Friday, March 23, 2012

In the Air and Stockholm Bound

Last week I only had two days of school (Monday and Tuesday). Wednesday was some meeting for the teachers so Mamma, Bestemor (my grandmother), Ragnhild, Johan and I decided to go to Ikea!!

This is the Ikea in Trondheim. It was my first time in an Ikea and it was absolutely amazing! The store is so huge!! It is so big that they need a specific path with arrows to tell you which way to go so you don't get lost... We wandered through the set up kitchens, bedrooms and offices upstairs. Eventually we made it to a cafeteria and ate some Tacos. We went down and found a wonderland of amazing, random, useful items.
We set the timers in one display for 5 minutes and ran away... but we came back when they were supposed to go off and nothing happened.

Can't figure out what random Ikea merchandise is?

Why not Zoidberg?

Also I really, really wanted this!

And we found this special door made just for me! 

It says "For the most important people in the world"

We bought creemies and then went home.

Thursday morning Johan and the rest of my class left on a Russ trip called blåtur, which literally translated means "blue trip" because they had no idea where they were going. It was to Denmark. I was planning on going but AFS said it wasn't allowed, so I decided to try to travel somewhere else that weekend instead. I talked to my mom's friend Therese and asked if I could visit them. She has two sons named Max and Felix. She said of course I was welcome. I bought my plane ticket for Friday morning and my return ticket for Sunday late afternoon. I would fly from Trondheim to Oslo to Stockholm and then reversed.  
Thursday night I went to a party where a very well known Norwegian band was playing, called Plumbo. It is the second time I've seen them this year. It was so much fun! However, it probably wasn't the smartest thing because I got to bed at 3 am. I had to get up at 5 am to catch my flight. I was a tad bit tired...
However, there was a bit of a complication because Thursday night, while I was walking into the concert I got a text message from Norwegian Airlines apologizing that my flight from Oslo to Stockholm was canceled in the morning. 
I minorly freaked out and called Pappa, he told me everything would be alright and we would deal with it in the morning at the airport. I didn't check any baggage so I just went right through security, but Pappa came with me because the lady at the Check-in desk couldn't book a new flight for me from Oslo to Stockholm. So Pappa came through with me to my gate and talked to the woman there. She was very helpful and gave me a boarding ticket for a flight from Oslo to Stockholm. She wrote the flight number and told me to look on the screens in Oslo to find the gate. Perfect.
I said bye to Pappa and waited to board the plane. I sat wayyyy in the back of the plane, and it was far from full so I had an entire 3 seats to myself. It was the most comfortable plane ride I've ever taken. As soon as we were able to, I turned my iPod on and used the free internet on the plane.

Then, I spread out into the seat next to me and twisted myself up a bit and went to sleep. It probably didn't look to comfy but it was amazing. The flight attendant woke me up for landing because I needed to turn my iPod off. 
I was feeling pretty good as I got off the plane at the Oslo airport. I took out the little boarding ticket from the woman at Trondheim and stood in front of the huge board looking for the gate my flight would depart from. Ahh there it is.. DY4140 Oslo-Stockholm, now which gate....
She put me on the same flight I had originally been scheduled to be on.
I called Pappa right away and he told me to find the help desk in the airport and talk to them. I then called Therese to let her know I might not be on time...
I talked to the woman behind the Norwegian desk and she said their next flight was at 2 in the afternoon. She said I could either wait or I could talk to SAS (another airline) and see if they had anything earlier. I would have to buy the new ticket but Norwegian would pay me back.
SAS had a flight from Oslo at 8:30, which was the time I was originally supposed to be flying out. I bought it.
I slept the whole flight and arrived safely in Stockholm at 9:30. 
I got a text message from Therese asking if I would be ok taking the bus into the city. I thought that was so exciting! She told me to get off at Na Stationsgatan, the station right after Järva Krog.
Simple enough.
We stopped at Järva Krog and at the next station I hopped off the bus, barely glancing at the name. 
I was to excited to see everyone again to notice that the bus stop looked something like this:

