Volvo Ocean Race in Gothenburg

Before I write about what happened today, on my first real day in Sweden, I will rewrite about my long way back home. I wasn’t aware of anything I wrote last night and I am not sure I want to read it. I was completely out of it and I’m sure it was the worst post I have had so far in this blog. So here goes again.

On Saturday June 20th I was supposed to wake up at 4am so I would have time to remove the sheets from the bed and soon. But I accidently turned off my alarm and didn’t wake up until 4:30am when my ride texted me that he was outside the house. Shit! I got stressed, and I hate being stressed. But 15 minutes later we were on our way, and there were surprisingly many people on the freeway, not enough to slow us down, but still more than you would think at 5am on a Saturday. We got to the airport at 5:20 am, I thanked Andrew and then hurried in. I was surprised at how many people there were. I stood in line for the kiosks to check in. But once I got there, twenty minutes later, it said I couldn’t do anything so I had to stand in another line. When it was 50 minutes left until my flight left it was finally my turn, so I put my suitcases on the scale, and of course one of them was overweight. I am stressed out of my mind, but right there on the floor, I open up my bags and repack them. I was lucky enough that the security line was short, usually that can take time. I got to the gate with two minutes to spare before boarding, so I bought a little breakfast and then boarded.

The first flight was 4 hours to Chicago. Those flights always seem to be overpacked, so I could check in my carry-on for free all the way to my final destination. Pretty awesome! I got an aisle seat, I was tired, but normally I can’t fall asleep on planes because it is so uncomfortable. I almost manage to fall asleep this time, an 18h long day followed by 4h of sleep makes one tired. But right when I am about to fall asleep, the lady in the middle needs to take her 6-year old daughter to the bathroom. And after that I couldn’t fall asleep again so I read for the rest of the flight.

The second flight was 8.5h long and was all the way to Berlin. Over the Atlantic Ocean, through the night. That is the worst type of flight really. We left Chicago at 3:25pm, flew against time, skipped the night and landed early the next morning. We only got a few dark hours and I couldn’t sleep more than 1.5h, if you can even call that sleep.  That flight was actually okay, not as good as the last time I flew over the Atlantic when I had three seats all to myself in the back of the plane, but almost. I got a window seat at row 50 of 50. There were only two seats and the girl next to me was nice, although she took up some of my seat once she fell asleep which was annoying. We got a blanket and a pillow like always on those long flights, but we also got a carebag with socks, earplugs, a blindfold, and a toothbrush and toothpaste. The socks were perfect since I was flying with flipflops. I watched two movies on that flight, first the third Hobbit movie (finally!!) and then American Sniper. Both were really good. Then I tried to sleep some, but was pretty unsuccessful. I “woke” up 1.5h later because a guy on the other side opened up the window and the rising sun blinded me. And that was that sleep… I started watching Jumper, saw about half of it before we landed.

The third flight was from Berlin and only 1h and 20 min. I had a window seat again. I just wanted to be home so I just sat there listening to music the whole time. I got sad to when I realized that that was it. California was behind me and Sweden ahead.

I was excited when we descended and I saw the green forests of the outskirts of Gothenburg. All those trees, and lakes, and red houses with white corners. It was nice to see.

We landed on time, I went to baggage claim, just to wait there for a long while. And one of my three checked bags didn’t even come. I talked to the baggage service lady and she told me it got stuck in San Diego already. It was gonna get flown in that same evening, but too late for driving out. So I got it today instead.

Here is my snapchat story from the trip:

 

My day yesterday was super weird. I was so tired already from the beginning, but I did my best to stay awake. And I succeeded til 7pm when I just couldn’t keep my eyes open any more. During the day I hugged my cats all the time, I couldn’t keep my hands off them. I have missed them both sooo much. My two fluffy balls!

My mom prepared some Swedish midsummer food and I enjoyed that sooo much in the sun on the balcony. It was perfect. The pickled herring, the fresh potato, the meatballs. Yummy!

Then I tried unpacking but I was just so tired so it took forever and I only did a few things. Mom and I had picked up some of my boxes from the basement. Mostly clothes, can’t really put anything else anywhere. My room is kinda tiny, haha.

We went to the grocery store to try and wake me up at 4. I couldn’t go to bed just yet. There wasn’t really anything I needed, but we bought tea, some fruit and falukorv (a Swedish sausage that I have missed). It didn’t really help and I was still tired back home. I lasted until 7pm when I was about to fall asleep in front of the TV. My mom told me I coulnd’t, so I went to bed, fell asleep right away. I woke up at one point, it was light out and I thought that I had slept happily through the whole night. When I looked at my phone, it was only 10pm, haha! I have missed the light we get in the summer, it is amazing. Then I fell asleep again and woke up at 8:30am. 13h of sleep and I was still tired when I woke up, but I didn’t leave bed for a while, so it was nice. I fell asleep last night with Stuff right next to my face and when I moved around too much Chip took her place. He spent the whole night next to me or on my chest. That cuddly fluffball.

