Escribir, imaginar, y otros imposibles

Tenía pensado escribir una historia nueva y ficticia para mi blog. Y te preguntarás ¿Y por qué  vuelves a hablar en primera persona? ¿Dónde está esa historia? ¿Por qué nos lo cuentas si no vas a escribirla? Pues bien, tenía un tema pensado, tenía una trama con ganas de ser descrita y escrita, un ordenador delante mío vibrante de emoción, con ganas de que acariciase sus teclas y abriese esa puerta al otro mundo  cuando me di cuenta de lo difícil que es  . Es difícil escribir una historia que nunca antes has vivido; describir algo que tus ojos nunca antes han visto, ni tus manos tocado, ni tus oídos escuchado. Y es por eso que, ahora más que nunca, admiro a esos escritores con melenas desaliñadas, gafas de cristal doble y una pipa humeante entre los labios.  Porque siempre he pensado que para escribir tales historias se necesita una mente alocada o incluso desequilibrada, y ahora que he intentado imitar esa laboriosa faena, me he dado cuenta de que se necesita mucho más. Me he dado cuanta de que un tema perfecto y una mente alocada e imaginativa no son suficientes para dar a conocer un nombre.

Así que aquí me encuentro. Tecleando en el apartado de notas de mi móvil, a las once y media de la noche de un domingo; y todo porque en los momentos mas inoportunos mi cerebro se activa y la inspiración viene a mi. Hay noches que no consigo dormir hasta que anoto las ideas disparatadas que botan en mi cabeza, impidiéndome conciliar el sueño. No consigo acallar las voces en off que me explican historias increíbles por la noche pero que, cuando me despierto a la mañana siguiente, han perdido todo el sentido. Quizás es por eso que no consigo estabilidad últimamente; todo lo que tiene perfecto sentido de noche, es un manojo de sinsentidos al otro día.

¿Pero dónde está la historia? Seguirás preguntándote…


Writing, imagining, and other impossibles

I had an idea for writing a new and fictitious story for my blog. And you may be wondering: Why are you talking again in first person, then? Where is the story? Why are you telling us if you won’t write it? Well, I had the perfect topic, a plot that wanted to be written, a vibrating computer in front of me, willing to be touched and wanting to lead us to another world – when I realized how difficult it is to write a story – .It is difficult to write a story you have never lived before; to depict something your eyes have never seen, your hands touched or your ears heard. And that’s why now more than ever, I admire those writers with crazy hairs, big thick glasses and a steamy pipe between their lips. Because I have always thought that to be a writer, you need a crazy mind, or even to be a bit unstable, and now that I have tried to imitate that laborious task, I realized that you need a lot more than that. I realized that having a perfect topic and a crazy and imaginative mind are not enough to be well-known.

So here I am. Typing on my phone’s notes bloc, at half past eleven on a Sunday night; and only because in the most inappropriate moments, my brain starts working and inspiration comes to me. There are nights that I cannot sleep until I write down those insane thoughts that are jumping in my head, preventing me from falling asleep. I can not shut up the voices in my head that explain to me incredible stories during the night, but they loose all common sense when I wake up the next morning. Maybe that’s why I cannot find stability lately; everything that makes perfect sense during the night, is a bunch of nonsense the following day.

But, where is the story? You may keep wondering…

 Esther TL                                                                                                                                     [06\10\2016]

Where is happiness?

You,  –student, worker, sister, brother, mother, father– you need to find your own happiness. To find it, you just need to stop looking for it in others. You don’t need a partner to be happy, you don’t need to be richer or handsomer than others. Happiness is hidden is small places, in small things. If you don’t stop and pay attention to every single detail in your surroundings, in your habits, you will never find it. Happiness is hidden in your smile when you stare at yourself in the mirror the days you feel horrible. Happiness is in the coffee you make in the morning because you didn’t get enough sleep the previous night. Happiness is even in the moment when you remove the tag in that pretty black t-shirt you bought for the first day of school or work. Happiness is in every single thing YOU do, and not in things people do to or for you. The day you learn to be independent, the day you don’t let people ruin your happy moments, that day you will learn where happiness is hidden.

Broken Heart

Her heart was broken. Not because of the years of use but because of all the games they played with it in the previous years. It seemed he was healing it. For her, he even seemed the right healer as she could not imagine a better one. They took care of each other until her heart started to shine again. It was in that moment when he got overwhelmed by its beauty and brightness; so overwhelmed and shocked that he vanished. He could not take the responsibility of having in his hands something as beautiful and precious as her healed heart. Then he disappeared taking with him her heart’s color and brightness, what resulted, once again, in breaking her already damaged but fixed with patches little heart. He was not the right healer as she thought, she would have to wait for the appropriate one yet to come.

I start a new section!

Hey, how are things going?

Summer is getting to an end, and sometimes, in my free time, the inspiration comes to me. A river of words start flowing through my fingers, being eager to see the world. Okay, let’s not get poetic: I just got inspired and I thought that it would be cool to update my blog. Yeah, now that my Erasmus is done, and after almost two months I have accepted the fact that it is actually finished forever, I thought that it would be a great idea to keep using this Blog, as it has many readers from all over the world.

My idea now is to start a new section: SHORT STORIES! Yeah, I will be posting some short stories; some of them based in personal experiences, and others just invented ones, you cannot tell. I hope you enjoy them, here it goes the first one!

Finding some light in the darkness

She just moved into the new, empty apartment. That same morning she was still packing the last items, the last clothes, but now there she was. After a three hours and a half flight she was in a different country, in a different city. It didn’t take her a long time to unpack her heavy suitcases and start finding every item’s place in the new apartment. It wouldn’t take her a long time to feel home in that tiny 20sq m room. It was night time what could scare her the most. The darkness of an almost empty and new room; the silence of the practically uninhabited corridor. But it wouldn’t scare her; she would feel safe in the clean bed sheets that were covering that strange bed. After the exhausting journey, she would embrace her new bed, falling in a deep sleep before the moon could even reach its higher position in the dark sky. Once asleep, her dreams would take her to plenty of new hypothetical stories that were, or not about to happen. It was the beginning of a brand new stage that was about to start in that exact moment.


Hey, como va todo?

El verano está llegando a su fin, y a veces, en mi tiempo libre, la inspiración viene a mí. Un rio de palabras empieza a fluir por mis dedos, ansiosos de ver el mundo. Vale, no nos pongamos poéticos: Simplemente me ha venido la inspiración y he creído que estaría bien actualizar mi blog. Ya, ahora que mi Erasmus ha acabado, y que después de casi dos meses he aceptado el hecho de que ha terminado para siempre, he creído que sería buena idea mantener el Blog ya que tiene visitas de todo el mundo.

Mi idea ahora es empezar una nueva sección: MINI RELATOS! Ya, pondré algunas historias; unas basadas en vivencias personales, y otras simplemente inventadas, no lo sabréis. Espero que las disfrutéis, aquí va la primera!

Encontrando algo de luz en la oscuridad

Ella se acababa de mudar al nuevo y vacío apartamento. Esa misma mañana todavía estaba empaquetando las últimas cosas, la última ropa, pero ahora ahí estaba. Después de tres horas y media de vuelo se encontraba en un país diferente, en una ciudad diferente. No le llevó mucho tiempo desempaquetar sus pesadas maletas y empezar a encontrarle su sitio a cada una de sus cosas. No le llevaría mucho tiempo hasta sentirse a gusto en esa pequeña habitación de 20m². Era la noche lo que podía asustarla. La oscuridad de una habitación nueva y casi vacía; el silencio de un pasillo casi inhabitado. Pero a ella no le asustaría; se sentiría a salvo entre las sabanas limpias que cubrían esa extraña cama. Después del cansado viaje, se abrazaría a su nueva cama, cayendo dormida antes siquiera de que la luna alcanzara su posición más alta en el oscuro cielo. Una vez dormida, sus sueños la llevarían a miles de historias hipotéticas que puede que estén, o no, por llegar. Ese era el principio de una nueva etapa que empezaría en ese mismo instante.

