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Washing Windows, Medical Schools! ..I want Sweden back :( July 24, 2007

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.
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Song of the Day: Bo Kaspers Orkester – En Dag Att Bli Kär På

Mark and I have had the pleasure of washing windows lately. It turns out that windows get really dirty, and that rich people will pay through the teeth to get them clean again. Thus, the Mark and Mike Window Wash Co. was born. It works out just great. Not only do we get payed respectable, tax-free money from private clients but we also get to teach each other German and Swedish while on the job, since, well, window washing is pretty mind-numbing. So far we have had several clients and those satisfied souls seem to be telling all their friends about us. Word travels fast. Need a good wash? Don’t hesitate to call!

After months of deliberation, hours of research and a little luck I have finished my final list of med schools to which I will apply for the entering class of 2008-2009. I have some reach schools, some easier schools and of course my main target, the University of Washington. Go Huskies! The part which is giving me the most trouble, on my application, is that of the personal statement. Not that you can tell from this blog (haha…) but I actually don’t much like writing about myself; selling myself, in a sense, to the admissions committee. I know its all part of the game, etc but actually coming up with real reasons WHY I want to be a doctor and then backing all that up with evidence is harder then it sounds. Hmm, maybe I’ll just join the navy, that would be an easy way out!

I’ve showed countless friends my countless collection of photos from Sweden from this last year, and each and every time I go through them it deepens my desire to be back there. I choke up on certain photos and the memories associated to them. Its all quite embarrassing, but impossible to control. Oh, Sweden, how I miss thee, but more importantly..all of you who I left behind.

Have a nice day.

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Portland July 16, 2007

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.
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Song of the day: National Ave

Greetings. I’m very busy at the moment so I’ll keep this short. I had the distinct honor and privilege of visiting my grandma and grandpa McCord (mom’s side) in Portland, Oregon this past weekend. We enjoyed sharing stories, looking at pictures from Sweden and watching baseball. Go Mariners! Strange sport but hej…its America’s pastime, I’m not to blame here. Dad flew down to visit for part of Saturday and we had a great time flying around in the Cessna a bit; made me realize just how excited I am to get my private pilots license. The second picture is mom, dad and grandpa at the airport. The weather has been nothing but HOT the last week, even reaching up into the high 90 degree (Fahrenheit) range…yikes! Very atypical for my part of the world, but hey, it makes a great excuse to swim everyday. Hope you have a great week wherever you are.

Home July 9, 2007

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.
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Wouldn’t you believe my luck. Travel, in theory, seems like an easy enough endeavor. You take your things, board a plane and it takes you from point A to point B. In reality this is never the case. Why do bad things have to happen to good travelers? Sigh. Not one, not two, but all three of my flights from Stockholm, London and Vancouver respectively were delayed. I got no sleep during my 16 hour layover in Heathrow. Only one of my bags made it out of London. The other bag is still sitting somewhere thousands of miles away as I write this, so the nice people at British Air tell me. I had the distinct pleasure and honor of sitting next to a 400 lb Samoan beast who seemed to think the seats beside him were reserved for his massive, b.o. reeking arms. I almost prayed for a mid-air collision or something to end the suffering, after 9 hours in the air. The nice people at the Vancouver customs office decided to detain my bottle of Mintu because apparently Finish peppermint liqueur is a threat to national security. Whatever. Oh, and we had a flat tire on the runway leaving from Vancouver, just minutes before takeoff. That tacked on an additional 3 hour delay to the hour we were delayed already. The cargo I shipped out of Stockholm is finally on its way to Seattle today, 5 days later then what the company promised. I could go on but you get the point. That said, it feels so good to be home. It is, however, quite shocking. Americans are a breed all their own. Loud, proud and conservative, the culture of America is a free-for-all melting pot that can’t help but ruffle anyone with European sensibilities. Not to mention folks here have no concept of how to dress themselves! Wouldn’t survive 5 minutes in Stockholm. I guess this isn’t exactly shocking news to anyone, but still its shocking to see on a day-to-day basis. People around here smile when they walk down the street. They may even wave to you in passing or even say hello and strike up a conversation. Coming from a repressive regime of unspoken social “dos and don’ts” in Sweden, this sudden freedom and friendliness is almost overwhelming. Every once in a while I pinch myself just to make sure this isn’t all a dream.

