the premiere.


summer weather has arrived in sweden!! and you know what that means, right?! yep. flip flops! my favorite shoes to wear (or not wear, since that’s part of the point for me. hehe.)

anyway… after our day of business & work was over, lina and i put on summer clothes, grabbed a blanket & books, and headed to a sunny, warm park. and i wore my flip flops to get there. yes!

oh how i looove summer weather!

peace out.

just a little walk.

it’s a beautifully sunny evening in norrköping. the sky is bright blue. the sun is golden. the trees are now dark green. the air is warm, yet crisp (when the wind blows, or when you happen to find yourself walking through some shade). it is amazing here in sweden when the weather is good. but, i am inside right now. just had some dinner, and ready to settle in with a glass of wine and a little tv watching soon. sounds rough, huh?

today i’ve re-learned a lesson that i seem to have to re-learn over and over again in my life. i think i’m usually aware of it, but somehow the universe always seems to want to remind me again.

here’s the thing. i wrote last weekend that we were going to have a BBQ saturday, and that we did. but, we did it on a cold, windy, and blah weather saturday. not the sunny, warm-ish day we were “promised” by the weather people. hmpf. we (well, not exactly me. hehe) grilled our food outside, but ate inside. it was still cozy & nice, but different from what i had expected. however, the halloumi cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, & corn from the grill tasted like summer. the glass of wine was refreshing. and the company was fun & funny. so, all in all, it was a great afternoon/evening.

after waiting all day on saturday for the sun to come out (as predicted) and it not happening, i was prepared for a chilly, rainy day of movies and laziness at home on sunday. but, that didn’t happen either. by late morning sunday, when i finally rolled myself out of bed, the sun was shining and there was blue sky with big, puffy clouds. ok. wrong prognosis again. we went downtown and then to lina’s grandparents’ for a mother’s day fika (sweden’s mother’s day was yesterday). again, it was an enjoyable, unexpected afternoon.

this weekend reminded me how important it is to seize the moment! we can’t predict what will happen tomorrow. we have no idea what the weather will be like, or if another opportunity to do something we love/dream of will present it’s self to us again in the future. so, every minute… LIVE life to the fullest! if the sun is shining, take that walk you want to. if you have the time, meet up with a friend. just do it. whatever it is, do it! don’t think that you have tomorrow, live for today. live for this moment. grab onto life. do what you really want. live your passion. take a leap of faith.  dream. stop & smell the roses. and trust your soul.

so, today. i did just that. after school, it was so beautiful, that i took a long, out-of-the-way walk home.  come along now, take a look around, & walk with me….

seize the day. peace.

det blir bättre.

sometimes there are good programs on tv. important ones. ones that can make a difference.

tonight lina and i watched the last episode of  “det blir bättre” (it gets better). for the past 6 weeks this show has featured six people (one per episode) who have shared their stories, their experiences, and their struggles in life so that others might find a little hope. these 6 people have conquered their fears, battled the demons in their pasts, and come to live full, amazing lives… and their purpose on this show was to share with all children, teens, and adults that no matter how bad it gets, we are all strong enough to make it through. we can face our fears, talk about our struggles, and find our ways out of the darkness and into the light. it gets better. det blir bättre.

this past fall, in the USA, there were many suicides due to bullying. it seemed like it was story after story, teen after teen, all giving up hope because they were afraid, isolated, and made to feel that they were worthless and never going to get out of the situations in which they found themselves. so, they gave up. and they took their own lives. every day, all around the world teenagers and children (and adults) face the same dilemma: how to find the strength to hold on one more day when it just doesn’t seem like things will ever change. they will always be teased. they will always be an outsider. they will never find a job. they will never be accepted. they will never feel safe…. so many of us feel these suffocating feelings. perhaps even you feel hopeless some days. i know i do. i have.

but, we don’t have to.

Joel Burns is a city council member from texas who took time during one council/town meeting this fall (after hearing of all the tragedies) to share his story of dealing with being a gay teenager and his own personal thoughts of considering suicide at that time in his life. his speech was put on you tube this fall, and it has gone viral. he has become the unofficial spokesperson for the “it gets better” campaign that went around the world. (you can watch his speech here). well, because of joel burns, some people of sweden were inspired make a tv show called “det blir bättre” to share the message of hope with sweden. awesome, i think.

as i watched and listened tonight, i thought about how important it is for us to be real & honest with each other. if we are not being bullied now, perhaps we have been bullied. or abused. or mistreated. or neglected. or just felt hopeless for whatever reason. i am certain that all of us have felt alone, disappointed, and lost at times in our lives. why don’t we learn something from these 6 swedish people in sweden on tv, and from joel burns, and from countless others (famous or not) who have shared their stories of hope … and begin to share our stories too? let’s talk. let’s be honest. let’s share each others’ pain. because we’re all connected. and we can help each other.

why don’t we just talk and listen?


