Tuesday, September 22, 2009


ecause of the lack of updates, I have decided to post another here as a make-up one.

This weekend the gang and I headed over to Öland, Sweden's second biggest island. It was completely awesome.

The car ride was long, but luckily the iPods/radio/conversations made it lively and interesting. Add to that, we brough along Madison and Tommy's dogs, Fido and Richard (really Kaisla, but her face looks like Richard Gere. I wish I could say I was lying or joking, but it's honestly the truth). Fido randomly barked at other cars and riders, so we were always caught by surprise when he randomly barked. Added a little mystery to the trip.

When we arrived, we checked into our hotel room. It was huge. I'm talking, the biggest hotel room I think I've ever stayed in. And the view on the balcony was amazing-- we could piers and the Baltic Sea from our room. It was awesome. The town, on the other hand, was completely empty. I think we saw maybe ten people throughout the entire trip in town? The pub we went to at night was also dead--two other people besides us. Apparently, the place we stayed is only busy during tourist season, which we missed. But it's all good. We went to Sweden's second oldest pizzeria for dinner. It was amazing. It may have been the best pizza I have ever eaten. And, to all you haters who thought I was disgusting for ordering canadian bacon and mushroom pizza (because, apparently, it's such an odd combination), in Sweden it is a popular pizza, and in fact has its own name: Capricciosa. And it was awesome.

After a long night of hearing Fido's paws on the floor and an unbearable heat, we headed out to the best part of the trip--Borgholm's Castle. It's this old castle from the 16th century (I think 16th.. maybe 17th?) that underwent two different bouts of remodeling, and ultimately burned down one night in October in the 1700's. All that stands now is the floor, the walls, and a few trees. And yet, it was still incredibly interesting. Three floors, various views of the surrounding prairie and sea, and old etchings in the wall from the 1800's is all that is left. It was great. Add to that the fact that one of the royal family's get-away houses is located down the hill from it; only open for tours during the tourist season, the house itself was closed off from the public. I'm assuming the royal family may visit there soon.

After that, we came back home. We were all tired and dreading another week at school, and I'm pretty sure everyone crashed early Sunday night. All-in-all, a great weekend.

(The castle... awesome)

(My amazing pizza)

(From left to right: Fido and Richard)

The Terrible Three's

It's been a while since the last update, and a lot has happened since then. Oh yeah, and not much has been good, either. In fact, last week was my "terrible three's" week.

Earlier last week, my camera broke (Terrible Three Thing, #1). So, I had to dish out money for a new one; how else will everyone be able to look at terrible pictures?! So that was a bit of a bummer; luckily my financial aid came through so I was able to allocate some funds for a new camera.

Then, my wireless router broke (Terrible Three Thing, #2). Which means I get to walk all the way to the library to use the internet for homework, facebook, papers, facebook, e-mail, facebook, among other things. It's really a drag. I have to head back to the PC store on campus (you remember.. the one where the employee hated me for coming back three times in one day? Yeah, he's going to really despise me after this). I really need internet in the room. Hopefully it will get fixed today.

And then, last Wednesday, when I was looking for a camera replacement, I discovered that my bike was stolen in the town center (Terrible Three Thing, #3). Seriously. Who steals a bike that looks like it was manufactured in the late '50's? It's a good thing the stupid thing cost me 30 bucks; otherwise I would be very upset. So now I get to walk everywhere, unless Madison drives us all to wherever we need to go.

On a brighter note, my week did get tremendously better last Wednesday (or was it Thursday...?) night. The gang got together and had a late-night barbeque by the castle and lake around 9:00. Nothing like a disposable grill, hot dogs/hamburgers/veggie burgers, pitch black darkness, and flashlights on our cell phones to make the night interesting. We all smelled like smoke, but we all had a great time.

Went to Bodypump last week. I honestly felt like death by the end. It really makes a difference when you use real weights, let me tell you. And it seems that no matter what class I take, Pink's "So What" song is on the playlist, so naturally when the line that says, "you're a tool.." comes on, I think of back home, driving to and from school with Lyndie.

