Sunday, 26 April 2009

Temporarily Out Of Order!

No, don't worry, the blog is working fine!
I'm not however ...
The next week, well Monday and Tuesday (and in some way Wednesday) are really horrible for me, at least the way things are right now! I feel dreadful and I don't know how to be able to work my way around surviving these days without ending up really low (which I SO cannot afford right now!)!

Therefore I just want to let you know I will take a blog break! I have one more entry left from my trip (a review on My Fair Lady) and then of course the regular blogging. However, at this point, the blog has turned into a stress factor ("I have to get the blog updated as well!") and I can't take it right now. Instead I just want to make it clear that I will be back making entries, just not at this point in time ...

Thank you for understanding!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Adorable Little Darlings!

While I did spend some time alone when I was away, a lot of time was also spent with my younger sisters! It gets very intense, but I'm still very happy about the connection I have with both of them - and they are great girls to be around!

The older one, 'M', turns 5 this summer, she has grown up sooo quickly! She's really smart, she can already write all the letter, and some words and names - I guess she really enjoys it now, which is why she's giving an effort to learn!
The younger, 'I', will be 2½ this summer, and I'm finally (better late than never??!) realizing she's not a baby any more! *lol* She's also really smart, she can do basic counting, which I think is amazing for someone turned 2 years old just 3½ months ago!!

We went to an Easter carnival, and the girls got to ride a carousel!! :)

For me personally, this trip has once and for all established a great bond with I, which I'm very happy about!!
I was around when 'M' was born, since it was mid-summer, and I was with her almost constantly the first month. I do believe that creates a strong bond, I think the first time of a newborn's life is very important that way! Ever since then, 'M' and I have had a very special connection, she's never ever been shy toward me, no matter how long ago it was I visited, and I have always been able to pick her up if she was sad, change her diaper when she was little, put her to sleep etc. (stuff that mostly parents do).

When 'I' came, it was a bit rough on the family. She was very sick as a young child, and quite a handful. The parents didn't quite know what to do and 'M' took the whole "getting a younger sister" not-so-great. She was very upset about this, so when I came to visit, I had to spend all my time with 'M'. Partly so she'd feel there was somebody there who only cared about her, and partly because 'M' was a bit jealous and didn't want me around 'I' ...
That meant I never really did bond with 'I', which I felt a bit upset about. It felt like 'M' was closer to me than 'I', and they are both my sisters, and they should be on equal terms.

I'm happy to say that this trip has set things straight 100%!! 'I' was not at all as shy and restricted as she has been before (she started preschool in January, I think that is an important factor), and she immediately let me get near her and be with her. 'M' was not at all so jealous and wanting to claim me for herself as before either, it was okay for me to do stuff with 'I' while 'M' was doing something else - and that would have been completely impossible a year ago!

I'm very happy to have this great connection to both the girls ... they actually both wanted me to be "their Jessica" ... both 'M' and 'I' went around saying "she's my Jessica", which almost ended in a fist fight between them! Luckily I could step in and say that since I actually am Jessica, I get to decide, and I want to be both 'M's and 'I's Jessica! :)

Riding their bicycles!

Another great thing that happened trip was that 'I' learned to say "Jessica" properly, she hasn't done that before! :) And it was 'M' who taught her!! *CUTE*
We spent a few days togheter, all of us, in the summerhouse, and there were some changes made in the sleeping arrangements. This meant that for the first time, the girls shared a bedroom (they've been sleeping together on vacations but never in the summerhouse). It was quite a bother to get them both to keep quiet at night, so they could fall asleep, but apparently, one morning, both girls stayed in bed, chatting and talking, and 'M' taught 'I' to say "Jessica". Are they adorable or what?! :)

I made a few scraps of fairly recent photos, I uploaded them in my Picasa Album. I don't want them to be public, as they have names and dates and places on them, but I'd like my friends to see them. If I have forgotten to send you an invite, please let me know and I'll get right on that! :) Comments are always appreciated! :)

Thursday, 23 April 2009

~*~ Zorro! ~*~

This blog entry will be dedicated to Zorro, I think he deserves it after the last few weeks!

He has been absolutely incredible during this trip, that has been quite an ordeal for him! I know he's getting older, and doesn't have quite the energy he had earlier, but I still think he's absolutely fantastic, and even though I get irritated some times, I am truly very very proud of him!

