Friday, July 29, 2011


Really, how do you pack for almost a year? Is it enough? Is it too much? The pre-packing is occupying my couch. Yes, you have to pre-pack before you actually pack. To make sure that what you pack is going to fit in the suitcase in which you will pack, when you pack for real.

I'm losing my mind. I need help. Who knows anything on this topic? Ms Pac-Man, maybe?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A word from a favorite.

"'Goodbye' said the fox. And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: 
'It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.'"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Milon - you've got mail!

I got a note in my mailbox, saying I had something to pick out at the post office (well, what's left of the post office these days, a booth in the grocery shop). It was the envelope with the twelve ice cream stamps, that I had adressed to myself, about a week ago.

Can you guess what was in it?! I'll give you a hint. I starts with a V and ends with an ISA!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What am I doing? And why?

I'm walking around, feeling some kind of out-of-body-experience. Walking between the cellar, the recycling station and my apartment, that is about to be somebody else's home for nine months. I am taking out, wrapping in, packing down. Everything with a robot motion. I don't really get emotional, 'cause I don't really understand what all this means.

But of course, it means that I am preparing for the big adventure to come. Everytime I realize that, I get a rush of exctiement, running through my body. So long clothes, books, pictures, what have you. We will see each other again. Don't feel sad if I won't be missing you, it's only because I will be in the middle of living my dream!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, dear sister.

It's my sister's birthday today. I wish I could buy her the world and a bit more, 'cause that's what she is worth. When I have published my first bestseller or after my first huge scoop, I might be wealthy enough to buy her all the treasures in the world. Until that day, I give her my words and my heart:

To my sister,

I don’t need to speak – I know you always understand
I don’t need to cry – I know you make me smile
I don’t need to fear – I know you hold my hand
I don’t need you here – I know you’re always there for me

Still, I need you in my life

As a sister
As a friend
As the air that we both breathe

That’s what you are for me
And that’s what I will always be for you
My beloved sister

I love you

Alla mia sorella (since we will open a bakery shop in Italy one day)

Non ho bisogno di parlare – so che capisci sempre
Non ho bisogno di piangere – so che mi fai un sorriso
Non ho bisogno di avere paura – so che mi stringerai la mia mano
Non ho bisogno di te qui con me – so che ci sarai sempre per me

Nonostante tutto ciò, ho ancora bisogno di te nella mia vita

Come sorella
Come amica
Come l'aria che respiriamo entrambi

Questo è ciò che sei per me
E questo è ciò che sarò sempre per te
Alla mia tanto amata sorella

Ti voglio bene

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Two reasons to celebrate!

After the successful day at the embassy, I found another reason to celebrate. Before heading back to Nyköping, I picked up a magazine with my first published column! I can definitely get used to that amazing feeling of looking through a magazine and find something written by me, myself and I. I don't know about seeing myself on such a big picture, but reading my texts - absolutely.

I live. I love. I write things. That's what I want to do!

Finally a visa!

Yesterday was the day! The going-to-the-embassy-for-a-visa-interview-day. That's right, that day finally came. I got up early in the morning, took the first train from Nyköping to Stockholm, met up with one of my Roomies to be, and started the big mission.

We had been told to go there at least two or three hours before our scheduled appointments, since it would probably be a long, long line just to enter the embassy. So at 8:20 AM we were there, waiting in line with 15-20 other people. After an hour in the sun (yes, the weather was very kind to us) they let us enter the buildning. "Are you her sister?" the guard asked me, since we have the same last name. Another guard with a serious look on his face asked me to take a sip of my water (what did he think it was?) and when I, smiling, said to him "Yes, with pleasure!" he looked at me and gave me a cute smile back.

Once inside the building, we only had to wait another hour before we were called for our interviews. My friend went first, maxium three minutes. I was called to the same booth right after and the nice lady asked me (for the second time this day) "Are you two sisters? Will you also be attending the journalism classes? Alright, it all looks good. Thank you and good luck!". And that was that. I was granted a visa and it will be sent to me within a week.

There were two happy girls leaving the embassy (me telling the last guard to have a nice day) and back at the train station, when we found ourselves standing in front of an American flag, we both just said: YES!

Early train.

Happy girls
America - here we come!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Official Countdown.

Today, July 16, it's exactly one month left till departure. It is about time to start The Official Countdown. And no countdown without a Countdown Calendar.

The story of the visa came to a perfect solution - in the end. After lots of stress, correspondence with the embassy who booked me in for a new appointment, hunting somebody to fill in for me at work and thinking about how to travel to Stockholm, I had it all worked out. Not the ideal situation, since I didn't want to take a day off work and a return ticket to Stockholm that exact day was very expensive. But I didn't really care, I just wanted my appointment. After confirming it to the embassy I got an e-mail saying that there were some new openings.