Well thats a bit of an exaggeration, but there wasn't much around this stop and I sure wasn't in the city yet. I called Therese and told her I had gotten off at the stop right after Järva Krog. She sounded a bit confused when she said "Really? because I'm waiting here and I don't see you"
I got off at the wrong stop. 
The confusion came from the bus schedule though. Therese had looked at it and it didn't say it was going to stop where I got off... So we were both technically correct. 
Anyways, Therese had to work so she drove me to Max's school. She had talked to his music teacher who said it was fine if I wanted to sit in on choir practice.
When we got to the school she called Max and he met us in the court yard. When we saw each other were were both (quite visibly) trying to hold ourselves back from running to hug the other, so I wound up doing a weird little crouched-waddle and Max basically power walked... 
Closer and closer... faster and faster... HUG!
I was SO EXCITED to see him again!! 
We went upstairs to his choir class and it was a little weird because for the first half hour the boys and girls were split up but I stayed with Max, so I was the only girl in the room. They are really good at singing! When the girls came in there was only a little bit left in class. It was fun to listen to them all sing.
Next we ate lunch. I ate at the school with Max and some of his friends. After lunch Max had a one and a half hour social studies class. I had the option to sit in on the class or wander in the city a bit. I was worried I wouldn't find my way back so I sat in on the class.
It was boring.
So. Boring.
After that class Max had a math test, so I decided it would be better if I waited in the hall for him. He made his iPhone into a WiFi hot-spot and I just played on my iPod until he was done.
Free from school and finally together again, the two of us wandered off into Stockholm, no particular plan in mind... 
We walked ALL over the city. Max almost pushed me into the river (but not really) and I screamed. There were some swans. 
 It's a bad quality picture because I took it on my iPod... I forgot my camera in my bag. Typical.
There were actually quite a few water fowl.

We looked in some stores... Including a candy store and we found this:
Didn't buy it though... bummer..

We walked over bridges and down random roads and we talked... And talked... And talked.... 
We didn't talk about one thing in particular because we would get half way through a thought and then be side-tracked by another thing and start talking about that. Anyone else trying to follow the conversation probably would have been very confused, but we understand each other very well.
Eventually Max realized two things:
1.) He was supposed to have called Therese when we were leaving school, which was a few hours ago and
2.) He had no clue where we were.
He called his mom and we figured out where we were. We went to meet her and go home. 
When we got back to their apartment we found out that Johan, Erik and their parents were coming in about 5 minutes...
When they arrived I basically attacked them I was so excited! I missed them all so much!
We ate dinner together... It was so good! 
After dinner we hung out for quite a while, played some video games and chilled.
Max let me borrow his computer to check my Facebook, but he left his up so somehow this became his status:
Yeah... I'm really not sure who did that...
Anyways, I accidentally left myself signed in too so eventually my status became:
Eventually Kjell, Susanne and their sons had to go home... I was so sad! However, before they left it was decided that I would see them again the next day. 
After that Max, Therese and I all skyped with my parents in the USA. It was getting late and Max and I were talking about how we were going to bake cookies in the morning and my parents (jokingly) said "Well, why not bake them now?"
We laughed and Therese said "Well, yeah, why not? I mean you don't have that much time in Sweden anyways, so go for it!"
Notice the time that the status was set... Nearly 1 a.m.
The cookies weren't done before 2. 
We ran out of white flour so we had to use about a cup of whole grain flour. I told Max that made them "healthy cookies". He thought that was hilarious. 

Saturday morning we woke up around 9:30 or so and got ready for the day. 

