Carry me through
Take away my pride
I want to see you clearly now
Even though I don't know how

How do I love You more
Than I love myself?
I'm feeling so nauseas
Not being so cautious
I feel like I might drown
Why did I walk away
Instead of fall on my knees and pray?
I'm tired and hungry
I need You to love me
Pick me up off the ground

It's turning me inside out

I run to You
Please take away my pain
Carry me through
'Cause I remembered Your Name
I'm beginning to see You clearly now
I'm starting to learn how

I ran to You
You held me in Your arms
Carried me through
Kept me from the Dark
I can see You clearly now
Praises escaping from my mouth
Nothing on earth can stop me now
Nothing on earth can stop me now

You found me bruised and broken
You saved me with words unspoken
I came to You
You pulled me through
You gave me
Everything I've ever needed (I'll hold)
On to
Be made anew
And see that
You will never leave me
You will never leave me
You will never leave me

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Since it is a day to be thankful, I'm going to share with you all some things I'm thankful for in no particular order:

My Mom
Thank you so much for helping make it possible for me to get to Sweden. I know it was a big sacrifice, but you have no idea how much it means to me. I love you. Also, thank you for being so solid all these years. I know you've dealt with some difficult things, but you've still stayed strong in your relationship with God and with your kids.

Thank you for really pushing me get stuff done. Especially the whole Holsby application and whatnot. And thanks for the plane ticket. I couldn't have gotten here without you. Literally.

I'm going to go ahead and guess that you don't read this, but that's okay. Thanks for being Cow and for really just being a sincere friend to me. You've been there for me if I've needed to vent or say something completely random. Li til da. *does leg motion*

Trevor and Nate
Hahahahahaha. Thanks. But seriously, thanks for being the "big brothers" of Holsby. You guys are great and thanks for all our chats.

Matt, Coral, and Heidi
You guys are the best family group EVER. Thank you for making yourselves available to all of us "kids" and being there for all of us. You guys have helped me grow so much since I've been here.

I love the fact that I stayed a week in yours, Lizzie's, and Linda's room and you guys aren't sick of me yet =) We'll have to have more sleepovers soon. You are one of my favorite Canadians. Thanks for being such a good listener and not judging me.

Apple Products
Wow. Since I've been in Sweden, I have not had one problem with my Mac or my iPod or anything. TONS of other people, with PCs, have had problems and I'm so thankful to have a working technological device. So, thanks Apple.

Thanks for being a really great friend. And, of course, for jamming with me all the time, even when I'm halfway across the world (yay Macs). We make beautiful music together. Hahahaha. I can't wait to write some songs and record with you when I get back home.

Sister, sister! I love you so much. Thanks for being my best friend. I miss you so much. I love all of our ADD conversations and all the times when we've made complete fools of ourselves. I also love that even if we are having a serious conversation, it always ends with us laughing. I don't know what I'd do without you. Du har en fin rumpa!

Josh and Carissa
You two are the best older siblings I could EVER have imagined. Even though one of you is insane and the other is twisted, I still love you guys. Thanks for everything you've done for me over the years and for just supporting my decisions in life. And for encouraging me to be my own person. You two are so freaking cool.

My Second Parents
Beth and JJ... you guys ROCK MY FACE OFF. Thank you so much for your influence on me and for the impact you two have had on my life. You are fantastic role models and the best YP and YPW EVER. Thank you for all you have done in my life, and in the lives of others. And thanks for letting your home become my homes many times. Expect it a lot when I come home =) Thank you for supporting my decision to come to Sweden and still keeping me filled in on everything that's going on back home. You have no idea how much that means to me. I love you!

Thank you for everything. Really. Thank you for helping me see the other side of things and for being there to listen and give advice when I need it. You are SUCH a great guy and I am lucky to be a part of your life. I'd say more, but it'd be mushy.

Everyone Back Home
I miss you all so much! I hope you all got to hear the letter I wrote to you that JJ read in church. That pretty much sums up everything I'd say here.

Thank you for allowing me to get to know you over the past few years. You are so genuine and are an awesome friend to have. I love our Moshpit Warriors and FF5 inside jokes. And I love the fact that when we hang out, we can always find something to do. Even if it's making a stupid video. Miss ya, buddy.

My Loyal Fans
Even though I'm not a famous musician yet, thanks to all of you who check out my music on my Myspace page every now and then and give me feedback. It means so much to know that there are actually people out there that are hearing what I'm putting out there. I hope one day I can travel around and play and it will be a major thanks to you guys if that happens.

Ok, so I'm thankful for a lot of things, but I guess that's better than not being thankful at all. Thanks for taking the time out of this wonderful holiday to read this.

peace, love, and no, I did not copy JJ.

Friday, November 21, 2008

We're not the champions...

The K-Team had been victorious so far - completely OWNING in soccer. Our team was a beast. In the tournament, we made it down to the final two. Our championship game was on Thursday and we were determined to play well and to blow the other team out of the water. Turns out that wasn't the case. One of our key players (also a staff member) took a trip to Spain with his family for a few weeks and we got used to playing without him. When he finally came back and we played the championship game, we didn't play as a team very well. As an individual, it was the best I've ever played - I was aggressive, I wasn't afraid of the ball, and I took the chance when I got it. But as a team, we fell apart. The others were so focused on winning the game (mainly because they're guys, no offense), but I was just concentrating on having fun, and I tried to be encouraging as well. In the end, we lost the championship game, but we were still in second place which is not bad for someone who hasn't played a lot of soccer in her life (*points to self).

Other than that, we've just been doing a lot to get ready for the Christmas concert coming up. Apparently, it's a big deal here. All the local Swedes look forward to it which is neat. I'm heading up The Everything Skit here and it's going well. It's still not the same without the rest of the Skit Crew. I miss you all soooooooooooooooooooo much. I'll be home the day after Christmas.

I'm starting to feel a bit overwhelmed now. I have a TON of Bible reading that I've put off (big surprise) and I have to finish a project and read a book and write four journals. Most of that is due next week. Hah. Joy. Well, I'm just going to do the best I can and focus more on what I'm getting out of it than meeting deadlines.

peace, love, and rosa skor (pink shoes).

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Back to the Future?

We had a talent show last night here at Holsby. Two local youth groups came to participate and also enjoy. Travis, Taylor, Trevor, Steph, Bekah, and I wrote a skit and performed it and it was pretty awesomely hilarious. The other things there were funny as well, and the ones that were more serious (like people singing), were really good. When we first started talking about the idea of having the talent show, I had tossed the idea around to sing and play my guitar but decided not to do it. During the last act, I finally decided that I would do it. I went up to the hosts (Frida and Wes) and asked them if it'd be okay if I sang a song. They said sure. Next thing I knew I was on stage with my guitar and introducing the song (I went with "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz). There were people singing along and stuff and it was really neat. Surprisingly, though, I was super nervous, which is weird for me. I usually don't get scared of playing my guitar or singing in front of people - especially people I don't know. It was a neat experience for me though. I figured that if that's what I want to do with my life, I need to get started somewhere. I got some really positive feedback, so who knows? Maybe when I get home I'll start playing in local coffee shops or something with my originals. That would be neat-o.

peace, love, and future rock star.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

London Calling part deux

I had been emailing my mom back and forth yesterday. She said she would pay for a hotel room for us, as long as we got away from that sketchy hostel (I forgot to mention yesterday that two cops searched the room next to ours last night). When we awoke this morning, we went online and booked a hotel room. It wasn't too expensive, but it wasn't cheap, either. We checked out of the hostel after eating our last jam and bread breakfast, and headed toward the hotel. When we got to the Holiday Inn Express, we found out that it was the wrong hotel. Great. We were going to go on a free walking tour with New Europe Tours and see the changing of the guard (which happens at 11:30am). It was 11:22am. So the nice lady at the wrong Holiday Inn gave us directions to the right Holiday Inn, which happened to be about 45 minutes away from where we were. We got to the right hotel and, because it wasn't check-in time yet, we stored our luggage and decided to travel around on foot. We went to see Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St James' Cathedral, and a few other things. It was lunch time and we were all pretty hungry. Thankfully, there was a pancake stand and a hamburger stand right next to each other. Christy and Colleen got cheeseburgers and I got a pancake. The pancake was fantastic. It was this huge thing that was similar to a crepe, and I got apples, cinnamon, and whipped cream on mine. Mmm. At two o'clock, we checked in and chilled out in the nice, nonsketchy hotel room for about an hour to an hour and a half. Then we got up and went shopping! Of course we went shopping. It wouldn't be a Europe trip if we didn't. I bought two shirts from the Gap and some SWEET orange Adidas. Stores close pretty early in London (around 8:30pm) so we went back to the hotel and made dinner, then fell asleep. Apparently, on Friday afternoons at 1, they do fire alarm testing. But for whatever reason, the fire alarm decided to go off at 11:30pm, well after we were asleep. Our sleep was rudely interrupted. We scrambled out of bed, put on more clothes, and popped our heads out the door. Everyone else on our floor was doing the same thing, except one guy - he ran out and down the stairs in his pajama bottoms and coat. After we realized nothing was wrong, we tried to go back to sleep.

