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.