Erik and Johan were supposed to come at 1 but they were late! They had to help their dad with something so they arrived around 1:45. 
While we waited for them, Max and I took his speakers and blasted music from their 4th floor balcony, danced and sang for the world. We got a lot of thumbs up and smiles. It was so much fun!
When the other boys arrived, we went to a Museum because Felix had a photograph in it. He is really an amazing photographer. It was so cool to see one of his pictures hanging there.
After that we wandered the city a little until we found a Subway shop to eat at... 7 months without Subway.. it was soooo good!
We went back to Max and Felix's place and all basically collapsed on the couch and chairs. We were all so tired! We wanted to go bowling but we decided to wait an hour or so. Max looked at their website then he called to make a reservation because apparently in Sweden you have to make reservations to go bowling... Maybe that is normal, but I had never heard of doing that before...
We walked about 15 or 20 minutes through their part of the city then across a huge dark field. 
We got to the bowling alley and it turned out to be a bar.
You had to be 20 to get in.
Max and Erik are 15.
Felix and I are 19.
Johan is 20.
We decided the best plan was to go home and watch a movie instead. We had to buy groceries to make ourselves dinner so we stopped at the store, then Max went off to work on a project with some friends. The other 4 of us went to rent a movie and back to the apartment. We got there and realized Max had the key...
They tried to call him but it said his number was no longer in use. We waited for a really long time on the stairs and eventually Johan went on Facebook on his phone and told Max we didn't have the key. He came to open the door then went back to his friends until dinner was ready. 
We discovered that everyone had been calling the wrong number because Max just recently changed phones. 
I set the table while Felix and Johan cooked most of the dinner but then they had to run to the store so then Erik was in charge of cooking the meat and I was in charge of distracting him from his work. 

We took this picture on Max's laptop while we were waiting for him to come home.
We ate really late (around 10) and then we watched a movie. It was called 30 Minutes or Less. It was really funny but by the end most of us were sorta falling asleep.
Then it was time to say goodbye to Erik and Johan...
I didn't want them to leave but they were both busy on Sunday so they had to get some sleep.
Max and I walked to the subway station with them.
One final hug then they had to catch their train.
Max and I walked home.
I cried.
When we got home Max and I stayed up late recording videos for Parker, my mom and my dad. We tried twice to make a video on Parker's Facebook wall but it didn't work so we recorded one on Max's computer then tired to upload it to Facebook. It was 10 minutes long. It didn't work, so we tried to record a second, shorter one. As we were about to try to upload the second one, Facebook notified us that it actually would upload the first one after all. 
We wore awesome hats and talked about all the awesome stuff we had done! We tried to make one for my blog but there was a problem uploading it so the world will never get the chance to see that one... bummer.
However, it did teach me that I am not a very skilled video-blogger (but if you guys think it is a good idea, I can try some other time... It is up to you!)
We had a lot of candy...
By the time we were recording for my dad it was 3 a.m. We don't make much sense in that video...
Eventually we had to sleep so we went to bed... we were going to sleep late Sunday morning but I got a text message from Norwegian airlines around 10 that woke us both up. 
Well, a text message from the airline? That sounds familiar...
My flight home was canceled!!
Therese helped me call the airline and we found our options were these:
1.) I could fly literally in the middle of the night, connect through Copenhagen and get home at an ungodly hour, or
2.) I could fly out early Monday morning, connect through Oslo and get home mid-day. 
Upon careful consideration we figured it would be better to fly out in the morning (for many reasons). It would have been a bit difficult to get me to the airport for my flight, I needed sleep and with how my travel plans were going so far, I really didn't want to get stranded in Copenhagen. It wouldn't be so bad if my flight in Oslo was canceled because I know people there I can call, but I don't know anyone in Copenhagen.
Also it was a bit of an advantage that it gave me one more night with them.
So it was decided and I booked my ticket for the next morning.