Back home; here nothing has changed

Hej hej!

It has been more than a month since I came back home From my 11 months in Falun, Sweden, and I already miss Sweden so much. It is not that I do not like it in La Canonja (Tarragona), but I feel my life was more advantageous back there. It is really difficult to write this post, but I really want to write down my feelings and thoughts these last weeks.

My last days in Falun were a bit of a mess: I just came back from the trip in Norway, I had to pack my things and clean the apartment, some friends were already leaving (what made the corridor and the kitchen more of a mess)… I didn’t have much time to think about what was actually happening: My Erasmus Adventure was coming to an End. Let’s say that the last days were like: Let’s go to Bojsen Beach for the last time. Let’s go to the Centrum for the last time. Let’s go to System Bolaget for the last time. Let’s have a breakfast/fika/apperitive/lunch/dinner together for the last time. Let’s have a barbecue for the last time… It just made me even sadder to hear that, but at the same time I knew I had to accept it and handle it as good as possible, for myself. So the last days I kept myself entertained with anything that was possible, just to avoid thinking about what was really going on. BUT to be honest, I wanted to go back home just for one reason: I couldn’t handle anymore the feeling that I was not staying for a long time in Falun anymore. The same way I did many things before leaving ‘for the last time‘ I didn’t do many others because of the fear of ‘the last days‘. It is a real hard feeling that prevents anyone from doing things that one would like to do in that exact moment. I really needed some stability in my life.

A part from those intense last days, living in Falun has been the best experience I have ever had, and I would not change a bit of it. I had my ups and downs, probably I have lived the best and some of the worst moments in my life but all of them were a lesson I will never forget and I will always take into account. As my mother says: ‘You just have to look at her face and smile full of happiness in every single picture made up in the North of Europe.’

·The freedom but also the responsibility of living alone. The experience of communicating in English (and making myself understood). Getting to know people from all over the world (and now have friends spread around the globe). Also getting to know some parts of me I didn’t even know. Starting this blog and realizing how much I love writing (in English). Learning new yummy recipes thanks to my international neighbors. Learning a bit of other languages (mostly swearwords in Italian). Experiencing extremely cold temperatures for the first time in my entire life, and a long list of many other experiences I won’t forget.·

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Some of those things were the ones that came to my mind just when the plane was lowering and I could see Barcelona under my feet. In that exact moment, looking through the window, I had the need of writing something. So I took my phone and I wrote the following lines:

I am on the plane, seeing Catalonia from the window, when I realize what I am actually doing, what is happening. It is not until now that I feel my world falling apart, falling OVER me.

I see Barcelona crowded, filled with buildings from side to side, factories all around. I feel anxiety. It is just the opposite from where I have been in Sweden, all green and open; full of peace.

It is 21:30h and the sun is setting. It is just the opposite from Sweden, that at this time of the year the sun sets way later, or sometimes doesn’t even set. I see factories, streets, roads, cars, boats, trucks… Welcome to the big city! But it is not a happy welcoming, it actually brings tears to my eyes. I am still trying to figure out if these tears are nostalgia from what I am seeing through this window, or of what I just left behind.

Indeed, it was when the plane was landing when I realized of what was actually happening. I was also leaving behind some of the best people I have ever met. People with my same interests, my same situation, but with a ‘difference’: our nationalities. It is incredible how people from really different places can be so similar; but now I can say it with my own words: People are just a word in their passports different from each other.

But well, coming back home has its advantages too: Meeting your beloved family and friends, cheap alcohol (and buying it in the supermarket), you don’t have to pay the rent (if you live with your patents it is an advantage but also a disadvantage :D), the good weather is guaranteed, having all the stuff you couldn’t bring with you, seeing your Dog/Cat/Turtle/Fish/Spider or whatever you have as a pet, partying until 9 in the morning (this was the one I missed the most), and probably many other things I don’t remember right now, but I probably missed when I was in Sweden.

One of the positive but at the same time negative things is that when you come back after 11 months abroad, you realize that nothing has changed. It is positive because when you come back you feel safe and comfortable to see things as they were before. But it is also negative because all that time abroad you have changed, and when you stay some weeks back home, you may feel you do not fit anymore. But, eh, don’t worry. You just have around one or half a year more left and then you can do your Master abroad!!!!!!!

I hope you (the few readers left) like this post. I didn’t expect hundreds of people reading this blog, as it was meant to be just a place to write down some personal experiences so I never forget them, and also to share them with some students who are thinking of doing their Erasmus in Falun, but well, it reached a bunch of unexpected people and I am happy about it!

I hope I will have many other experiences to write down, travelling around Spain, Europe, the whole globe? (I wish!)

Hej då min vänner. Vi ses!

Puss och kram

Road trip to the Fjords in Norway.

Hej Hej!

Well, after some other long weeks without writing, finally I am going to explain how the trip to Norway was. This time I am writing from my house back in Tarragona, and I have to say that thinking about the fresh weather we experienced in Norway helps me deal with the warm and shiny sun we have here, by the Mediterranean Sea. So, after this brief introduction, let’s start!

 

On the 8th of June, at 5 in the morning, 8 friends and I took a huge van direction to Norway. From the very beginning, we had the feeling that it was going to be an awesome trip, not only because of the company, but because of the amazing place we were about to see with our own eyes. I have to say that the pictures I couldn’t avoid seeing before, on Google Images, had nothing to do with what we really saw in there. Whatever, we headed to Norway early in the morning, as we had a really long journey of about 14 hours with some stops for basic things such as eating. After the compulsory stop in the border between Sweden and Norway, our direction was clear: VOSS (Thanks past Esther for writing down that awesome diary, so now you, Present Esther can remember every single place you visited). Once in Norway we could experience the coldness of this country, but it was compensated by the Fairy Tale views it has. All along the road there could be seen many waterfalls; and on the top of those mountains, there was mostly, snow. In those 14 hours of driving we had every different kind of experiences: we saw a moose, a little bird killed itself against one of our windows, I drove for some kilometers after basically 10 months without driving (and this time I drove a huge 9 places van!), one of the tires seemed to be a bit flat, my belly ached for a while and I even thought it could be appendicitis (but it wasn’t) and, of course, we got a 2900NOK fine for driving 11km/h faster than allowed (71km/h instead of 60km/h). As the same police officer said: -“Driving fast in Norway is expensive”.

Police officer while putting us the fine: -“This is Norway, not Mexico”.

Well, after these adventures we made it to our Camping (and it was just the beginning of the trip!). It was a wonderful place, with a huge waterfall inside the same facility. It can seem awesome at first sight, but after a while, the loud noise of it can be… let’s say, Interesting! Anyways, it was a really nice place, at the foot of a mountain, so there was quite fresh air thanks to the waterfall, but also quite humid because of the same reason.

 

On the 9th of June we headed to Bergen. We were supposed to spend some hours in the city and afterwards go back to Voss and have some rest, but in the end it took us ages to get to Bergen, so we couldn’t visit much of it. On the way there we had the first problem: it was plenty of workers fixing the roads, and most of the time we had to wait for hours until they would let us keep driving. Finally, once in Bergen we had the second problem: we wouldn’t find a parking, as the van was taller than any subterranean parking allows. After a while driving around, asking pedestrians and getting a bit upset, we could find a place to park right in front of the University, but, of course, we had the third problem: we could only park for 2 hours, and some locals told us that the police usually check the tickets and if you stay longer than that, they put fines (We didn’t need nor want another fine. Thanks Norway…). So afterwards we just went to find something to eat, as it was late and we were starving. It took me ages to find a place to grab some food: in the first place they only accepted Norwegian credit cards, in the second one they wouldn’t have any vegetarian options more than cheese with bread, so finally I ended up in a fast food restaurant, eating a mini-hamburger (and it was the fish one >.<). Finally all the group met again, and we sight seen a bit, but we only had around 1 hour left, and, of course, the car was around half an hour away. After visiting the harbor in Bergen, some people still wanted to see the Funicular, so we split: some people went to the funicular thing, and others went to rescue our van so we wouldn’t get a fine. We could make it without the fine, but when we were leaving our parking place, we faced the last problem of the day: right behind the van there was parked a small sky-blue Vespa. The driver, obviously, couldn’t see it, so we hit the motorbike and it fell right against the floor. We have to say that the van was already full of scratches but well, we contributed on it too. After this busy day, we drove back to our camping (with an awesome waterfall) in Voss.