This morning I had breakfast, and unpacked some more. Went much faster today. I was still feeling a bit weird and that will take a few more days I think. As long as I sleep through the whole night I am happy :).

Soon after noon mom came home from work so we could take the public transit (wow, I missed that, haha) down to the harbor to watch the boats in Volvo Ocean Race sail over the finish line after 9 months of racing all around the world. The sun was out and it was amazing. T-shirt was no problem at all! We watched all the boats come in to the harbor. Alvimedica (the American/Turkish boat) won, and the Swedish came in last unfortunately. We stayed the whole time, even through the rain, which was cold… Ugh, I do not like rain! But it was a fun event to attend.

 #1

 #2

 #3 Dongfeng. This boat had a Swede onboard.

 The big ship Götheborg! I don’t think I have ever seen it actually. It was a grand ship.

 #4 Abu Dhabi.

It turned very quickly from sun to this…

 #6 Vestas.

 #7, the Swedish boat Team SCA, an all girls boat.

All the ships being welcomed in the harbor.

On our way back home we stopped downtown where I could by more nosespray since my nose is very congested. All the rain here makes everything super green (which I live, and isn’t even comparable to California), but that also means a ton of pollen, and even if I am not allergic I definitely feel it. Maybe I am allergic now? I am gonna contact the health center tomorrow and ask for an appointment to take the tests and also find out my mysterious allergy. I have a lot of stuff I need to take care of, but I look forward to it.

Now I really have to go to bed. I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow. I will try to head to Liseberg to sign my contract for the summer, I am meeting up with my cousin Malin, hanging out for a bit maybe, will try to get some stuff before then, unpacking. And in the evening I will go to the One Direction concert here in town in the evening! Malin asked me yesterday if I wanted to come because one of her friends couldn’t go. Very unexpected, but I am actually excited. Not everyone can say that they have seen 1D live ;). And they do have a few good songs.

Goodnight!

This is a peacock that kept me company at the pool on Friday. Beautiful birds!

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Back home in Sweden

This weekend has been so long and really hard. I have stayed awake for a very long time and the only thing I can think about is going to sleep. But I have told myself that I can’t go to bed before 9pm because that will mess me up. I have been awake for 29 hours (6pm Swedish time) now, with only 90 minutes of half-sleep on the plane. And before that I only slept for 4 hours and the day before, Friday, was a very active day with scuba diving, and I was up for 18 hours. So far it’s been 47 hours with 5 hours of rest. Ugh. Not my favorite way to spend a weekend.

The flights went okay, On the second one, the long one from Chicago to Berlin, I got a window seat at the very back of the plane which was the best. I tried to sleep but couldn’t. So I tried and succeeded after watching two movies; The Hobbit 3 and American Sniper. Both really good. That flight was amazing in another way too. They gave each and every one of us a goodie bag with socks in I, a brush, toothbrush, earplugs, blindfold. Everything to make the trip better. Since I was traveling with flip flops the socks were especially welcome.

The food wasn’t good and I’ve felt it in my stomach all day, nauseous, ugh!

After the 18 hours I finally landed in Gothenburg. Lots of mixed feelings. When I get there I realize my third bag is nog here. So I went to the baggage lady and she helped me locate it. Apparently it got stuck in San Diego which is rather strange. But she said it would land in Gothenburg late tonight and they would taxi it out to me tomorrow sometime. Can’t wait for that bag, I have so many things in there.

I hugged my mom and we went home. It felt so weird to be back in Sweden. It kinda already feels like it was a dream again. I have tried to unpack, but with this sleep-depriveness it’s been really hard. I just managed to finish unpacking my one suitcase and carry-on. The boxes will have to wait until another day when I feel ready for it.

I apologize for the probably not very well-written post today. I am literally sitting here by my desk and can’t keep my eyes open and nod every now and then. I don’t think I have ever been this tired before. It has probably affected my speech today, I have mixed Swedish and English words everywhere and mom has laughed at me.

I feel like a zombie right now, so I think I will actually go to bed now, I can’t do this anymore. 29 hours of no real sleep is not very fun!

Dive #6 – La Jolla Cove Outer Reef

Last day in California with no sureness of when my return will be. That’s not good, and it makes this leaving harder than the last. Even if I look forward to go back home, I am still very sad to leave. Mixed feelings to say the least.