But enough reminiscing for one day. I have to read a chapter for Swedish for Thursday, get together for our last group paper, finish Pippi Longstocking, and read the last chapter in my Marketing book. That's right: I read a 700 page textbook in a little under two weeks. How much do I remember from it? Not much. But that's still an accomplishment.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Great End to A Not-So-Great Week

So, remember me saying Swedish won't be so bad? Let's all just forget that was ever said (or, in this case, typed). It's bad. I'm talking worse than OMS with Enno last semester (that's for you Taylor and Caitlin). Everything is spoken in Swedish, so naturally I sit there with that "deer staring into the headlights" expression on my face whenever the instructor speaks. Of course, as I stare around, everyone else is laughing at her jokes and understands what she's saying. Oh, did I mention a very, very large percentage of the class is German? Yeah. I'm pretty sure it's incredibly easy for them to understand the language, due to the intense similarity between the two languages. Why they're in Intermediate Swedish is beyond me; they make me feel incredibly stupid. The lecturer told me to give it a chance; I'd be bored in Basic Swedish 3. Uh... I'd rather be bored and get an easy A than actually having to work for it. Being lazy sucks. One or two people came up to me at the end of the first lecture and told me I'm not alone. I don't know whether to be happy that I'm not alone in the class, or be upset that my lack of Swedish skills is that transparent. Some guy told me that my Swedish accent was perfect at the pub the other night; I just laughed. And I'm laughing right now just thinking about it.

Got an email from my academic advisor back in the states, who told me that although I have to take classes here using the ECTS grading scale (wikipedia it.. because I'm way too lazy to describe it), on the actual U of M transcript, the classes will appear as S/N classes. Meaning they won't affect my GPA. Meaning I only have to attain a 60% or higher in the classes in order to secure that S that has absolutely no affect at all on my GPA. Meaning it's going to be a somewhat lazy semester (although, it should be stated that getting a 60% in Swedish will be hard work... yeah, I'm that dumb). That little fact made my entire semester, let me tell you.

The weekend was great, but went way too fast. Friday I spent some time in the library, and then went out with some friends to Stallarna. A good time. Saturday, I spent the day with Tommy and Madison in the town center, and had some great, cheap pizza. Came back, took a nap, and went to a BBQ at my buddy Linda's place. Had a great time! She's awesome, and so is her place (and her tv...). Then I headed over to Rachel's with Tommy and two of her friends from Canada/the States, and we hit the town center to experience a cafe in town... which we didn't actually enter. We decided it was a bit expensive, so we went back to the bus station--turned out the next bus wouldn't come for another hour, so we all got in a taxi and rode back to the university (my first taxi ride.. not that exciting).

Today I went to fika with the gang at the castle, which was great. I learned the castle was finished in 1934, so it naturally lost its medieval appeal. Who wants a castle that was built in the 1900's?! Came back, and have been studying International Marketing since three. I know, I know: so much for laziness. I'm working on getting better at it, I swear. 60%, baby!

Have to start my second ten-page, single-spaced paper tonight. The goal is to finish it by Wednesday, due to the fact that I have to start another class on Wednesday. That one revolves around the author of Pippi Longstocking. Should be interesting.

Oh yeah, a shout-out to Lyndie. You happy now?!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's Always Sunny In Sweden

Today's Wednesday. And apparently Wednesday is a celebratory day in Sweden--the pubs on campus, people are socializing and having a good time. Back home, the only good thing to look forward to on Wednesday's was ABC's LOST. What a culture shock for me.. But enough of that; let's talk about how much of a crap day yesterday was, shall we?

