Sunday, April 27, 2008


So today, I went to Lotenkyrkan, the Church of Sweden church that I am attending now and the person preaching at the 11:15 service was preaching about China and the church there. The sermon was invigorating and challenging at the same time. He talked about how the church in China puts a tremendous amount of emphasis on prayer, an emphasis that the church in America and the West could really learn from. He related one story of how he was at a Russian Orthodox church for an easter service during the time of the Soviet Union. KGB guards were there watching the service. And while he was waiting in the crowd an elderly peasant lady with a shawl came up to him and told him, "We are praying for you in the West." I was almost moved to tears by that statement, a woman who had so much to pray about for her own well being and her church had enough vision to pray for the rest of the world. So I was challenged to pray more, to put a greater priority on prayer, and secondly to pray for the church around the world. It's so easy to not pray, there are so many pressures from other things. But prayer is so important for edifying people around the world and also transforming our own lives.
But the story is not over, after I was finished I was able to talk with the speaker. I found out that he taught at Patrick Henry College! So we talked a bit about homeschoolers, and he said he was very impressed with them. So I come all the way to Sweden and I am being taught by a Purdue alum in my history class and I am able to listen to a Patrick Henry professor teach at a church service.

April wrapup

So when I got back to Uppsala things seemed to have changed somewhat. The sun shone a little more, the weather was a bit warmer. I started a new class on the Development of the Swedish Welfare State. It is a very interesting class. One of the professors actually graduated from Purdue University and was born in Gary, Indiana. What a coincidence. But both professors are very good and engaging.
During April I made two trips on consecutive weekends. One to Oslo to see relatives and another to Copenhagen with a couple friends from Singapore. Both were fun trips, although the week between them was short. I learned a lot about Singapore on my trip to Copenhagen talking with my two friends. Very much a group oriented society.
The weather has become increasingly warm, now I can keep my window open and go around in a short sleeved shirt. This past week I have had to focus more on studying to catch up and make up for time I won't have. I took a hike down to the lake on Saturday with a friend. The lake was really nice as well.
So that is a short and sweet recap of April. A lot more happened as well, but the business and routine of life is starting to set in.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

My travels

Well, as you can see I haven't posted in a while. Part of the reason is business, part of it is a bit of laziness perhaps, but as you can imagine a lot has happened between now and March 13. The basic big event was traveling to Madrid, Spain, with a little side trip to Paris over Easter weekend. I left on a Friday and came back on a Thursday. I went by myself, but I was visiting a couple of friends from Purdue. This was the first time I had flown Ryanair, the biggest of Europe's countless budget airlines. One of the ways they cut costs is by flying out of small regional airports far away from a major city. So my flight left at 7:15 in the morning, but the airport is about 2 hours away from Uppsala. So I stayed with a friend in Stockholm on Thursday night so I could take a bus from the central terminal. Even so I still had to get up at 3 in the morning. But I made everything, including passing through security (where they took away my shampoo). Then I encountered another unique aspect of flying Ryanair, they don't assign seats. So when they announce a check in time, everyone hurries to the counter as fast as possible, because those who are first get the best seats. So I managed, and I was able to get a window seat on the very crowded aircraft. The seats were vinyl and had no reclining function. The plane seemed rather noisy on takeoff and in the air. But other than that the flight was alright.
On the plane I was considering my 11 hour layover in the airport that was in Beauvis, an hour away from Paris. I knew the airport would be small, and I knew they would have busses to Paris, so I decided to go to Paris, even though I had not thought about it previously.
So I wandered around Paris for a five days and saw the arch de triumph and the Eiffel Tower. That evening I boarded the plane to Madrid and arrived very late, at around 10:00 or so. The hostel I ended up staying in was decent, though hard to find.
I stayed in Madrid for five days. It was very interesting. I had a hard time adjusting to the differences in eating times. I had to eat at McDonalds for two dinners, for which I was roundly chastised by Jennifer. I saw a lot of fascinating places, the royal palace, which had absolutely the most sumptious rooms of any place I have ever seen. It was incredible. I took a day trip to El Escorial, and saw the Valley of the Fallen where Franco had erected a giant cross to himself. I also saw the El Prado museum and the Reina Sofia.
As far as culture I was impressed by the liveliness of Spanish society it definitely had a different feel from Sweden.
I was able to visit the two friends from Purdue and see where they studied. I was surprised by how much grafitti there was, even on the university buildings. But my friends seemed to be enjoying themselves and the experience.
So then it was back to Uppsala, very early Thursday morning.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Another day

