England, Expat Life, Studying Abroad, Travel

Life in England: Alnwick Castle Daytrip

Good morning lovelies! I’ve been a busy bee these past few weeks with university assignments and a wonderful weekend in the North-East with Kjære and his fam. Oh yes, we were reunited after five and a half loooong weeks and I didn´t stop smiling once the entire weekend. Except the part were we had to say goodbye again, but as luck would have it our next stretch is only three weeks at which point I will be back in Stockholm! We’re kicking LDR ass! More on this in another post.

Now, to get to the point of this post, last weekend about 50 Erasmus Society members and committee members headed north from Newcastle to Alnwick Castle & Gardens. Alnwick is a real castle currently owned, run and periodically lived in by the Duke of Northumberland. The castle itself and the (frankly ginormous) castle grounds have been used as locations for Harry Potter, Downton Abbey and a number of other films and tv-shows. It´s truly beautiful and visiting Alnwick was a grand day out, as you can see by the vlog I made of the day 😉

Hope you’re having a great monday! Xxx

LDR, Life

How To Deal With Sadness & Loneliness in Long Distance Relationships

It’s been a while since the last time I talked about my thoughts and feelings around being in a long distance relationship. I shared my initial thoughts on being in an LDR and since then there have been some ups and some downs, but essentially my thoughts are the same. Long distance relationships are not easy. But they are worth it.

There have been days where the sadness is so overwhelming that it cripples me. Days where nothing can soothe the ache in my chest that cries out for the man I love. Days where I want to give up and escape from the entire situation, because honestly, it’s one of the most difficult situations I have ever been in. But, here’s the thing. As long as we both talk to each other we can get through every bout of sadness. We talk and we realize that we are not as alone as we think. The learning curve is steep and to maybe help some of you guys to deal with it too I thought I would share some of the things that help me deal with it.

  • Communication is Key
    This has been repeated to us all more times than we can count, but it’s easy to forget. You have to talk. You have to be more honest than you have ever been, even if it hurts. The person on the other end of the phone won’t be able to tell that you’re having a bad day so you will have to spell it out to them to get the support people in LDR so often miss.  There is no getting around the fact that when you can’t hug it out you have to talk it out. To keep the connection alive you have to learn how to communicate on a whole new level and it won’t be the easiest lesson to learn, but it will be a valuable one.
  • Don’t Forget Your Hobbies (Or Get New Ones)
    It will be easy to either replace the time you spent with your significant other with other things or to give up on any and all hobbies to spend more time together. The latter will be a subconscious reaction to the change of not seeing them, and a way to cling to the other out of desperation. The former is escapism at its best, but will ultimately lead to you both feeling worse. Neither is a solution. You will need to have hobbies, to have activities that give you energy, to keep busy. You have to live your life separate from the other and there is no getting around it, but you can choose to do positive things. You also have to choose to  schedule time for each other in between all the things that make up your everyday life. Snapchat each other funny things throughout the day and keep each other updated between that 2pm lecture and the evening Bar Crawl. Find a balance between fun activities with your friends and Skype time with your significant other.
  • Hang Out Together
    If you used to hang out two or three days a week and now only Skype for an hour or two once a week you’re obviously going to feel the lack of contact. In periods you will both be busy (see previous point), but you will both have a lot of downtime at home and you may feel like you don’t want to bother the other if they’re busy. Ignore that feeling. If you study, Skype each other while you’re both sat at home studying or if you work, keep each other company while making dinner. If the time difference makes this impossible, try improvising. He can have breakfast while you have lunch. Or you can have an evening drink while he has his morning coffee. Watch TV-Shows together online and hang out. You don’t have to talk constantly while you have Skype on just like you wouldn’t talk constantly if they were right next to you. Let them be your friend and companion in the same way they would be if they were physically closer.
  • Don’t Fear Growing
    One of the things that I fear the most is that the growing we both will do this year will make us grow apart. Growing, learning and changing is inevitable, especially when one part moves abroad for the first time and the other is on the cusp of a new stage in life. The key here is to not fear growing. Don’t try to stifle the change that will happen in your LDR partner and the change that will happen between the two of you because that just breeds bitterness. Try instead to grow in positive ways and to grow together, while apart. Encourage the other to challenge themselves and challenge yourself a little bit more ever day.  Try to become a better version of yourself and channel that into your relationship. 