Since we missed the tour yesterday, we went to it today. Out of all the days we've been here so far, it hasn't rained yet. But when we woke up this morning, it was raining lightly. No big deal, right? Well, our tour guide's name was Pip and he was born and raised in England so he had that awesome British accent... along with 95% of everyone else there. It was neat walking around central London and hearing the history behind all of the buildings. We saw a few things that we had already seen, and some new things. We went to Prince Charles' house where there was a guard standing in his little box outside of the entrance gate. We were allowed to go up and take pictures with him, so we did. I got him to smile, and I felt so victorious after that. We weren't allowed to touch them, but we were allowed to try to make them smile or whatever. I thought about pulling a "I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you" sort of thing, but they had really big guns, so I thought that might not be a good idea. Toward the end of the tour, it started pouring down rain. We had to cross one of the many busy streets in London and half of our group, including Pip, made it across, but we didn't. Everyone that was on the streets of London was trying to find shelter. We ended up losing our guide, so we just went back to the hotel. It rained for the rest of the day, so we stayed inside and watched a movie and packed our clothes in our bags.

We woke up at 3:15am to get ready and do some last minute packing. We had to check out at 4am and take a cab to the airport in order to catch our flight. We checked out, and our cab was waiting for us. We made it to the airport in time and ate some breakfast at Starbucks. Bekah loves coffee from there, and she was running out, so I bought her some to bring back to her. Our flight was pretty smooth, except when the three of us were asleep and the stupid RyanAir jingle suddenly went off. We ate lunch at the Gothenburg City train station and then got on our trains to go back to Vetlanda where Danielle (girls' RA) was there to pick us up. It was a fun trip, but it felt good to finally be back at Holsby.

That's all from my London trip. Hope you enjoyed the many adventures that were had.

peace, love, and still totally exhausted.

Monday, November 10, 2008

London Calling

My trip to London, England was definitely filled to the brim of adventures. We had a really great time, despite some things that went wrong. I guess I'm just going to go day-by-day through the weekend to fill you all in on what happened.

As you've already read, we were stuck in the train station for about nine hours. We played cards, drank Coke, and watched That 70's Show on some TV in the train station. We ate lunch and dinner there as well. At around 6:30pm-ish we got on a bus that was to take us to the Gothenburg City Airport. There, we waited until we could check in, got our boarding passes, went through security, and waited for probably another hour and a half to board the plane. The plane ended up being late, so by this time it was about 9:45pm. We were supposed to leave at 9:20pm. The flight went well, except the seats didn't recline, so sleeping kinda sucked. We landed around 11:30pm in the London Stansted Airport and got a cab to take us to our hostel. When we booked our hostel reservations, we looked at pictures of the rooms online - they didn't look too bad. The place had decent ratings. We got to Hostel 639 at 2am and it could not have been sketchier. As soon as we walked in, there were two cops at the front desk because there had been a robbery. Great. We checked in and went up to our room. Thankfully, we had a four-bed female dorm and there were three of us. No roommates. We prayed for safety and made an attempt to go to sleep. We could hear EVERYTHING that was going on outside - cars driving by, conversations being held, dogs barking, etc. It was a restless night.

We ended up waking up at 8:30am. Well, we were pretty much already awake, but it was then that we got out of bed. Thankfully, breakfast was included in the cost of the hostel. We got dressed and went down to eat some food, when all that there was there to eat was bread/toast, butter, and jam. Yum. We ate two pieces each, and then went to the grocery store to buy stuff for lunch and dinner for the next few days. We bought bread, peanut butter, and jam to make sandwiches, and some pasta things that you just add boiling water to to cook the noodles and stuff. After that, we went back to the hostel to shower and eat lunch. The shower was in our dorm room, so that was nice. The shower itself wasn't, but the fact that it was in our room and not down the hall was nice. We walked around London for a bit after lunch and saw Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Liescter Square, and some other things. Then we decided to go see a movie. We found a cinema called Empire which was next to a few other cinemas and went to see Burn After Reading. Very bizarre movie. After that, we walked out of the theater and there were a TON of people outside surrounding a red carpet with cameras, pens, and paper in hand. Some guy was standing on a chair holding a sign that said "EVERYTHING IS OK" and shouting, "Leonardo DiCaprio is just a human being like the rest of us. He still pees and poops like all of us..." Apparently, Leonardo DiCaprio's new movie Body of Lies was having its premier in London, and Leo was on his way there. So surreal. We decided to stick around and see if we could get a look. We managed to get our way to the front of the crowd, and five minutes later, four Mercedes pulled up and Leo got out of one. WHAAAAAATTT? So bizarre. We got some pictures and whatnot. After that, we went back to the hostel to eat dinner. Turns out, there was not pot to boil water in so we turned our shower water on super hot and put it in our pasta bowls. Makeshift. We also noticed when we walked in that someone else's stuff was in our room - we had a roommate. She was from France, and seemed like she wanted to keep her own, so we let her be. I think it was because I'm from the US and Colleen and Christy are from the English-speaking part of Canada.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

London Bridge is, well, still standing

Currently, I'm sitting in the Gothenburg train station (still in Sweden) with Colleen and Christy. We got here at around 1pm, ate some lunch, and paid for unternet access. We have about seven hours until our flight leaves for London, so we're basically killing time. It's fun though. We have already had an adventure. We got to Vetlanda around 8:40am to pick up our train tickets and board the train, which actually turned out to be a bus that would take us to the train station. Needless to say, we almost missed it. It was by the grace of God that we realized we needed to be on the bus that was pulling out of its parking spot. Colleen was actually the one that noticed it. Kudos.

As soon as we got on the bus, we huddled together and prayed, although we were laughing about the fact that we could've not ended up going to London, or being late for our train. The bus ride was about 50 minutes that passed very quickly. We found our platform for our train really easily, even though it was in Swedish. It wasn't too hard to figure out. The train ride took about two and a half hours. And that brings us to the beginning of this blog.

I am very excited about going to a place that I have always wanted to go. We decided that while we were there, we are going to only speak with British accents. Haha, we are such losers.

peace, love, and Cheerio(s)!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Learning the hard way

Before I left to come to Sweden, Rachel sent me a letter in the mail. When I opened it, it contained 50 Swedish Kronor (about $6.50) and a page-long letter. Something she said in that letter really stuck out to me, even though I didn't understand it then. She said this, "I'm going to give you some advice that Sam gave me before I went. This will be one of the best years of your life, but it will also be one of the most difficult." I couldn't imagine how going to Europe for a few months and learning more about God could be difficult, but now I think I'm beginning to grasp that.

That's all for now.

peace, love, and staying vague.
kay league race rick hardy.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Today was SO cool. Quite literally. We had lectures in the morning and stuff and then we had lunch. AND THEN... a few of us were just hanging out in the PC room when all of a sudden, Heidi walks in and says, "It's snowing!" So we all get up and go outside to see it. Out of nowhere, it just started snowing. And I'm not talking about little flecks of snow. These snow flakes were MASSIVE. It was neat. Then, since today is Thursday, we had intramurals, so we played soccer in the snow. Very very slippery, it was. I didn't play very well because of that reason and I was mad at myself for that later. After soccer I worked out in the weight room. My abs KILL. And I was late for dinner, but no one noticed, which was good.

