I keep repeating to myself, “Maggie, work on your Blog! It’s been over a month now since you posted anything and people are probably going to start thinking that you died!” No, I have not died. I’ve just been lazy. Working up the energy to report back home has been difficult, to say the least.
In any exchange, there are several phases: The Honeymoon, The Disillusionment, and the Understanding. IN the Honeymoon phase, everything is epic, amazing, and really cool. The feeling is akin to waking up on Christmas morning. I was never in this stage. I bypassed it straight into Disillusionment. In Disillusionment, everything is terrible. Nothing works out, you don’t understand anything, and little problems seem twice as large. I was there when I got here. Not used to being out of control was really a shocker for me. I think I’m through that stage. Now I’m in the awkward in-between. Understanding is when the culture starts to make sense, the language comes, and life begins to get easier. I’m at the point of in-between. I believe that I’ve left the Disillusionment and am close to being in the Understanding. However, I’ve run out of energy. One evening, I was dizzy and couldn’t right my world. I had food, water, milk, nothing worked. Finally, I went to bed early. That did the trick. Yet, the fact that I pushed my body to that point frightens me a little bit. Does that help to explain perhaps why I’ve been more than a little sluggish on writing this blog?
So where did I leave off? Ah, yes! We were in October!
Varberg was in October. Varberg is a town about forty minutes away by train. For about five days, all the exchange students, except one, were in a hostel getting ready for the Rotary District Conference. There were about twenty-two of us with the building to ourselves. I’m a little surprised nothing bad happened. We did discover a trap door in the main room that led to a disused cellar. We opened it once; we left it shut for the rest of our stay. While we were there, we prepared for our half hour presentation to Rotary. Lead by Alex and Kiara (Both Aussies), we put together a show. John and Sarah played epic piano pieces, Ryu (Japan) did a demonstration of his martial arts. Felix (Taiwan) played a set of pipes from Taiwan while Konatsu (Japan), and Ryu sang a song in Japanese. Ben (Australia) sang a beautiful rendition of Stars from Les Miserables. I sang Defying Gravity from Wicked. As a group, we sang the Swedish National Anthem. Overall, the weekend in Varberg was awesome! I missed seeing all the exchange students. Even though, I’m terrible at being active in group situations, just being with these people was incredibly relaxing.
The next week, October the 21st arrived. It was my eighteenth birthday. My host parents woke me up to sing Ja, må du leva. They gave me two ABBA CD’s, which I’m listening to now, a Dalahäst, and a ticket to see Sunset Boulevard. My host Grandparents sent me a birthday card, as did my Grandfather. Later that evening, I was performing in a concert. The band director, before we started playing, introduced a stand-in bassoon player and me. He said that I was from Canada, and the school’s only oboe player. Year’s before, if the school needed an oboe, they hired a professional to play. I was flatter. Until he went on to that that day was also my birthday. Fan (Swedish swear). We performed; I survived my solos; and went home. It was a good birthday.
Moving on in the month, Jeff (Australia) tried one day to arrange a day in the massive gardens downtown. That didn’t work because it was raining. Instead, we went to the movies. We watched The Social Network. I thought it was a well done film. Afterwards, Taylor and Alex both went home. The rest of us went out for sushi. When we were finished, it was time for Kiara to go home as well. John went home as well. Those of us still there went over to ICA. Arianna, Jeff and I bought pizza. So did everyone else still left. We ran to Jeff’s house, cooked up the pizza’s and watched a Chuck Norris film. It was a good day.
Autumn break came and went. I went with Karin and Maja to Skåne and Köpenham. In other words, I went to the South of Sweden and Copenhagen. Yeah, I was in Copenhagen. And I got pictures. They will be up on FaceBook by the end of the week. Sweden kept on surprising me the whole trip. The land was flat. Almost as flat as my homeland. It was missing mountains, but it had an ocean to make up for it. We went one day to the town of Lund. It’s a university town with a massive cathedral. We probably spent about an hour in the cathedral. Being in there felt like taking a step back in time. That evening we were in Malmö. The next day, Copenhagen! While we were there, we watched the changing of the guard, went through Christiana, climbed the spire of a cathedral, went into the museum of the late queen, walked along the wharf, as that jazz. It was an amazing trip. XD
I discovered over the last two weeks that I can get angry. Usually when people insult me, it just rolls right off. Those kinds of things never really bothered me. But this one time, I really got angry. Someone I had considered a friend, in a backhanded way, made me seem base and as low as an animal. He insulted me big time. Not just me, either. He also insulted one of my other friends here. Yes I was mad. I had never been quite as infuriated as I was then. She and I one night cornered him. We demanded answers. All I wanted was my pound of flesh. I got it. I discovered as well that I can stand up for myself. If I was back in Calgary and this had happened, one of two things could have happened: I would have shoved it under a rug and forgotten about it; or I would have told Matt (older brother), and he would have ‘fixed’ the problem. But this time, I took care of this problem myself. I can forgive, I told him, but I will not forget. Where does this leave us? Right where we started: Strangers. I felt really good after I confronted him. It felt like I had popped a blister and all the pressure is now gone.
To my belief, that’s pretty well all the major events that happened over the last month and a bit.
Take care! And Hej Då!