 

10th of June, third day in Norway: THE REAL TRIP BEGINS. At 4 in the morning, the 9 of us were having breakfast and getting ready for the biggest challenge of the trip. At 7:30 in the morning we were already in the parking of TROLLTUNGA. After some last minute preparations, pictures with the signs that mark the kilometers and some encouraging speeches, at 8 we started the hiking. The first hour and a half was really hard: the path was really steep and full of huge stones.

Dmitri Hogenkamp: -“There is no elevator to success”

Afterwards, it got kind of better, but it was a party every time we saw that we had a kilometer less to reach the top (Don’t forget that it is 11 km up). Once we were higher we started to find snow on the path, what made us go slower as it was slippery, but the shiny and warm sun made it better. At around 12:40h we were at the top, we reached the Trolltunga stone. It was a really long journey, full of obstacles, but thanks to the work in team we could make it. Without each other’s support it would have been way more difficult and boring, of course. The views up there and also on the way were marvelous. I have never seen something like that before, as magic, pure and fresh as the mountains in Norway. I have to say that, for me, the Trolltunga stone itself was not as impressive as I thought. You really have to find the right angle to find its impressive view. We wanted to take pictures on the stone, and as it was quite full of tourists (more than what I expected due to the difficulty of the journey), we had to wait a bit. Sitting on the edge of the stone and looking down was one of the most impressive things I have ever seen and/or done. Down there it feels so empty, big and wild. After our pictures and while we were having lunch, it was so entertaining to see all those people taking pictures on the stone. Some people did risky things on the stone such as handstanding or jumping near the edge. I have to say that I was scared for their lives at some point.

The way down was as tiring as the way up. On the way there are plenty of small waterfalls and rivers that cross the way, so waterproof shoes are the key. A good point is that the way is really well marked (by stones with a red T on them), so it is quite difficult to get lost. The part I was most scared of was when we had to walk along a wall with mood on the floor that made it really slippery. A single mistake and I would have fallen down a deep hill, full of stones of the same mountain. Once we got around an hour and a half left we were at the most difficult part again (the same one that was hard to go up). The big stones, the fact that it was quite steep and this time was downhill, and the tiredness of the whole journey made it even more difficult to go down than to go up. My knee hurt so bad, what made it even more difficult and slow, but finally, we all made it!

We took it really easy, but others didn’t; a man told us that he did the way up running in only 2 hours (That’s insane!!!!). Afterwards we gave ourselves a yummy award: Watermelon for everyone! And once we felt a bit rested, we took the van again and we headed to Odda. We would spend the night in a nice house in Røldal. We had a really cozy dinner all together. As always, the girls cooked and the boys took care of the cleaning and tiding up afterwards. The house reminded us of when we were kids and we used to go on trips with the school. It was the best place compared to the days before.

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Trolltunga

Our 4th day was a “van day”; we spent the whole day driving in order to get closer to PREIKESTOLEN (our next hiking trip). What we had clear was that we would sleep in tents and in the van, so our mission was to find a nice spot to camp. It started to be late and we wouldn’t success to find a nice place, so we started to get a bit anxious. Finally we found a little harbor with a spot of grass, by the North Sea. Some nice neighbors let us camp there, so we set up our tents and we went to explore the surroundings. We ended up on a side of the harbor gazing at the sea and the nature around us. Finally it was dinner time, so we enjoyed a less cozy dinner than the last day, but with way better views. Finally we could see the sun setting in front of us, in the horizon, with the noise of the sea and the small insects and animals hidden in the nature. The night was a bit of a mess. 2 friends and I were sleeping in the van, and the other 6 were split in 2 tents. One of the guys in the van started feeling bad in the middle of the night, and he spent the whole night and the following day sick. (8 survivors + 1 fallen person).

 

5th day in Norway; 12th of June. We woke up at around 7 and we started getting ready to drive to Preikestolen. To reach the top is only 4km so, as it was not as hard as the last hiking, it only took us around 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach the top even if we were not so fast, and as it was not exhausting neither except for some points, we could enjoy the landscape and the surroundings. Once there we found many people standing on the big rock. We took our group pictures and all the videos we wanted, we had lunch, and we went down. (I want to add that 2 German siblings reached the top faster than us in Trolltunga and in Preikestolen, but the race was not finished yet; it just started!!!)

The way up it was not so full of tourists, but the way down was HORRIBLE. We couldn’t go as fast as we wanted because there was this long queue of people going down and even a longer one of people going up. It was basically full of Spanish people, dogs, parents with babies on their backs, and kids running around. All those people were doing the hike in the afternoon, so we were glad we decided to do it in the morning. The way down was faster (overtaking people) and so fun because we had to follow the path made of stones (Heike H. told us that some Sherpas built them). On the way up and down was so warm! It was only on the top that it was cold and windy. Once back in the parking we took our van, once again, and we drove some miles in order to get closer to our last hiking spot. On the way we were supposed to find another nice spot to camp, and so did we. We camped by a small lake, what we thought was the perfect spot. We had some barbecue for dinner; some vegetables (for the vegan/vegetarian ones) and some hamburgers and sausages (for the meat eaters). We set up out tents again, and we went to sleep, as the following day was going to be hard again.

 

6:00am; 13th of June; somewhere near a lake. I had a terrible night: I was freezing and had no more clothes to put, inside the van it was as being on a fridge, so I couldn’t imagine how the people in the tents were feeling. Someone nocked at the glass by my head, and I heard some chatting. As soon as I could recover I realized: all the things we left outside were FROZEN including bags, towels, the same tents… With the cold deep in our bones, we decide to pack our stuff back in the van and leave to KJERAG even if it is only 6 in the morning. Once there we realize we are the first people to arrive. We meet the keeper of the place, who is a really nice guy and invites us for Coffee. Once we feel full of energy thanks to the coffee and ready to go, we start walking. As we read before starting the hike, to reach the Kjerag Bolten we have to face 3 steep mountains, each one harder than the last one. We left at 8 in the morning and at 9:50h we were already in the Bolten. I have to say that we didn’t stop many times, as we were feeling cool. Once on the top it is quite cold and windy, but the views make it worth it. One of the scariest things of this trip was to stand in that stone. It is so small and it seems that if you make a false step you will fell down. Anyways, it is completely worth it and after the steep journey up there, it is a MUST to stand in that stone and take a nice picture. This was one of the places I liked the most, followed by Trolltunga. We had lunch up there, and rested a bit to face the difficult part of this hike: the way down. If going up was difficult, going down was even worse, as it felt that we were going to fell rolling down the mountain. When we had only 1 mountain left, one of us realized that we just visited the Kjerag Bolten, and not the Kjerag itself, and it made us feel disappointed. Even if we were not as tired as expected, we decided not to go up hill again and skip that part of the trip. On the way down we met our German friends and we celebrated that, for once, we beaten them! (It was a personal achievement; we felt so proud). It was in that way down that we realized that many people already knew us, as we were a bit noisy and always in a good mood, despite the difficulties of the way. Once again in the parking lot, our friend the keeper prepared coffee for us, one more time. We spent some time there, just chilling and talking about our trip in general, and then we decided to go find a place to sleep. After some research we found a really nice and cheap hotel in Hovden. It seems that in winter it is addressed to people that go skiing around the area. When we got there we couldn’t believe what we were seeing: 4 double rooms + a sofa; 2 living rooms with TV and one even with a PS4, 3 bathrooms (2 with shower and one of those with a sauna and a dryer), a full equipped kitchen, 2 balconies… For a moment we thought that the prize was per person, and not as a group, but after asking we could stay relaxed, as the prize was for the whole group! That night 2 more people felt sick (6 survivors + 3 fallen people). To their good luck, they slept in a nice comfy bed, so the following morning they were in perfect shape.

