Category Archives: positivity

The Luck of the Irish

Almost one month ago, I left Sweden for Dublin, Ireland.  I had never had an impulse interest to visit Dublin, although I have always wanted to see the rolling, green hills of Ireland!  I was pleasantly surprised by Dublin, as well as Ireland as a whole!

The first thing I did with my friends, Johanna and Taylor, was visit the Cliffs of Moher, which meant renting a car.  Taylor and I have never driven a stick before, so it was all up to Johanna!  Fortunately, she was a pro at driving manual.  Unfortunately, she didn’t consider that the stick would be on the left of her (given that she was in the right, front seat this time)!  Needless to say, depth perceptions were distorted, a rear view mirror was knocked off, and her left shoulder was extremely sore!

Being scared of hitting something else (including other cars on the narrow, winding roads of Ireland) and the reattachment of the mirror (twice) was by far worth the views we experienced at the Cliffs of Moher.

IMG_6412

IMG_6419

IMG_6425

IMG_6429

IMG_6446

Leave it to the Americans to hold the flag incorrectly! (Taylor, Johanna, me).

IMG_6450

IMG_6454

IMG_6477

IMG_6483

IMG_6484

IMG_6490

The Cliffs of Moher provided me with the most breathtaking sights of my life.  I can’t say that I have ever seen such vibrant green and teal blue-colored water.

Words really don’t do it justice, nor do photographs.

IMG_6520

IMG_6544

Once returning the car and having a relaxing night at some great pubs, we visited the Guinness brewery that is infamous to Dublin!  Now that I can’t have gluten, it was devastating being surrounded by great beer and not being able to have any; my friends loved it because I was able to share my free Guinness with them in the process.

Having a relaxing last day in the town was just what we all needed after nights of pub crawls, driving along the coast of Ireland, and drinking some of the best beverages we’ve ever had!  The accidental traditional Irish dance performance was the ideal commencement of our adventures; we were truly lucky in Ireland!

Kalmar Castle at Dusk

Taking evening bike rides has been one of my favorite things to do in Kalmar.  And with the weather getting better by the day, taking photos has become even more enjoyable!

IMG_6397

Things have been bittersweet for me lately, with many of my close friends from home graduating and all, but having an escape with my camera is something I’m thankful for!

Lund International Food Festival

Lund, Sweden offered more than just great food; there was so much to do, see, and experience in one of Sweden’s southernmost towns.

IMG_6200

Once we arrived at the train station, we wandered around the town and discovered the beautiful architecture and springtime feeling in the air.

Of course, anything that pertains to food and all things international draws me in!  The food market was packed with vendors from all over the world; servers from Spain, Australia, France, China, and the United States were there, just to name a few!

I stuck to what I knew for my first lunch (yes, I usually eat two lunches…): good ole fashioned Mexican nachos!  They were loaded with cheese, salsa, sour cream, homemade guac, and extra jalapenos.

IMG_6208

Obviously I had to check out the French cheese stand after I ate my lunch!

The eight of us who traveled from Kalmar wanted to visit Lund’s cathedral; it is one of the most beautiful cathedrals I have visited.  I wouldn’t imagine my favorite cathedral to be in Sweden of all places (compared to Italy and France).

IMG_6239

All of my friends (myself included) were amazed by the craftsmanship in the woodworking of the cathedral.

IMG_6247

IMG_6250

IMG_6280

After our cathedral visit, we all decided to go outside and enjoy the warm sunshine!

What I love most about Sweden is her mix between old, colorful buildings and modern architecture; Sweden really embraces contrast and provides tourists with the best of both worlds.  After all, Sweden is known for Ikea, as well as timeless, quaint homes.

 

My favorite buildings in Sweden are the ones painted golden yellow with olive green accents.  The colors are both so bold that one might see it as overpowering, but I see it as unique to southern Sweden, which is very special in my opinion.  As a child reading about Sweden in school, these are the homes and shops I imagined in my head; to see my view come to life is really incredible!

Because the weather was spectacular that day (which is rare in Sweden!), we couldn’t miss out on an opportunity to stroll through Lund’s largest garden.

IMG_6338

IMG_6340

IMG_6345

IMG_6366

I was bummed to find that the university library was closed that day; it is one of the oldest libraries in Sweden and it has a large collection of books!  Who doesn’t love the smell of old books?!

IMG_6372

IMG_6387

IMG_6389

At least we gained more time in the city because of the library being closed!  The signs and advertisements in front of the little shops were picture worthy for sure.

Lund was a riot!  It was the perfect day trip for a group of food-loving and fun-loving people!  I’m so thankful that I visited Lund, and I was definitely grateful for the food and sunshine along the way.