I really don't have a lot to say today, but I was excited that it started to snow and I wanted to share that joy with you guys. Even though they said it will go away and get warmer again. Apparently, that's typical in Sweden. Weird.

peace, love, and bipolar weather.
kay league race rick hardy

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I see London...

Yep, that's right. In exactly one week's time, I will be on my way to London, England with Colleen and Christy. I have ALWAYS wanted to go to England, and now I finally get the chance. Cool beans. Originally, we were going to go to Ireland with four other people, but it didn't end up working out. I'm just glad I get to travel Europe!

We planned our sojourn yesterday in an hour and a half, and got everything paid for. We are hitchhiking into Vetlanda, taking a train from Vetlanda to Gothenburg City, flying into London, and staying there until Sunday morning. Then we will fly back to Gothenburg City, take a train into Vetlanda, then hitchhike back to the school. I'm sooooo excited. I will be sure to take lots of pictures and post them on my Facebook.

Speaking of pictures, if you want to, you can go here and see tons of pictures from random happenings at school. One of the staff is a great photographer and posts his pictures on that site. There are also a few students who takes lots of pictures for the website. So, check it out!

Please please please send me mail! I miss you all so much.
Kaeli Riccardi
Brunnsvägen 31
S-570 15 Holsbybrunn

peace, love, and London Calling.
kay league race

Monday, October 27, 2008

Slacking off

I haven't journaled in about two-ish weeks. That's why no posts have been happening on my part. Sorry about that. I still haven't journaled, but I figured I'd at least tell you what I've been up to lately.

Soccer has been going good. My team pretty much pwns. Yes, we pwn. It sucks being the only girl on the team and having to play the whole game, but it's good exercise. All the guys are really encouraging. In fact, last week the ball was passed to me and it was just me, one person on defense, and the goal keep. I ran as fast as I could with the ball, shot, and it would've gone in if Manuel wasn't so good. But I didn't hear an "Ughhhhh!" from my team. It was more of a "Nice try, Kaeli!" On the topic of exercise, I've started to work out a bit, so by the time I get home, you better watch out. I'll be ripped and I'll finally be able to beat Pops in arm wrestling. (Ok, not ripped, but at least toned.)

God is really teaching me to trust Him. I have the biggest trust issues, but He's making it so that I have to rely on Him with every little thing in my life. I am such an independent person and I always want to take things into my own hands and deal with it in my own power, but I can't do that. I need to just hand it over, but that is SO HARD. Cory actually called me out on that when I spoke with him last night. It was kind of a swift kick in the pants, but I'm grateful for it because I really needed it. I just need to put that into action now.

So there hasn't really been a whole lot of communication in my room since I've gotten here. We all get along, it's just that my two roommates are pretty shy until you get them talking, and I didn't do that. Normally, I'm one to get anyone talking, but for whatever reason, I sort of thought they wanted to be "left alone." Well, on Thursday night, (I can't remember who, but someone) asked a really thought-provoking question, and I answered it the best way I could. Then I had deep questions I asked and we all talked about them. It was actually really neat. So we decided to make it a thing on Thursdays - Though-Provoking Thursday. We will save up any questions we might want to discuss for Thursday nights before we go to bed. As it turns out, Maddie had been praying for more communication in our room. There you have it.

I started another theme for a day of the week. It's called Sweatpants Monday. Mondays are already pretty bad because it's the first day after the weekend, so I came up with the idea (since we are allowed to wear sweatpants to class) to wear sweatpants all day on Monday. Today is the first Sweatpants Monday, and more than have of my classmates are wearing sweatpants. Awesome!

Cory's birthday was on the 23rd so I called him to wish him a happy birthday, and I mailed him a package. I'd say what is in it, but he reads this thing sometimes and I don't want to give it away before he gets it.

I've made two really good friends since I've been here - Rebekah and Colleen. They are so much fun. I really want to kidnap them and bring them home with me to Florida so you all can meet them. Bekah cuts hair (she finished beauty school before she came here). I wanted to get my hair cut, so she thought of something fun to do to my hair. She actually had a dream as to how she was going to cut it. It's the same length that it was on one side, and on the other side, it's slightly shorter. It's an asymmetrical hair cut. I like it. There's a picture of it on my Facebook under Swedish Shenanigans. Check it out.

So that's really all I can think of when it comes to what has been happening.

peace, love and sweatpants.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Deep Sea Thinking

What we did in class last night was really interesting. Jesse told us to get out a sheet of paper, and we obliged. Then he said to take a few minutes and write down five reason why we believe in the Bible.


Wow. That was hard to pinpoint. Yes, there are the obvious reasons like, prophesies have come true, it gives truth to all aspects of life, outside manuscripts and eyewitnesses that prove it. But why else we believe in the Bible?

So I just want you to marinate on that for a bit. Chew on it, digest it. Why do you believe in the Bible?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Worship last night was really good. I fely like God was laying some things on my heart that had to do with the hurt that I've experienced in my life with my dad (sorry for all the prepositional phrases in one sentence). I went over to Coral's afterward and did the typical emotional girl thing - cry. I explained to her what was going on and she basically helped talk me through my trust issues and other problems. I don't usually hold grudges (mainly because I'm so forgetful) but we came tot he conclusion that I was holding a major grudge against my dad and I need to let it go. Then it will make it easier to trust and call God my Father, but it will definitely take time. It's a process.
Chris (the son of the founder of Torchbearers) is our guest speaker this week. Because of his hand motions for everything he says, I can't look at him when he talks because I get so distracted. I have noticed that he tends to ramble and that makes it hard to pay attention. BUT he did say that he didn't mind if we took a five minnute nap during his class, as long as we didn't snore. And he was being dead serious. I took a ten minute nap today.
Other than lectures, I have just had two meetings to go to today - our group project meeting, and the SLC meeting. I didn't really do a lot besides that.
I wrote Cory a letter today and I plan on mailing it soon, I just have to find out where to buy envelopes. Also, I need to go buy some Swedish chocolate so I can send it to the Gawlowicz Gang. I got to talk to my sister today and that was good. I can't believe that she is already four months pregnant. It's crazy! Her and Josh's birthdays are tomorrow. I'll have to remember to call them.

peace, love, and still falling asleep in class.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Days 19-23

Yeah, I know. I skipped a few.

I haven't journaled in a few days, and I feel bad about that because (1) the whole point of me journaling is so I can look back at my time here in Sweden to remember where I was and see where I am and (2) because my friends and family want to know what I've been up to (at least, I hope so. I'm not really sure who reads this thing).
On Wednesday night, we had a time of worship at around 9:15pm. The other praise team led it and it was awesome - it was just straight up acoustic everything, and very soulful. I don't even know if that's a word, but it was that amazing. I can't describe it any other way than that.
On Friday, I worked with Kristin again, but this time we had to clean the chapel (including the Bik). It was a long process, but we got the job done. It was also Coral's birthday, so after lunch, a few of us girls took her into town for some Fika. It was a lot of fun and we had a great time. Bekah is obsessed with Spiderman and as we were walking through a store, I spotted a Spiderman beanie and bought it for her.
Other than that, I was just having a really weird day - I can't really put words to it. I told Coral later that night and somehow, she completely understood and said whenever that happens to her, Matt (her husband), prays over her and she's better. She prayed over me and this Funk that was following me around all day started to lift.
I was challenged that day by one of my friends here to a game of Battleship. Well, I'm basically a pro at that game because last Christmas when I played my family, I was undefeated. So I accepted the dare. I won the first game and got a little cocky. Well, the next three games, I got owned in the face. Then I had to open my stupid mouth and say whoever wins this next game buys the other person Jolla Jolla (I think that's how it's spelled) pizza. Let's just say I don't want to talk about pizza for a while. I'm pretty competitive, so that did not sit well with me that night. I had a very angry dream and I think I punched myself in the face at some point while I was sleeping. I woke up with a bruise under my right eye.
Yesterday was pretty uneventful, except that I went to watch Trevor and Nate's basketball game with a bunch of people. They got spanked. Oh, and Jesse taught me how to change my guitar strings.

peace, love, and what feels like a new guitar.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Day Eighteen

Today I had a MUCH better day, thanks to encouraging friends, and the like. Class today was interesting. Jesse's dad spoke again, but this time on personality stuff, or something like that. The four groups were Analytical, Amiable, Expressive, and Driver. He told us to go to the corner in the room of the one in which we thought we belonged to. I had aspects of all of them, so I just sort of wandered to each one. There's this test that you can take on his computer to find out which one you are, and it turns out I'm an Expressive, but almost on the Amiable side. Neat, I guess.
Today was also my last day doing pots and pans after lunch. That's exciting. My new duty is to clean the hall in the chapel right after breakfast, but it's tiny so it's not so bad.
After dinner, Christy, Colleen, and I were invited to go to Brad and Cece's for some Fika. It was amazing! We had pancakes (similar to crepes) with ice cream and chocolate syrup and strawberries. Mmm... delicious. Then we all just say in their living room and talked. They have a seven week old daughter named Kayley. How cool is that?

peace, love, and knowing one other person with my name.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day Seventeen... well, sort of

I'm not really going to post what I wrote for day seventeen, because it is just wayyyyy too personal. I apologize for any inconveniences I might've caused in your daily routines.