 

The last day of our trip in the morning, the 14th of June, another person was feeling sick in the morning (5 survivors + 4 fallen people); and for his bad luck, we were going to spend the whole day in the van driving back to Falun. We took it easy, as we were not in a rush because we didn’t have a time fixed to be back home. We also headed back home because one of the tires was still losing air and we were a bit concerned that it could provoke an accident or something like that.

Finally we made it home, all safe and with the pockets full of memories. This was the most awesome trip I have ever done, with friends from Austria, Italy, China, Poland, the Netherlands, France and Sweden. We had our up and downs, as 7 days with a group of friends can be really challenging, but it also made us feel closer to each other and be more patient. We are all different; different backgrounds with different habits and thoughts, but in this trip we had the same target, so we helped each other to achieve it successfully.

This will be a trip to remember, and thanks to Mardu Z. we have a video to show the world and support the little stories we tell about the trip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDR5Rtxo-N4

 

I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I did remembering this awesome trip.

Hej då!

Road trip to the South of Sweden

Tjena!

Finally my days in Falun are back to “normality”. After two road trips with awesome friends from all over the world, I am going to write about the first one: SOUTH SWEDEN & COPENHAGEN.

On the 18th of May we drove directly from Falun until Lund. We went to a friend’s house, and as it was late at night we went directly to sleep. Early in the morning of the 19th, we took the car again direction to Malmö as we had to take the train that would bring us to Copenhagen. We had no problems at all to take the train; no passport controls, the train was just on time, and there was even Wi-Fi. Once in the city, we enjoyed the beautiful buildings and the awesome roads full of bikes but also of cars. The river that crosses the city makes it have a special beauty, and, of course, the harbor. We visited the statue of the little mermaid, what ended up being surrounded by more than 30 tourists that wanted to take a picture with her. We basically walked across the city, making sure we saw the most famous spots of it. During the night we stayed in a really awesome hostel called CPH DOWNTOWN. It was really full of young people from all over the world. The rooms were new and clean, there also was a big bar with special prices for guests, and the employees were so nice and international. On the 20th in the morning we went to visit the well-known Christiania. I have to say that, even if I liked it, it was a bit weird. We spoke with some guys that live there and we could understand a bit more their philosophy and their way of living, but at the same time it is a bit, let’s say strange. Being in there felt as if we were in a complete different place, alien from Copenhagen; maybe that’s why people living there are fighting hard to keep it as it has been since 1971. After another long walk through Christiania, finally we left to the train station to go back to Malmö and pick our car. The train station was a mess itself; it was full of people lost, going from one platform to another, trying to catch a train that was delayed several times. Finally we could pick a train, even if it was full of people from one side to the other (angry people because of the delays). Once in Malmö we got surprised by a couple of fines in our car that, finally, we could solve and not pay. (TIP ONE: If you leave the car in the QPark in Malmö’s Centralstation, make sure you leave the ticket in the car. The fine was up to 800kr for two days just because we took the ticket with us, instead of leaving it on the windscreen.) I have to say we were quite tired so we didn’t see much of the city center. We walked along the river until the harbor to see the tower that is rotating all the time called Vridande Bålen (Turning Torso). Afterwards we went to the harbor and we had fika there. We also went to a huge park where we found a nice wooden windmill. Finally, we went back to Lund to sleep, once again, in our friend’s apartment.

It is at this point where the second part of the trip starts. On the 21st in the morning we visited a bit Lund. We went to the University building, to the main streets and squares, and then we drove to Ystad. It is a little tiny town in which, afterwards we acknowledged the Swedish singer of Eurovision, Frans was born and still lives in there. We also went there because one of our friends wanted to see the places that one of her favorite writers got inspired from, for one of her books. Afterwards we kept driving south, and went to Skåne. There we saw the Ales stenar  (Ale’s Stones). Being there made me feel I was in another age, surrounded by those big stones and also having those amazing views of the Baltic Sea with a beach made out of round stones. The good part of this visit was that the place was not so full of people so we could enjoy it even more. That day we slept in an island called Öland that is joined to Kalmar by a nice bridge. That camping called Talludens was being remoderated or constructed. It has some bungalows by the sea, and it seems an awesome place to spend the summer. The bungalow had all the facilities we needed: a kitchen, a living room, 2 double bedrooms and a bathroom with shower. The following day, on the 22nd in the morning, we drove across the island to visit some Slotts (Castles). The first one we visited was the one called Borgholms Slott,  and the other one I can not remember the name, but we couldn’t even see the outside of this one because it had a fence hiding it. For our bad luck, we had to pay 100kr to get in, so we decided to skip the inside. On the road we found many different windmills, some of them really old and abandoned, and other small ones just in the backyard of houses. Afterwards we went to the Långe Jan Lampa (Lighthouse) in Ottenby. We went up in the tower so we could see the island from the high. Despite the wind, it was an amazing experience and there were awesome views. When the night was closer we drove to what would be out home for two nights. It was a camping called Klåster Gard in Hultsfred. We had a bungalow for 5 people with a small fridge, and then there was a huge living room with a full-equipped kitchen and bathrooms with showers. The camping was in the middle of nowhere and we were the only hosts, what made it a bit creepy at night but beautiful during the day. The 23rd in the morning we drove to Vimmerby. It took us ages to get there because there were doing some constructions on the road. We even had to wait for another car with a “Lots följ mig” (Follow me) written on it, to guide us until the end of the road they were repairing. Whatever, it made us loose some time, but we could made it on time to start our bikes tour. We rented some bikes in Vimmerby and we started a 69km tour. I have to say that it was the most challenging part of the trip. We were all the time on road where, at some points, there were quite a lot of cars and trucks. It was kind of scary but, the main thing was that it was really hard. All the 5 of us agreed that only around the 6% of the route was downhill, the rest of it was uphill, and quite steep at some points. We stopped around three times; once in a place a can not remember the name, I just know it was where a series for kids was filmed, another time in Mariannelund, and the last time in Bullerbü. The good part of the bikes tour was the views. South Sweden has really green landscapes, full of nature and free (and happy) cows grazing around. I can say that here in Sweden I have seen the happiest cows ever. After the exhausting tour we went back to Hultsfred to our camping, and rested a lot to face the last day of our road trip. On the 24th in the morning we started driving up north again. On the way we stopped in Västervik where we just visited the seaside and the main church, and afterwards we stopped in Norrköping. I loved that city; it has an awesome river crossing across it, even with a waterfall that silences the noise of the city. We also stopped in Avesta, where the biggest Dalahäst   (Dala horse) is. And finally, at night, we got back in Falun.

During those 6 days I spent with friends from Austria, The Netherlands and France, we discovered the sunny and warm part of Sweden. The south, in the seaside, with all the beaches and beautiful landscapes makes it a bit different from the lakes and dry weather we are used to here in Falun. Me, being a seaside person, made me feel home again; the noise of the waves breaking against stones, the humidity and the salty smell in the air.

It was, for sure, an unforgettable road trip that I will always keep with humor and positive vibes. And yes, I encourage people to do this kind of road trip, to get to know more places of the country that is hosting you for some days, weeks, months, years, of forever.

This is all for today. Soon a new update with the road trip to Norway.

Hej då!

Lange Jan Lampa

Alles Stenar


Tjena!

Finalmente mis días en Falun han vuelto a la “normalidad”. Después de dos viajes con amigos geniales de todo el mundo, voy a escribir sobre el primero: Sur de Suecia y Copenhague.