Just over three months into my LDR and there’s been hard days and there’s been amazingly loved up days. Writing this down really helped me focus my thoughts and  having something to look back on to keep thinking productively even on bad days is good. To come out on the other side of an LDR stronger and in a better relationship than when it started it’s important to fight for the good moments and learn from the bad ones I think. It’s a continuous process.  What’s your best advice for people in Long Distance Relationships? Xxx

Brazil, South America, Travel

Travel Plans: Having My Cake and Eating It Too

Life is one big, weird adventure. Plans fall through, dreams are postponed, exchange rates change, people have babies, get pets, lose and gain friends. Life is roller coaster with all that that implies, the head rush, the slight nausea, the terrified, but elated screaming, its all there.  The only real constant in life is that life is unpredictable. And I got to experience that a little yesterday. As I mentioned a couple of posts back the exchange rate between the British Pound and the Norwegian Krone forced me to eliminate or postpone most of my 2016 travel plans, in favor of paying my tuition fees, rent and having something extra to live for. I gave up on Vietnam, I almost gave up on Barcelona and to be honest I felt down. The money I had worked hard for and saved up specifically for  travel was now all of a sudden out of my hands and bitterly put to use just to cover a failing Krone rate that was out of my control. But then life is, and will always be, unpredictable, sometimes for worse, sometimes for better.

From our Epic Italy Adventure in 2014
From our Epic Italy Adventure in 2014

Last night I was skyping my Brazilian friend Laura, an amazing girl I met during  my first year at university and also one of my dearest friends. She had discovered she had a couple off weeks of from university in Rio De Janeiro and by pure coincidence her vacation were on the same weeks as my Easter Break. We laughed about it and decided to check the tickets on Skyscanner for fun, because we had long discussed me visiting her, but it never seemed to happen. And the tickets were relatively CHEAP! .  550 pounds return  with British Airways from London is  way less than you would expect to pay for a direct return flight. After a quick phone call to my parents and grandparents where I got them to swear to not give me any actual gifts for Christmas or my birthday, but instead some money to help pay for the flight later – which they were all for – the flight information was filled in, the tickets were paid for with some of my savings and BOOM. TWO WEEKS IN RIO DE JANEIRO HERE I COME!  😀

As you read this I am on my way to Stockholm, but I am still shellshocked. Absolutely shellshocked and in awe of how lucky I am. After losing any and all travel plans for 2016, the dates, the tickets and the trip falls into my lap and I get a Birthday/ Graduation trip after all. I’m having my cake and eating it too, despite being a students and poorer than ever. With the help of my kind family who are willing to contribute a little to the flight tickets, and Lauras lovely family hosting me for the full two weeks, and getting to see one of my dearest friends in person for the first time in almost two years… I’m set to have the trip of a lifetime. I know it’s a cliché to be “blessed” at this point, but there is no other word for it. I’m blessed to have such a supporting family, such generous friends and such loving people in my life who help make my dreams come true and cheer me on in all my endeavors. Let the countdown begin! Xxx

Life, norway

Norway: Sunny Hiking and Deep Sea Fishing

Good afternoon ya’ll!

The last little  text post from our Northern Norway Mini Adventure is here!  I might do a Roundup post and I will of course be posting the Youtube Video I’m working on with clips from our trip, but other than that this little adventure is over for now. I might do a Norway Q&A at some point however if I get enough questions so if you have any please leave them in the comment section or tweet them at me!

Kjære met my family for the first time on this trip and towards the end of the trip he finally got to meet my Mamma. She made whale steak (a first for him the poor man haha) in a red wine sauce and yum! I’m not usually one for whale meat, but this was good! And Kjære approved too, which came as a surprise to both me and my Mum. He’s liked or approved of almost everything he has been introduced to, including Pinnekjøtt, which leads me to believe he will probably thrive in Sweden with Scandinavian cuisine 🙂

IMG_9181

We had a lovely night of introductions and over the next few days we spent time with some rabbits, some sheep, some ghosts in a 300 year old haunted shed/house and a lot of flies while hiking. We were determined to do another hike since the weather interfered with our plans earlier in the week and when the sun peaked out we put on our gear and started trekking up Øksnesheia, a 470 something meter high mountain-ish mountain. The heat took it’s toll, but the views from the top were spectacular.

We also went out fishing the very same day  and had a lot of fun wheeling in pollock after a pollock. Kjære even caught three decent sized cods in one go, proclaiming it “feels like a little one” when it was in fact three big ones that took us all by delightful surprise! I haven’t been deep sea fishing in years and I had forgotten how fun it was and how good the fish tastes when you’ve caught it yourself. We cooked some in the evening, but left gutting the rest of it (we caught quite a lot) for the next day. Gutting fish involves removing the head and the intestines which is not for people prone to gagging at disgusting things. I won’t go into more detail than I already have, but trust me when I say it’s not a pretty sight. The sunset we were treated to while fishing was however stunning beyond words.