I logged in on the website, which was magically working for the first time in a week, and found more that 60 available appointments next week, when I will be visiting my sister, close to Stockholm. It all just made me laugh! I booked the first appointment available, sent my colleague a text saying that she doesn't have to work for me and told my wallet it doesn't have to worry about buying an expensive flight ticket.

Now, I'm just counting down with a big smile on my face and a much lighter heart. Well, obviously hoping I will be granted a visa. But why shouldn't I? I have nothing but good intentions and nothing else but clothes and books in my suitcase. Good things do happen to good people. Let's start the countdown.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I "fulfil the requirements in accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance".

In the middle of all the stress - there are some good news. I got a nice little letter - well actually, it was quite a big one - in my mailbox the other day. It was my Degree Certificate, the proof of my Bachelor of Arts with a major in English.

I've got a Bachelor of Arts. Do you? Yes, I am proud. And I think I have all the rights to be so. More and more, I am starting to think of myself as a linguist and soon to be journalist. That thought warms my heart like a tailor-made glove perfectly warms a cold hand during a tough northern Swedish winter. A travelling linguist and journalist is what I want to be and who I want to be. Sometimes, I have to pinch my own arm to make sure that it's all for real, that I am on my way to be exactly that person.

The extremely bad picture is due to the extremely bad camera on my cell, but I still wanted to show you all this very rewarding piece of paper, the proof of all my hard work, my Degree Certificate. Voilà:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

To do the things you can't do. How do you do?

What do you do, when you have a lot of things to do that you cannot really do anything about? I do not know. Do you?

A teeny tiny - correction: huge - amount of stress is eating me from the inside. The embassy replied to my e-mail - thank you, thank you, thank you a million! They even offered me another appointment. Of course, I work that day, so the problem is not quite solved yet. I am trying to change days with a colleague and I am now waiting for her definite answer. Let's keep all the fingers crossed yet another time!

Until this whole mess is straightened out, I will not be able to relax. You see? There are things I have to do, but I cannot do anything this very minute. I will try to turn all this stress into energy and do something productive. I do have to keep on depersonalizing (it's a word!) my apartment and think about what to pack for DC. If I ever get there - see, cannot relax!

Too bad my happy place is 1100 kilometers away. I'll just have to imagine myself there. And breathe.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Still, the story of the visa.

Here we go again, the never ending story with the visa application and interview. A fellow student had been to the embassy today (lucky her, but hey, she lives in Stockholm and all!) and she had been told that the turnaround time for recieving a visa is 14 days. 11 is what I read on the website and that sure caused me a lot of stress. Can you imagine what this new information did to me?!

I mostly wanted to sit down and cry a little bit. Why can it not just run smoothly? I am trying to access the website every single free minute I have, but it's just not working. I cannot log in to have a look if there are any appointments available. I really don't know what to do.

As I usually do, when I need help, I wrote an e-mail. I wrote an e-mail to The Embassy itself. I have absolutely no idea whether or not it will help my situation, but I had to at least try.

It all feels so hopeless when everything should be done online and technology doesn't work. I just want to talk to somebody, a real person. Can we all please keep our fingers crossed for me and my visa story? Good people deserve some good luck. Don't they?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Who are you?

The very first e-mail I recieved from a student coordinator at the school I'm attending in DC gave me a very good feeling. I will admit it straight away, I'm one of those who just love proverbs and other words of wisdom. This particular e-mail ended with a Chinese proverb that left me with a question and I am asking the same to you. Who am I of these two? Who are you?

"When the wind changes directions, there are those who build walls and those who build windmills."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Applying for a visa.

A few notes to self, if ever applying for a visa again:

No.1: Long, long, long before you even get whatever form you need for filling out the online application - take a day off to read everything on the website. Carefully read the FAQ:s, even though you don't think they concern you, because they probably will, in the end. Let's face it, there is a reason for why they are frequently asked questions.

No. 2: Load up with documents and information that you might need; such as previous work experience and grades, passport and other identification, information about family members, travel documents and information about current and future address, information about at least two people who can confirm that your occupation will be what you claim it will be - just to name a few!

No. 3: Make sure you have a valid photo. Ask a friend with a good camera to take a bunch of pictures of you facing the camera directly, with an all white background. Don't go to a photo shop - it's ridiculously expensive!

No. 4: Make sure that you at all time have a working printer connected to your computer while visiting any website connected to your visa application. You will have to print out all the confirmation documents and you can never be sure that there is a possibility to save it to your hard disk and print it later. So - printer needed at all times!

No. 5: Talk to your employer and prepare him or her that you might have to take a couple of days off with very short notice during this or that period. In that way, you will feel more free to pick and chose the dates for your visa interview - it's nice to be flexible!

