Monday, November 8, 2010

Fall Cleaning

View from the summer house

We are in full Autumn mode here and the scenery is beautiful. Falling leaves galore and a gorgeous harvest sun.

We spent the weekend in Uddevalla again, had a special ceremony for Tage, and spent some time outdoors enjoying the sun that had been hiding for so long.

The days are getting shorter now, and the darkness is coming, so I am trying to soak up every ounce of light I can.

We spent Friday at the summer house in Ljungskile doing some good, hard, outdoors work, cutting down trees and clearing bushes. This was a first for me so I opted to be family photographer half-way through.

Hey, I'm still learning this Swedish rustic way of life ;)

The men taking down the tree

Maude and the dogs monitored the work


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Spooky Spooky

Well I just wrapped up my second Halloween in Sweden and it was a success! Carved pumpkins with my AWC gals, had a blast at Linnea and Andreas' second annual Halloween party and even found the movie Hocus Pocus on youtube to watch! I have to say, European Halloweens are becoming a stiff competition to my American ones. Well, almost ;)

J and me as cowboy and cowgirl

Andreas as a Somali pirate, the other Andreas as Ipren (a Swedish pill equivalent to asprin) and Felipe dressed up as his wife, Alexandra

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Vilken härlig dag

Today was a perfect Fall day. The air was fresh and crisp, the trees hues of orange and yellow.

Jonatan and I enjoyed an afternoon concert at the Gothenburg Opera and then I had nice evening out with my AWCG gals and finally saw Eat, Pray Love.

Tomorrow my mission is to find decent pumpkins for carving to really bring in the autumn season. We'll see how that goes....

Gothenburg Opera Foyer Concerts

I am teaching again

At the bus stop near the school where I teach in Sweden

I really enjoyed teaching in France last year and when the experience came to an end, I realized how much I was going to miss it and my students.

Now I am living in Sweden and though I am focusing on my own studies at the moment, I still wanted to keep my teaching skills in practice and spend some of my extra time teaching English to cute Swedish kids.

I was lucky enough to find part-time working teaching ESL in an after school program. I teach only two classes a week (sometimes 5) but get to have fun teaching children 3-9 English and make some extra cash at the same time. And the children are such great learners! I am really impressed with their interest and motivation.

Here are some pics around the school with some of the beautiful Swedish Fall colors.

Puss och Kram!

Fall trees near school


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A day in the life of me

So what do I do all day? Well, being a grad student I don't do much more than read and study and read some more, but for those of you who are far away, here is a little picture by picture account of what a typical day looks like for me :)

For now the weather is still a pleasure--we have had a lot of sun and while there is the nip of Fall in the air, you can still get away with a light coat and scarf. I am trying to take advantage of this so instead of heading straight for the tram in the mornings on my way to school, I'll take a stroll down to Lindholmen to hop on the ferry to Rosenlund.


There is the ferry I just took!

And then I'll wait for the tram at Järntorget

I get off the tram and here I am at campus

That's my building!

And look, people just park their bikes here. They don't even lock them up! Can you imagine?! This really is utopia.....

I can take a little detour through our "secret garden" and grab an apple for a snack from the small orchard

Close up of the main building where all of my lectures are held

Here is the computer room at the library, where I spend a lot of my time. There are weird mask-like sculptures on the wall...I'm not too sure about those, but I guess they are cool to look at

There are a lot of excellent open lectures held by the various departments within the university. This one was one of Jan Eliasson and was held in this gorgeous hall

Jan Eliasson himself (if you don't know who he is, look him up, it's worth it)

And then I make it home and take over the kitchen table (to the boyfriend's dismay) with all of my reading and studying and reading and studying......

Not too exciting, but now you know!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Let Me Catch You Up...real fast

So it has been quite a while, and a lot has happened. The past few months have really been a whirlwind of hellos, goodbyes, surprises, shocks, solitude and lot of flying and moving around.

I have returned back to Sweden after two months back in the States. My parents came back with me for their first time to Scandinavia and they loved it—what a relief! I had such a great time showing them around my new home and introducing them to my “other family.” I couldn’t have asked for a better visit.

Now they are back home, and J and I are here, all settled in our apartment. There is still a lot of work to be done here, but it does already feel like home. It kind of always has.

I know it’s only been about two months, but I have to say, I am loving this “living with my boyfriend” thing. Initially it was something I really never thought I would do, and after being preoccupied with all of the technicalities of getting here (applying to school, getting into school, getting the visa, making the flight and getting all my crap here), I kind of didn’t really pay attention to the reality of what I was doing. But then I sit here, in our apartment, and become my 16 year old self again. I am living with my boyfriend. With my best friend. How cool is that?! We can do whatever we want! Eat candy for dinner, stay up and watch TV as long as we want. Kiss whenever and wherever we want. It is awesome!