I didn't have class yesterday, so I thought it was going to be a great day. Yeah, optimistic thinking has never worked in my favor, so why should that change just because I study on a different continent? So I woke up at 10:15 a.m., took a shower, and sat down and watched a couple of episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia on my computer (by the way, check the show out. Awesome, awesome show). Noon arrives, so I take my laundry to the laundry room to get 'em done. I throw them in the washing machine, and leave to make lunch and start reading my Marketing textbook. 1 o'clock rolls around, and I go back to the laundry room to throw the clothes in the dryer. But to my surprise, I was locked out of the laundry room. Here, you use an electronic key to reserve a time to do laundry, and the laundry room remains locked except for the user who has the current time slot. It was my time slot, and the key wouldn't work. So I had to sit outside the laundry room with my text book and wait for the next user who signed up to use the machines--which was at 2:30 (and this was at 1:00). 3 o'clock rolls around, no one has shown up, so I had to ask one of the housing workers, who conveniently showed up to the complex due to my corridor mate being locked out of her room. 3:30 shows up, and I finally get to take my clothes out of the washer. Laundry took me over four hours to complete. (Note: reason #2 why guys shouldn't do laundry). (Bad event #1)

My laundry was finally done, so I decide to go to the gym with Tommy. Rachel couldn't go due to a housing meeting, and Madison was sick, so it was just the guys. We went to Bodycombat again (Bad event #2). I mean, sure, it's a great thing when it's over; you really feel like you accomplished something. The actual working out at the class can definitely be considered "bad".

After the class was over, I changed in the locker room, and what do I discover? My phone, my brand new phone, was broken. How, you might ask? Your guess is as good as mine. All I know is my week and a half old phone was broken, which meant I had to get up today early (10:30.. I know, I know. How was I able to get up so early? The answer eludes me) to head into town to get a new phone. (Bad event #3).

Luckily, today was much better. I had no class today, so I went to the library with Tommy and fika (minus the coffee... had Coke Light instead). Then we headed into town at 6 to see District 9 at the movie theater.. great movie. When the aliens spoke, it was only subtitled in Swedish. But to my surprise, I understood everything they said, and actually tried to help translate for others in our group who couldn't read Swedish. Made me feel somewhat confident in my skills; perhaps Intermediate Swedish won't be so bad?

Yeah, I know what you're thinking: optimistic thinking doesn't bode well for you, Jordan. Should be interesting.

(My poor phone. It joins my shirt as things that don't see the destructive ways of Jordan coming at them)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

TGIS (Thank God It's Sunday)

What a weekend. That's all I'm going to say: what a weekend. Friday night was a great night with the gang. We went to Stallarna after ordering pizza at my place. That's three, count 'em, three pubs we have here on campus. And I've been to every single one. That's not pathetic, right?

Saturday was supposed to be my "work-on-paper day". We all know how that turned out. Instead, I went to town with the gang to do some shopping and such. I got a Swedish flag for my wall (hooray for one non-bare wall!), a bike light for my bike (thanks a lot Madison.. I'll bet you ten bucks it never makes it onto my bike. You and your "let's follow the law!" ways..), a not-so-great lunch, and a couple of Kex bars (think Kit-Kat bars, but they give you more for the money. Delicious). We came back, and got ready for the Welcome Party the VIS group put on for the exchange program. Everyone looked pretty snazzy with their nice outfits on. The program was awesome--funny, good food, and met up with friends. They introduced many Swedish icons, and when the final icon came on (ABBA), as corny/sappy/lame as this sounds, I felt at home. Some call this the "honeymoon stage" of studying abroad (I'm never moving on to the negogiation phase, Tommy), but whatever. This place rocks.

After that we all went to yet another pub, Stedlagan (or Stedladen? Stedladan? .. who really remembers?). This was free for all exchange students, so that was nice for my wallet. Good music, good people, awesome time. I finally met up with my Buddy, Linda! She's hilarious and awesome. Glad to finally have met her!

On a sadder note, my whole world collapsed last night when another friend of mine from Sweden, Emelie, informed me that none of my Swedish curse words/phrases exist. I would have been perfectly fine with her informing me that my pronunciation sucked (because, let's face it--it does), but no. Doesn't exist. I've been practicing them for all this time, and they don't even exist?! I felt like I was slapped in the face. Don't get me wrong, she was incredibly nice about it and laughing and such, but still.. they don't exist. Looks like I have to go through the learning of the curse words process all over again. Crap.