El 18 de Mayo condujimos directamente des de Falun hasta Lund. Fuimos a casa de un amigo y como era de noche fuimos directamente a dormir. Pronto por la mañana del 19 cogimos el coche otra vez camino a Malmö ya que teníamos que coger el tren que nos llevaría a Copenhague. No tuvimos problemas para coger el tren; ningún control de pasaportes, el tren llegó a tiempo, y hasta había Wi-Fi. Una vez en la ciudad, disfrutamos de los bonitos edificios y las fantásticas calles llenas de bicicletas pero también coches. El rio que cruza la ciudad le hace tener una belleza peculiar y, por supuesto, el puerto. Visitamos la estatua de la sirenita, que acabó siendo rodeada por más de 30 turistas que querían sacarse una foto con ella. Básicamente cruzamos la ciudad, asegurándonos de que visitábamos los puntos más importantes. Durante la noche dormimos en un hostal llamado CPH DOWNTOWN. Estaba muy lleno de gente joven de todo el mundo. Las habitaciones eran nuevas y estaban limpias, también había un bar con precios especiales para los huéspedes, y los trabajadores eran simpáticos e internacionales. El día 20 por la mañana fuimos a la conocida Christiania. Tengo que decir que aunque me gustó, fue un poco raro. Hablamos con algunos chicos que viven ahí y pudimos entender un poco más su filosofía y su forma de vida, pero a la vez, digamos que es extraño. Estando ahí se sentía como si estuviésemos en un sitio completamente distinto, ajeno a Copenhague; quizás esa es la razón por la que llevan luchando para mantener el sitio desde 1971. Después de una larga caminata por Christiania, decidimos irnos a la estación de tren para volver a Malmö y recoger el coche. La estación de tren era un desastre; estaba llena de gente perdida, corriendo de una vía a otra, intentando coger un tren que había sido retrasado más de una vez. Finalmente pudimos coger un tren aunque estaba lleno de punta a punta (lleno de gente enfadada por los retrasos). Una vez en Malmö fuimos sorprendidos por dos multas en el coche que, finalmente, pudimos arreglar para no pagarlas. (CONSEJO UNO: Si dejáis el coche en el QPark de Malmö, aseguraos de que dejáis el ticket en el coche. La multa era de unos 800kr (más de 80€) por dos días, solamente porque nos llevamos el ticket con nosotros en vez de dejarlo en el parabrisas del coche.) Tengo que decir que estábamos bastante cansados así que no vimos mucho del centro de Malmö. Andamos a lo largo del rio hasta el puerto para ver una torre que gira todo el rato llamada Vridande Bålen  (Torso que Gira). Después fuimos a ver el puerto y tomamos fika allí. También fuimos a un parque enorme donde encontramos un molino de viento de madera. Finalmente, volvimos a Lund a dormir, otra vez, en casa de mi amigo.

Es en este punto es cuando empieza la segunda parte del viaje. El día 21 por la mañana visitamos un poco de Lund. Fuimos al edificio de la Universidad, a las calles y plazas principales, y después condujimos a Ystad. Es un pequeño pueblo en el que después descubrimos que el cantante Sueco de Eurovision, Frans, nació y vive ahí. También fuimos porque una de nuestras amigas quería ver los sitios en el que su escritora favorita se inspiró para uno de sus libros. Después seguimos conduciendo dirección sur, y fuimos a Skåne. Allí vimos las  Ales stenar  (Piedras de Ale). Estar ahí me hizo sentir como que estaba en otra época, rodeada por esas piedras gigantes y también por las geniales vistas del Mar Báltico con una playa formada a base de piedras redondeadas. La mejor parte de esta visita es que no estaba muy lleno de gente así que pudimos disfrutarlo aún más. Ese día dormimos en una isla llamada Öland que está unida a Kalmar con un puente. Ese camping llamado Talludens estaba siendo remodelado o construido. Tiene algunos bungalows junto al mar,  y parece un sitio perfecto para el verano. El bungalow tenía todas las facilidades necesarias: una cocina, 2 camas dobles, y un baño con ducha. Al día siguiente, el 22 por la mañana, condujimos a lo largo de la isla para visitar algunos Slotts (Castillos). El primero que visitamos fue uno llamado Borgholms Slott, y del otro no recuerdo el nombre, pero no pudimos ver ni siquiera la fachada ya que había un muro tapándolo. Para nuestra mala suerte, valía 100kr (más de 10€) entrar a cada uno de los castillos, así que decidimos no entrar. Por la carretera vimos muchos molinos de viento distintos, algunos muy viejos y abandonados, pero otros más pequeños incluso en el jardín de las casas. Después fuimos al Långe Jan Lampa  (Faro) en Ottenby. Subimos a la torre para poder ver la isla desde las alturas. A pesar del viento, fue genial la experiencia de estar ahí arriba, con esas vistas. Cuando la noche estuvo cerca, condujimos al sitio que sería nuestra casa durante dos noches. Era un camping llamado Klåster Gard en Hultsfred. Teníamos un bungalow para 5 personas con una nevera pequeña, y después había un comedor-cocina gigante completamente equipados y baños con duchas. El camping estaba en medio de la nada y éramos los únicos huéspedes, lo que hacía que por la noche diese un poco de miedo pero fuese precioso por el día. El 23 por la mañana condujimos a Vimmerby. Tardamos una eternidad porque  había obras en la carretera. Hasta tuvimos que esperar a que un coche con un cartel que ponía “Lots följ mig” (Sígueme), viniese a por nosotros y nos guiara hasta el final de las obras. Fuese lo que fuese, nos hizo perder tiempo pero pudimos llegar bastante pronto para empezar nuestra ruta en bicis. Alquilamos algunas bicicletas en Vimmerby y empezamos nuestra ruta de 69km. Tengo que decir que fue la parte más desafiante del viaje. Fuimos todo el rato por carretera, por lo que en algunos tramos había bastantes coches y camiones. Daba un poco de miedo, pero lo principal fue que era bastante duro. Los 5 coincidimos en que solamente el 6% de la ruta era cuesta abajo, lo demás era todo cuesta arriba y bastante empinado. Paramos unas 3 veces; la primera no recuerdo el nombre, solo sé que era un pueblecito en el que se rodó una serie para niños, otra de las veces fue en Mariannelund, y la ultima en Bullerbü. La mejor parte del tour con bicis fueron las vistas. El sur de Suecia tiene paisajes muy verdes, llenos de natura y vacas libres (y felices). Puedo decir que aquí en Suecia he visto las vacas más felices del mundo. Después de la excursión volvimos a Hultsfred a nuestro camping, y descansamos bastante para afrontar el último día de nuestro viaje. El 24 por la mañana empezamos a conducir dirección norte otra vez. Por el camino paramos en Västervick donde solamente visitamos el mar y la iglesia principal, y después paramos en Norrköping. Me encantó esa ciudad; tiene un rio precioso que atraviesa la ciudad, incluso hay una cascada que ensordece el ruido de la ciudad. También paramos en Avesta, donde está el Dalahäst (Caballo de Dalarna) más grande del mundo. Y finalmente, por la noche estábamos de vuelta en Falun.

Durante esos 6 días que pasé con amigos de Austria, Holanda y Francia, descubrimos el sol y la parte más cálida de Suecia. El sur, con el mar y todas esas playas y paisajes preciosos es un poco diferente de los lagos y el tiempo seco al que estamos acostumbradas en Falun. Yo, siendo una persona criada cerca del mar, me sentí como en casa otra vez; el ruido de las olas rompiendo en las rocas, la humedad y el olor salado en el viento.

Fue, seguro, un viaje inolvidable que siempre guardaré con humor y buenos recuerdos. Y sí, animo a gente a hacer este tipo de viajes para conocer más lugares del país que nos hospeda por algunos días, semanas, meses, años, o para siempre.

Y esto es todo por hoy. Pronto, otra entrada sobre el viaje a Noruega.

Hej då!

44 days left

Hej Hej again!

Lately I haven’t had time, nor motivation enough to write, but at least it has been for good reasons. The sun is bathing our heads in Falun. Yes, few posts ago I was talking about -25º or white days filled with a pure white snow, but now I am talking about 25º and days full of sun, warmth (and also some wind).