BUT, if you haven't already, you can go ahead and check out yesterday. And click the link to watch the music video. It's great. It really is.

peace, love, and...

Day Sixteen

We played pretty well this morning, which was pretty encouraging. It's hard to get used to playing with a new set of people, but it wasn't too horrible. The speaker was Jesse's dad and he talked about trusting in God - something I'm finding particularly difficult lately. I'm basically just being a pansy, for lack of a better word.
It was sort of rainy today after lunch, and it got a little colder, so because of the weather, no one was outside. I got my guitar and went out to the pavilion to just pour my heart out to God. I've been thinking about Sennit lately and I'm worried, to say the least. That's really all I can say right now about that without tearing up. Also, my relationship wth my dad sucks, so that's pretty fantastic. I've noticed I have a really hard time trusting guys that I look up to as father figures. I am so apt to open up to their wives or other adult women (Heidi, Coral, Beth), but when it comes to my "dads" it's just difficult to be open. It's even hard to me to open up to JJ sometimes, for fear that he might treat me like my dad has - even though I KNOW that's not true.
I have a hard time calling God my Father, as stupid as that seems. I don't really know what to do about all this.


For family groups tonight my family and Joel's family got together for a fantastical slip 'n slide event. It was so cold, but thankfully, that water from the hose was insanely warm. We ended up getting dirty and the dirt ended up getting muddy, so it evolved into a mud fight. That was pretty fun. Then we got cleaned off and ate, drank, and were merry. We watched another David Hasselhoff music video. Wow, he's a retard. Then I called Cory and it was great getting to hear his voice, as cheesy as that sounds. His birthday is coming up!

peace, love, and don't hassel the hoff.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Day Fifteen

Seven of us hitchhiked into town today. We split into two groups - Kristin, Spencer, and myself in one group; Jenn, Christy, Thaddeus, and Alex in the other. We (my group) ended up walking for a half hour before we got picked up by a nice middle-aged woman. She spoke English and asked us where we were all from and stuff. After telling her I'm from FL, she said she has a house there. Neat.
We got some things at the grocery store and the sports store. I bought a much-needed pair of cleats, socks, and shorts, and only spend a little over $100. The cleats were probably $20-$40 cheaper here than they would've been in the US, and they're just as good.
On the way back, we only walked for about 12 minutes before an older man picked us up. Either he didn't know how to speak English, or he didn't want to. So he only spoke to Kristin. He dropped us off right at the door of the Barn. As a side note, let me just say I look like a pro in my football gear.
After we ate dinner, the few of us that are playing tomorrow morning for church decided it would be a good idea to practice again. We only practiced for 45 minutes because innebandy started at 7pm. One of the guys had been dissing me a lot because apparently when they played last night, his team owned. So of course my response was to talk some trash and say my team was going to beat his (even though we had no idea who our teammates would be).
At 7pm, we all walked down to the gym, still talking trash. There ended up being four teams, and luckily enough, he was on a different team than me. I was ready for the throw down. I had some great players on my team. We didn't end up playing his team until towards the end, but we tied 0-0. Oh yeah, and he checked me into the wall; I decided to play a little harsher after that. Then we played him again two games later, and my team won 1-0. I don't think I need to say anything else about that. =)

peace, love, and victory.

Day Fourteen

Supervising went pretty well this mornig. Cleaning the dining room wasn't that bad, it was just time consiming. We played musuic from my laptop and had some neat conversations. Apparently, on Sundaym a few if us frim SLC are leading swrhip. That will be very interesting considering how last minute it is. We are praticing tonight. Sersiouly, that's all there is to report today. It was pretty uneventful.

peace, love and not caring about spelling.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Day Thirteen

Today has been a pretty busy day. It's Thursday, so that means pancakes for breakfast. I actually wasn't tired in class today so that's a first. The last hour we talked about how to share the Good News, which is definitely something I needed to hear because I am not entirely fantastic at that.
Our first intramural football game was today. The first two teams played at 3:15pm and the other two at 4:15pm. I was in Lag 3 which played the second game. They made a rule that there has to always be one girl from each team on the field. It's a good rule because it makes it fair for everyone. But at the same time, it sucks for me because my team is the only team with one girl, so I have to play the whole time.
I played forward, which was new to me since I'm used to playing mid. Sometime in the first half, I assisted Josh from England in a goal. We were up by the goal, I had the ball, I passed to Josh, he scored. Our team ended up winning (7-2, or something like that) so that was pretty encouraging. Nate and Trevor called my team the monster team because apparently we have good players.
I was reppin' my A-Team shirt at the game, and we were trying to come up with a team name. Since I was the only girl, the guys wanted to include me in the team name. How nice of them. Ideas bounced around from Kaeli's Klan, to Kaeli's Kids, to Kaeli's Krew, to Kaeli's Boys, etc. Then Joel noticed my shirt and suggested the K-Team. So that's our team name now. I feel so honored.
Elke wanted to meet with a handful of people, myself included, after dinner. I thought I was in trouble. As it turns out, we are going to be supervisors for Work Day. Just for tomorrow. We were picked at random, but if we do a good job, she might pick us again later. I'm cleaning the dining room tomorrow with Kristin (pronounced Christine), and that's it. It should be fun - she's a neat girl, and she's teaching me Swedish.
Class tonight was pretty difficult. Gah-lee. It's been all about the importance of the septuagint, different people that translated the Bible, and characteristics of the NT. Lots and lots of information.
I asked Jenn if she would help me with my ball-handling skills in football, and she said she would be delighted. Hopefully by next week, I'll be a little better.
I haven't done my devos since I've been here and I sort of feel convicted about that. I just don't know what to read, and I didn't bring any devo books with me. That was stupid of me. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

peace, love, and the K-Team.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day Twelve

There's something here in Sweden that is similar to a Good Will back home; it's called Erikshjalpen, which means Erik's help. There's a really cool story behind it, and if you ever get the chance to look it up, do so. We took a tour of Erikshjalpen after breakfast. As we were listening and walking, I noticed a lady bug on Bekah's shirt. We named him Steve and determined that he was a germaphobe, self absorbed (he cleaned himself every three seconds), deaf, somewhat retarded, and he had lame legs. Literally. But we loved him and took him on the tour with us. He even stayed with us when we got back to the Barn. He really liked Bekah's jacket.
We had class tonight, and it was more mind-boggling discussions and questions and resolutions.
I wrote a song today - it's simple and short, but it expresses what I was feeling at the moment. I really needed God to just intercede in my life and cradle me in his love. I was sort of at a loss for words, hence the shortness. I tried to record it, but for whatever reason, I couldn't. I shall try again tomorrow. In the mean time, here are the lyrics (it makes more sense when they're in order):

God break me
And make me Yours
God save me
And make me Yours

For You are strong
And You are mighty
But I am weak
And so unworthy

For I am small
And I am weary
But You are all
And still You love me

peace, love, and poetry.