Saturday night one of Max and Felix's cousin was having her birthday so I went to the party with the family. I had met almost everyone there before. 
Therese's brother asked how old I was and I told him I am 19 so he asked if I wanted a glass of wine, then he hesitated and asked what the drinking age was where I live.
I laughed and told him I was living in Norway at the moment so the drinking age was 18.. he laughed too and handed me the glass.
It was a fun party with good food and nice people. A few times people stood up and talked about the birthday girl, but they would talk in Swedish so I didn't understand everything, but I always got the general concept of the conversation because the Swedish and Norwegian languages are relatively similar. It was a pretty cool feeling slightly understanding a language that you haven't studied at all.
After the party Max had some homework to do but Felix and I called Johan to see if he and Erik wanted to hang out. It was a little late so it didn't work out but we talked for a little bit. 
Felix and I wound up just watching a movie. When Max was done with his homework, we hung out for a while then we came up with a brilliant plan!
My mom in the USA didn't know that my flight had been canceled so we decided Therese needed to ask her to Skype. When she did that she told mom that everything went smoothly dropping me off at the airport and I was home safely. She then told mom that she had an Up With People girl staying with her for the night. Her name was Bente, she was from Norway, in Stockholm on PR, wanted to be an exchange student in the North-east US and wished to ask mom a few questions... and she really reminded her of Avery!

This is Bente. 
Cute, isn't she?
Looks a lot like me, huh?
We had mom fooled for maybe 25-30 seconds.
When I started to talk she figured it out.
We all had a good laugh about that and mom was just as happy as me that I got an extra night with them. 
Therese helped me work out my ticket info and when I would have to take the train in the morning... and what train I had to take. By the time we had worked everything out it was after 1 a.m. and it was determined that I had to be up a little after 5.
Max and I went to bed (I used the extra bed in his room) but we stayed up talking for a long time, nearly crying because we knew when we closed our eyes, the next time we opened them it would be the day we had to say bye... 
1:30 a.m.
2:00 a.m.
2:30 a.m.
3:00 a.m.
Sleep ruins everything...

Early Monday morning we begrudgingly dragged ourselves out of bed when the alarm went off. We got ready and Max took the train with me. 
As I was leaving, Therese told me I wasn't allowed to be sad and I wasn't allowed to say "good bye" because that made it seem like I thought I would never see her again. I gave her a big hug and told her "See you soon!"
For me to get into the subway I needed an electronic ticket that they can order on their phones. Max ordered one but it wasn't coming in so I asked if they actually check or not... he said not really.
It was almost time for the train to come so I just used an older ticket. I went to go through and the guy said something to me in Swedish... I called Max back. Max told me I just had to hold the electronic ticket closer so the man could see it... 
Ohhh no... 
I held it right up to the glass and the man grumbled his affirmation and opened the gate for me.
That proves they really don't check.
We ran down the stairs and the train came into the station just a minute later. Max received the electronic ticket just as we were boarding, so if we had waited we would have missed the train.
We got to the station for the airport train and Max and I stood there for a long time not wanting to say bye yet. It is always so hard to say bye to family and Max is definitely my brother (even if genetics tell us otherwise...)
One final hug and I got on the train and Max went to school. Things went smoothly at the airport and I boarded my plane on time. 
It was snowing and I was sitting in my seat, head resting against the window watching the snow hit the tarmac. I was fascinated by how it would just disappear right when it hit the ground, there was no wait before it melted. 
I closed me eyes and opened them again a minute later only to find no snow... 
No ground... 
That moment when my brain could not figure out what was going on or where the ground went was extremely disconcerting. 
It turns out I had slept for half the flight already. I went back to sleep and the next time I woke up it was a flight attendant telling me to turn my iPod off for landing.
The layover was uneventful except that my flight from Oslo to Trondheim was delayed 10 minutes.
I slept on that one too and what was even more disconcerting than waking up and not finding the ground is waking up to a huge bump, a terrible loud noise and the entire plane shaking. I nearly had a heart attack.
I had been sleeping with my iPod in and the flight attendants hadn't woken me up for landing.
I think that is, by far, one of the worst ways to be woken up.
Mamma met me at the airport and drove me home. 
It was so, so, so good to see everybody in Sweden again but there is nothing quite like the feeling of coming home again.
It was an amazing weekend! That is for sure.

"Connecting Lives, Sharing Cultures"  (AFS slogan)
Max and I on Saturday night 

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Siblings Already

Siblings Already
These are pictures that I found of my host brother on facebook compared to pictures of myself (from facebook). It looks like we're going to get along pretty well :D