Little by little, Falun is reminding me more and more about last August. The streets are not dark nor empty anymore. It seems that life is back in the streets; even some restaurants have put the terrace outside, right in front of their doors. It is wonderful how the sun can shine for so many hours in a same day, letting us enjoy of a full-dark night for just less than 2 hours. I have almost finished my courses, which means that I have practically full-time vacations again. All this, together with the self-motivation for the good weather, makes this last stage of my Erasmus a wonderful moment. But well, as you all can imagine, if there is a white, there must be a black; yep, if I count my remaining days here, I just have 44 days left.

44 days left. What should I do in those days to enjoy as much as I can of my life in Sweden? Well, I don’t have an answer for that question, but I know for sure what the essentials are: FRIENDS. Those essentials that have been with me in this adventure called Erasmus. We all were in the same situation, ones more or less afraid; others with higher or lower expectations, but if we all have something in common, that is that we have each other. We couldn’t choose a better Family with whom share this great experience.

44 days left. Again, that number echoes in my head. This last days I have been enjoying as much as I could, because I don’t want to leave this place with the feeling that I could have done more things; that I could have lived more or better. With the good weather, Swedes go crazy with the BBQs, and we can not be less. In the last weeks, we have had barbecues almost once a week. By now, just in two different places: Bojsen Beach, of course, having a (veggie) hamburger with awesome views of the lake while the sun is setting. And the second place, a cabin lost in the middle of the woods. That place, though, left us a bittersweet feeling. It was such an awesome night, but at the same time sad and full of emotions because of the farewell of our friend and neighbor.

IMG_20160512_121258[1]

Sun Set in Bojsen Beach

Let’s talk a bit more about the cabin in the woods. The evening of the 7th of May of 2016, G-Up family and some other members of the family left for a trip. Some of us just knew that we were heading to an awesome cabin in the middle of the woods, and that the way was a bit tough. We were supposed to spend the night there, and come back the following morning. As we were quite a lot of people, it took us ages to leave Britsen, but finally, we started our one hour walk. It was quite warm and sunny, but we expected a cold night. Once in the cabin, we spent a long time appreciating the views, taking pictures, dancing, drinking the first cold beers, looking for wood, starting the fire… As soon as the fire was good to cook on it, we started preparing our dinner, but the best moment, I have to say, was afterwards. It was starting to get dark, but we all had the feeling that it was not gonna be fully dark. We spent hours around the fire talking about nothing and about everything, playing games, drinking more beers, sharing stories and enjoying one of our last days with Alessio, who was about to go back to Italy. When we realized, it was fully dark; I turned and I couldn’t even see the cabin right behind me. But it didn’t last for a long time, before we could realize again, the sun was rising. You don’t see the problem or the peculiarity? Well, let me tell you… it was only 4:30 in the morning and the sky was completely clear. Only three of us were sleeping inside the cabin, and the rest of us had the feeling that it was already 10 in the morning. So at that exact moment, at around 4:30 in the morning, we decided to pack our things and go back to Britsen. This trip made us realize how few time we have left in Falun. The first member of our family has already left back home, and with his departure, he has left a strange feeling on us. I have already experienced this before, so I know what is going to happen next. When my friends from the first semester left, I had some sad and down days. But this time is gonna be different, cos I will leave as well.

44 days left. That is around seven weeks left in Falun, and I am going to spend one of those seven weeks traveling. In the first semester I couldn’t travel a lot mainly because I didn’t get my scholarship until the last month of the year, so this semester I wanted to travel a bit more. The main trip this semester is about to be planned. 5 friends are gonna go to Malmö, Copenhagen in Denmark and some other cities in south Sweden such as Vimmerby, where there is Astrid Lindgren’s World (Pippi Långstrump’s author). The best part for me is to cross the Öresund bridge, the same in the Swedish/Danish crime serie called Bron/Broen.

 

I think this is quite a long post again, so I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing. In the next post I will explain the trip in south Sweden and Denmark.

Hej då!

P.S. Here there is a video of our day in the cabin


Hej Hej otra vez!

Últimamente no he tenido tiempo ni motivación suficiente para escribir, pero al menos ha sido por buenas razones. El sol baña nuestras cabezas en Falun. Sí, hace algún tiempo hablaba de -25º o de los días llenos de nieve blanca y pura, pero ahora hablo de unos 25º y días llenos de sol, calidez (y también algo de viento).

Poco a poco Falun me recuerda más al Agosto pasado. Las calles ya no están vacías y oscuras. Parece que la vida ha vuelto a las calles; incluso algunos restaurantes han sacado las terrazas a sus puertas. Es maravilloso como el sol brilla durante tantas horas, dejándonos disfrutar de apenas 2 horas de completa oscuridad. Casi que he acabado mis clases, lo que significa que tengo vacaciones a casi tiempo completo, otra vez. Todo esto, junto con mi auto-motivación a causa del buen tiempo, hace de esta última etapa de mi Erasmus un periodo maravilloso. Pero bueno, como podéis imaginar, si hay blanco tiene que haber negro; sí, si cuento mis días restantes aquí, solamente tengo 44 días restantes.

44 días restantes. Qué debería hacer en esos días para disfrutar al máximo mi vida en Suecia? Bueno, no tengo respuesta a esa pregunta, pero lo que sé seguro es qué es esencial: AMIGOS. Esos esenciales que han estado conmigo en esta aventura llamada Erasmus. Todos nosotros hemos estado en la misma situación, unos más o menos asustados; unos con expectativas más o menos altas, pero si tenemos algo en común, es que nos tenemos los unos a los otros. No podíamos elegir una Familia mejor con la que compartir esta genial experiencia.

 

44 días restantes. Otra vez, ese número retumba en mi cabeza. Estos últimos días he estado disfrutando tanto como he podido, porque no quiero irme de aquí con la sensación de que podría haber hecho más cosas; que podría haber vivido más o mejor. Con el buen tiempo los suecos se vuelven locos con Barbacoas, y nosotros no podemos ser menos. En las últimas semanas hemos hecho barbacoas casi una vez a la semana. Por ahora solamente en dos sitios: Bojsen Beach, por supuesto, comiéndome una hamburguesa (vegetariana) con espectaculares vistas del lago mientras el sol se ponía. Y el segundo sitio, una casa perdida en medio del bosque. Aunque ese sitio nos dejara un gusto agridulce. Fuñe una noche genial, pero a la vez triste y llena de emociones porque era la despedida de uno de nuestros amigos y vecino.

Hablemos un poco más de la casa en el bosque. La tarde del 7 de Mayo de 2016, la familia de G-Up y algunos otros miembros de la familia nos fuimos de excursión. Algunos de nosotros solamente sabíamos que nos dirigíamos a una genial casa en el campo y que el camino sería duro. Se suponía que pasaríamos allí la noche y volveríamos a la mañana siguiente. Como éramos bastante gente nos llevó un buen rato irnos de Britsen, pero finalmente empezamos la caminata. Hacía bastante calor y sol, pero esperábamos que hiciese frio por la noche. Una vez en la casa, pasamos un buen rato contemplando las vistas, haciendo fotos, bailando, bebiendo las primeras cervezas frías, buscando leña, empezando a hacer el fuego… Tan pronto como el fuego estuvo listo para poder cocinar, nos pusimos a hacer la cena, pero el mejor momento tengo que decir que fue después. Empezaba a oscurecer, pero todos teníamos la sensación de que nunca sería completamente oscuro. Pasamos horas alrededor del fuego hablando sobre todo y sobre nada, jugando, bebiendo más cerveza, compartiendo historias y disfrutando de uno de nuestros últimos días con Alessio, que pronto se iría de vuelta a Italia. Cuando nos quisimos dar cuenta estaba completamente oscuro; me giré y no encontraba la casa detrás de mí. Pero no duró mucho, ya que antes de que nos pudiéramos dar cuenta de nuevo, el sol estaba saliendo. No ves el problema o lo peculiar de esto? Bien, déjame decírtelo… eran solamente las 4:30 de la mañana y el cielo estaba completamente claro. Solamente tres de nosotros estaban durmiendo en la casa, así que decidimos hacer las maletas y volver a Britsen. Esta excursión nos hizo darnos cuenta de qué tan poco tiempo nos queda en Falun. El primer miembro de nuestra familia ya se ha ido de vuelta a casa, y con su partida, ha dejado tras de él una sensación extraña en nosotros. Yo ya he experimentado esto antes, así que sé qué pasará luego. Cuando mis amigos del primer semestre se fueron, estuve de bajón algunos días. Pero esta vez va a ser diferente, yo también me iré.