Ps. This just in! I recorded the song and it's now on my myspace music page. Go here to check it out. It's called "Make Me Yours" because I couldn't come up with a better title.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day Eleven

At breakfast, I sat at a table with Zack (intern), Nate (intern), Tyler, Luke, and Bekah. Bekah and I were slightly outnumbered. Anyway, the guys started talking about stupid guy stuff, and then they talked about paintball. I chimed in and mentioned how I have a full auto paintball gum and they all stopped and stared at me. Nate didn't believe me and asked me if I had one, just to make sure they heard right. It was pretty funny.

I feel like my head is going to explode. Today's lectures were so intense. We were talking about inerrancy and if there are alleged errors in the Bible. We went over many examples of Scripture and came to the conclusion that inerrancy is not a good choice of diction. There's more but if I tried to explain it, I know I'd be off because I can't think straight at the current moment.
We had the rest of the evening off, so Megan got her violin and I got my guitar and we did some praise and worship; that was cool. After dinner, I went to the chapel and did about another hour's worth on my own.
Around 9pm, Danielle, Christy, Jillian, Kristin, and I went on a walk up the hill and back. It was completely black in some places, but I have never seen that many stars. Ever. (Cue David Crowder's "Stars.") We had fun talking, mostly of things we want to accomplish in life. They were all freezing and in their winter coats, and I was in a hoodie with my sleeves rolled up. And I was still warm. Gah-lee.

peace, love, and cold-blooded.

Day Ten

Laundry day - finally. This morning, my roommates and I woke up early to drop our clothes off at the laundry room which was good because I was running out of things to wear.
Lectures were good today. Jesse is doing them this week and it's basically an apologetics class - sort of. It's pretty challenging and I'm excited about that.
After lunch, I had about three hours to kill, so I grabbed my guitar and went out to the pavilion by the football field. I was playing loud and singing louder. Eventually I played the song "How He Loves" and almost cried. That is one amazing song. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.
The day passed by quickly after that. I went over to Heidi's after dinner for a cup of my favorite tea (English Breakfast) and that was fun. I ended up taking the cup with me to evening lectures because I wasn't done. Mmm.
Cory bought me a book called The Shack before I left for Sweden. I read a few chapters, but got hooked on the Twilight series in between so I put that book on hold. I finished the series last week, so I started reading The Shack again. Man that's a scary book; but it's definitely really good. I'm in chapter five now.
Dan locked up tonight and was wanting to borrow my guitar, so I waited till he got to the Barn (main building) and gave it to him. Then I read The Shack some more. If I don't go to sleep now, I'll be exhausted in the morning.

peace, love, and pages.

Day Nine

Church was good today. John Poysti spoke about leaving the past in the past. (I'd write more, but I'm journaling about this two days after the fact, and I can't really remember.) Before church started, there wasn't a whole lot to do so I grabbed my guitar and went out by the tree in front of the chapel. I was just playing and singing and praising God, and Megan came out with her violin and played with me - it sounded amazing. Pretty soon, there were about ten other people out there with us, just worshipping our God. It was awesome.
Jesse, Dean of Students and worship leader, mentioned something about if anyone wanted to be on a worship band, they had to sign up for the Spiritual Life Committee. So, I did. Big surprise, right? We had a meeting after lunch, just seeing if there was anyone interested in playing for Worship Together tonight. Megan, Manuel, Dan, Spencer, and I agreed to do that. Worship together is like an hour of praise and worship music, along with some other things. It was an awesome experience.

peace, love, and togetherness.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sincerest apologies

Hello blog followers!

I am so sorry I haven't been posting regularly. The internet here isn't completely reliable, so sometimes it just doesn't work. I will try to keep you updated as much as possible. And don't forget, if you would like to mail me something, here is my address:

Kaeli Riccardi
c/o Fackelbararna
Brunnsv. 31
57015 Holsbybrunn

The second "a" in Fackel... has two dots over it.

peace, love, and mail time.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Day Eight

Today was pretty uneventful. Not a whole lot to report. Although, I know that if I don't journal and post it on Blogspot, Taylor will flip. =) I couldn't post it this morning after breakfast like I normally do because I got up at 6:15am for a little thing called a Bible Marathon.
We are assigned a certain amount of scripture (in order from Genesis to Revelation) to read by a specific time. A Bible Marathon happens every Saturday, or every other, and we meet in the Bik at 6:45am to eat breakfast and then read the Bible for six hours. We stop at the end of every hour to discuss and take a break. Lunch is also thrown in there somewhere.
It was pretty difficult to stay awake until after lunch. I almost dozed off a few times. We read until about 4pm (we went a little over) and we finished Exodus. It was cool to hear things that I didn't catch but were caught be other people. (This is an optional thing, by the way.)
After that, I went and showered, then went to dinner. Heidi cooked tonight and she made some awesome baked pasta. I was wondering when an Italian meal was going to show up.
I got to talk to Cory on Skype today which was really nice. He really is a great guy. I'm so happy he supports my decision to be in Sweden, even though we can't be face-to-face until Christmas.
A game of capture the flag was happening tonight at 7:30, but I was way too sore from the ropes course, football, and innebandy. Plus we are playing American football at some point tomorrow, so I want to feel good for that. Instead of capture the flag, I went over to Heidi's and had some tea and hung out. It was fun. We told funny stories, sad stories, and more funny stories. She's probably my favorite female staff member. Along with Coral.
Well, I'm going to go get some sleep so I won't be exhausted tomorrow.

peace, love, and English Breakfast.

Day Seven

Today was an eventful day. Breakfast was a hard boiled egg; I ate it with a roll and a piece of cheese. After breakfast, we all were assigned a place to work at until lunch because it's Friday, and that means work day. I was stationed in the kitchen, oddly enough. But instead of cleaning pots and pans, I helped Tyler from Washington clean dishes. Then we had to clean the whole area we were in.
We got finished early, so I got to help make lunch - enchiladas. That was pretty cool, and I enjoyed it. After lunch I just sort of hung out and watched the last two groups do the ropes course. At 4pm, I went and played football with seven other people. (If I ever say football, I mean soccer. If I'm talking about American football, I'll put "American" in front of it.) I didn't score any goals, but I didn't do that bad considering I haven't played in a while.
At dinner we all decided to sit at one table since we smelled because we played until dinner time. We had leftovers. Dan, guy's RA, got up and gave an announcement about taking people to play innebandy at 7pm. Innebandy is basically floor hockey. I went and played for an hour and it was a lot of fun, but I'm tired.

peace, love, and incredibly sore.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Day Six

Pancake Thursday. Yum. With a capital Mmm.
Class was good today, but since I didn't get to sleep till late last night, I thought I was going to fall asleep in the middle. Thankfully, I made it all the way to the end of the first hour, and then it was tea break. Tea break is about 20 minutes long, so I put my head down on my desk and took a 20 minute nap. Twenty minutes later, I felt completely rested and was able to make it through the other two hours.
My bro was on IM earlier this morning (about 2:45am his time), so it was neat to talk to him. He asked if I had eaten Elke's Swedish meatballs yet, and I told him no. Sure enough, we had those meatballs for lunch. And let me tell ya, the ones back home don't even compare to these. That's right, be jealous.
My family group had to go through the ropes course today. Eek. I was the last one in my group to go up. First you have to climb a rock wall and get over the top. That wasn't so bad. They encourage us to test our harnesses and stuff, so I did that and I was slightly more comfortable. Haha. I walked across a wooden bridge, a few wires, a wobbly log, foot swings, more wires, more logs, and a zip line to the bottom (although if the zip line went to the kitchen, that would've been sweet). I'm not really explaining a lot because I'm tired and I have pictures that explain better. The whole point of the course was to show the difference between belief and trust. We believed that we would be safe (the safeties hold 2.5 tons, wires 5 tons, and something else 10 tons), but we had to put that belief into action (trust) by doing the course. Same thing with God - we know/believe he's there and in control, but we need to show that we trust him in all the difficult times in life.
I was completely freaked out at the beginning, and I cried from fatigue in the middle, but if anyone ever gets the opportunity, do the ropes course. Grown men have even cried on it.
After that little adventure, I got showered and headed over to Matt and Coral's where Heidi and Coral cooked some freakin' good fondue. Another splendid meal. We just spent some time getting to know each other and telling funny stories. Matt and Coral have four extremely cute kids. No joke.
I got back at around 10pm and my mom and Denis were at Holsby waiting to say goodbye to me. I have an international cell phone now, and they got me some things from Germany. Tomorrow they head back home to the states. And tomorrow is also mine and Cory's 7 month anniversary =)

peace, love, and cuteness.