I thought I would continue from last post and record some thoughts from today. So much goes into the study abroad experience and I think that it is easy to forget the details. But today, during the break for the lecture I discussed with a German classmate the joys of Latin and reading Cicero and Ovid. Then during lunch my Italian friend and I did a Google Earth exchange. I showed him where I lived and he showed me where he lived in Rome. It was quite cool and we both enjoyed the experience. Google Earth gives us a different perspective on the world, it was the first time my friend had seen Rome on Google Earth. So it was fun working to figure out where his university and house were located. After some studying time I went to Swedish class and learned about adjectives and plural nouns. Then I came home and ate dinner. I went up a couple flights of stairs to discuss with a fellow student about a trip to Stockholm we will be taking Saturday. His corridor seemed like it was a bit more lively than mine, some students were having a movie night in his corridor. Anyway, after my visit I went to ICA, the grocery store a 5 minute walk away from my building to purchase most importantly, coffee, and then other things of lesser importance like soap. Finally I recently got done talking with a 2 hour long conversation with a corridor mate about a variety of subjects from Vikings to European soccer, Champions League. It was interesting to compare European soccer fans with US fans of MLB, NBA, and NFL. We talked about the college sports scene and how US universities spend a lot of money on sports. I learned that soccer and hockey are equally popular in Sweden but Sweden is usually better at hockey.
Anyway another interesting day, but I'd better get to bed as I have a lot of studying to do tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

my life

Today was another great reminder for me of how great it is to have the opportunity to study abroad. I thought I would record everything I did today to give people a look at what I do on Tuesday anyway. Some days are much more uneventful. Anyway today I started by trying to figure out course options for Purdue. And then I met a friend from England for lunch at Snerikes nation to talk about a trip to Stockholm that we are planning to take this Saturday. After the lunch I started to work on registration for classes. Then I met a friend from the Netherlands for coffee at a very nice cafe. By then it was getting around 16.00 so I left for home and made dinner of pan-fried fish and potatos. I finished dinner just in time to rush down to the gospel choir which meets at 18.00 at a church in town. I sang with them for an hour and then i went to a debate club. This club meets every other week from 19.00-20.00. Their debates are always in English. I debated as the person who was going to be there did not show up. The topic was that Swedish cars are superior to American cars. That was a fun topic, I was affirmative (another american was also affirmative). After the debate we talked, I met an American guy from Boston doing a master's degree here. It was interesting to talk to him and compare notes about how we were experiencing Uppsala, learning Swedish, the classes and things like that. (This is one of the reasons I enjoy the debate club so much, I get to meet new people almost every time). After the debate club I came back to Flogsta and got ready to go play basketball at 22.00. I went with a Greek friend from my corridor. The basketball was fun, I had three baskets (which for me is a lot, as my offensive production is not very high). We played for about an hour and a half. Then I came back and ate, and had a nice long conversation with my friend about politics, Turkey, Bush, food, and other random things. Now it is 2:34 am. And I have class tomorrow at 10, and then Swedish at 16.00. Tomorrow will hopefully be another exciting day.
Today represented what I enjoy about this experience, I am meeting people and making friends with people from across the world. I get to talk about interesting subjects with them. And overall, it is just really fascinating, and I am so thankful to be here. I have such good memories of a lot of things. Well off to bed, and another busy day.


Well this is Su-Lin and I with the great cake that was made by Michelle for our joint birthday celebration after the international bible study. It was a lot of fun. Ironically enough in swedish class we were saying what day our birthday was, and I was able to say idag (today). I had already been to the pubs and had drank some beer and wine, and cider in previous weeks so I didn't spend any time at the bars. I didn't go to the system bolagget to get carded to buy alchohol. But that was just fine for me, I enjoyed the time of fellowship. We had some people from the swedish bible study over as well. Thank-you for everyone who sent me the birthday wishes on facebook, e-card, and regular card, it was very special.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Min födelsedag

Idag är min födelsedag. Okay, let that be my first attempt at Swedish on my blog. I should make use of this Swedish class sometime. Well I am a little bit I practiced with a friend that I met for lunch. We tried about 10 minutes of primarily Swedish, and then my head was about ready to burst and we switched to english. It was good practice, and I need to do it more often, but it was also very challenging practice. It takes a lot of discipline to try to learn swedish because english is not hard to use here. However, swedish is the main language and I would be able to integrate better into Swedish culture if I knew swedish. But it is very challenging.
Anyway, I said today was my birthday, I haven't done anything special, yet, but in about 30 minutes the Bible study will meet and we will see what they have planned. There is another member who also has her birthday today, so we will have a combined celebration. We are going to sing a couple psalms. I picked out 119B, and the other person will also pick out some psalms. Besides that I am not sure what else is going on.
Since my last post I have attended a birthday party for a friend from Hong Kong, attended a reccedinner at Gothenburgs nation, attended praise and worship night, and another party where I was able to do a little swing dancing. I also went to a couple concerts in the domkyrkan, the cathedral here. It was very cool to hear the church music from Monteverdi and others in the tall building. Both concerts were free and were very well done. Uppsala has a very good classical music scene with concerts and things just about every week.
I am realizing that it is okay to just live in a town, I don't need to travel somewhere every week, because I don't usually do that back at Purdue. I certainly haven't done that, having only gone outside of Uppsala and Stockholm twice, but sometimes I wished I traveled more. But now I realize that moderate traveling is good because then I can actually experience life in Uppsala. Well, those are some things that I have been doing, well, I should probably get ready to go to Bible Study now. Thank-you to everyone for the birthday wishes.