44 días restantes. Eso es alrededor de siete semanas en Falun, y voy a pasar una de esas siete semanas viajando. En el primer semestre no pude viajar mucho principalmente porque no recibí mi beca hasta el último mes del año, así que este semestre quería viajar algo más. El principal viaje del semestre está a punto de ser planeado. 5 amigos vamos a ir a Malmö, Copenhague en Dinamarca, y algunas otas ciudades del sur de Suecia como Vimmerby, donde hay un parque llamado “El mundo de Astrid Lindgren” (Autora de Pippi Calzaslargas). La mejor parte para mi es cruzar el puente de Öresund, el mismo de la serie llamada Bron/Broen (El Puente). Es el puente que une Suecia con Dinamarca.

Creo que este es un post bastante largo otra vez, así que espero que disfrutaseis leyéndolo tanto como yo escribiendo. En el siguiente post explicaré la excursión en el sur de Suecia y en Dinamarca.

Hej då!

P.S. Aquí os dejo el video de la excursión a la casa del bosque.

Let’s have a look back

This is a different post but I wanted to share it anyways. I am going to write a review of my days in Sweden. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it.

 

I walked out of my comfort zone. The 18th of august of 2015 I found myself in a new place, where people spoke an unknown language for me, more than 2000km far away from home, ALONE. I had no idea how my new city looked like. I didn’t know if it was big or small, crowded or practically empty of people. To be honest, before knowing Falun was about to be my home city for 10 months, I didn’t even know it existed; actually the whole Sweden was a blurry dot in the map for me. But there I was, alone, lost in Arlanda airport, with two bags heavier than me. Tired, after the almost 4 hours of flight.

I had time to think about all the things that I was about to live, but now, 6 months after that day, I realize I has no idea at all.

 

The first days were easy ones, just the opposite as I thought. I met new people, just few of them, which was cool for me not to get stressed. Speaking English all the time was not a handicap as I had expected, but I still needed to THINK in English, as it happens now, without forcing myself. As I said, the first days were easy ones because as it was summer, the good weather encouraged the few of us around Britsen to do things such as a trip to the Ski Jumps with the bikes (I thought I was gonna die…), swimming on the lakes, or just partying and getting drunk.

Yet arrived my birthday; only 11 days after my arrival in Sweden I was turning 20. I have to admit that it was hard. I missed my family and my friends; I missed my home and the Catalan way of partying; in other words, I missed my comfort zone. But at the same time, it was the first of many birthdays I may celebrate away from home; I am pretty sure it won’t be the last one. It was a special and different one, and I am sure I will never forget, for example, the birthday cake I got from two persons I barely knew by that time, but who tried to make out of that day, a good one.

Before starting our classes we had two introduction weeks plenty of activities around Falun. The days I went, I have to say that I enjoyed them as much as I could. We had a special “treasure hunt” around Falun, a kind of gymkhana called Uploppet, and to finish the introduction weeks as we deserved, we had a Traditional Formal Dinner (one of the best parts, I have to say). It was a great experience to give way to our university days.

University was another completely new experience. At the beginning it took me a while to get used to the way they teach, but now I love that way as it encourages me to learn and study more and more. Here we have to prepare the seminars on our own before going to the class, and for me it is a great way to encourage students to work hard for what they want to achieve. The fact that the classrooms have, mostly, few students creates a more direct link teacher-student, and it provides the students with more individual attention. As I was saying, the first days of university were really strange because I didn’t have class every day of the week, full time as I am used to; I only had few days a week, not more than 3 hours of class per day. It was awesome because in that way I could spend my free time doing other things such as visiting towns and cities near Falun.

As I was saying, four friends and I rented a car and we visited Nusnäs, Rättvik and Mora. Places that, from my point of view, are not that different from Falun (except for Nusnäs), but at the same time they have their distinct points. In Nusnäs we visited the DalaHäst factory, where we could see all the process: from when they cut the horses from a single piece of wood, until when they paint them, one by one. That is why they say there are not two Dala Horses that look the same (and also that’s why they are so expensive). It is a place in Dalarna that you, reader, should visit whenever you are in Dalarna. In Rättvik we visited a small market with antiquities and second hand things. But the main stop was in the Lake Siljan and the long walkway that introduces you in the middle of the lake. It was windy and cold, but the views there were awesome. And the other place we visited was Mora. To be honest we didn’t see many things in there. We just visited a huge lake and some streets which reminded me to Falun. It was a nice day, with nice people, and of course, awesome views.

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Rättvik

 

Many nights we run out of our beds directly to Bojsen Beach. Yes, we saw the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis or however you want to call it. In summer we saw many times shooting stars and the awesome sky in Bojsen Beach, but when it started to be colder, we could experience one of the best things I’ve ever seen. The dance of colors in the sky, like green lights dancing in the night, awakening our curiosity. In pictures it seems awesome and intense, and in person, even if the colors are not that clear and intense as expected, it made me feel goosebumps. I can not imagine how it is upper in the North, if in the middle-Sweden it is like that. It is a great experience that makes you wander how small and simple we are compared to everything going on in our sky. I had never seen something like that before, and I really hope it won’t be the last time. One night, we could even see a RED aurora, an extraordinary thing that the same locals say it is not easy to see.

 

Having reached this point, I have to say that many things happened before Christmas. My Erasmus made a turn; not a good or a bad one, things just changed. Some people I used to go with stopped being friends, new ones burst into my life to make this experience even more awesome; it was just a change that even it made me feel lost, in the end I could find my way. My first months in Falun were awesome, and I wouldn’t change those moments and experiences for anything in the world. Changes are (supposed to be) always for good, and that’s what I want to think.

  • Let’s summarize my first months in Falun:

Excitement, Britsen, Jack, move in, new people, Bojsen Beach, lake, swim, green views, play cards games, sun, YuHuuu, hiking, CarbonaraTeam, hobbit house, cabbin with awesome views, polaroid pictures, blueberries, white wine, cuddles, PioPioPio, skate, park at night, fika, long talks, shared dinners, laughs, Pitchers, pictures, snapchat, northern lights, Barbecue, naps, university, Starbucks, library, ice hockey match, tears, fikatimeinfalun, skype, Stockholm, police, reading, hangover, blueberry ice cream, kåren, tekila, candles, Ikea, horses, trip…

…and many other things I may have forgotten.

 

I want to split this post, at least, in two parts. Soon, the second part starting from my visit home for Christmas 🙂 .

Cultural Clashes

 

Hej hej! ^^

 

Lately I have been writing a short list about the different cultural clashes I have experienced. As you all can imagine, here I am in constant touch with people from all over the world (almost), and sometimes the different habits and traditions are more than obvious.

So, here you have the list of cultural clashes I have experienced, mostly between Sweden, Spain, Italy and Austria. But first I would like to add that this is what I personally have experienced, and I will explain the clashes in a global way, using the name of the country but it doesn’t mean that it is what everyone in the country mentioned do.