Ok yes, I swear, I am an adult too. Yes we have to pay bills together and are having a slight disagreement about where the Tony Sopranos poster will go *cough*storage closet*cough*. But after being in a long-distance relationship pretty much my whole adult life, I am so completely ecstatic to know that I only have to be away from my love for no more than a matter of hours a day. So mushy and cheesy but so true.

Finally on the same continent again!

As for other updates—summer was great and exactly what I needed. A little re-charge of California and family and friend love to hopefully hold me over for the long, dark winter ahead of me. Working at IIE was great and geared me up for my studies.

I started school almost a month ago now. For those of you who don’t know I am pursuing a Masters in Global Studies at the University of Gothenburg. I am really loving being a student again. I get to go to the library and read for hours a day and then write papers and have seminars and lectures. It’s awesome! Haha. My class is really interesting too—there are 85 of us total and we come from all corners of the world. There are so many interesting people and perspectives—I am really happy to be studying in another country again.

I also have found a little job for myself teaching English to elementary school level children in an after school program here in Gothenburg. I really enjoyed teaching last year and am so happy I will be able to continue. And Swedish kids are so darn cute! Maybe even cuter than French kids? Hmmm…. :)

Other than that I am still very active as the Program Chair of the American Women’s Club of Gothenburg and am starting Swedish Language lessons next week, so I am definitely keeping busy. Oh! And I am going to join Friskis och Svettis (Chelsea L knows what this is), because I need to get some exercise going.

Ok there are probably like a million other things I have to say and I apologize this was not the most creatively written blog entry but I just felt that I needed to throw everything at you list-form to get it out and get you caught up. I will try my best to keep you all updated regularly, but honestly, I am just so busy!! But I love it! And I love Sweden! And I am so wonderfully, incredibly, probably annoyingly happy right now it would probably make you sick to hear about it all the time but I really will try to let you all know what’s going on. I love you! I miss you! Oh—and I’ll be home for Christmas :)

Puss och Kram!!

Our apartment--still a work in progress

I went to a kräftskiva!

The girls turned 1!

Friday, April 23, 2010

"Learning a Foreign Language is a Waste of Time," what?!

I just finished reading Jay Mathews' most recent post on his Washington Post education blog, 'Class Struggle,' and I am left completely flabbergasted.

"Learning a language is often a waste of time," he explains in his blog titled 'Why Waste Time on a Foreign Language.' He goes on to say that while learning a foreign language "improves cognitive development, [...] enhances academic skills, encourages a sense of the wider world and looks good to colleges," it is still pretty much pointless for high schools to continue to include foreign language study in their curriculum because "there is little evidence that many students achieve much fluency in high school."

Oh, ok, so this is too hard and if everyone is not going to be perfect at learning a foreign language then we should just quit because why bother, right? Because the past four years of my life that I devoted to studying a foreign language, living in a foreign country and all that jazz that eventually led to my current career path and meeting my current life partner, that was really all just a waste because, still, I am not actually fluent in French yet.

What bullshit!!

He even had the audacity to throw in the quote from an actual high school teacher saying, "I'd wager close to 80 percent of kids taking foreign languages in high school do so because they have to."

Well no shit. I bet there is a pretty high percentage of kids who only go to school because they have to, but do you see anyone trying to shut down the schools (well I guess with all the budget cuts they pretty much are).

You want to know why students aren't fluent after a few years of high school Spanish or French--it's because it's not possible in our education system! Do you really think that by studying a foreign language one started learning at age 15 for about five hours a week is really going to be effective? How about adding more language requirements in junior high, and elementary school! That is what should be done to solve this problem.

I have spent this past year teaching English abroad at the elementary level. My students are shocked that American children do not need to study foreign languages at the primary level.

Of course, it is not like my six-year-olds are able to carry on the most intelligent of conversations, but language acquisition at a young age is so important and can make all the difference in future language learning abilities.

Sure, English is spoken everywhere, so what's the point, right? Well go on Americans, make us look even more like a bunch of jerks. Yeah, we will just hire other people to do our work for us, because that's a great idea for when people turn against us.

Sorry, but I was just completely astounded by this and had to vent. I apologize for my harshness, but seriously, come on people!

You can read Mr. Mathews' blog here:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Great Night for a Great Charity!

As some of you may know, I am a member of the American Women's Club of Gothenburg (a member of the Federation of American Womens' Clubs Overseas). I also have just been voted in as the new Programs Co-Chair of the Gothenburg Chapter and therefore am extra-excited to promote our upcoming charity event in May.

On Friday, May 21, at 7:00pm, we are hosting a wonderful evening of music, drinking and eating. How awesome does that sound?!