For starters, I was really nervous going on a train with him. I have done that once before, just after I moved here, and that was not a pleasant experience for either one of us. This was back in 2001 (the fall), so it's 8½ years ago, but the trip was a true terror for both of us. Toward the end of the trip he was screaming at the top of his lungs (not so pleasant for all the other travellers!) and when I tried to stick my hand/fingers into his transportation box to calm him down, he clawed at me like he was insane - luckily I had brought some tissues as I needed them to wipe away the blood from my hands!!

I was quite nervous for this trip, and I had only booked a one way ticket because of that - I figured that I'd give it a try once, and if it didn't work out, I'd had to find another way to get home.

And he was incredible! We had to chance trains twice on the way up north, and he was quite upset when we waited at the train stations - a lot of people running around, trains arriving and departing, lots of noise etc. but during the train trips he was a darling!! He made a few noises but managed to calm down quickly and eventually fell asleep! The last part of the trip takes almost exactly 3 hours, and he slept almost the entire time!! I could even get up and use the bathroom, leaving him in the seat, and he was completely okay with it!

He didn't get much relaxing to start with either - and I always feel guilty for exposing him to stress like that, although I know I sometimes have to do it. We arrived on Monday, so that was the big travel day. My dad and my eldest little sister picked us up and we went to their house for dinner. After dinner I drove to the summerhouse (it takes about 1h 15 min), so Zorro was quite exhausted when we got there!
This was Easter week, and on Thursday we both had to go back to my Dad's place, I had intended to stay longer in the summerhouse and visit my families toward the end of the Easter holidays, but unfortunately that didn't work out - so than it was another car ride for Zorro and adapting again to my Dad's house and his family.
I stayed for 2 days, so Saturday afternoon we went back to the summerhouse, and by then, Zorro was tired of travelling, so he did protest quite a bit.

No more travelling for him for quite a while though, which we both appreciate, I think. He was however left alone for about 24 hours, when I headed up to town for the Stockholm trip with my Mum, and my Dad and his family went to the summerhouse the next day. There were some issues involved there as well, and Zorro handled them fantasticly!

When I got back we were all in the summerhouse for a couple of days - it worked out all right, even though it gets a bit crowded and intense at times!

Then there was the trip home! Since the train ride had worked so well, there was really no question about that - we were going to take the train home as well - which was yesterday (yikes, it feels like ages ago!!).

This trip was not quite as smooth though ... A lot of it has to do with the fact that the train stations are very close to each other at the beginning of the trip - so even if Zorro wanted to calm down and try to rest, as soon as he tried, the train stopped, there were lots of people moving around, lots of noises, and then he couldn't relax.
Eventually he fell asleep, mostly due to exhaustion, I think, but when I used the bathroom, he'd woken up and was quite upset.

We had to change trains in Gothenburg, and had to wait about 50 minutes there - and I was quite nervous about that. I managed to get a bench for us (I had quite a heavy luggage as well as Zorro), but Zorro was rather loud and wanted to get out of his transportation box. I managed to get a leash on him (he always wears a sort of harness when we travel), and got him out - and boy was he excited!! *lol*

He kept crawling around, looking at everything - a few birds came by and they were very annoying! *lol* He did "miao" a bit, but not too much and I don't think he disturbed anyone else. Luckily our train came in early so we were able to get on board rather quickly, and even though I hadn't booked a seat (long story) I managed to solve it in a good way!
Zorro really didn't want to travel any more so he was a bit upset, but as soon as the train started moving, he fell asleep and slept more or less the entire way home!! *gasp*

We did take a city bus the last bit of the way, and that was not popular, he was a bit of a handful, but I still think he did amazing considering the day he'd had!!

At times like this, I think it's almost a shame he's an animal, because I would like him to really know and understand how happy and proud he makes me, when he handles everything in this manner. I know I show him that I love him, and given the chance I will give him lots of attention and yummy foods - but I'd like to do something more than that!!

Enjoying the Summerhouse!

While the trip didn't quite give me what I had expected, at least I was able to partly enjoy the time in the summerhouse, I did go for a few nature walks, and tried to clear my mind as best I could!

