On Tuesday, my class went on a field trip to the city museum where there is a vikings exhibit. The kids loved it, and it was so fun to have this experience with them. We returned to school around lunch time, and continued with the normal school day. I taught the kids their MacBeth lesson. I had them write their own stories and translate them into Shakespearean language based on words they have learned from reading MacBeth. They were all so creative, and they had a blast acting out their scripts to the class.
Wednesday’s are very relaxed days for 6th grade at ISGR. We arrive at 10:30 for Math which I taught today. We did another review game. The kids had a great time with it, and thought it was a really fun and exciting way to review for their test. They don’t do many games with their teacher typically, so I like to switch things up when I teach the lessons! We were done with the school day at 1:30 today after our science lesson, where the kids were introduced with their new topic, energy. Our ETEN host, Cecilia invited us over for dinner tonight at her apartment. It was so nice to talk about our experiences here in Sweden. We were so blessed to have such a wonderful and welcoming host!
Well, it’s my last week in Sweden! It has been such an amazing experience, I can’t believe how fast it has gone by! Today, I had a pretty relaxing Monday. I didn’t do any teaching today; I just assisted the students with a research paper they were getting started on. After school, I met up with Mandy and Darcy for fika. It was so great to catch up on all of our travels this past week!
When we arrived to Abisko, there was a huge snow storm! To our surprise, we had to walk to our hotel from the train station (we were regretting having three 50 lb suitcases)! After what felt like hours, we made it to the reception to check in; our next adventure was finding our cabin. We made our way back into the blizzard, and searched for room 208! We ended up taking the wrong path, so I cut through an unmarked path, and oh boy this was a mistake! I had snow up to my knees and lugging my suitcase through the snow was no piece of cake! After we made it to the cabin and got all settled in, we were actually able to take in how beautiful the scenery around us was!
We arrived late in the evening, so we had dinner and went to bed shortly after. The next day, we took a walking tour around the park to see a traditional Sami camp. Sami people are the indigenous people of Scandinavia, who travel around by following the reindeer. It was interesting to see the houses that they live in and learn a bit more about their daily lives. After this tour, we walked around on our own and found the famous frozen waterfall! It was spectacular. Even though it was hard to get to because of the icy paths, it was well worth the hike!
That night, we bundled up again for another walking tour. We had a tour around the park looking for the Northern Lights. We saw a couple glimpses of it, but nothing compared to what we saw the first night up north at the Treehotel.
This experience was a trip of a lifetime! I am so sad it has come to an end, but so grateful to have spent it with two incredible women who I love so much! THANK YOU MOM AND DAD (Daddy, I wish you could have been here too!) for making this possible!! Love you so much! I am headed back to Gothenburg for one more week of student teaching at ISGR before I head back to Texas!
We arrived at Sweden’s famous Ice Hotel on Thursday afternoon, and wow I was just blown away! It is positively magical. The three of us had 2 rooms in the new portion of the hotel, which is standing 365 days a year. My room was called the Crystal Forest. It was so cool, temperature-wise and because it was so impressive. Different teams of architects design each room in the hotel, so each room is completely unique! We were able to tour the rooms that weren’t booked at the time, and later learned that a requirement for being an architect is that they were new to working with snow and ice. Some architects invited to design rooms are from Africa and haven’t even ever seen snow before! We were very chilly after walking around all of the rooms, so we warmed up with a cup of hot chocolate, before getting geared up for our nighttime activities.
We were on the hunt for the northern lights once again! We took a snowmobile trip across frozen lakes and through the forest, but unfortunately we didn’t have any luck with the lights…After the snowmobile trip, we made our way back to our cold rooms and bundled up for bed! Surprisingly, I wasn’t cold at all in the night. The hotel provides thermal sleeping bags and reindeer skins to keep you warm, and they worked great! I slept like a baby, and was woken up by a staff member at 7am with a warm cup of lingonberry juice (it’s a delicious berry that can be compared to a cranberry).
On Friday morning, we had the experience of a lifetime with the snow dogs! To my surprise, the dogs we went dog sledding with were not huskies! They were Alaskan sled dogs, which are considered to be the best sled dogs due to their tolerance for artic temperatures and their speed. We had a blast snuggling with the pups and riding through the beautiful forests. I loved this experience so much, I would have brought one of the dogs home with me if I could have! The town we were in is known for having more dogs than people. The musher we were with, Montana, has 145 dogs in the company he works for, and he knows all of the dogs’ names and personalities! The dogs loved to run. Whenever we stopped, they barked and howled until it was time to go again! While they were running, the dogs licked the snow on the ground to cool down! While it was a little cold for us, the dogs are used to -30 degrees Celsius and it was -1 degrees Celsius today, so they were warmer than usual. We are off to Abisko National Park now for the last couple days of our trip!
Today was an absolutely magical day. We arrived in Luleå this afternoon, and took a scenic drive to the Treehotel. This hotel is no ordinary place to stay; there are only 7 rooms that are placed high in the treetops of the forest! We walked up a snowy path lined with birch trees to the 7th room, where we found a magnificent treehouse waiting for us! We have two bedrooms, a small sitting room, and an outdoor canopy. We were able to lay down on the net canopy and stargaze!
After a quick look at our wonderful room, we made our way back down to the main building to meet our tour guide. He showed us around the small town, and invited us back to his house where we learned to kick-sled and his wife had fika waiting for us inside! They were the sweetest couple; it was so kind of them to invite us into their home, answer our questions, and feed us wonderful treats! After Fika, we returned to our hotel for more food! We had dinner in the main building with the other guests.
Following dinner we got our cameras ready in hopes to see the Northern Lights, and oh boy were we lucky! Seeing the Aurora was one of the most memorable and spectacular moments of my life.