My last day started with a dive in the kelp forest. Today there was a third guy with us, he was from Germany. First we snorkeled for half an hour out to the forest, descended and started swimming to the more densely forested area. It was cold, and I was already shivering on the surface and it was even colder at the bottom. Bottom temperature today was only 53F (13C) and that made the whole dive not very enjoyable. But it was still cool to dive through the kelp. Total bottom time today was 59 minutes, but we were in the water for longer because of the snorkeling tour out. It took a long while before I could feel my feet again and even longer before I was warm.

We didn’t see any sharks today unfortunately. But we did see a banded ray, a giant black sea bass (only 40lbs though), lots of the orange fishes, the tuna crabs, and the other fish I can’t remember the names of, sea lions and I also saw a blue starfish. I am too tired to go through all the videos to try and find a good screenshot of the ray, sea bass and starfish. I will post them another day if I remember it.

I bought a chai latte on the way home, and once there I pretty much just took the poolcard and hung out at the pool for about four hours. I read some, I think I napped some, and then at 5pm Anna came. I haven’t seen her since I left a year and a half ago. We talked for an hour before we both had to leave.

Dinner with the family, then packing, all my suitcases are less than 23kgs, everything except my computer is packed and I am all ready to go. I looked through the pictures from today too, and all of them were okay today. I just didn’t look through the videos yet. Today the pictures got better, maybe I was trying to hold it more steadily while under water.

I am definitely going to bed now. 4 hours of sleep, awesome!

Lots of tuna crabs.

A seagull from under the surface.

 Two freeloaders on the instructor, haha!

 Most of the pictures looked similar.

 It was a completely different dive today, and it was really cool!

Sea lion playing in the seagrass when we were heading out of the water. The water in there were so much warmer.

Au pairing and guns

Today was exactly like a day two summers ago, when I was an au pair in this amazing family. It was like the past two years never happened and I just continued doing the au pair thing. I left bed at 11am after falling asleep at 3 last night. I started the day with playing Super Mario Bros on the Wii with the kids. My hostmom left to do errands for their upcoming Hawaii trip so I had the kids all to myself all day. It was a great day! First we played some Wii, and then soon thereafter it was lunchtime. And of course, they wanted Swedish pancakes, and it was like I have been doing that once a week the past two years as well. Turned out perfect.

Right after that we went out with the dog, Maya. The girl was on her bike and the boy had a friend with him and they were collecting sticks on the way. We were out there for about 45 minutes, and that was the only time they wanted to be outside today. I wish they would have wanted to go to the pool or something since it was the most beautiful day of the week and my second to last day in California. But well well.

Then the boys were out in the yard playing, and we were just hanging out for a bit before the neighbor had to go home and the boy and I played chess while the girl baked muffins. She then left for soccer practice and the boy and I played Battleship until my hostmom came home. And that’s when I left to go meet up with Andy, a guy from the Mission Beach volleyball gang. We had a very American evening together with first gunshooting at an indoor range, then In N Out for dinner (one last time) and then to Dave and Buster (Chuck E Cheese for adults) where we played arcade games until midnight when I had to go home so I would get some sleep before my early scuba dive tomorrow.

Shooting a gun is something I have always wanted to try, even if I don’t like guns and don’t agree with the constitution that everyone here has a right to own a gun. But it was still something I wanted to try so I could see what the fuss was all about. He brought four guns, two handguns and two rifles. I had him write down the names of them because there is no way that I would have remembered. The first one was a rifle .45 carbine, second was called AR 15, third HK .45 compact, and the last one was a .357 magnum revolver. My favorite was the .45 carbine, not too powerful, easy to aim with. The revolver was pretty fun too. The small and “normal-looking” gun was so powerful that it was scary to shoot with, haha!

After shooting about 2 rounds with each gun my arms were spaghetti and I was pretty much done, haha!

 AR 15.

HK 45 compact, the very powerful but small gun.

We were planning on going to the County Fair, but we decided to go to In N Out and Dave and Buster instead. That was also fun! I’ve never really played arcade games like that before, and I have to say that I sucked at most of it, haha! I was pretty good at skeeball after a couple of tries, and of course I am pretty decent at Mario Kart.

It was a long and fun day, and tomorrow will be even longer. I am super stoked about the dive, and then I will babysit the kids for a bit, and pack. Last day in California tomorrow. It’s sad…

Dive #5 – La Jolla Cove Sea Caves

This whole day has been a happy one just because of one one-hour long dive in La Jolla. The conditions were perfect so I could choose to either to the kelp forest or the cave dive. I chose the cave and am so happy I did so. It was incredible and amazing and awesome and I thought it was such a great time that as soon as I got home, I booked another tour (to do the kelp forest) on Friday. Scuba diving is the best thing ever and I regret not getting my certification earlier.