Ps. Go to youtube, and type in David Hasselhoff - Hooked on a Feeling. Funniest thing EVER. And yes, it is a real music video.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day Five

I woke up later this morning, yet still exhausted from not having slept well enough. That meant I would be tired for the rest of the day. For breakfast today, cream of wheat was sitting on the table. I was a little skeptical about it, but Wesley from Alaska said  it was god and that I should just put butter and cinnamon sugar in it. It tasted a little like oatmeal, just with a different texture.
We only had one set of lecture hours today (instead of two), and it went pretty well. We had to start picking up the pace a bit so we could get through what we needed to get through. That didn't make me happy because I really liked how in depth we were getting. I've heard the stories of Adam and Eve, Abraham and Isaac, Noah, and Moses hundreds of times, but we were getting so much more out of it. We had Fika (snack) today which was unusual. We normally only get a tea break and two 5 minute breaks. But the Fika was good. It was some cinnamon sugar coffee cake. Mmm.
Lunch was absolutely delectable. It was pesto pasta with salmon in it. Probably some of the best I've ever had. Again, Bekah and I missed out on the salad. We were planning on going to town today, but then she remembered today was her day to do laundry, so we decided to go some other day.
As it turns out, we overpaid on tuition, so I got 2,020 Krowns back today - cash. It's only about 336 US Dollars, but still.
Since we didn't have class, I didn't know what to do to pass the time. I figured I could finish reading a book - I only had about four chapters left, so I did that. Afterwards, I went to watch the groups that were doing the ropes course today... insane. My group goes tomorrow and I am incredibly nervous, but I know that if I don't do it, I'll regret it. While I was watching, Brad's (cook) wife, Cecelia (or Cici), came over to talk to me. She said she knew my brother. She is originally from Sweden, so she knows how to speak Swedish. I asked her to teach me so I could say some phrases and stuff. I know how to say,  "I am hungry," but that's it. Dinner time!

For dinner, we had the leftover pesto pasta with salmon, but it was baked into a quiche. Definitely still good the second time around. Spencer, who got a bee out of my hair today, basically told me I was sitting at his table over dinner. He's Canadian . Marie was sitting next to me and she is German. All the Canadians, except Jenn, say, "eh?" all the time. Some of them don't even realize it. And all the Germans say, "ya." It's just funny to pick those things out.
We had some time after dinner before we had to meet up for Dorm Life so I took a walk down a trail behind the chapel. I had my camera and my iPod with me, but I forgot to charge my iPod, so it didn't work. I did get some neat pictures, though.
DL was neat. We got to talk about some thing and just be girls. Danielle, my RA, said she had a little somethin' somethin' for us. That was fun to try to explain to the Germans what that meant. It ended up being Fika - nachos. We also had a little "What Not To Wear" about modesty. Since there really is no dress code here, they just wanted us to be aware of what is and isn't modest.
After the mingling, we all went into each other's dorms and we had to present something about ourselves - sort of like show and tell. It was really cool to hear more about the girls. When it got to me, I started to get a little emotional and slightly vulnerable, but I shrugged it off as quickly as it came. It's weird because I don't have a problem talking about it with my friends at home, but here I do. I guess that's because everyone at home already knows my story, and no else's parents (here, in Sweden) are divorced and have gone through my situation. If I have to explain it here, I know it'll be something I'll have to relive.
I was really hoping to get to talk to Cory tonight on Skype, but because of the room tours, DL went on until 11:10pm. The internet shuts off at 10:30pm, which is curfew (curfew is when you have to be in the building your dorms are in, not necessarily in your room). I really miss Cory. =(

peace, love, and tireddddd

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day Four

I woke up this morning, still exhausted from jet lag. I don't know when I'm going to finally get used to being six hours ahead of home. For breakfast, we had cold oatmeal with fruit in it. I declined. I wasn't feelin' the cold oatmeal. Dave from Alaska bought a jar of Nutella last night and brought it to breakfast. I tried some of it on bread and it was brilliant. So for, breakfast I had two pieces of bread with Nutella, and a piece of cheese. Yay for nutrition!
The first lecture hour was more orientation stuff, and that made me really tired. Not cool. But then Todd started telling the story of how he met his wife, Debbie. That poor girl. I don't know how she had that much patience with him. To make a long story short, he was basically afraid of letting someone that close into his life at age 25, because he never had a girlfriend before, so he kept changing his mind. We haven't gotten to the end of the story though; we're supposed to finish it at class in the afternoon.
Lunch was pretty good today. We had Kasespatzle. It's a German meal that has these weird noodles, onions, and cheese in it. Cookies for dessert. I wanted to get some salad as well, but I like to eat my salad last and there wasn't any left when I wanted to get it. (When I say last, I mean after the main meal.)
It was surprisingly sunny out today, and sort of hot. I had to take my jacket off. I hope if gets colder again.
I met my family group leaders today - Heidi, and Matt & Coral Huyle, or however you spell it. Matt and Coral went to CCC and they are 33 and 34, I asked them if they knew JJ or Beth. Matt said that JJ's last name sounded really familiar. I wonder if JJ and Beth know them? I meet with my family group on Thursday night and the leaders are cooking us dinner.
I played soccer on a real team when I was about eight. And I played for a few summers when Josh was the youth pastor at FSCC. But I haven't really played a whole lot since then, not that I was very good in the first place. All of this to say, I signed up for intramural soccer. That will be interesting.

Todd just finished telling the story. Wow, props to Debbie for sticking with him through that. It really is a long story (it took him three hours to tell it), but once he proposed to her, he never got scared again. Then he tied it all in to the fall of man saying that we can't hide from God like Adam and Eve tried to do - it doesn't work. It'd probably make more sense if you were here to hear the story.
Then he gave a side not on marriage and love that I thought was really neat:

"The tide goes in and the tide goes out. Those mushy gushy feelings that we call love will be there at times, and at other times those feelings won't be there. But when those feelings aren't there, just do what you are supposed to do as a husband/wife, and those feelings will come back."

After class this afternoon we had dinner and it was leftover night. It wasn't horrible. I haven't really been eating a whole lot lately. Just enough to satisfy my hunger for the time being, but then I end up being hungry an hour later. Eh, oh well.
A bunch of people played soccer around 6pm and I just went to watch for a bit. As it turns out, almost everyone that signed up for intramural soccer has had 10+ years of experience, whereas I've had 1. Kjell is the only one that hasn't played at all, but I have a feeling that he is going to catch on quickly. I am going to do so bad, haha.
I feel like I'm having a harder time making friends than I thought I would be. I know I'm not being myself, but I guess it's because I'm not comfortable being myself. I've never been shoved into a place where I didn't know anyone. The only people I've been me around are Christy (roomie), Luke, and Joanna. I really hope I make more friends soon.
Tomorrow, Bekah and I, along with Josh from England and a few others, are supposed to go into town so that should be fun. I don't really know what to expect.
Well, it's hardly after 9pm right now and there's not a whole lot to do so I'm just going to go read.

peace, love, and loneliness.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mail's here!

Ok, so I haven't received any mail yet, but that can change! And it can change today.

Here is my address if you want to mail me something. It can be anything from a letter, or a package with who knows what in it.

I would really like some pictures and some letters from you all. I have a bulletin board next to my bunk I can hang them on.

Kaeli Riccardi
c/o Fackelbararna
Brunnsv. 31
57015 Holsbybrunn

The second "a" in Fackelbararna has two dots above it. I couldn't copy and paste it onto blogger for whatever reason.

Please mail me stuff!