The last few days have been filled with reunion after reunion. Friends who I just assumed would forget about me are calling to get together and catch up. I had this picture in my head of how different things would be when I got home and how much things would change. It turns out that nothing has changed at all. Sure the house they are building next door obstructs my view of the lake (fy fan!) and yes a few people have moved around but Seattle is more or less how I left it nearly a year ago. I love this city so much. The weather is clear, warm, sunny and when you set your eyes on Mt. Rainer, or on the city-scape from Gasworks Park, it simply sends chills down your spine. Starbucks is back, good Asian food is back, my piano is back, the lake is back and nearly everything feels right in the universe. Medical school applications are hanging over my head like a 10-ton gorilla threatening to crush me into oblivion. They are my first order of business. However I am also actively seeking out a new apartment, a part-time job and involvement in my beloved church. Sweden, while worth every penny, was a very expensive year and its time to replenish the coffers. More on that to come. I should get going and back to work straightening out my life but rest assured more updates are on the way. I leave you with a picture of my best two buds, Mark and Joe, with whom I have spent many of these last days with.

Hej då Uppsala och Stockholm. Jag saknar dig. July 4, 2007

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.
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Just a short update while I’m waiting at Stockholm/Arlanda airport and enjoying my last real cup of unbeatable Swedish coffee. First, I will say that my short trip to Ireland with Meg and Ryan was simply the best, a perfect way to close out a nearly perfect year in Northern Europe. Thanks for making my time so special guys, I will travel with you any time and I look forward to the travels to come. The days that have followed my most recent blog update have been filled with goodbyes, packing, stress, paying way too much for Swedish taxis, shipping boxes, traveling, and well..not sleeping much. Have I been lazy with my blog entries? Yes, that would be an understatement. Will I faithfully finish the updates I promised when I return home? TheBigSwede will not let you down. Furthermore the question has arisen as to whether or not this blog will continue to exist and be updated once ‘real life’ has resumed in Seattle. I have given it a great deal of thought and, of course, I will continue to write and post. Now all you wonderful people abroad can keep tabs of your favorite Swede from your respective German speaking countries. Lucky you!

This past year has been…you know what, I can’t come up with the words. Indescribable perhaps. It is with a heavy heart that I say farewell to you Stockholm, and you Uppsala, and all of Sweden which I so dearly love. You have changed me. I came as an American and left a Swede. Stop laughing, I’m serious. Its a shift of perception, really, and of custom of course. You understand. I know this isn’t goodbye forever, Sweden, for surely I shall grace your beauty again, hopefully before long. What I am feeling right now is much better then I could have ever hoped for when I first conceived that crazy notion to study abroad. Thats all it was really. Me sitting under a cherry-blossom tree on campus, dreaming and schemeing and having wild visions of studying half the way around the world. And you know what? Dreams can come true, no matter how crazy. Go for your dreams. Find a tree, find some paper and a pen, take a few hours by yourself and make some plans. Shoot high, aim for the moon, try to remember just what you dreamed of when you were growing up. Make some goals and get about the business of making them happen. It CAN happen. I’m so glad I chased after one of my wild ideas, it changed my life. Im confident it will for you too.

Time to pass security and get on my way. Woohoo, a 2 hour flight to London followed by 15 hours of layover until a loooong trip to Vancouver and finally on to Seattle. Good thing I brought a good book! Can’t wait to see all your smiling faces at home. Check back often, more updates to come (with pretty pictures!). Until then, ha det så bra, sköt om dig och vi ses snart. Jag älskar dig Sverige och ska för alla tid. Hej då.