The weather was a bit unsteady at first (and the last day) but otherwise it was wonderful spring weather, and it was absolutely fantastic to see the nature come to life practically in front of your eyes!! I have never had time to truly see and enjoy that, spring time tends to be rather rough for me - so I very much welcomed that opportunity!
Therefore, this entry will mostly consist of photos! :)

The thing I wasn't too happy about was the fact that the trip ended up being rather "hectic", even though the idea was to take it easy! In order to make everything work, practically, I ended up having to travel between the summerhouse and the town where my family lives more often than I had expected, and I didn't get many days in a row really relaxing and enjoying the quiet time in the summerhouse. There were some practical things that were unexpected and ruined our original planning - such as a dependence on a guy to fix my laptop which has been acting up, the fact that my Dad and his family "lost" one of their cars (it broke down ... but they were able to get it fixed), and then there was the whole Stockholm trip - which was GREAT, but still required some planning.

Still, the general break has done me a lot of good and I guess that's the main thing, right?! :)

I hope you enjoy the photos! :)

Home Sweet Home!

Now I'm back home again, which actually feels quite nice!
As I'm sure you are all familiar with, things don't always turn out the way you planned and hoped - and I can certainly say that goes for this trip!!
I'm not completely disappointed with it, not at all, because there have been things that I truly have enjoyed and will remember - but the general idea of the trip, me getting away to wind down, get lots of fresh air, get a lot done, get back into mental (and hopefully some physical) health again ... well, that didn't really happen!
I don't have the time nor the energy to go into all the little details - but at least the trip was useful in the sense of giving me a break from my everyday life that wasn't working out great here - and even though I know I have some truly hellish weeks in front of me now, at least at this point I feel motivated, I want to try to make the last part of the semester work out in a good way, even if it means putting pretty much everything else on hold!

So that's one good thing the trip brought, even though I had hoped I'd be in better shape starting out than I am right now.

I have quite a few entries to add regarding the trip - including general information, Zorro, my adorable little sisters and My Fair Lady in Stockholm!!! I'll try to get through most of the updates during the day!

Take care - I hope you have all been well and have enjoyed the Easter Holidays!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Good Bye!

Just a short good bye note, as I'll be leaving in about an hour.
Right now, the whole trip seems very confusing, as a lot of things hasn't exactly been smooth lately, but at least I'm hoping I'll get some time for quiet contemplation, I will definitely need it in order to make the rest of this semester work ...
I won't say too much now, as I'm in a rather foul mood, instead I'll wait until I get home and do proper evaluation of the trip than - after all, then I'll know what has actually happened.

It's time for the last bit of packing, including the laptop, so I'd better sign off now.
If you have a moment, please send a thought to me and Zorro as I'll be dragging him around half the country today - at least that's what it feels like: one bus, three different trains and a 1½ hour car drive! *yikes*

Take care - if I can get online while I'm gone, I'll make a post here, otherwise I'll see you when I get back!

Saturday, 4 April 2009

600th Post! Wow!

I had another title in mind for this post, relating to the previous one, but when I found out this will be my 600th post on this blog, I simply had to acknowledge that! I'm very happy this blog is doing so well, even though I sometimes take a break from it, both regarding my posting but mostly of course the visitors! :)

Anyway - what I was going to write was the fact that I obviously did survive the Week From Hell - even though I'm not sure how exactly ...
This week has been a real roller coaster, though unfortunately not that many "ups". I don't have the time or the energy to go into detail here, I will try to make a proper update in my personal blog, and I'll get back to those of you not reading Swedish in more personal notes before I leave on my mini-vacation (or whatever it will be).

The general outcome of this week, in short is that I've gotten a start with the mentor activity on the "new" (semi-new??) course and I have started developing a good connection with the teacher, which I think is really good.
I failed the oral exam ... *cry* which was quite a set back! I can't say that I'm really surprised by that, because I have felt so awful, and I didn't feel prepared enough, but I find it difficult coping with failed exams, and that feeling gets about 100% worse when it's an oral exam and not a written one. I'll have to do it when I get back home though, but that basically means that for the rest of the semester, well, I'll be taking on courses that equal one whole semester's full-time studies in about 8 weeks ... great! *NOT!*
I survived the essay seminar too, though I don't know how I feel about that ... Some things felt okay, some things felt pretty good and some things felt pretty terrible ...

So, that's the short summary version! :)
Today and tomorrow will be spent preparing for the trip and my time away - I will come back tomorrow with a last entry before I leave!

Take care and enjoy your Saturday!