Today the gang and I went to the gym. No classes that made me want to die today, though. Just ran for 40 minutes, worked out on a couple machines, did some weights, and called it a day. The other day I did run into my instructor for Bodycombat. She asked me where I was from, what I was studying, etc., and asked if I was coming to class that day. I told her we were going to Bodypump, but that I would be there Tuesday. I swear she's trying to be nice to me so she can get me to come back, where she'll make me unleash hell on myself. Which will be this coming Tuesday. Anyway, to celebrate a good night at the gym, I bought some delicious food to chow down on when I got home. For dinner, I had a hot dog, complete with cheese, mustard, and ketchup, some french fries (which, by the way, were $1.5o. For a bag of french fries. Now do you understand why I'm in heaven here?), and for dessert, some ginger snaps and the rest of my Kex bar. And before you say it: I know, I know. In the end, I worked out for nothing. Oh well. My hot dog was worth it.

Today (well... tonight) I finished my paper. Turned out to be about 7 pages, single-spaced. The professor told us to space whatever we wanted, and it couldn't be past ten pages long, so I spaced them at 1.5. Turned out to be almost exactly 10 pages long. Am I ecstatic? Heck yes! For some reason, I enjoy writing to the maximum amount of text you can have. Call me crazy, but that's how it is. And now what will I do with the rest of my night, you might ask? Easy! Sit down with my text book, get fifty pages of reading done, maybe start on my second paper, and go to sleep. This whole "have lecture at 8 in the morning until noon" thing is not really for me.

Until next time, hej då alla.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Reason Why Men Should Never Do Laundry

I've discovered a valuable lesson in lfe today: never, under any circumstances, should I ever do my own laundry. Ever. No no, this isn't a story about how I accidentally stained my favorite $5 white sweatshirt with fabric softener solution (sorry mom... I know you forked out the big bucks for it at that garage sale)--which, by the way, was the washing machine's fault, not mine. And for the record, the washing machines here are insane. It's hard to describe, but there's an outer case, and inside that case is the actual machine itself. And when it spins, it spins. I'm talking G-Forces here. I preferred not to stand in front of the door as it was spinning due to fear of the door slamming open and various shirts and pants hitting me in the face and killing me. No, I don't think death by flying laundry is the way I'd like to go, thanks.

Anyway, back to why I should never do my own laundry. So, as you all know, I've been going to the gym often this week. Which means my favorite work out shirt, the Pequot Lakes Track Meet shirt (shout out to you Mollie! You should see the pit stains on the beast! Showed those Patriots what it means to mess with a Tiger..) was completely, and utterly, drenched in sweat. The BO from the shirt emanated towards all corners of the Bodypump class today, or at least that's what I think (by the way, Bodypump will also kill me with the Bodycombat class.. I just need to add some actual weights next time). And I would like to work out tomorrow, so I thought a clean shirt would be nice, not only for me, but also for all those poor exercising souls who were around me. And, here at the University, you have to register for a time at the washing machine, and I think you can only register for one time during a week. Which I already did for last Tuesday. You remember, the day the machine stained my favorite $5 sweatshirt.

So, I didn't have any time to register for a machine (and God knows I'm afraid to anyway. That machine is the devil reincarnate), and I needed the shirt washed and dryed by tomorrow morning/afternoon. So what did I decide to do? I had an epiphany while watching a movie on my computer and not doing any homework: why not wash the shirt in my bathroom sink? Clever idea, I know.

So anyway, I first realized that I had to plug the drain, because the drain doesn't move (aka, it doesn't plug itself). I don't have any small washtowels or anything, so I grabbed a large amount of toilet paper, folded it up, and strategically placed it on top of the drain and turned on the water. I added the detergent, which is a powder, making it easy to mix together with water, and threw the shirt in. And I'm scrubbing away, trying to get the shirt as clean as I can. As I pull the shirt out from the water, I notice some yellow on the shirt (well, more yellow than what was on it before), and I peeled it off. Apparently, and I had not realized this, toilet paper eventually disintigrates in water (which is how you are able to flush it. Duh, Jordan. And you're a junior in college in Europe?). So now my shirt is covered in small chunks of wet toilet paper. And the sink is clogged. So here I am, trying to scoop up the bits of toilet paper and chucking them in the toilet. Eventually, I discovered that the drain-clog thing can be pulled out. So I pulled it out, and removed a large wad of toilet paper that was clogging my sink. So now the sink was completely cleaned out. Which is a giant relief.