We are welcoming the world-renowned Yale Alley Cats from Yale University to serenade us for an evening while we raise support for the Bibi2Bibi charity- an organization helping disadvantaged grandmothers of AIDS orphaned children in Tanzania.

The event is at Örgryte’s historical Överås Mansion in Gothenburg and tickets must be ordered in advance.

Tickets are 300 SEK and can be purchased through our Plusgiro account 50 55 17-3.

For guest list purposes, be sure to include the number of people, and one or more names from your party in the message field. We must receive your payment before May 10 in order to hold your reservation!!

Venue: Överås Mansion, Danska Vägen 20 (click for map). Free parking is available at the mansion. If you're arriving by tram, take the #5 to Sankt Sigfrids Plan, and walk up-hill on Danska Vägen. The mansion is on the left, after approximately 400 meters. It is the first property on the left which has a large lawn looking out towards the street.

Here is a link to the event blog for more information:

The Yale Alley Cats:


Överås Mansion:

AWC Gothenburg:

If anyone is in town and would like to attend--please let me know!!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My child self...

I am not sure why, but for some reason I am very much connected with my childhood self. Not in the way of “letting your inner child out every once in a while,” but in a way that I never grew out of that self of mine and I am in constant contact with it in everyday life.

I always check-in with child Liana. It is her approval I seek when making life choices—anywhere from where should I live, work and what should I wear. Everything always comes down to “would my child self be proud of this? Are these the dreams I had imagined while playing dress-up and beauty parlor and dolls?”

I like sitting and brining my mind back to my younger youth. When I thought that having extra-long hair that flowed down past my bottom would be the most amazing thing (and of course having it swept to one side over the front of my face so that one eye was covered. That one-eye covered by hair was key to the “sexy” image I had at 7).

My memories are like a mixed-media photo album—some plain snap-shots, but mostly little short films, often times silent, with no sound.

They pop into my mind randomly, like a fantasy I had when I was a child—it is me spinning in a grass field in a long-white dress. And my hair is long and wavy. I think it is because of that image that I have bought a profuse amount of white dresses in my lifetime. Each Spring I purchase at least five. And then I remember that one perfect dress I had as a child—the one I always had to wear. It was white, with small pink roses on it and the straps crossed in the back. Maybe I buy so many white dresses in hopes to one day be reunited with that one perfect one of my childhood.

One day when I was about five, I could not find that dress anymore. I remember wondering what happened to it, and then never seeing it again. I must have grown out of it and my mother must have packed it away, but still, I am forever searching for it.

When I feel nostalgia from a place, it is confirmation that I have succeeded in finding something my inner self is satisfied with. I have felt that with Sweden now, especially during this time when the Winter is over and the sun is creeping out and warming up to Summer. So yes, another decision that child Liana likes. I am on the right track.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

America is my country and Göteborg is my hometown

They are putting up the ferris wheel now--summer is coming!!

I have, yet again, been neglecting this blog and now, I have no excuses. I am not incredibly busy and don't have a million things to do at once. Nope, for the past week and a half I have taken on the role of "Swedish housewife," and I think I might be taking it a bit too far.

My arrival in Sweden was, as always, a joyful one. After Jonatan picked me up from Landvetter airport we went straight up to his parents' home in Uddevalla to enjoy the rest of the Easter weekend with his father (his mother was down in Aix visiting Alex and the babies).

I always enjoy weekends in Uddevalla because I know I will sleep and eat well and enjoy quiet evenings reading or watching Svenska Hollywoodfruar :)

Last week, back in the city, the pleasantness continued. Jonatan is now working full-time at his internship, so the days are mine to have and do pretty much whatever I want in Göteborg.

So I have been meeting up with my friends in the American Women's Club of Göteborg (we are preparing for a big benefit cocktail party/concert to raise money for Bibi2bibi, along with the Yale Alley Cats who are coming to spend the weekend in our city), I admit, I have shopped a bit--but not too much, and I have been enjoying the absolutely beautiful weather we have been blessed with here. Early morning walks along the Göteborg harbor are such a treat with the shining sun!

However, the past two days I seem to have slightly fallen off my path of go-go-Göteborg and found myself sitting in my lounge clothes at 2:00 in the afternoon sipping a glass of white wine and watching Sex and the City (with Swedish subtitles!! I am also practicing my svenska while I am here!).

Ok, so new goals--start writing more regularly, get in shape, practice that Swedish and check out all the new exhibits in town. Because God knows I have the time!!

More updates to come!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Le Départ

Well here I am. 9:00AM on the day of my departure from the North of France.

My suitcase has surely exceeded its weight limit, and perhaps so have I with the profuse amounts of wine, bread and cheese I have been stuffing myself with lately--my final French indulgences in case it should be a while until my next taste.