We had a wonderful few days visiting my Mamma and I couldn’t have asked for a better holiday in my home region. Getting to spend time with loved ones and getting to see my country and my hometown through SwedCars eyes was also grand. It’s easy to stop appreciating the views and the food and the opportunities for activities we have when it’s so accessible. These two weeks have been just what I needed to get my spirits back up for this last month of work before uni starts again. Thank you to everyone that helped make it happen, but especially my Pappa, Mamma, Farmor and Kjære.

Next up on the blog is my to Paris in March 2015 and London in February 2015! Xxx

LDR, Life, Long Distance Relationship

Thoughts On Being In A Long Distance Relationship

I never really thought I would be in a long distance relationship, because I never thought I was cut out for it.  Not seeing your favourite person for a significant amount of time didn’t seem like something I could do. No hugs when I’m feeling down, no hand to hold when I need support, no smiling Kjære to cheer up  my day. Not being able to do the same for Kjære is also a challenge. When any loved on is down you want to do what you can to help them and comfort them, but it’s somehow worse when it’s your partner in crime. They need a hug or want a cuddle and you’re not there to do that for them. You only have your words and your thoughts, smileys and the occasional picture of you doing a silly face to try and make it better. It’s a relationship where you are mostly on your own, and no matter how much you try to include your boyfriend/girlfriend in the memories you are making, you are not making memories together. Not as much as a non distance relationship at least. It’s no wonder that trying to stay positive is difficult when you know the next “I’ll see you soon” is actually an “I’ll see you in five weeks”.

I miss him. I miss him all day, every day, especially when I do things that I kow he would have loved, or do things that we used to do together all the time.  I feel the pain of not having him around, but it’s bittersweet because the more I miss him the more I feel just how much he matters to me. Being in an LDR teaches you a lot about your own feelings and values. It very quickly reveals the depth of your emotions, even if you haven’t been together all that long. It teaches you to communicate your feelings more openly than ever, because there is no other way to deal with things. If you don’t tell them how you feel, they won’t know. So you tell them. You communicate. You have datenights over Skype and bring each other out to cafés on Facetime. Watch movies together on Rabb.it and make a joint calendar in the “Couple” app. You play Words With Friends and Quiz Up and exchange endless “I Miss You”s and “I Love You”s while squeezing the teddy or cardigan that has their perfume/cologne on. You stay independent and do your own thing, but if you ever feel down their words or smiling face is there in front of you on the screen. They are there for you even if you can’t reach out and poke them in the cheek or ruffle their hair. Your long distance boyfriend or girlfriend is there and you prioritize each other. You stay busy, you stay focused on the end goal and you keep on growing as people, together and apart.

It turns out I can be in an LDR,  however difficult it might be. I am doing it. We are doing it. I haven’t seen Kjære in a month and I won’t see him again until next Sunday, but we’re doing it. And it’s going better than expected. We’ve made a schedule  for our visits and if everything goes to plan 5 weeks is the longest we’ll go without seeing each other. We’re focusing on all the memories we will be making together, trying to keep a positive mind, playing the waiting game to the best of our abilities. We Skype when we need to Skype and share little tidbits of our days as we go along, the mundane and the exciting. He’s my best friend and like any best friend I know he has my back, distance or no distance.

I’m not going to say that LDRs are grand, because they are not. They suck. There is crying,  loneliness and a bunch of other sad feelings when it feels like the days are standing still and the countdown has stopped. But LDRs are also amazing. He gets to live his dream of studying abroad and becoming fluent in a new language, I get to fulfill my dream by finishing my degree in England (technically abroad for me too) and we’re still together. Living two different dreams in two different countries, all the while maintaining a relationship with our favourite person. The timing of when we met might not have been the best. The irony of him going to Scandiniavia while I’m in England isn’t lost on any of us. But we want each other to be happy and that’s the most important thing.

Giving up a few hugs here and a lazy sunday in bed there… Well, it’s not  that much of a sacrifice when you’re both doing what makes you happy and you know that the person you love wants you to do it. A relationship is all about making each other happy and if a little temporary distance is needed so that you both can be the happiest you can be… then a little distance is no obstacle at all.

Does this sound familiar to any of you? Xxx