 

The first and most obvious one is when two persons meet each other when walking on the street or in a dinner:

  • Swedish people just shake hands; or also when they know more each other, they hug (without much physical contact, I have to say). There is no difference between men and women.
  • Spanish people usually give two kisses (mostly if one of the two persons is a women); but if it is the first time they meet, or them both are men, then they just shake hands. I want to add that Spanish people mostly kiss first the right cheek (well, just cheek against cheek)
  • Italians, on the other hand, give two kisses if they know each other for a while, and I would say that concerning gender it is the same than Spanish people. But the main difference is that they first kiss the left cheek rather than the right as Spanish people do. (I have to say that I have been involved in some embarrassing moments when I almost kissed guys in the mouth…Damn!)

 

Another difference is on the table, when eating:

  • I have seen Italians eating spaghetti with fork and spoon: then, when I got used to do it because it is quite practical, other Italians told me that they NEVER do that so… in the end I don’t know how do they eat spaghetti: Spoon YES or NOT? (If you are Italian and you are reading this, just tell me how you do it below in a comment.) Another habit is that Italians are all the time making coffee. It doesn’t matter if it is early in the morning, after lunch, after dinner or in the middle of the night; if there’s an Italian in the kitchen, it will smell like coffee.
  • Since I have been here, I have noticed that Swedish people mostly use fork and knife when eating (unless it is a soup or something similar, of course). From my point of view they have quite good manners on the table. Another curiosity is that once I was serving the food directly from the pan to the dish, and a Swedish friend told me that it was not the proper way to do it. As he told me, they always use a serving spoon or some other utensils to serve food.
  • Spanish people… well, I just use a fork or a spoon, depending on what I eat. But since I am vegetarian, it is not that I need a knife that much.
  • A curiosity about Austrians is that once, a girl didn’t know how to cut a soya sausage only with a fork. I was quite surprised when she asked me: how can I cut this, only with a fork? (Well, maybe she is just used to eat always with fork and knife). It seemed so weird for me that I was eating it without the need of a knife.

 

And to finish this post, I will talk about some habits at home:

  • As you may already know, Swedish people remove their shoes before getting in the house. I find it awesome as in that way, the house (room in my case) it is mostly clean and I avoid having snow inside. As far as I know, some Austrian people also do that, and as it is a habit I really like, I have made it mine as well.
  • A good thing about Italians is that they feel confident with other people so fast. And as someone once said: “Mi casa es tu casa” (My home is your home), and some of them really take it serious. Some of them don’t even knock at the door before getting in (as I have said before, only if they feel really confident with the other person), so once I was in the bathroom when one of my lovely Italian neighbors came into my room (Love you, Alberto).
  • And the last one I will mention for now is that most Swedish people love being on their own. As I live in a shared kitchen, I am forced to cook with other 14 people. So as you can imagine, the kitchen is mostly full of people. Well, the thing is that I have some Swedish neighbors and I have barely seem them. But it doesn’t happen only in my corridor, it also happens in the whole building: we only see Swedes when the fire alarm rings so we all have to evacuate (almost every week lately… eh, Britsen?).

 

And this is all I wanted to mention this time. I hope you all enjoy reading it, and if you are/have been abroad and have experienced some of this cultural clashes or different ones, feel free to write a comment and explain me those anecdotes. Tack!

I will write again soon!

Hej då!

Picture by Lena


 

Últimamente he estado escribiendo una lista sobre diferentes choques culturales que he vivido. Como podéis imaginar, estoy en constante contacto con gente de todo el mundo (casi), y a veces son más que obvios los diferentes hábitos y tradiciones.

 

Así que aquí tenéis la lista de choques culturales que he vivido. Pero primero quiero añadir que esto es lo que he vivido personalmente, y lo explicaré de manera general, usando el nombre del país, pero eso no quiere decir que todos en ese país hagan lo que menciono.

El primero y más obvio es cuando dos personas se encuentran en la calle o en una cena:

  • Los suecos simplemente se estrechan las manos; o cuando se conocen más, se abrazan (sin mucho contacto físico, todo sea dicho). No hay diferencia entre hombres y mujeres.
  • Los españoles normalmente se dan dos besos (normalmente si una de las dos personas es una mujer); pero si es la primera vez que se encuentran, o los dos son hombres, simplemente se estrechan las manos. Quiero añadir que los españoles normalmente se dan dos besos, primero en el lado derecho i después en el izquierdo (bueno, solo mejilla con mejilla)
  • Los italianos dan dos besos si se conocen por un tiempo, y creo que también depende del genero de las personas a la hora de dar dos besos, igual que los españoles. Pero la mayor diferencia es que primero se dan el beso en la mejilla izquierda, en vez de en la derecha como los españoles. (Tengo que decir que me he encontrado en momentos incomodos cuando casi doy un beso en la boca a un chico… Ups!)

 

Otra diferencia es cuando se está en la mesa comiendo:

  • He visto italianos comer espagueti con tenedor y cuchara: entonces, cuando me acostumbré a hacerlo porque es bastante practico, otros italianos me dijeron que ellos NUNCA hacen eso… al final no sé cómo comen espagueti: ¿Cuchara SI o NO? (Si eres italiano y estás leyendo esto, dime como lo haces abajo en un comentario.) Otro hábito es que los italianos están todo el tiempo preparando café. No importa que sea temprano por la mañana, después de comer, después de cenar o en mitad de la noche; si hay un italiano en la cocina, olerá a café.
  • Desde que estoy aquí me he dado cuenta de que los suecos normalmente usan tenedor y cuchillo para comer (a no ser que sea sopa o algo parecido, por supuesto). Desde mi punto de vista, tienen muy buenas maneras en la mesa. Otra curiosidad es que una vez, estaba sirviendo la comida directamente desde la sartén al plato, y un amigo sueco me dijo que no era la manera apropiada de hacerlo. Como él me dijo, ellos siempre usan una cuchara u otros utensilios para servir la comida.
  • Los españoles… bueno, yo solamente uso tenedor o cuchara, dependiendo de lo que coma. Pero desde que soy vegetariana no es que necesite realmente un cuchillo.
  • Una curiosidad sobre los austriacos es que, una vez una chica no sabía cómo partir una salchicha de soja solamente con un tenedor. Me sorprendió bastante cuando me preguntó: Cómo puedo partir esto solamente con un tenedor? (Bueno, tal vez es simplemente ella que está acostumbrada a comer con tenedor y cuchillo). Me pareció muy raro, a mí, que estaba comiendo sin necesidad del cuchillo.

 

Y para finalizar esta entrada, hablaré de algunos hábitos en casa:

  • Como ya debéis saber, los suecos se quitan los zapatos antes de entrar en casa. Lo encuentro fascinante ya que de esa manera, la casa (o habitación en mi caso) está normalmente limpia y evito entrar nieve. Por lo que sé, algunos austriacos también lo hacen, y como es un hábito que realmente me gusta, lo he hecho mío también.
  • Una cosa buena de los italianos es que cogen confianza con los demás muy rápido. Como alguien alguna vez dijo: Mi casa es tu casa, y algunos de ellos se lo toman muy en serio. Algunos ni siquiera llaman a la puerta antes de entrar (como he dicho antes, solamente si tienen mucha confianza con la otra persona), así que una vez estaba en el baño cuando uno de mis queridísimos vecinos italianos entró en mi habitación (Te quiero, Alberto hahaha).
  • Y la última cosa que mencionaré por ahora es que a casi todos los suecos les encanta estar a solas. Como vivo con una cocina compartida, tengo que cocinar con otras 14 personas. Así que como os podréis imaginar, la cocina suele estar llena. Pues bien, tengo algunos vecinos suecos que casi no he visto. Pero no pasa solamente en mi pasillo, también pasa en todo el edificio: solamente vemos a los suecos cuando suena la alarma de incendios y tenemos que evacuar (casi cada semana, últimamente… ¿eh, Britsen?).

 

Y esto es todo lo que quería mencionar esta vez. Espero que hayáis disfrutado leyendo, y si estáis/habéis estado en el extranjero y habéis vivido alguno de los choques culturales, u otros diferentes, sentiros libres de dejar un comentario explicándome vuestras anécdotas. Tack!

 

Volveré a escribir pronto!

 

Hej då!