Postcard Memoirs

Postcards from afar: Immersion Travel, Cultural Travel. Currently in… Singapore!


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Caribbean Vacay!

Dear friends and family,

Kära familj och vänner!

We’re having a very relaxed vacation in the Caribbean at the moment. We’re staying at an amazing resort on St. Martin (or Sint Maarten), which is a half French, half Dutch colony. We’re in Philipsburg, in the Dutch part! Funnily enough, the locals don’t really speak Dutch, only English, and prefer American dollars over Euro. Or an old Dutch currency which I don’t think you can use anywhere else aside from in the old Dutch colonies – I’m fairly certain only Euro is accepted in mainland Netherlands?

Vi njuter av en mycket avslappnad semester i Västindien just nu. Vi bor på en fantastisk resort på St Martin (eller Sint Maarten), vilket är en hälften fransk, hälften holländsk koloni. Vi bor i Philipsburg, i den nederländska delen! Lustigt nog talar inte lokalbefolkningen mycket nederländska, endast engelska egentligen, och föredrar amerikanska dollar över Euro. En gammal holländsk valuta som jag inte tror att du kan använda någon annanstans bortsett från de gamla holländska kolonierna funkar också – jag är ganska säker på endast Euro accepteras i Europeiska Nederländerna?

https://instagram.com/p/3WUyGvyCRH/

– Yummy fresh drinks! / Mumsiga drinkar!

https://instagram.com/p/3hGRtayCUX/

– Our beautiful resort! / Vår vackra resort!

https://instagram.com/p/3jbifQyCSa/

– An infinity pool tucked away in a corner of the resort! /En infinity pool gömd i ett hörn av resorten!

We also visited St. Barthes – a luxurious French neighbouring island. It used to be Swedish, and therefore all the streets seem to have alternative Swedish names. This one is a bit funny if you know Swedish:

Vi besökte också St Barthes – en lyxig fransk grann-ö. Den var svensk förr i tiden, fram till 1800-talet någon gång, och därför verkade nästan alla gatnamn ha svenska varianter. Den här är lite rolig, men en väldigt tjusig, fransk, “1800-talsaristokrat” stavning av “kajen”, eller hur? 

https://instagram.com/p/3mHA1LSCX5/

 

Love,

Varma hälsningar,

Erika


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Guide To Moving From Texas

So I moved from Texas at the end of the semester. Thought I’d make a note here under “Guide To Moving To Texas” because, well, I wanted to finish the chapter. Sort of. Or add the final chapter, maybe. Not leave you hanging.

Moving was a bit complicated, to say the least. The apartment lease expired, the home insurance expired, the phone contract expired… a lot of things finished without me having to do a lot about it – or so it seemed.

The company I leased from wanted me to provide an American address to which they could send the check for the reimbursement for the deposit, which was a staggering 2600 USD since I’m foreign and don’t have a social security number (or conveniently have a parent with a social security number). I finally found a way to have it sent to an American address, and then forwarded to my home address in Sweden. And I had to find a bank in Sweden who cashes American checks. But really? If I hadn’t happened to know people in the US who wanted to help me out, there was no way for me to get my deposit back simply because I’m not American. Quarters On Campus have loads of foreign students renting from them so I think that was very discriminatory.

I still haven’t had my deposit back because they haven’t done their inspection of the apartment yet. They circumvented the leasing contract so I had no way of being there while they inspect. They say they’re going to take pictures to use as “proof”, but I’m not sure I trust them all that much…

Getting rid of all my things was a hassle too. I gave away most things that I didn’t bring home. Some of my American friends got my foam roller, yoga mat, queen size mattress, lamps, clothes hangers, and a few other things. I could have sold it, but I honestly wanted to give it away to someone who wanted it. Guess I was feeling emotional and thankful for my time in Texas… :’)

My parents came over for my last few days in Texas. I showed them around, and they helped me pack up my things and clean out my room. They especially enjoyed Rudy’s Bar-B-Q, where you buy meat by the pound and eat it off a paper rather than a plate. We went to the one on S Capital of Texas Highway. I’m not a huge fan of BBQ, but I don’t mind it. I’d never queue for Franklin’s, which is America’s best apparently and happens to be located in Austin. If you’re not a fan of queuing for 4 hours for a meal either, a great Texas BBQ alternative is Rudy’s!

After four days together in Austin, my parents and I flew off to the Caribbean to celebrate the end of my exchange, my birthday (belated by, oh, 6 months…), my mom’s birthday (while in the Caribbean), my dad’s 70th birthday (a bit ahead of time), and my parent’s 40th anniversary!

That’s where I am at the moment – and as a spoiler, after this I’ll return to Sweden for three days before I fly off to Singapore for the rest of the summer!