Thursday, December 9, 2010


Last Sunday was the second advent and in celebration we made traditional Swedish buns called Lussebullar! Swedes bake a lot together before Christmas, freeze everything, then open it up on Christmas (SO MUCH FOOD.)

So first you roll the dough into a shape like this:

Then you curl it up like this:

You put two raisins on the bun like this and then they are ready to bake!

They turn out like this:

Let me just tell you they are SO delicious. There is a special spice in them called "saffran" which my host dad said is worth more than gold! It comes from inside a flower or something. They are very expensive to buy so baking them is cheaper and so much fun! We had christmas music playing and it was snowing outside, aahhhh I loved it. Next weekend we are meeting up with another family to make A LOT of Swedish candy for christmas I'm so excited. On Saturday I have my christmas concert and then Monday is Lucia so except a huge post all about that!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Håkan Hellström

Var är du Ikväll?

November 13th 2010. Hovet. Stockholm Sweden.
The night I saw Håkan Hellström live, a dream come true. With camera and ticket in hand Astrid and I went down to Globen arenas. I bought a black Håkan shirt and she bought a cute bag with him playing guitar on it. We went inside the semi-huge arena super super taggade (word in swedish which means like WOOO GET READYYY EXCITEDDLALAL)
Håkan Hellström is a swedish artist from Göteborg with an interesting voice and heart felt lyrics in every song. I've known about him for a while now and my host family knew I liked him when they picked me to be their exchange student. So as a surprise they gave Astrid and me tickets. The concert was completely sold out and every person who was lucky enough to get a ticket was so excited and at the end was so thankful. He played all his big hits and some off his new CD released just last week called "2 steg från paradise"

The best moment was when he played "Nu Kan du få mig så lätt" (Now you can get me so easily) It is one of my all time favorite songs and it was the only song I could sing the lyrics to perfectly. It was so beautiful live and the whole building was singing along. It was really an experience.
I hope I get to see him again not only is he fun to watch live the whole crowd makes his concert experience unforgettable.
I will post a video blog soon of the concert!


Thursday, November 4, 2010


I went Öland (A southern Swedish island) over the weekend and it was absolutely beautiful!

My host family has a summer home there so my host dad, host sister, host cousin, and me all went out. My host mom and other sister were in New York! The awesome thing about going to Öland at this time of the year is that it's practically empty. It's a summer island so in the fall barely anyone lives there. It was so peaceful. a bit chilly but I didn't mind.

I also went to the Borgholm castle! It was so crazy to go into a REAL castle. See in Europe they think it's normal, I was the only one freaking out because we don't have things like this in the U.S. we see these things on Fairytales! It was huge and in the summer they have concerts here. Reminded me of the Lizzie Mcguire movie haha.

The reason why I haven't been blogging so much is, I've been writing a lot more and blogger is becoming such a stupid site and I don't understand it anymore! I will keep trying to post once in a while but the whole layout has changed and uploading pictures is weeeeiiirddd.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cold. Windy. Dark.


I got a new camera! Of course this picture is all blurry and out of focus for a reason, because it's artsy and cool DUH. I'm so glad I have a camera again so I can keep documenting my journey(BUTTT blogspot makes any picture you upload look really bad and small). So a lot has happened since I've really blogged last, well one thing is I'm staying the entire year in Sweden! I have been thinking about this since the day I got here, it would be impossible for me to stay just a semester and get the experience I want. I need to stay here for a year because this is the best decision I've ever made and I would feel like I was quitting if I left at semester. Since I am staying the whole year I had to pick more classes so I will also be taking: Business English, Swedish C (Yeah I know it's crazy but they said it's good for me to listen to the swedish not actually try in the class hahaha), Basic art class, DNA-Technique, psychology (YES, IN SWEDISH), and I think that's all the new ones or atleast all the ones I can remember! A lot of exchange students choose to take all fun classes but I really wanted to get the experience of being a swedish teenager taking what they would usually take. Also it's good because I meet a lot more people in these classes that some have to take to graduate. If I were to just take fun classes I would probably not be with that many people. ANDD anyway I'm in the music program so I have 10 hours of "fun" every week ahhaa. Basically all is good, I love everything here WOO! I'm going to a yfu fika with all the exchange students in the Stockholm area today. We have to have a presentation in Swedish so should be fun!

