Last day in Santa Barbara. Does not feel good at all. It will be fun to come to Sweden and meet everyone, but I will miss everything here. So it feels good to know that I will be back.
It's been a fantastic year, that’s the only way I can summarize it. I have been through so much fun, met so many wonderful people, learned a lot, seen so much and experienced a lot. Everything is just so wonderful here.
I wrote a summary of the fall, so what I did then you can read there, so I don’t write much about it here.
A little of what I have done this spring
This semester I have been a lot more outside Santa Barbara than last semester. One reason is that I traveled with my friends in the cheer-leading team. I've got to follow the competitions in Anaheim, Long Beach and Irvine and took photos and got to know the team. The first time I did it for the school’s newspaper, but then it was just for the team’s and my sake. I have lived in cool and good hotels and got to see what cheerleading competitions are all about, plus got to know a lot of new people.
The cheer team at a competition in Anaheim
Me with Cecily, Lauren and Riley in a cheer competition in Irvine
Has also been in Los Angeles a couple of times. For one, me and my parents not so long ago, but also with people from the school newspaper at the journalist conference JACC. Very much fun and I got to know some of the "colleagues" in the newspaper a lot better.
On the day off at the JACC conference in LA, me Paige and Maria A
Most memorable of the semester is two things. First of all it’s my parachute jump. It was the single coolest thing I ever done. Total freakin’ awesome, adrenaline-pumping, exciting and a complete sense of freedom. I have longed to do it all my life, and now I finally got to do it.
The other great thing was Spring Break. We were ten people who went down to Cancun, Mexico. A whole week of sun, swimming, alcohol, parties, girls, good food, wonderful friends and a fantastic week. Those of you who just followed the blog and have not met me in person have not heard about the juiciest stories. You may this summer. There are a lot of crazy stories to tell. NOTE: Sorry, Mom and Dad, you are not in that group of people who will hear those stories.
Parts of the gang at Spring Break in Cancun
School newspaper is one of the new classes I had this semester. Has written a lot of different articles. It feels great to be back in journalism-thing again.
Have also had Photography, great fun. Also graphic design where it mostly was InDesign has been easy, and the pretty bad photoshop class Digital Imaging. One nice thing in spring has been that I have played soccer two nights a week. It's been great fun to have something like that to do again. It was long ago.
There has been much more studying this semester, but it's been very good anyway. Many nice assignments, and it is also nice in terms of scores. A in all classes. Yeah.
This semester I have lived in the world’s smallest room. Seriously, all that could fit there was a bed. All my stuff was on shelves above it. Not the world’s best house (faaaaar from it) but with five amazing roomies it has been all good anyway. We have had so much fun with great parties and beerpong tournaments. Big thanks to Ludde, Dennis, Nima, Franco and Steven.
Putting up ballons outside our house before my birthday party
I have seen two holidays that are not American, but is still celebrated much here. Ireland's National Day March 17, St. Patrick's Day, and the Mexican feast Cinco de Mayo, May 5. Both are celebrated as it should. Drink! On St. Patrick's it’s Irish beers and Drinco The Mayo tequila and Mexican beer.
Also got to be part of an American College graduation. Actually, I shouldn’t be there because I'll go another year, but it was still cool to be there with black robes and hats, graduation song and speech. Very cool.
The music here is much more hiphop than at home. More gangsta rap and heavy music. but I have learned to like it. But otherwise it's very much party music related. MGMT, Hoffmaestro, MIA, Ludacris, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and others, I associate very much with this year. One song, however, I think somehow sums up the year here, and that is Party In The U.S.A. with Miley Cyrus. Not that it necessarily is so great, but it was played a lot in the fall when I came here, and I associate it with a lot of positive occasions. The song is also about something similar to what I have experienced. A person moving to California from a small and very different place (Sweden / Nashville) and find that the new place is really beautiful with a lovely festive atmosphere. Here is the song:
(Stupid Hollywood Records who doesn’t let one embed it)
I have learned a lot, not only on what I learned in class. Have learned a lot about this country, culture and people. And most of the prejudices that exist about Americans is only that, just prejudice and is not true at all.
