Sweden Trip, April 2018 Part 1

A whole year and a half later, I am finally blogging about this trip! I didn't write about it earlier because at that time I was about to start nursing school and I wasn't in the right mindset to compile it into a post. I just wanted to be present with my family on this trip and remember every second. The whole reason we went to Sweden was to visit my sister, Brittney. She lived there for a year going to Holsby Bible School, which is a part of the Torchbearer International Bible Schools. I am so proud of that girl, she is such a world traveler and it began with her stay in Sweden. It opened up the world to her (and to us).

My parents and I flew with Iceland Air and I would absolutely fly with them again. International airlines are beautifully accommodating and quite comfortable, even though it was a total of 10 hours flying time. They made the 10 hours enjoyable and anxiety-free! We had a small layover in Reykjavik, Iceland at the Keflavik airport. What I loved about that airport (and the rest of the trip) were the different coffee shops and eateries. I wanted to explore them more but our layover wasn't very long at all and there was no time to even get a coffee at Joe & the Juice. 

Walking on the tarmac in Reykjavik, Iceland from the plane to the airport shuttle
We arrived in Stockholm eleven hours later. At this point, my parents and I had been up for over 24 hours. Backing up a little bit, I actually went to work the day we left for Sweden. I left work early (on an approved requested absence) in order to make our flight. I had to get up at 4:20 am for work the day we left and with little sleep on the plane (due to excitement) I was getting a little sluggish when we arrived in Stockholm. We picked up our rental car (a Volvo, of course), stopped at McDonalds, and we started the four hour journey to Holsbybrunn (with stops along the way to take much needed car naps). I believe we finally got to Holsby Bible School between 9:45-10:00pm Holsby time and I was definitely a walking zombie with two-day-old makeup on my face. After a shower and a full night's rest, I was ready to see where Brittney had been living the past 8 months. 

Arriving in Stockholm, the first buildings I see that are very Scandinavian. 
Driving the trafikplats (highway) from Stockholm to Holsbybrunn.
My parents and I were able to eat breakfast (and every meal) with Brittney and the rest of the school in their dining room. These meals that we shared with the rest of the school are the meals that made me obsessed with Swedish breakfasts and Swedish food in general. After breakfast, my parents and I ventured into the neighboring town of Vetlanda by ourselves without our built-in tour guide (Brittney) because she had to go to her classes, but it ended up being a really funny experience. We did some grocery shopping at Max ICA, which is comparable to a Walmart but all of the fun Swedish grocery items are things you probably wouldn't be able to find in a Walmart. Let's just say that Swedish grocery stores are a lot more fun than American grocery stores... maybe because there are different brands and different items that aren't normally seen in American grocery stores, so it was the switch-up that was fun. 

The funny and a little stressful part of this shopping trip was the fact that the cashier didn't read my mom's birthday correctly. In Sweden, they write their dates differently from us in America. They write their dates year-month-day and on my mom's credit card, it was written month-day-year. The card wasn't processing on their end because he was inputting the date incorrectly. We had to be pulled to the side, and our groceries weren't being paid for. We were worried something was wrong with the card because we are on international ground. I was stressing out. Well, another employee at Max ICA came and fixed the problem. She explained to us that the cashier who was initially helping us didn't realize that dates were written differently in America. She fixed it, we had our groceries, and we were on our way! 
First morning in Holsbybrunn at the Holsby Bible School. This is the view from our room. 

They had fish paste, different beauty brands, different candy, even different flavors of Pringles! I wish we had the Hot Paprika Chili Pringles in America! 
Brittney did get to take us around the town of Holsby that day during her break. This town is tiny but when traveling to a foreign country, I think it is rewarding to see the smaller towns in addition to the bigger, tourist cities because you get to see how the rest of that country lives. It's the little things that give you a peak into their day-to-day lives.

The rest of our stay at Holsbybrunn was filled with exploring the surrounding area of the school, making frequent trips to Vetlanda (it's a ten minute drive from the school), attending worship and a couple classes with Brittney, eating delicious food, partaking in fika, and visiting a castle (which I will talk about in a different post.)  For those of you who don't know what "fika" is, it's a daily, Swedish tradition that involves sweet treats, social time, and coffee. Swedes drinks A TON of coffee! Sweden is the biggest coffee consumer in the world. You may not "fika" by yourself, it is for socializing and being in the company of others with delicious treats and coffee. I absolutely love the tradition of fika! My favorite treats have both marzipan and chocolate. Delicious! 
Holsby Bible School. 

The Chapel at Holsby Bible School 

Fika at Oskar's in Max ICA. My favorite treats are the chokladballer (the treats above the cinnamon roll on the right) and the punsch roll (green treats on the left)

Brittney and I on the Holsby Bible School grounds. 

The buildings in Sweden are so pretty. I believe the business we are looking at here is a pawn shop. 

Swedish snacks. You can see I had already broken into the Marabou. Marabou is hard to resist! 

A little style photo for Sweden. You can't take the blogger out of the girl. 
I am so excited for the day that Brittney goes back to Holsbybrunn and is on staff at the school because it will give me another excuse to visit that charming, small town. 

To see more pictures, you can visit my Instagram -@barefootinbluejeansblog- where I posted daily (sometimes multiple times a day) snippets about our trip and more pictures.