Postcard Memoirs

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


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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!


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The Tornado That Never Happened

Dear friends and family,

Kära familj och vänner!

The day of our win in Eurovision was graduation day at the University of Texas. Unfortunately the government sent out tornado warnings to all smart phones in Travis County so the graduation ceremony had to be cancelled. Talk about an anticlimactic finish to four years of intense studies for all the graduates… But I can’t imagine a lot of people can say their graduation was cancelled due to a tornado! After the tornado warning was over we tried heading to a bar but the rain was coming down so heavily we literally looked like we’d had a swim in a pool after just walking a few feet. Crazy! The weather calmed down a bit after awhile so we headed out to celebrate our graduating friends (and our Eurovision win!) eventually but I must say it was the wettest night out I’ve ever had.

Dagen vi vann Eurovision var också examensdag på University of Texas. Regeringen skickade tyvärr ut tornado varningar till alla smartphones i Travis County så examensceremonin fick ställas in. Snacka om ett antiklimax för alla studenter som just avslutat fyra år av intensiva studier… Men jag kan inte tänka mig många kan säga at deras examen ställdes på grund av att en tornado! Efter tornadovarningen var över vi försökte gå till en bar men det regnade så hårt att vi bokstavligen såg ut som om vi tagit ett dopp i en pool efter bara någon meter. Helt galet! Vädret lugnade ner lite efter ett tag så vi gick ut för att fira våra nyexaminerade vänner (och vår Eurovisionvinst!) så småningom, men jag måste säga att det var den blötaste utekväll jag någonsin har haft. 😉

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Love,

Varma hälsningar,

Erika


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Wakeboarding!

Dear friends and family,

Kära familj och vänner!

I found my true love: wakeboarding. Like water skis, but on a board. Even face planting is fun!

Jag har hittat min stora kärlek: wakeboarding. Som vattenskidor, fast på en bräda. Till och med att kapsejsa är kul!

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Love,

Varma hälsningar,

Erika


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Starting To Let Go

Dear friends and family,

Kära familj och vänner!

I’m so looking forward to this summer! Finals are happening right now, and I definitely am sleep deprived, but I feel like I can get through it with a smile on my face just knowing that my parents are here to visit soon, then we’re heading to St. Martin in the Caribbean for 10 days to celebrate their 40th anniversary, and after a couple of days in Sweden after that, I’m heading off to Singapore for two months!!

All the goodbyes are bittersweet, but it feels great knowing I now have a few more couches to sleep on around the world!

Jag så ser fram emot denna sommar! Slutproven pågår just nu, och jag har definitivt sömnbrist, men jag känner att jag kan ta mig igenom det med ett leende eftersom jag vet att mina föräldrar kommer hit på besök snart, sedan åker vi till St Martin i Karibien i 10 dagar för att fira deras 40-jubiléeum, och till sist blir det ett par dagar i Sverige innan jag beger mig till Singapore i två månader!!

Alla farväl är bitterljuva, men det känns bra att veta att jag nu har några till soffor att sova på runt om i världen!

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Love,

Varma hälsningar,

Erika


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Happy Women’s Day!

Dear friends and family,

Kära familj och vänner!

Happy International Women’s Day! I spent it shooting Mountain Dew cans, and riding around a Texas ranch on the back of a truck.

Glad Internationella Kvinnodagen! Jag tillbringade den med att skjuta på Mountain Dew-burkar och åkte omkring på ett truckflak på en Texas ranch.

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Love,

Varma hälsningar,

Erika


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Valentine’s Day

Dear friends and family,

Kära vänner och familj!

Valentine’s Day is a huge thing here. Everything is pink. I received some beautiful flowers from the other side of the globe, and spent some quality girl-time with friends. If we only had had a cork screw… But I worked it out with a pair of scissors! My dad is an engineer, you know!

Alla Hjärtans Dag är riktigt stort här borta. Allt är rosa. Jag fick vackra blommor från andra sidan jordklotet och tillbringade kvalitetstid med tjejerna. Om vi bara haft en korkskruv… Men det löste jag med en sax! Jag brås på min far, ingenjören!

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Love,

Varma hälsningar,

Erika


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They Call Me the Teacher

Dear friends and family,

Kära familj och vänner!