Looking back I have feelings of satisfaction, embarassement, and also simple happiness. I really can't remember what I expected this year to be. There were so many uncertainties followed by so many regrets and anxieties after my arrival.

I scowled myself for my complaints and those times when I had quitting on my mind, but I know that this was a challenge, large or small, and I have completed and succeeded, nevertheless.

This year I have seen The Netherlands, England, Belgium and of course Sweden, and places in France I had never before visited.

I have tasted cow tongue, eaten chantilly in Chantilly, reunited with old friends in Paris, gotten to really know my brother and was welcomed into so many homes and families as one of their own. This year was a year of saints--of people completely selflessly opening themselves up and offering them to me. Never before, especially in my times in France, have I seen so much warmth and kindness. What I will take away most from this year are the people, for I know with the friends I have made during my stay here, we are not saying "au revoir"today, but instead "à bientôt."

My last day of classes was yesterday, and by far one of the greatest highlights of this experience has been teaching and my wonderful students and colleagues.

I was given my own personal farewell concert with a medley of English songs including "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," "Summer Nights," "Maria," and many more classics. I was bombarded with hugs, kisses, homemade cards and gifts and, the greatest compliment, tears from my teachers and recognition that I can truly be a teacher.

I have loved my time teaching and I now am aware of the incredible effect children have on me. I am still not sure where this life of mine is going, but for the first time I am not stressed by that. I am content in seeing it play out, however long it shall take.

Merci, France. Another unforgettable year.

Now on to the next one...

Making Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches with Mme Lardenois' class

M Dufour's class--the troublemakers

I have so many gifts I don't know what to do with them!

My special class--M Pawlac, Yuto, Alix and Elena

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Return to Aix

A week ago I had just returned from the long-awaited return to my much beloved city of Aix-en-Provence.

For those of you who don't know, Aix was, and still is, my dream come true. It was my first true experience abroad (apart from Canada and Mexico, which I don't really count), my first experience in France (the country I had dreamed of for so long) and the place where I met my bestest friend Bea, and my true love, Jonatan.

Yeah, this place was and still is pretty awesome.

Jonatan and I jetted down there for a quick weekend to visit his sister, Alexandra, her husband, Felipe and their twin babies, Valentina and Victoria.

The babies are just 6 months and were the cutest! I hadn't seen them since right after their birth, so it was wonderful to see how much they have grown and be able to spend more time with them.

The whole weekend was just perfect. Short, but perfect.

Jonatan and I walked down the same streets we walked on when we first met. Payed visits to old friends, took drinks at the old cafes. It was as if nothing had changed, yet so much has changed in these past three years.

It felt so good to be "home" with the people I love, and reminded me again how lucky I am and how truly wonderful life can be.

cheesy cheesy cheesy! I know, but I can't help it! It's the South of France, love and life!

You can't get much better than that....

Jonatan and I outside of the bar/club IPN, where it all began

Monday, March 8, 2010


Le Château de Chantilly

I am back from yet another glorious weekend with my French family, the Gaudets.

It is always a treat, and such a pleasant time with them, and this time was not any different.

This time it was a true "family" weekend, spending much time with "les petits:" Pierre, Juliette and Matthieu. We played games, baked cakes and I learned how to play Wii games in French. Hyper bon!

Saturday evening quickly turned into another birthday celebration for me as the children found out I had my special day just a week before. We had champagne (not the kids), sang songs, ate cow tongue (not a part of the birthday celebration necessarily, and not all that bad) and shared a bottle of wine from my year of birth. How cool!

Sunday was a day in Chantilly, about an hour drive from the family home in Compiègne, touring the Château de Chantilly and its grounds. The chateau was breathtaking and the day was beautiful. I won't bore you with the history (though it is very interesting!) so here is some more information on the chateau and its inhabitants:

The best part: eating crème chantilly in Chantilly! It was one of the most decadent things I have tasted and completed this delicious weekend.

Merci famille Gaudet!

another view of the chateau

Raphaël's "Les Trois Grâces." The original was displayed in the gallery

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Amsterdam 4 Stars

And just when I was getting cocky with how perfect my life is :)

Here I am again at the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, crashing in an airport hotel due to a flight cancellation. This time is a little bit different than before (in December I had to stay the night in a less than desirable airport hotel due to a flight cancellation to Göteborg because of weather conditions).

This occasion is thanks to the good ol' French and their lovely strikes. Oh Air France. At least they hooked me up with a complimentary stay at a 4 star hotel, dinner and breakfast and cable television. La chance!

Oh and p.s. I am 24 now. Let the mid-twenties begin!

Back to France now for trips to Remy, Compiègne, Aix and closing up shop in le Nord, then finally back to Sweden.....for good?

Bisous to all!

Braving the Swedish snow!

Semla time in Göteborg