No. 6: Be patient and make sure to have lots of time when filling out the online application. Each section allows you to work for 20 minutes, but let's just say that there are more than one section to fill out. Grab a good cup of coffee and maybe even a cookie and you are good to go - ready to book a visa!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Football! Sorry, I mean soccer.

In my very early twenties I went out with a guy who's one mother tongue was English. British English. He taught me how to pronounce tomatoes, how I should say that I love to dance and he also made me use the word trousers instead of pants (for him, pants was what I was wearing underneath my trousers, and that's a totally different story!).

After we broke up, I kept this more British accent, even though I think lots of it disappeared. I never, by the way, could get myself to pronounce the word dance as he did, it was just too much. Anyway, I miss talking to him, in that fluent British way. It was such a long time since I had a good chance to say "Bob's your uncle" or whatever rubbish it could be.

I often get to hear that my English accent is somewhat puzzling. That, they told me even while I was dating this half British guy (his other half was Greek-Cypriot, for the records). I mix and match and pronounce in the Milon way. Now, moving west, I guess I have to adapt to a more Americanized English. A bit confusing and I am pretty sure that I will learn it the hard way. That's how it usually goes.

I'll do my best. But I have to admit that it annoyes me a bit, saying that I'm going to watch soccer tonight.

Cut the irony and sarcasm!

I'm taking this move to the states very seriously and I'm reading up on everything that could be good to know. Making jokes for example, as I would like to see myself as a person who includes lots of humour in the everyday life. I realize I have a lot to work on, on that one. The authors of Culture Wise America - The Essential Guide to Culture, Customs & Business Etiquette tells me the following:

"Irony and sarcasm are rarely encountered and may even be frowned upon, since many Americans simply don't understand it" (2009:39).

After reading this, I just want to quote a famous American character saying "Doh!" What else do I know than irony and sarcasm, being brought up in the ironical generation? Is that not a whole generation? Is it limited to a particular Swedish generation? It will absolutely be my mission to find out whether or not this is true. If it is so, this whole entry probably didn't go through.

I will work on the irony and sarcasm thing. Nobody wants to be "The Weird Person Who Gives Everybody The Look Of A Goldfish" while trying to entertain and be funny.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The men who makes me question my choices.

There are those women who always need a man by their side to be able to identify themselves. I bet you know a few of them. Those who know me, know that I am not one of those women. Being Miss Expert In Longdistance Relationships, I don't even know if I could handle a man next to me 24/7. I would probably suffocate.

However, there are three men in my life, who I would love to have next to me, at least very close to me, every day of the week - the nephews. Whenever I start to question my dream life of being out on the go, I think about all the time apart from these three amazing little men, 7, 5 and 1,5 years old.

My heart aches when I think about missed out birthday parties, how I won't be able to see that happy smile when I pick wild strawberries for them or how I won't get the chance to answer questions like "What is a carbon dioxide and what does it actually look like?". Well, not that I was ever really able to answer that last question, but you get my point.

My point is, that I sometimes wonder what I'm doing, when I dream about being anywhere else but here, close to my beloved family. Luckily, I don't just end up with a big question mark on that one. I know why I do this, going to the US for example. It's because I have to. I have to constantly step out of my comfort zone. I need to do all these unexpected moves and follow my instincts. I need to strengthen my legs, sharpen my elbows and my brain on my way to find out where I want to be.

Wherever I will be, these three men will always be close to my heart. And in some way, they keep my feet on the ground, connect me to reality when I'm lost. It's amazing how they speak to me, how important they are. And when I come back from the states, there will be yet another toddler waiting to recieve my unconditional love. Until I see him or her, I have to go out and sail new water, explore new ground. I have to, just have to.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sleepy, stressed out student!

The stress never ends!

The printer hunt went well. A nice neighbour lend me his one and made sure to carry it down to my flat so I had it when I came home from work last night. At midnight it was time to start the battle against the website. Well, first I actually had to start the battle against technology since the printer wouldn't work with my computer. After lots of browsing I finally found the right driver to install it and I've got to admit I felt kind of proud of myself. Milon vs. Technology: 1-0!

After a few hours of clicking, re-loading and using different browsers, all of a sudden, the website was magically working. So I started worknig on my application. It did not take 20 minutes, as I had been told. Somewhere when the sun started to rise I lost track of time, let's just leave it at that.

I recieved a barcode, I logged in to book an appointment - August 1st was the first day available. What other choice did I have?! I booked it, and at first I felt relieved for having it all set, but around 5-ish, when I put my head down on the pillow it occured to me that I'm not sure I will recieve my visa in time!

To sum up: Sleepy, stressed out student is on the edge of a minor breakdown. But what can one do? Not much else than keep all fingers crossed and find a happy place. Maybe I should send a little extra love to the world, to increase the possibilities of getting some help from good karma.

May the winds blow in the right direction.