I know that California is not representative of the entire United States. People here are much more open, broad-minded, tolerant and healthier than many other parts, particularly the South and Midwest. But here are some things I noticed about Americans and the U.S.
- People are open to new people and welcome students from other countries (including Asia and South America)
- People are not overweight. On the contrary, most of them are very active and concerned with how they look.
- People are not stupid. Most I've met are very intelligent and well versed in a lot of things.
- People are interested in other countries. It is known that there exist other countries are the United States, Mexico and Canada.
- People care. There has been a lot of support victims in Haiti and Chile.
- People are not religious. Mexicans perhaps, but not Americans you meet.
I would also like to mention some of my friends here. I have met so many amazing friends here, and very many that means a lot to me. Some were here just in the fall, some came here this spring, and some I have been with all the time. I would like to mention a few people that I known the whole year and that has meant extra lot to me during my time in Santa Barbara. In no particular order.
Thanks to Cecily, I have come to know a lot of Americans and got into the American culture and life. Cecily has been a fantastic friend and we have had a lot of fun together. She is amazing. I have been with her to many of her stuff and she has learned about Swedish things and phenomena. We met in journalism class last fall and have school newspaper together this year. This has meant that we have gone to school together and it has meant many trips to coffee shops and lunch places before and after class. We have much in common and always something to talk about and we are both interested in each other's backgrounds. I really love having her as my friend.
Me and Cecily at the JACC conference in LA
Jocke and I shared a room last semester, and I must say that a better roommate than that is hard to find. We have a lot in common and similar background. When everyone else is around five or six years younger, it is nice to have someone who is as old as you. He also likes the same things as me, such as Varan-TV and Family Guy, and we can always find something fun to talk about. We think alike on many things, and it was in common discussions that we both decided that we wanted to remain here even in fall. Without each other, it would probably have been less likely that any of us would return.
Me and Jocke at a after party after the neon party at Sharkeez
Andy has always been the chill guy who is really nice to hang out with. To a word that he used to use a lot: He is a neat (actually “ball” in Swedish). He and Jocke have hanged out a lot with us in Victoria and there is always something fun and crazy happening. That he is also the same age has been good. Since he’s off to Umeå / Malmo / Norway I do not know when I will meet him again, and it feels very unpleasant. It was one of the hardest goodbyes the past week.
Andreas and me in the sports bar at the hotel in Cancun
Lauren, I met as Cecily best friend and she became one of my best friends as well. We always get along and always seem to bond and think alike. We have been to a lot of fun parties, cheer competitions, tours and more. Most fun was probably her birthday gift, when she wanted a photo shoot. She came to the studio at school and we were there an entire morning and took lots of pictures with different outfits and had fun. She is always up for coffee or food or just hang out and it's always fun to be with her.
Lauren and me playing with Photoboth at a party at Cecily's
Maria is one of those I spent time with most, and that’s is part thanks to the school. Last semester we had all the classes together, and this semester 3 of 5. It was therefore in the fall that we always sat together and worked together and helped each other and commented on each other's jobs. We have always been at the same level and had great fun together in all classes regardless of what it is about. Whenever there has been something happening, we've been talking to each other, regardless if it comes to school or otherwise. She is very nice to hang with and it is a pity that she is not coming back in the fall. But hopefully we will be seen this summer when she will be a lot down south in Båstad.
Maria to the left, me to the right and Stephanie in the center at our graduation
Of course it is very many others who meant a lot to me and that I had a lot of fun with. This was just a small collection of honorary mentions of five people who were with me throughout the year and that mean so much for me.
Right now I’m at Cecily’s place. Trying to stay awake so I can sleep during my flight tomorrow. Now it’s just to wait for my return to Sweden. At 4:30PM, local time, I go from LAX to Heathrow. Changes to Copenhagen and then train to Halmstad. I think I will be in Halmstad around midnight between Thursday-Friday, Swedish time. Three in the afternoon, Thursday, U.S. time.
It will be very nice to meet everyone in Sweden again. We will have so much fun and it will be wonderful to talk with you and hear how you've had it.
It will feel good to go to Sweden. But it’s still tough to go away from here. But I know that it is not forever. This fall I will return to this life again. So, right now I say goodbye to Santa Barbara. Love you. And see you again soon.