I got to La Jolla Cove at 8am this morning, met with the instructor who would give me a private tour along the coastline right under the cliffs where sea lions hang out. In the beginning of the dive we saw lots of tuna crabs. Then we descended after hiking out a little bit. My regulator this time was so much easier to breathe through that I didn’t even think about my breathing at all, like I did during all my other dives up in SLO. There was a lot of sea grass in a dark red color and bright green. It was very pretty. And through it swam tons of big orange fish, the California state fish: Garibaldi Calico Bass (real name is Hypsypops Rubicundus). The visibility was 15-20ft and that was good enough for me, I could see plenty and I loved the view down there. We never went deeper down than 20ft which was good for a first dive. Water temp was just under 60F at the bottom and around 60F at the surface. But with a 7mm wetsuit I didn’t get cold. During the dive he showed me plenty of stuff, like lobsters and abalone’s. They are apparently very very expensive and their dead shell is very very pretty. We also saw sea lions once we got to the cave. We had just surfaces inside it when I hear him say to quickly look behind me. I panicked a little for a second and then went under water and saw a huge, 800lb, sea lion swimming a few feet away from me. Haha, crazy! There was also a sea lion lying on one of the cliffs in there. Oh right, speaking of sea lions, I accidently resurfaced right before going in the cave. It’s hard with the buoyancy, it shouldn’t be, but it happened, I got too positive and surfaced. And once I was above the surface I heard the screech of sea lions, looked up at the cliff right above me and saw a lot of big sea lions lying there watching me. Haha! They are kinda intimidating honestly.

We swam around inside the cave for a bit, then slowly headed back to the beach. Another thing we saw was a tiny sleeping horned shark. It wasn’t bigger than a feet and was sleeping inside a crevice well-hidden. But the instructors keen eyes found it. He has over 10,000 dives and is very experienced and I felt very safe diving with him.

We had a total of 63 minutes under water, which he said was very impressive for a beginner. Normally that dive was 45 minutes. I guess I am a natural, haha! Jk, but he said that I was very calm and didn’t seem like a beginner, and that felt really good to hear since I thought I was gonna die on dive #1 and #2 in Montaña de Oro.

Now I have 144 minutes under water, more than two hours, yay!

The way up to the truck was hard, the scuba equipment is heavy and walking up stairs with it was not fun, haha! We talked for a bit afterward, and I filled in my log book, got a stamp and then drove home. If anyone ever goes to San Diego to scuba dive, find Scuba San Diego Inc! $140 for one dive with all the equipment rented, $205 for two tanks. I am glad I didn’t do two dives, I would have been too tired. And now I have something to look forward to on Friday!

When I came home I started looking at the pictures. They turned out pretty good, but the videos were the best. And since none of the pictures from the cave and forward were damaged somehow, I decided to go through all the videos and take screenshots, and with the program VideoPad they turned out amazing! So today there are a lot of pictures in the blog.

Later in the afternoon I pretended to be an au pair again and picked up Nicki, who I hung out with in San Francisco during spring break with Helena. We went to La Jolla Westfield UTC to do some shopping. I bought a pair of flip flops and lots of underwear from VS. Mine are falling apart and I don’t know when I will get the chance to buy new ones next time. Good thing they don’t take space or weight from my suitcases. I still have weight left I think. But I am gonna save money if I am about to pay tuition to Cal Poly or SDSU next fall.

Wow, it is almost 3am… I should probably go to bed now, haha! It has been a fantastic day and I can’t wait for Friday when I am going to see the kelp forest and go down to 40ft. I have never been below 25, so that will be cool!

 

Here are Rod Watkins’ pictures from the dive today. He was fast at uploading them to Facebook.

 California’s state fish and an abalone.

 Tuna crab.

 800lb sea lion inside the cave.

 Swimming in to the cave.

 North entrance, to Coast Blvd.

 South entrance to the ocean.

 Sea lion resting.

 Inside the cave.

Waves hitting the razor reef.

Extremely happy after a very successful dive :).

 

Here are my pictures from my gopro:

 Red, green, orange.

 Lobster.

 This is a funny one. I was watching the videos tonight and I saw this sea lion swimming right above us. I had no idea this happened when we were out there, haha!

 Alive abalone.

 Beautiful colors.

 This is what I faced when I accidentally surfaced, haha!

 The cave.

 This is me filming in the cave, the first picture on the upper left corner shows the sea lion swimming right next to me!