Afternoon Bike Ride in Kalmar

Today was an incredibly stressful day, but my dad put things into perspective for me yesterday. He said, “Cate, I know times are tough for you right now, but think about how many places you’ve seen and how much you’ve done with your college career!”

He’s absolutely right. I’m too blessed to be stressed!

So with a smile on my face, I biked around my study abroad town and took photos with my 5s.  I am finding myself comparing the first place I studied in and Kalmar; I need to stop comparing the two and I need to enjoy both for what they have to offer!


  
  
  
  

Spring is in the air here in southern Sweden, and there was a spring in my step today once my dad’s words sunk in. I’m blessed to have this study abroad experience and opportunity AGAIN, and I’m forever thankful for the family I have waiting for me at home in Michigan!

And c’mon, there’s a CASTLE ten minutes from my dorm! You can’t beat that!

When You’re Feeling Down

Hello everyone, I’m feeling down today.  I know it’s a weird thing for me to say/admit, but it’s true.  I haven’t blogged in awhile or wrote anything worthwhile in a couple weeks.  It’s not about the views or the likes for me; it’s about how I feel while I write.  But I haven’t felt the need to write recently, and now I feel as though all of my thoughts are bottled up inside me.

Here are some things I’ve been feeling lately:

  1. Stressed
  2. Frustrated
  3. Not myself
  4. Afraid

I feel these emotions and feelings are quite normal, but I need to combat these feelings.  As an aspiring Buddhist, I believe acceptance and embracing is key; however, I don’t want to be “okay” with feeling blue.

Here are some things I am going to try in order to ease my anxiety:

  1. Take things one minute at a time
  2. Stop comparing myself to others
  3. Remember what I enjoy doing
  4. Live in the moment rather than in the past or future

I have two exams next week, on top of having to clean my room, my hamster’s smelly cage, packing for a trip up north, and having two jobs to hustle through.  Let’s just say that next weekend cannot come soon enough!  I need to just face facts and realize that my two exams are important, but will not make or break my life (although they may do that to the grade in my class).  I have always been the type who is stressing over exams and sweats the little stuff; I need to be my type-B self when it comes to my education.  Exams are exams, and exams are tough, but that shouldn’t define the day or week I’m having.

On top of the stress associated in school, I cannot stop comparing myself to other people.  Many of my friends have recently announced engagements or marriages, while I’m over here bickering with my boyfriend of almost three years like an old married couple.  We’re both stressed about work and classes, yet while we spend any amount of time together, we take that stress out on each other.  It’s not fair for either of us.  Also, many of my friends are graduating this May (I guess I “should” be, too).  I keep feeling like I’m struggling or something…?  I can’t really explain the feeling I have about it.  I guess my point is that I need to stop comparing myself, my grades, or my relationship with other people because I am my own person.  I know there are things that people think about me that they find impressive (hopefully).

Aside from writing, I have other passions believe it or not.  Maybe if I dig into my passions I won’t be comparing myself to others as much (it’s human nature – it’s bound to happen).  I really enjoy photography, playing the piano and the flute, as well as golfing.  I took homecoming photos for a good friend of mine who is running to be on court, and it made me realize that I really miss photography.  I started my own photography website via SquareSpace, and I will be publishing that live within the next few days or so.  Whenever I travel, I love capturing what I see because it brings back whatever I was feeling in that moment.  I need to keep up with that.

I have also been listening to a lot of Regina Spektor and Stromae lately, which has inspired me to play musical instruments again.  I took piano lessons as a child and I had the ability to be a concert performer, a music major, maybe even play for a living.  I turned it down when it became too challenging – I gave up on it.  But really, I gave up on myself.  I did the same thing with the flute; I was really good, but I couldn’t handle the competition.  We had to compete for “first chair,” where the best performer sat closest to the instructor.  I don’t want to be the best, but I want to be my best.  I want to play for me, no one else.

Looking on my past is both inspiring and depressing, and I mean that in the best way possible!  I look at things that I would have done different, but I would not have changed a single thing.  I am leaving for Sweden soon, which inspired me to look at a few photos from my previous study abroad adventure:

Lyon, France

Nice, France

Fourth of July, France

Lavender Fields, France

These photos bring me hope; they show me that happiness is real and that this is just a dark time right now.  I hope that I can feel like myself again soon, because I miss it when my cheeks hurt from smiling too much!  It’s always darkest before the dawn.

Market Dog, France

Aix, France

Lyon, France

Guise, France

Picnic time!

That’s all for now!  Sorry about the photo spam (not really)! 😉