Day Three

Last night, we got our chores; they are called "duties" and everyone is given a job to do at a certain time of the day. Mine is washing pots and pans after lunch. I work with two guys, Manuele and John. I hate washing dishes, and lunch is when the most pots and pans are used. I would rather clean toilets, but I guess God is trying to teach me something. Probably something along the lines of, "It's not about me," or "Humble myself to serve others;" something like that.
For breakfast today, we had hot oatmeal with cinnamon sugar. It wasn't too bad, but I didn't eat very much.
Morning lectures started at 9:30am and went until 12:35pm with a tea break in the Bik and another five minute break. I was so tired that I thought I was going to fall asleep in class. I didn't, but now I have a huge headache because of how tired I am.
Lunch was pretty good today. We had rice with stir fry. I met a girl named Bekah, and she has a short pixie hair cut. The color is platinum blonde with a pink section. It looks freakin' sweet. Turns out, she graduated high school a year early and went to beauty school for a year. She said she'd cut my hair if I wanted her to.
After lunch, we had duties. It wasn't that bad because I just had to dry and put things away. John is from England, so we were speaking like him for a little. It was funny.
My headache still hasn't gone away.
Around 3pm, I got my laptop and went to the internet room. Cory was on Skype and so I got to video chat with him. That made me happy =) I also got to video chat with Taylor through iChat. It was good to see her again as well.
Well, my head is pounding, so I'm going to catch some z's. Thankfully, there is no singing in my room today.

I got about a 40 minute nap in today. I set my alarm to go off at 5pm, and it did, but I fell back asleep. Thankfully, my roommate, Maddie, woke me up at 5:20pm.
Tonight was soup night, and it tasted a lot better than it looked. It was some sort of potato, ham, and corn soup and it was fantastic; so was the bread. Unfortunately, corn messes up my stomach and makes me feel nauseas, so I had to try to not dish any out to myself. I sat with Stephanie and Kjell at dinner. They are a lot of fun to talk to.
I spent a little more time on the computer after dinner, just checking Facebook and whatnot. I talked to John J. via instant messenger for a bit and that was neat. Except for when he was looking up Holsby Brunn and saying he was going to stalk me. Okay, John J.
Class tonight was really good. We talked about the unity of God, and the Trinity, and how it's basically a tri-unity. We also talked about some of the names God gave himself. "God," being the first one in the Bible; in Hebrew, it's "Elohim." "Eloh" meaning strength and power, and "im" being a plural. "Adonai" mentioned in the Psalms; "Adon" meaning master or lord, and "ai," another plural. And then there is the one that the Jews thought was so holy that it shouldn't even be spoken: YHWH; or as we say it - Yahweh. It means "to be."
Then we talked about the name Jehovah. Turns out, God didn't give himself that name - man did. It is a name made up by a group of scholars who took the vowel sounds from "Adonai" and put them in the unspoken word, "YHWH." Todd brought up a good point during his lecture. He asked if we thought we should only call God by the names he gave himself, or is it okay to come up with names to call him? What do you think?
On a much lighter subject, we went up to the Bik after class and hung out. I ended up playing Phase 10 with a group of girls.
Today, Steph mentioned something called Nutella. Supposedly, it has the consistency of peanut butter, but it tastes like chocolate and you eat it on bread. I've never had it, so Steph said when she gets some, I'm trying it. That's all for now.

peace, love, and chocolate.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day Two

3:07 am
I was so afraid of falling off the top bunk that I willed myself to not move while I slept. Big mistake. I woke up just now and both of my legs were asleep. Not cool. Another uncool thing, my cell phone doesn't work over here. I shouldn't be surprised, I guess. I'm going to try to go back to sleep now.

I woke up around eight this morning so I could shower and get ready before breakfast. We ate this homemade chocolate granola with corn flakes and milk, sort of like cereal. It was interesting, but not bad. We had some times before church so I checked my email and Facebook and stuff. Church was pretty cool. Jesse and Danielle led worship and did a few songs I didn't know, but the rest I knew. The Principle of Holsby Brunn, Todd, was the speaker today. He was speaking on our theme verses for this year, which are 1 Corinthians 1:30-31. Basically, he said that in whatever we do or whatever we have, we need to remember that God gave it to us and that we didn't get it or do it on our own.
My mom and Denis came from Vetlanda again to go to church with me before they headed off to Germany for a week. It was neat to see them again and sort of show them around.
For lunch, we had grilled chicken in some sort of sauce, with the most amazing french fries ever. Chocolate pudding followed as the dessert. I sat with some different people at lunch today and they are all really cool. They are from Germany and Canada. But I did meet two guys from Alaska. That's a first.
Speaking of guys, all of them are super polite and whatnot. If they're sitting at a table with girls, they offer to serve them first. (When we come in for meals, the food is already on the table.) Not to say that the guys back home aren't polite; it's just different.
We had an hour or so after lunch to do whatever, so I took my guitar to the benches outside of the chapel and had my own praise and worship session. It was pretty rad.
At two, we all met in front of the main building to go on a hike up to a ski hill. It took about an hour to get up there. Some parts of the hike were really easy, but toward the end, it was all steep and uphill. I'll be feeling that in my quads tomorrow. The hike was really cool because I got to get to know more people. Mostly, people are either from Germany or Canada, eh? There's probably five or so of us that are from the States. It's cool though because I love hearing about their culture. And I think it's neat when they ask me to help them with their English. There's this girl named Marie, and she's cool. Her name sounds a lot cooler when she says it in her German accent.
I bet you just tried to say it like that.
So we just got back from the hike and everyone is really tired and sore. I am especially tired because I woke up last night and stayed awake for two hours. Yikes. Hopefully that won't happen again tonight.

I forgot to mention something earlier - as we were hiking back, a thorn poked my pinky and it stung for a while. Now it just hurts.
For dinner tonight, we had ham and swiss cheese sandwiches with baked oatmeal for dessert. My favorite was the baked oatmeal, surprisingly. They had this natural yogurt with strawberry jam in it to go with the oatmeal, but I decided against it. Normally, I'm not a big fan of ham, unless it's on a #1 at Firehouse Subs. Mmm.
We had two hours of nothing to do after dinner before we had to meet up again. I got my laptop and went to the internet room,  but it was full so I went down to the Bik (the room above the chapel). It gets wireless internet. I video chatted with Alyson, Kaydee, Karam, Brent, and a few others. It was really good to see them all again. It started to lag after a little bit, and I wanted to take a nap, so I went back to my dorm.
Before I left for the Bik, Madeleine (from Germany), one of my roommates, asked if she could play my guitar, so I said sure. When I came back from the Bik, there was a small group of German girls with my guitar and someone else's singing and playing praise and worship on the floor of my dorm. So much for that nap. But it was neat to hear them praise God in German.
At 7:30, we met back in the chapel for some "Get to Know You" games. They were fun,  even though I still can't remember half of the people's names. I guess I shouldn't expect that on my second day.
So that's basically all that  happened today. Oh, and I uploaded some pictures on Facebook so people can sort of see what I've been up to.
I am really excited to see what God has planned for me while I'm here in Holsby.

peace, love, and going to class now.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day One-ish

I am going to be journaling every night and posting what I've written on blogger every day at some point. Last night, I did the opposite. I blogged and then I wrote in my journal. So yesterday's blog is my Day One entry.

I can still use iChat and Skype and stuff so I will be getting on periodically throughout the day to see if you are on. If you see me, IM me! I miss you all so much and would love to talk to you.

backwards, and love, peace.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

First Impressions

The plane ride went really well, shockingly enough. I slept great (with a little help from Tylenol PM), and the food wasn't horrible (but it was worse than Cathcart). We landed in Stockholm at about 11am here, which would be 5am where you guys are. We rented a car and drove to Vetlanda, which is about four hours south. I got to shower at the hotel room my mom and Denis have, so it was good to be able to get clean before I met 50 of my peers.

And now, here I am at Holsby Brunn Bible School, just finished playing a game of Apples to Apples while getting to know some people. They seem pretty cool. I met two guys from England, one from Austria, one guy and three girls from Canada, a girl from California, and I don't remember where the others are from. Everyone's accents are neat.

It's about 10:49pm here, 4:49pm there. I have no idea what the schedule is because I got here late (big surprise), but everyone else does so maybe I'll catch on.

Expectations for the next three months:
-To be pulled way out of my comfort zone
-To fully experience God
-To be open to what God wants me to experience
-To make a ton of friends
-To not be overcome with distractions
-To learn to trust God more

So far, that's all I can come up with, but maybe I'll add more later.

peace, love, and halfway around the world.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hotlanta's not so hot, after all

Hello everyone. Would you like to hear about my day so far? I guess that's why you're reading this thing, isn't it?