3 days off.

it’s friday night. the end of a busy, somewhat stressful week & the beginning of an american holiday weekend – memorial day weekend, the official beginning of summer!! we’re gonna celebrate here in sweden with a BBQ tomorrow! the weather should be nice – i hope. i’m wishing all you americans a super fun weekend full of sun and fun! welcome, summer!

anyway, here’s how i’m ending the week and beginning the weekend. oh yeah.



the wine: victoria riesling.  the movie: i am sam (how the heck have i never seen this before?!).

happy weekend! peace.


 nya rådstugugatan. my street. my home.

yep. it’s late and  i’m now home. it’s been a long, but really, really great day. there are some days that i can speak swedish, and some days i can’t. i have no idea why things happen that way. but, today i was freaking on fire. i think i may have even turned a little corner… it feels like i spoke more swedish than ever before. the swedish switch just turned on in my brain, and i went crazy. in school. at my internship. for an interview/survey on the phone. it felt so natural today. loooove that! maybe i can do this after all!

i’ve been thinking a lot today about fighting. not the violent kind of fighting between people, but fighting as in working hard, not giving up. it began this morning at 8:15 when i walked past an old man, maybe 80 years old or so, who was standing on the sidewalk outside of an apartment building, holding a brown paper bag. just as i passed him and looked into his eyes, he pulled a flask of vodka out of the bag and took a big gulp, still looking at me. i walked on, but i thought about him still… what was his story? had he lost all hope in his life & turned to drinking to help him forget all that is wrong and bad? was he trying to cover up his pain? had he given up fighting for his life and was stuck now just drowning his sorrows with vodka at 8:15 in the morning on a sidewalk? oh, i felt so sad for him.

and then, there are all my fellow swedish students… all fighting to learn a new language and adjust to a new life & society. some having to fight harder than others. some are alone, isolated, and depressed. some have tons of support and opportunities. still, all have their own battle to fight.

this afternoon & evening at my internship i was able to be a part of 2 conversations with 2 young adults. it was so amazing to get to listen to & talk with them some about their lives, their struggles, and even their dreams/plans. both of them must fight, as we all do, to keep living and growing and learning, hoping to continue to become better people and make a difference wherever we are.

but, now, i’m home. it’s quiet, calm, and peaceful. i’ve had tons of inspiration and thoughts rolling around in my head all day (in swedish, of course. hehe.) soon i am headed to bed. but first, i just needed to let the events of the day sink in a little and become part of me. for a few hours now, i get to sleep and lay to rest all of my fights. and then, i wake again tomorrow. ready to face a new day & it’s challenges, struggles, joys, laughter, and tears. in the morning i’ll be ready to pick myself back up and resume my fight… the fight to be free and to be true to myself, the fight to be sunshine in a sometimes dark, cold world, the fight to treat all people with equality, respect, and acceptance, and the fight to always look for the joy in every single moment of life. but for now, i’m safe at home.

peace to you all.

9:00 pm.

it’s tuesday night and we’re having a cozy night at home ’cause we feel so tired. we did manage to find just enough energy to make a tasty dinner (that lina created. she’s so good at that!). now. we’re watching some tv and headed to bed pretty soon, i think. feels a little weird to be going to bed when it’s not quite dark out yet, though. but, that’s spring/summer in sweden! (which i love.) and it is certainly amazingly nice to wake up to big time sunshine (provided it’s sunny, of course) every morning.

this morning i woke up feeling a little bit anxious… i had the first 3 parts of my last SFI test (swedish for immigrants). if i passed everything (and also pass the 4th part that i take on friday), then i will have completed the swedish course! oh yeah. don’t think i’m fluent, though. i’m not. not by a long shot. but i can carry on a conversation now and read almost everything. yep. i think everything went pretty well today. i feel pretty confident!

i must admit that passing/completing this test makes me think that we are one step closer to coming to NC for our summer vacation. i’m thinking of this next month as a series of little steps before we take that step off the plane in NJ, make it through customs, & see my parents! but, before that happens, there’s a bunch of stuff ahead in the near future. the next 4 weeks are jam-packed with lots and lots of activities and busy times, and it’s really good stuff too… 2 trips to stockholm, a friend visiting us from ireland, 4 weeks & 2 weekends of working (internship), a new baby in the family in the next week or 2, and finishing school. phu. lots to do. have i forgotten anything? all the busy-ness feels good, though. there’s something about spring/the coming of summer that gives you more energy & motivation.

still, i must be sure to slow down when i can & be aware of what’s happening. you know enjoy the moments & take advantage of the beautiful swedish weather. i must take time to read something inspiring, or write, everyday. i must try to reflect on the little things that happen every day that make life extraordinary & wonderful, which i have just done for today. but for now, tuesday is coming to close over here in western europe. it’s time to rest and time to wish you a wonderful wednesday.


sunny sunday.

aaahhhh… how amazing the weather was today! i slept late and woke to find the sun shining brightly. so, i opened the windows, made a pot of coffee, & surfed the internet from the cozy bed. eventually it was time to drag myself out from under the covers & away from the pillows and begin the day. first on the agenda: a clean apartment. lina and i turned on some music and made everything squeaky clean and smellin’ fresh. then, we went downtown to meet a friend for fika, grabbed iced vanilla lattes (yummy!!!) and muffins (yummy again!) and went to sit by the river in the warm sun. then, we headed back to the apartment for a quick tour for our friend, and soon we were off again. on days like this, it’s impossible to stay inside. you simply must take advantage of the beautiful weather whenever it’s happening. i think it goes back to that whole it’s dark, snowy, and cold for 5 months straight. when there’s warm sun, get outside! anyway, we admit that we now have a sunday tradition: beer at our neighborhood pub. so, that’s where we headed. but, we were about 30 minutes to early, so we decided to kill some time in a close-by park by the river. i know. poor me. more time in the sun. hehe. we joined plenty of other people who were relaxing in the green grass, soaking up the sun. enough time passed, the sun started to hide behind some clouds, so we headed to the pub. tried a new spanish beer, sat in some comfy outdoor seating, and talked about life… perfect. we ended the day back at home with some amazing halloumi cheese burgers and some time in front of the tv.

they keep saying on the weather that there is going to be thunder and lightening tonight, but it hasn’t started yet. but, i’m hoping for a storm to put me to sleep… cooozy. hope your sunday has been full of sunshine and love.