For the past two days, we have been exploring Sweden’s capital! Stockholm is absolutely beautiful, full of culture, and Swedish history. We arrived on Monday afternoon at the Grand Hôtel, which overlooks the Royal Palace. The hotel is incredibly stunning, and is in a perfect location! Our guide, Sophia took us on a three hour walking tour of the city on our first day. It was very chilly, but we learned so much about the history of Stockholm! After warming up for a bit, we went out for dinner at cafe in the Opera House. We had traditional Swedish meatballs which were phenomenal!
Sophia met us again this morning, and we went to two museums. The first was the Vasa Museum. This museum displays the massive warship built by the King of Sweden, Gustavus Adolphus, in 1626. Unfortunately, this impressive ship sunk while it was still in the Stockholm harbor! After 333 years under the sea, the sunken ship was brought up and reconstructed for the museum. This was such an interesting story, and the museum really offered a unique insight into early 17th century Sweden. I was able to buy an adorable children’s book based on the facts of the Vasa ship to share with my 4th graders at FAA! After visiting the Vasa, we made our way over to the first open-air museum, Skansen. This museum exhibits unique ways of life throughout the different parts of Sweden. We were even able to see some animals here! After a long day of walking, we spent the rest of our Valentine’s day shopping!
My mom and Aunt Sally arrived in Sweden today! Unfortunately, my mom was feeling a little sick upon arrival, so my Aunt Sally and I started the day alone. We walked around and hit the major “must-see” streets and spots in Gothenburg! Thankfully, my mom was able to bounce back quickly, and she joined us in the afternoon for lunch at Le Petit Cafe and more wandering around the city. We went to Haga, which is my favorite part of Gothenburg. It’s just a few small cobblestone streets with cozy cafe’s and boutiques. We visited the same cafe with the huge cinnamon buns, and enjoyed some Fika! I loved showing my visitors my favorite spots, and we also explored new things! We went to a beautiful church right behind my apartment, which I’ve seen glimpses of, but haven’t had the time to fully see!
We have an early departure to Stockholm tomorrow, so we are all going to sleep early tonight!
It’s hard to believe that I’ve already been in Sweden for 2 weeks! The days seem to fly by, and I’m shocked by how quickly Sweden has become home. In Sweden, schools get a week off around this time every year, and we were lucky enough to be here during this break! It’s called SportsLov; typical Swedish families take the week to go skiing in Northern Sweden, or other Scandinavian countries. I will also be traveling north this week, but I won’t be making my way down the slopes… My mom and aunt Sally are coming from Chicago tomorrow for a quick visit to Gothenburg, and then we will continue our adventure throughout the rest of Sweden. I cannot wait to show them my temporary home and experience new Swedish traditions with them!
The trio I’ve referred to in almost every post so far is taking a week off…Mandy and Darcy left for Copenhagen this morning, and will also be traveling to Paris, Scotland, and Ireland! It was sad to say goodbye to them this morning; we have all become so close and have shared so many memories together for the past two weeks! As much as I would love to be with them, I am so thrilled to have some quality family time! My Aunt Sally was a teacher, so I am especially excited to share my student teaching stories with her.
On Thursday, I visited the Primary school (PYP) with Mandy, Darcy, and Nicole. It was so fun to see what their students are up to! They have been working on their science fair projects all week, so it was very cute to see how proud they were of all of their hard work. After school, we went to the Feskekorka, the must-see fish market in Gothenburg. It was very cool, and had tons of fresh fish! We ate dinner at the restaurant there; I am not a huge fish fan, so I stuck to shrimp but it was delicious! It snowed all day yesterday, so the city turned into a beautiful winer wonderland!
Today, I had a great day with my 6th graders. They were all very excited, because today was the last day before their week off of school, for sports holiday. I taught a lesson on the Vikings today, and I felt like I was able to learn just as much as the kids did! In the States, I didn’t get much education about this topic so it was interesting coming up with a lesson about it. I focused on the daily lives of Vikings, which consisted of mostly farming. I had the kids read an article, and we all completed a graphic organizer together. After, the kids wrote a journal entry, as if they were a viking living on a farm. I gave them specific points to cover in their entries, but they were able to have fun and be super creative with it. They all had so much fun with the activity, and I loved reading what they had to say!
Today was an easy school day, we only had Math and Science today! I arrived at the school at 10:00 and was able to leave at 1:30! I will be missing this relaxed schedule when I head back to Fort Worth! I taught the math lesson today, they are doing a unit on fractions. The students did a quick warmup, and then created three of their own problems (one addition or subtraction, one multiplication or division, and one simplification problem). After they created their own problems, they switched with a partner and solved theirs. The kids really liked doing this! After we finished that activity, we played Math Jeopardy, and it was a huge hit! The majority of the class never played before, so it was very exciting for them! At the end of the period, the kids wanted to keep playing the game, it was a struggle to get them to stop and pack up their stuff for lunch! I was so glad they had so much fun. Later in the day, they had the whole science period to study for their test, and a couple of the boys decided to make a jeopardy game to help them review!
After school, I met up with Mandy, Darcy, and Nicole for fika. We finally tried a Swedish cinnamon roll aka Kanelbullar. It was really good, but very different from any cinnamon roll Americans are used to! It wasn’t as sweet, and almost tasted like a pretzel. After walking around and browsing at some small shops, we decided we couldn’t bear the cold winds anymore. I’m back in my warm apartment now, curled up with a cup of hot chocolate! Tomorrow, I am visiting the primary school (PYP) with Mandy and Darcy! I am so excited to compare the experience they are getting there to what I have been getting at the MYP!