Monday, October 11, 2010


A guy in my Geography class said something yesterday that made me so happy and realize I actually am good at Swedish. We were all talking about my swedish skillzzz and they kept saying how good my Swedish is for me being here for 2 months and being an American (haha) and I was like nooooo noooooo nooooo I should be better blahblahblah. THEN he goes "Well you're better in Swedish than we are in Spanish and we have been learning it for 5 years!" and I was like he was so right.

I think the secret with learning a language fluently is actually being immersed in the language everyday of every hour. You just CAN'T learn a language in a classroom setting no matter how long or how hard you work. Usually the class will translate everything into your native language. SO WRONG, you need to associate the word with the object not the english word. When you were a baby you didn't learn your native language by your parents translating everything did you? NOOO, they pointed at something and said "TREE" So yeah, I'm trying and this is pretty hard but I'm going to be fluent in Swedish by the end of the year!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gamla Uppsala & The domkyrka!

On Sunday I went to Uppsala with my host family to see one of my host sisters play a Volleyball game. We had a bunch of free time before so we went to Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala) and The Domkryka! I have wanted to do both for a very long time, so this was very awesome for me. Mainly because I read into a lot of Swedish history before I came so I knew what everything was and it was so cool to actually see it all in person. Here are some pictures of my day (:

Friday, September 24, 2010

I'm so happy here

So it's 9 in the morning here, one of my awesome friends Matilda is asleep beside me, and I'm just thinking about how happy I am. I don't know how to explain it, type it, or video blog it (haha). I've never been this happy, I feel like I belong here. I actually want to hang out with my friends here every day and never be in the house. I actually want to go to school. Exchange was the best decision I ever made. I just wanted to update and tell you I'm simply happy.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

So I´m on a school computer in Sweden and I can get on facebook! They don´t block anything it´s fantastic! So everyone on break just comes in here and gets on facebook and plays games. Another reason why Sweden is awesome.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Running, Marabou, and girl night!

So yesterday I went running and I didn't stop the whole way. I ran from my house, all around the Edsviken trail, AND BACK. I have never done that. I just didn't need to stop like I usually do. I guess it's because of how healthy I'm eating, I have no idea but it was awesome. Even though I'm eating really healthy here I eat too much Marabou. For those of you that don't know Marabou is basically the best chocolate in the world. I'm being dead serious. Since it's Swedish it's EVERYWHERE. You get addicted and there are so many flavors! I don't know if I have gained weight or lost weight they don't have a scale here so I'm lost lol. Last night Astrid and me decided not to go out like we usually do and we just had a good old girl night. Movies, boy talk, and junk food. It was nice to just relax and not have to dress up or anything. Tilda and Astrid are already like my sisters it's really nice because I have never had sisters and I actually like it! Astrid and me borrow each others clothes and Tilda is SO funny. I will have a post later on about all the hilarious stuff Tilda does everyday. Well that's it for now, I'm going to go Fika with YFU. It's like a Stockholm gathering with all the exchange students and their families.
Hej då!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cookies, English, and Camp!

So tonight my host sister Astrid and me made swedish chocolate chip cookies! We had to make them for my music camp this weekend. All the grade 1 students have to bake something, and in return we get pranked throughout the whole camp by the upperclassmen (: AWESOME! I already heard a rumor I'm getting the fil milk prank, and I hate FIL!! It's the only thing I hate in Sweden. It's like this sour yogurt people eat in their cereal, basically it's gross. I'm so excited for camp, since Matilda, Astrid, Jakob, and Susanna will be there along with other awesome music people it will be lots of fun. You want to know something crazy? I failed my english test, in Sweden, I know it's pathetic. Good thing it wasn't for a grade. My english class is actually very difficult. The whole class is in english, it's seriously like a college level class it's not like the class where you LEARN english. I wasn't expecting that at all. I'm excited though because I like the people in that class and I get to do a presentation next week about where I live and my thoughts about Sweden so far for the class. We are about to read a book called "Rape, a love story" and then we might watch American Pie (what the heck? LOOOL) Anyway, I'm busy and I love it here more than anything. It's a challenge and it's SO much fun.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

School has started!