So now that that was settled, I turned to my poor shirt. I was way too lazy to comb the shirt, looking for toilet paper, so I threw it in the shower and turned it on. Eventually, the shirt was free from toilet paper, and I wrung the crap out of it to get it as dry as possible. (Note: the shower is also spot-free, which is also a relief). Now the shirt is on a hanger, hanging in front of my open window. I hope it's dry by tomorrow. And that it smells good. Otherwise, I went through all that stress for nothing.

So now you know why I should never do laundry again for myself, or for others. It's a disaster waiting to happen.

(My poor shirt. It never knew what was coming.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


So today I spent my day in a library. Almost all day. On the third official day of classes. What's wrong with this picture? Been working on a ten-page, single spaced paper due in a week and half, with the intention of beginning and finishing another ten-page, single spaced paper due the week after. All while reading a 700 page book due in 4 weeks. While taking two other classes. They say whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I disagree. I believe whatever doesn't kill you just makes you feel like you wished it had. But I'm not complaining here, and I am not depressed. Just a tad bit stressed, that's all.

Yesterday Rachel, Tommy, Madison and I (for the record, from now on, I will describe the four of us as 'the gang'. Writing all the names out for each post just pushes me a little more towards carpel tunnel) went to the gym and tried out the Bodycombat. You know, the one where "you are totally unleashed". They're not kidding when they say, "unleashed". I think a better description to use here would be "you are totally dead and lifeless by the end". For those who Turbo Jam, it's worse than Chalene. At least she smiles while she's slowly killing you. But I digress. It was an awesome workout, and I hope to do it very soon (aka, tomorrow). This gym really knows how to make a person sweat.

Tomorrow is another full day of class for me. I plan on riding my bike into town (15 minute ride) to get printer paper, and then it's lectures from 12-4 for International Marketing. Should be okay; most of the stuff I have seen before so it's not too bad. It's this ten page paper that's getting me. And I don't have the book yet, still. UPS was supposed to drop it off, but they left a note that said they tried. Whatever that means.

It's hard to contemplate that I've been here for a week already. Time is going by incredibly fast. Re-arranged my room so that it is more uniform. There is no longer an empty side anymore, which is good.

But, my time of procrastination is long gone. I'm only on page 4, so I have a while to go. As a treat to all you readers out there, here are a couple more photos of the campus.

(One of the lakes that surrounds the campus)
(The main building)

(The castle on campus. Pretty sweet, no?)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Well, first day of class was a bust. Remember that rumor I was telling you about regarding classes? Yeah, that was shot down. Big time. Class ends in four weeks, and I have to read a 736 page book by the end to prepare for the exam. 736 pages. And two ten-page group papers. And I don't even have the book yet. I'm screwed. And, I start two more classes next week. Right now, working at DQ for the rest of my life sounds appetizing.

Yesterday, Madison, Tommy, Rachel, and I joined a gym. It's intense. No, not really, but it is really nice, and they offer different classes. I want to try the Bodycombat, which is described as follows: empowering cardio workout where you are totally unleashed. Who wouldn't want to try that?! I think there's a class today, so after I do some laundry and get started on one of the papers, we are going to hit that class up.

Made spaghetti last night and threw in some köttbullar (Swedish meatballs). They don't have pre-cut parmesan cheese here, so I had to buy a large chunk and slice it myself. It was fantastic. I think today will be hot dogs for lunch, and a ham and cheese sandwich for dinner. Luckily for me, I have Madison and Tommy to help me out with food choices and how to prepare them; otherwise it would be ramen everyday.

I accidentally slept in this morning until 11:15. My bad. I guess the gym wore me out more than I thought. I think Stallarna (yet another pub on campus) opens today, but I'm not sure if I will go. I really need to start on this paper. The stress is already beginning to rise. Luckily, I've seen most of the information before last semester, so I hope it won't be too bad. But who knows? I wish I could take the class the way Swedes do: Pass, Pass With Distinction (80% or higher), or Fail. But no, I'm stuck taking A-F. Universities in USA suck.