Guess what!? I’m teaching a course at the university this semester!! Social justice, gender, and sexism! It also means a lot of long days grading homework at Starbucks! They know me by name, draw extra hearts on the mug, and give me free coffee…

Kan ni tänka er?! Jag undervisar i en kurs på universitetet den här terminen! Social justice, gender, and sexism står på schemat! Det betyder också många långa dagar på Starbucks, där jag rättar läxor! De kan mitt namn, ritar extra hjärtan på koppen, och ger mig gratis kaffe…

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Love,

Varma hälsningar,

Erika


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New York City over Thanksgiving

Dear friends and family,

Kära familj och vänner!

We visited NYC over Thanksgiving! It was colder than Texas, for sure, but quite lovely.

Vi besökte New York över Thanksgiving! Det var verkligen kallare än Texas, men ganska trevligt ändå.

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Love,

Varma hälsningar,

Erika


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Thunder, Lightning, and Flash Floods

As your average Swede, I do spend about 50% of my time awake contemplating, and talking about, the weather. Lately the weather gods seem to have been fairly indecisive. A couple of weeks ago, I trooped off to school in shorts Monday morning. Two days later we had our first sub-freezing temperature.

Som en riktig medelsvensson tillbringar jag ungefär 50% av min vakna tid med att fundera på och prata om vädret. På senaste tiden har vädergudarna varit ganska obeslutsamma. För ett par veckor sedan spatserade jag till skolan i shorts på måndag morgon. Två dagar senare hade vi vår första temperatur under noll.

 

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Our pool and palm trees don’t really go with the fur lined coat and freezing weather, does it…

Vår pool och våra palmer passar inte riktigt ihop med den pälsfodrade kappan och isande väder…

This was followed by a week of freezing weather – I had to buy a winter jacket and everything – and now we’re back to mid-60’s and thunderstorms and flood warnings. Tomorrow will, according to the weather forecast, be 79 degrees and bright sunshine! What is going on?!

Detta följdes av en veckas vinter – jag var tvungen att köpa en vinterjacka och allt – och nu är vi tillbaka till 18-20 grader, åska och översvämningar. I morgon kommer det, enligt väderprognosen, vara 26 grader och strålande sol! Vad händer?!

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“Emergency Alert”

Every now and then they send out these Amber alerts to everyone in the area and every phone in the room starts blaring with a horrible penetrating warning signal… I fly ten feet in the air every time! Something I’ve learnt since moving here is that a flash flood is basically when it is raining so hard that there is water rushing down the streets, and it apparently doesn’t take more than a few feet of water on the street to carry off a parked SUV. So yeah, valid warning I guess, I’m pretty light weight after all…

Då och då skickar de ut Amber alerts till alla i området och varje telefon i rummet börjar tjuta med en hemskt penetrerande varningssignal… Jag flyger tio meter upp i luften varje gång! Något jag har lärt mig sedan jag flyttade hit är att en “flash flood” är när det regnar så mycket att det forsar vatten ner för gatorna, och tydligen tar det inte ta mer än halvmeter meter vatten på gatan för att föra bort en parkerad SUV. Så ja, rimlig varning antar jag, jag är ju en lättviktare trots allt…


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Halloween!

A week later and I still haven’t recovered…

So, American Halloween, eh? Pretty crazy. Pretty crowded. Three days of Halloween. But we had fun going all in with our costumes! Creds for my costume goes to the ever-creative Charlotte, who wore something similar a few semesters ago back in Uppsala. I had no fake blood and improvised with a kohl pen and lipstick, and let’s just say, I was “bloody” for about three days after the Halloween weekend!

Så, amerikansk Halloween, huh? Ganska galet. Ganska fullsmockat. Halloween i tre dagar. Men vi hade kul med våra kostymer! Credd för min kostym går till den ständigt kreativa Charlotte, som hade något liknande för några terminer sedan i Uppsala. Jag hade inget fejk-blod och improviserade med kajalpenna och läppstift, och  jag var fortfarande “blodig” ungefär tre dagar efter Halloweenhelgen!

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One party was held on a rooftop!

En fest hölls på en takterass!

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And a night club we went to had a dance floor on a terrass with a view over the crazy crowds on the street below!

Och en nattklubb som vi gick till hade ett dansgolv på en terrass med utsikt över den galet stora folkmassan på gatan nedanför!

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Happy Halloween from 80 % of the exchange students from Uppsala!

Glad Halloween från 80% av utbytesstudenterna från Uppsala