Tag Archives: friends

Study Abroad Reunion: Chicago (March 9-11)

In 2016, I made the best decision of my life: to study abroad in Kalmar, Sweden.

I made THE BEST friends I could’ve asked for!  We all decided to have a reunion in Chicago because Alice (to my right in the above photo) was student teaching in Illinois for one month.  Mitch and Bethany (to my left) are from Colorado, and Taylor (far right) is from Texas.  We HAD to take a selfie at the iconic bean, obviously 🙂

During our first afternoon/evening, we were catching up at dinner, the hotel bar, and even played Uno for awhile in our room.  I hadn’t seen Taylor or Alice since I left Sweden in June, 2016, so seeing them meant the world to me.  Bethany and I, thankfully, have been able to see each other twice since we returned home (once in Chicago in June, exactly!) and will be going to one of my favorite places, Iceland, this May!  Spending time with Mitch is always great, and seeing him meant the world to me as well!

On our only full day together, we went to the Sears Tower (I STILL need to call it that…) and we took some obligatory Sky Deck photos!  It was worth it, but the crowds and heat were too much for all of us.  Thankfully, Giordano’s was right around the corner 🙂

All of us (except for Taylor – he needed a major nap after the deep dish!) spent time near the Water Tower place, specifically at Nike and Ghiradelli!  Mitch and I were OBSESSED with the store.  I have probably been in there at least 10 times and it never gets old!  Mitch, Alice, and I all got ice cream after, which also put us into a food coma, much like our dear friend!

You can’t go to Chicago without going to a comedy show, am I right? I am in love with Second City and Zanies; I have been to both three times I believe.  Bethany and I went to Zanies in June, and I’ve also been there with another friend from studying abroad in France.  I decided on Zanies this time because 1) the tickets were cheaper, 2) stand-up is hilarious and is rarely ever bad (in my opinion), and 3) it’s located on N. Wells Street, where all the best bars are!

Of course, we picked the best night to go!  It was Zanies’ 40th anniversary so we were able to have some mystery shots, more stand-up comedians, and many more laughs! I would tell you some of the jokes; however, they were NOT appropriate for this blog 🙂 Take my word for it: Zanies is the funniest club in Chicago!

Bethany and I are always thuggin’ it on Wells St…

Our coats got switched at Benchmark…oops!

Fun fact: Bethany and I took a similar photo here back in June.  Once we found the same bar, we obviously had to recreate our masterpiece 🙂

This goes without saying, but this was probably the best weekend I’ve had in a long time.  Seeing old friends felt so rewarding and I haven’t laughed that hard in SO long (both from the comedians AND my best friends)!  I can’t wait until our next reunion together.

I can’t wait for Taylor to have a Guinness at every bar he passes, for Alice to be as stereo-typically French as possible, for Bethany and I to laugh over nothing at all, and for Mitch and I to have the best conversations again 🙂

Askøy & Bergen, Norway (Part II)

It has been MONTHS since I last wrote about my Norwegian adventure!  I haven’t stopped reflecting on my time in Norway with such incredible hosts.  I stayed with Kjell, who was my mom’s foreign exchange student in high school.  I hadn’t met him prior to staying with him, and it was great to hear about his time in America with my mom, uncle, and grandparents!  I was also touched to meet his wife and children; they are truly a second family to me.

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The view from Kjell’s home on Askoy

One of my favorite, and perhaps most memorable parts, of my two weeks in Norway were the boat rides Kjell took me on.  We were able to see his many summer homes and have great conversations along the way.

Above is Kjell’s parent’s home.  The red shed is where I would be asked to help him gut the fish we caught in the North Sea, little would I know!

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I remember that afternoon like it was yesterday; Kjell was taking me through the neighborhood on one of the family’s fishing boats.  He was showing me all of his favorite fishing spots, while sharing childhood memories.  I felt so close to him and I felt like I reliving his fondest memories.

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We eventually stepped out of our fishing boat and hiked a little bit.  He showed me his favorite spots where he, his siblings, and neighbors would play; Kjell even showed me the only spot where small flowers could grow along the sea!

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After some light hiking, Kjell and I had to cut the fish we caught in the North Sea (Kjell: 5, me: 2).  I didn’t have it in me to cut the fish, so I kept his mom company as Kjell prepared the fish for cooking.

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I remember feeling guilty for “taking the life of two fish,” but Kjell cracked a joke that made me feel so much more at ease!  He said, “Well, think about this, you’re feeding my sweet mother.  Without you, she wouldn’t have dinner tonight!” It made me laugh more than I probably should’ve!  And that was the best seafood I’ve ever had 🙂