I couldn't sleep very well last night, because I was nervous. You know, the whole Sweden thing? Yeah, that's definitely happening right now. Neat. I was only hoping to get an hour and a half of sleep. I'm glad it worked out. So I had to get up at 3:30am, but since I was awake by 2:30am, why not just get up then? So I got out of bed and the first thing my mom does is bombarde me with questions. For those of you that know me fairly well, you'll know I'm not a morning person. After dealing with that, I got everything else packed up that I hadn't already put in my suitcase.

So one of Denis' neighbors drove us to the airport and we checked our bags and went to get a quick breakfast and go through security. At 5:15am. By the time we finished eating, the plane was ready for boarding.

A little over an hour later, we landed in Hotlanta. From here, we had a 12 hour layover and had nothing to do. In the Atrium at Atlanta Airport, there are a ton of comfortable chairs and couches to catch some Z's on. Unfortunately, all the couches were taken, but we found three chairs next to each other. We had another breakfast, and then I fell asleep in the chair. (I didn't mention this before, but when I was still at home, I had breakfast, so I ended up having 3 breakfasts today.) About two hours of me sleeping in a chair, I woke up, and we decided we didn't want to be doing this for the rest of the layover. So we went to a near by hotel and got a room, and now my mom is sleeping on one bed, I'm on the other typing this blog and watching old Full House reruns, and Denis is at the desk working.

All in all, it's been a pretty uneventful trip so far, but this is just the beginning.

I miss you all already.

peace, love, and freezing cold hotel rooms.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fear of Blogging

Ok, so I'm not exactly afraid of posting my thoughts. I was just trying to be creative with a blog title. I've realized that nine out of ten blog titles don't actually go with my blog. I think I subconsciously do that on purpose.

Last night was my last Alive before I head off to Sweden. Tonight was my last Pipeline. I am overwhelmed with mixed emotions; what with Sennit, Kenny's family, me leaving the country, and now Sayra's situation. My heart aches for all of these people that are dealing with cancer or deaths in the family. Know that I'm praying for you guys. Keep lookin' up.

So today is Wednesday. I leave for Sweden on Friday. Kind of a scary thought. It didn't really hit me how far away I was actually going until I was on the phone with Cory tonight. He doesn't really like the fact that I'll be so far away, but he's trying to support me, and I appreciate that. It was after that thought crossed my mind that I realized how much I'm going to miss everyone. So I thought I'd write some notes for people. If you know they don't read my blog, please get it to them somehow. Thanks.

It's been so awesome getting to know you over the past few weeks. I love the fact that you're from England and how you still have the accent. I'm fascinated by it. I'm going to miss you a lot when I leave, but I'll still be able to check email and whatnot, so feel free to say hey. I know what you're going through is tough, and if you check my comment on your other blog, you'll see what I mean by that. I love you, and I'll send you pictures from Sweden so you can do cool stuff to them =)

It's bad when you're bigger than the ice cream truck. We need to read that book! Haha, I love your purple pants. I'm glad we got to go shopping together so I could convince you to get them. I'm glad you're coming to see me tomorrow because I'm going to miss you a lot. I have loved hanging out with you and being your Bud E. I'm not going to say goodbye because I'm not going to be gone that long, so don't be sad. You have been such an encouragement to me since the day I met you. You are upbeat joyful, and that rubs off on the people around you. Thanks for being someone I can always lean on when I don't know what to do, or if I just need to vent. Love you!

I love that we've been meeting together the past few weeks to just get to know each other better. It's really helped me get a different view on some things that we've talked about. Thank you for being so trustworthy. Sorry we couldn't meet this week, although I really wish we could've. We will just have to continue with it when I get back! See you soon.

Jahid, Hamee, and Karam,
I love you guys so much. You are like my younger siblings. I love how we can goof off with each other and just have fun. Thank you for being so accepting of me. I'm really going to miss hearing one of Jahid's inventions, Hamee's snide remarks, and playing the HSM2 game with Karam. You guys mean so much to me. See you when I get back.

SISSSSSTERRRRR! Ah, what more can I say? So I pretty much love the fact that I can relate to you so easily. I love how we have so many inside jokes, but can't remember one of them. Thanks for being my tubing buddy, even though I hit you off one of those times. But it was fun doing cartwheels across the water with you. I don't know if you realize this, but I look up to you in a lot of ways. Sometimes, you can approach situations a lot more mature than I can. You're always open to hearing other people's opinions about things, even though you may act like you don't want to, you still listen and consider them. Thank you for putting up with me, even though I can be completely and utterly annoying - just like a little sister. You mean a lot to me and don't take that lightly. You have kind of stepped up as my best friend in my book. I know you're dealing with a lot, but know that I'll always be here for you, even if I'm on the other side of the world. Don't ever hesitate to email me or something. I love you sister!

I don't even know where to start. You are such a blessing to me. Beth saw it coming, but I had no idea that we would actually end up together. I thank God for you every day. The thing is, we've argued and taken our frustration out on each other and then we've had great days where nothing went wrong. But at the end of every day, you still remind me that you love me, just to make sure I know. Thank you for supporting me even though it's been hard for you. I know it has, and it means so much that you still want me to do what I think I need to do. Thank you for encouraging me from the very beginning, even if you don't think you did a good job, you have. Thank you for putting God first in our relationship and being the spiritual leader of it. You are truly a great guy, and I'm just a lucky girl. Thank you for everything you've given me and done for me. I miss you, baby.

Ok, I know I have a biological mother that I live with and who takes care of me, but thanks for being my other mom. Thank you for relating to me from the very beginning. Thank you for treating me like one of your own kids and taking me in. I've known you for four years now and through all four of those years, you've been there for me through it all. I've been through some of my toughest times with you always available to talk or to listen. Thank you for helping me face my fears and reminding me I'm not alone in this world. Thank you for loving me and dealing with me when I complain or when I'm completely thrilled and can't shut up. Thanks for buying me a tray so my food won't touch. Thanks for pushing me to step up in my faith and to step up in leadership. I'm glad you did. Thank you for including me in your life. Thank you for letting me come over and watch Psych on Friday nights, and for staying up with me to play Rock Band, even when you're exhausted. Thank you for getting on my case when I need a swift kick in the pants. Thank you for cheering me on in everything I do. I miss you and I love you, mom.

Golly. I hope I don't cry. So I have this ringtone for you. Every time you call me, "Cinderella" by SCC plays on my phone. My dad certainly hasn't been there for me most of my life and it's torn me apart in many ways. I thought I would never have anyone to look up to like I look up to you. Thank you for acting as the father figure in my life. You have seen me be the happiest I could be, and you've seen me completely fall apart before your eyes. You've seen me at my highest points and my lowest. You've shown me what having a dad can be like. And, right on cue, the tears start falling. Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for loving me like a daughter, and treating me as such. Thank you for thinking of me and praying for me. Having you and Beth in my life is probably one of the best things that's ever happened to me, and I hope you two realize that. Thank you for believing in me and helping me move forward in my walk. Thank you for reflecting God in everything you do, in every decision you make. Thank you so much for accepting me and encouraging me to be who I am. I love you, dad.

peace, love, and sappy notes.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pray for Sennit

I've known Sennit for four years now. We have been such good friends for these four years. There was always something about him that stuck out, something that I was always slightly envious of. I have always looked up to him for his outstanding faith and trust in God. To be honest, I don't know how he does it. There have been times when he's gone through some pretty rough stuff, but every time we would talk about it, he would always say how he is just trusting God and that God knows what he's doing. But not only did he talk about that, he acted it out. I've not only noticed his trust in God when he speaks, but also in all he does. He is always looking for ways to praise God in what he does. And then I feel sorry for myself because I doubt sometimes, or I stray.

Well, something that I have been thinking about today is that Sennit might be in the hospital with a brain tumor, but one thing is for darn sure - he is still praising God. In his pain and suffering, he is still praising God. And I know that he would want us to be doing the same thing, because no matter what the outcome is, he will be praising God, and so should we. Yes, things are definitely hard now and there have been many tears shed and many more to come, but God is still in control. God knows what he's doing, and Sennit knows that, so we should know that too. Trust God. Have faith in him. Pray for Sennit.

peace, love, and praying for Sennit.