 And this sea lion decided to swim right in front of us when we were outside of the cave.

Dolphins

June Gloom continues and I am not too happy about spending my last few days in California with cloudy weather. It is not very cold, but it would be so much more enjoyable with burning sun. I spent a couple of hours at the beach today after I ran some errands. First I went to the library to print the liability form for tomorrow’s scuba dive tour. Then I went to the post office because I can not make an online shipping label, but they couldn’t help me. So I will have to call technical support because something is wrong with the website. My third stop was the bank to close my account. Everyone there were so helpful and friendly and I could even change all my stupid coins to real money without any troubles. My bank account is closed, I have some cash now, but that will be nice to exchange to Swedish Crowns once I am back home because of the exchange rate right now.

The weather wasn’t nice, but I decided that I wanted to be at the beach anyway. And I am glad I went. I finished my book, the third Guild Wars book, and started on the third Fifty Shades book. I felt like it was time to finish that series now. As always I was looking out to the water too and saw dolphins today again! Many more today and they were playing and some of them were even surfing on the waves. I love dolphins :).

I got a pretty good video of several of them, but I have to pay to be able to upload videos and I don’t have enough to want to pay, so this picture will have to do :).

I came back to the house at 6pm, took a shower and hung out with the boy for a bit before eating dinner. I also played with the dog. I really don’t understand why tug-o-war is that fun.

Tonight I have done some more fixing. I sent an email to the international center at Cal Poly and asked what it means to be on the Dean’s List and if I will get any proof of that for future job applications. And speaking of grades, spring quarters grades were posted today and I did really good this quarter too. Two A’s and one B+, exactly like winter quarter. My overall GPA after a year at Cal Poly is 3.597 (of 4). As an engineer I am very happy with that! I sent another email and asked about what I need to do if I want to apply for a master at Cal Poly. I decided today that that is what I want to do. I feel like one year at Cal Poly wasn’t enough. And I don’t wanna start working yet, so why not get more loans and get a master and stay another two years in California? I think it is a good plan. If I can get scholarships or financial aid from the US, then I hope the 2 year rule doesn’t add more years to it. So that means that I could get a real job right away after. I hope this will work. I would start the City and Regional Planning master next fall if everything goes according to my new plan.

I also canceled my cell phone plan, changed my uber account to my Swedish bank account, and I think that was it. I don’t think I have anything else I need to take care of before leaving now. That’s a relief. Just repacking a little bit.

I don’t like this waiting time. I know that I have one fun thing to do tomorrow, and the beach and the dolphins always make me happy. But I also kinda just want to be done with this and be home. I hate waiting. I am ready to go home now (at least for a while).

Stung by a bee

I can’t remember the last time I got stung by a bee. It must have been the summer before 5th grade when we were out with the boat and we all got stung. Except my brother who jumped in the water if I remember correctly. That was many many years ago. I was just sitting at the beach, I felt something on my neck, by my collarbone, and moved my hand there and felt something sting. It didn’t even occur to me that it could be a bee until I looked down in my lap a little later and saw the bee. It hurt a lot and got worse and worse. I removed the stinger and ever since then I’ve been very sore and as soon as I move my head it strains the sore skin. It is not swollen, and the big red mark is pretty much gone. But it still hurts. Stupid bee! Why would you disturb me while enjoying my book and the beach??

The weather today wasn’t very nice. So I decided to sleep for as long as I could, and at 10am, after 12 hours of sleep, I decided that it was time to get up. Or at least wake up and finish watching last night’s Game of Thrones. I watched ten minutes before falling asleep. After I was done by noon with the episode, which by the way ended crazily, the sun was out, not a single cloud on the sky anymore. But of course that was only here, inland. Out by the water it was cloudy. But it was still warm so it was no problem laying there in a bikini for a few hours. I read some, kept looking out in the water for dolphins, and booked a scuba tour on Wednesday morning. It was a chill day, except for the bee sting. I saw some dolphins, didn’t finish my book which was the goal for today. But I get distracted by the water, I can’t stop looking at it.

I left the beach at five, repainted my nails (which was kinda stupid since I am going scuba diving on Wednesday and maybe playing some more bvball tomorrow and Thursday. Eh. Dinner with the family and now I am ready to go to bed again. I don’t know what I will do tomorrow yet. I will most likely go to the beach again, I don’t think it will be worth spending a day at the pool even if it means sun. I am pretty tan, and my face is still pretty red from yesterday, maybe one more day of staying out of direct sun.

Pictures from the tournament yesterday:

Andrew Sellers, Dieu Ngu, Meg Powers, Rene Richey, and me.

Alexandra Bemm