So i've been to school for almost a week now and I can't really describe it. It's a scary/love kinda thing. This school is HUGE I don't think I understood what 2600 people really is. It's also shocking because my school at home which has about 1500 is bigger than this school. So the first day I pretty much had major culture shock. I have Geography (which is my favorite class), English, Spanish 3 (I know, what the heck.), and music! I have already made a lot of friends but the sucky part is, when I'm on break most of them are either in a class or having lunch so I had to sit in the library ALONE looking like a FOOL. Then Johanna came and saved me because she got off class early. I think that situation will get better once I make even MORE friends. Everyone here is so pretty it's insane blonde, blue eyes, fashionable. You can NEVER wear sweats to a Swedish school, you ALWAYS have to dress up. I really like the teachers here because you call them by their first name, they actually become your friends and you build a relationship so you can succeed, and most of them dress and act like teenagers. I'm going to Märsta this weekend to hang out with a girl from my school and some new girls who also go to my school, should be fun! Then next weekend is the music camp which I'm really excited for.

Hej då!

Friday, August 20, 2010

This my friends is the view I get to see everyday on my bike ride. It is SO beautiful here, a camera can't even begin to capture the beauty.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm here!

(So now that I know my parents and my family read my blog it's super weird, if you know my Tumblr then go there haha)
ANYWAY, I've been here for 9 days and I already love it. Getting here was pretty easy except for the Frankfurt Airport, it was SOO confusing and we almost didn't make our gate. When I landed in Sweden I didn't believe it, when I went into Arlanda airport I didn't believe it, when I drove to camp I didn't believe it, and when I met my host family I didn't believe it. That's what every exchange student at the intro camp told me as well. It feels like I'm on vacation or something. Intro camp was a lot of fun, at the beginning I just wanted to get out and go to my host family. Then after I got over jet lag I had a lot of fun and I miss it now! I met kids from Thailand, Japan, China, Germany, Estonia, Slovakia, Ecuador, Finland (? I don't know why she was there haha), and more! Now I've been with my host family for a little over a week and they are amazing. They took me to Allsång at Skansen on Tuesday. Skansen is like a little Sweden theme park it's hard to explain but it's so cool, its all of Sweden in Stockholm. Allsång is a TV program that goes on in the summer and has been going on for 50 years or something. It's like a community sing? Where a bunch of swedes come and sing swedish songs and it's actually very popular now with the teenagers. I think we were on TV I don't know haha. I went to my first Swedish party with one of my host sisters. I went shopping and got SUPERR high heels from a place called skorett and a cute sweater from H&M (of course) and today I'm going shopping again but alone because I don't start school till Friday now! Well I'll update soon again!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Goodbyes are not forever, goodbyes are not the end.

It's the night before I leave and I've already shed some tears. I really never thought it would be this hard, I'm going to miss A LOT of people. I still don't feel like I'm leaving tomorrow to a new country for 6 months. It just feels like another normal night that will be followed by another normal morning. I think it will become real when I get to Sweden, I have no idea. I don't know what I'm feeling right now it's a mix of emotions, it's like one big emotion with all these little emotions. I hope everything goes smoothly at the airport tomorrow and I don't cry TOO much.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


So first off I have 2 days left in the states, 2 DAYS! I remember at the beginning of the year every day in school would just go by so slowly and every month would feel like a year. These last few weeks have flown by! It's probably due to how busy we have been. It's a lot of work getting ready for exchange I really never thought it would be this much. Today was a big packing day, we got the majority of the packing done and my checked suitcase came to 32 pounds WITH everything I wanted to bring! That's so crazy, I thought it would be at least 20 pounds over. The suitcase itself was seriously like 3 pounds(BEING FOR REALLLLL). It's so awesome because it was the only one on sale at Macys and it is SO light. It also seems very durable and it's HUGE. Dream come true right? Haha well I will update the night before I leave! Wow this is all happening so fast, I'm excited/nervous/curious.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Rubeck Valfrihetens Gymnasium!

I have my school placement! I will be attending Rudbeck Gymnasium, with 2000 students and one of Stockholm's most popular schools. I'm beyond excited, I have been stalking the school website ( for days now. It looks like such a nice school. Since I will be in the music program at Rudbeck I have to take a music test that involves both singing and music theory. I'm a bit nervous for the music theory but I am going to practice with some of my old choir friends who are really good at that stuff. I will be walking about 5 minutes every day to the bus stop and then from there it will be about 10 minutes to school. I have never taken public transportation in my life so this will be a good change. Rudbeck is in my town (Sollentuna) which is really nice. There is even an exchange student there right now from Australia who I will know, I probably won't see her or be in her class but I'm happy I will at least know one person kind of. Every day I'm getting more and more information and it's getting more and more real. I'm nervous about everything but so excited, I leave August 1oth. Wow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

So much STRESS

There is so much to do before I leave. I have to finish my online Geometry course, there are 6 lessons, I'm on number 2, and I have to take the final test before I leave. I have to finish summer school which is all of June. Oh and of course I have work :/ Everything is stressing me out! I also have to start getting ready to pack and gather up everything I need. I'm so worried I won't get everything done. I'm stressing out and I just need to CALM down and take each day as it comes. That is so much harder than it sounds.

Monday, May 31, 2010

I have my host family!

AHHHHHH! So basically this post is a little late, but I will tell you the whole story! It was 11:45 p.m. and I was at a party with my cousin Joanna. We were all playing Rock Band when I hear my phone ring it was a text from my mom. "Graceanne! Come home you have been placed!" Everyone says when they first find out they don't believe it, I for sure didn't. The first thought in my head was "someone actually picked me? ME?!" ahaha, then I forced Joanna to take me home early. I ran inside the house and my mom handed me the paper. I'm going to be living in Sollentuna Sweden a suburb of Stockholm. I have two younger sisters 14 and 11. My host parents are both civil engineers and they are so cool! They all go skiing, golfing, shopping, and so many other awesome things. I still can't believe one: that I finally found out and not the day I left and two: that I'm going to Sweden! It's all so real now, and I couldn't be more excited! Time to pack!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ah! So I went to the Swedish YFU website today ( and they had my name on the front page! This makes me happy, maybe this will help with a faster host family placement (: It's also cool because they picked my name out of like 58 other exchange students also coming to Sweden.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

YFU pre-departure orientation!

Wow! So I just got back from the Pre-departure/re-entry orientation and it was so much fun! I have been bummed lately due to the fact that I don't have a host family yet. This orientation just made me feel so happy (I'm lame I know). There was only one kid out of us all who had a host family so I wasn't the only one. Everyone was so nice and fun, there were the American exchange students who are leaving and the International students who are going back home. First we all ate and it was kind of awkward until we made introductions and all got to know each other. After we all talked for a bit all the American students went into a room and we talked about everything from the meaning of culture to how we could deal with difficult things in our host country. All the information was very useful and I wasn't bored at all. Then we went back to where the international kids were and talked with them for a while and asked questions. Then I had my first real in person encounter with a Swede! I have to say it was very Swedish! He was very nice and I'm glad there was a Swede so I could ask a billion questions. All in all it was so much fun and I met some amazing people I know I'm going to stay in contact with. This just gets me more and more excited for August and meeting even more amazing people!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


It's so awesome how you can meet the most amazing people through the internet. For the past few weeks I have met some awesome people who are going through the same exchange experience as me. We all can relate and we all get along so well. Sometimes the people who are the farthest away can be the greatest of friends (:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


This will be short and sweet,

I am able to get all the credits needed for Sweden with my school!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Host Families

Going to get straight to the point. I want to find out who my host family is going to be NOW! At the same time I read a post on the culture shocked board that was talking about early and late host family placement. A girl asked something around the lines of "Since my information is the first to be sent to my exchange country won't I get a better host family?" Then a woman who worked for that company said "No that doesn't matter." She went on to explain that some of the best host families who consider hosting take it very seriously and will wait to pick until the deadline. They have the mind set that what if we choose to early and a better student that fits with us more comes along, we already picked. This is another thing I'm now worrying about! I mean I want to know now but if it's too early how will I know I got the best family for my personality? Or what if it's super late because they had to find me a family quickly?! AAAHHH. I just need to shut up and be happy for whatever is going to happen!

Monday, February 22, 2010


Today was the day, the day I had been waiting for. I have been approved by YFU to go abroad to Sweden for the 2010-2011 fall semester! I have never been more excited and nervous at the same time in my life! This all started last August when I wanted to go see Princess Victoria of Sweden get married in the summer of 2010. I had always been fascinated by Sweden and Swedish culture since I was little. So seeing the princess of Sweden get married?! That would be crazy! My parents are very open people about new things I want to do they are also very protective and practical which has its pros and cons. My dad thought it would be a good experience to go overseas for a few weeks with him and my mom wasn't opposed. The more I started thinking about how I have loved Sweden since I was young and how I wanted something new and exciting I thought "foreign exchange" now when something big like this comes to my head POW I go to my handy dandy macbook. I search in "foreign exchange companies" now thinking back that probably wasn't the best idea because I almost got caught in some bad companies! Anyway, I looked up some stuff asked my parents and their first response EVER to this idea "No?" Ha. After months of convincing, talking, meeting with former exchange students, talking to different companies, figuring out oodles of details here I am. This is too crazy. I'm PUMPED.