Um, hey there people. It's been a while, hasn't it. Heh. I could say something like that I've been super busy this last month and that I didn't have time to write anything, but it's been quite the opposite so I have nothing and no one to blame but myself.... But hey, here I am, as happy as ever (if not even happier)!
I know I just wrote that it hasn't been a very busy month, but there have been a few fun events and "blog material" and while I don't think I'm gonna make a monster post about everything I definitly want to write about it because I've had loads of fun!!
As I might have written here before my host dad works in the army and is very sporty and active, so we've found a mutual interest in going out on adventures and seeing new things and challenge ourselves physically. So some time in February he came to me and told me that there was this local 2 km marathon race coming up (these people really love running, in January and February they held countless numbers of marathons and runs around the country and a lot of them were broadcasted on prime time tv) and asked if I wanted to participate with him and some others. Truth be told I wasn't super keen on the idea at first, I know my strengths and weaknessess (I think?) and as I've expressed before running ain't one of my strong points which made me worried that I would sink my team down to the point of complete defeat and at the same time make a complete fool out of myself, but it only took my host parents a few words to completely change my mind around. It will be a fun memory to have. And I realized that it would, it really would, and so I put my worries aside and accepted the challenge. So the weeks passed and all of a sudden the day to show what I was (or wasn't) made of came. It started of well (haha) with me oversleeping and therefor forgetting to bring some things I had planned to take with me, and a very rushed but nevertheless excited Johanna placed herself in the car to take off to these new lands. These "new lands" turned out to be the same sports arena that I had run my 10 kilometer run with my school, so I felt quite at home when meeting up with out team mates and settling down to wait for our starting signal to go off. My team consisted of me, my host dad and three other men that I would guess were between 50-60. They were SO much fun, really enthusiastic and just generally happy and chill.
My super awkward pose kinda bothered me before but I got over it. Just look at these guys, super duper cool!
They kept telling me that this was all for fun and that I should take it all in my pace (my pace is always IgiveeverythingIhaveandthensuffertheconosequenses) and we had a lot of fun before and after the run. And so our turn finally came and they were all really fast and did their best, and so did I. Two kilometers doesn't sound that much but when you give everything you have you will soon realize that it's a bit tough. But yeah, I really gave it my all and I had soooo many people cheering on me along the way (Ganbare! Guddo lakku! Fighto!) which made me fight even harder. So yeah, now I add this little event to the story of How Johanna's legs became amazeballs and I have another funny story to tell people and to look back on!
And guess what. It did not end there. Oh no! Because just a while after this my host dad came up to me again, now with another event to present. This time I was on before he finished his sentence, because what he presented to me was a long "Walk of History" (that's literally what it was called - 歴史のウォーク) that would be done on the old Japanese main road that was used during the Edo period. In other words, a long walk along with a bunch of other people where we would walk along an old road with lots of beautiful nature around us from start to finish. There were two options avaliable, one 6 kilometer walk and one 20 kilometer walk, and I didn't hesitate before saying that I wanted the latter. So he signed us up and this last weekend we went off to this rekishi no wooku. Around 300 people participated, mainly old people (old people here are amazing, their energy is admirable and they are really active, and also extremely nice), and I got to meet and talk to a lot of cool people who were curious about me and where I was from and why I chose Japan of all places etc etc etc, and I got to ask them questions and learn more about them as well. Along the way they had arranged a several "pit stops" with snacks and drinks (there were lots of small candy, japanese raikon and other root fruits, sweet potatoes, chocolates, strawberries and of course Japanese green tea) and each time we stopped to grab a snack I got curious questions and a lot of "try this, and try this!", and I met such an amazing generousity and could really tell how excited they were to show me more of their culture, explain things and make me taste things I hadn't even seen before. One woman wanted to hold my hand. This was very like out-in-nowhere, countryside extreme, ute på landet as we could say in Swedish or 田舎 as they call it in Japanese, and I don't think that a lot of the older people living around there travel outside a lot, and that they therefor aren't very used to meeting foreign people, and especially not foreign people who can speak with them in Japanese. I'm guessing that that's why this woman was so excited about me and really wanted to touch me and hold my hand... I felt very honored and overwhelmed at the same time. I mean, I'm just me....
Around 4,5 hours after start we arrived at our goal, and I could sum this up as one of the best experiences I've had so far. The weather was really good, the nature was beautiful beyond words and the people showed me and reminded me why I love them so much. I did take a lot of pictures and I will post them later. Looking through them I noticed that the lightning was weird and ruined a lot of them, but I think I have some that are good for showing!
Besides these two events life has been rolling on quite as usual. I've been doing my thing in school and in club, I've hung out with my friends and I have put a lot of focus on studying vocabulary which has improved my understanding remarkably! This month has been a very happy month, my mood took a sudden and big turn up in the beginning of the month and it has stayed there! I fall asleep with a smile on my face and just go through the days really appreciating everything, accepting the things that I wish were different and taking time to stop for a minute and just breathe and take in the moment. I have started to go on longer walks and explore my surroundings, the last three weeks or so I've been on several 2-3 hour walks and thanks to them found new small places that I really have come to love. Some of my favorite bands have released new music and I've also discovered a lot of other music as well, I've been reading, and thanks to one little girl that I love so so much (you know who you are and girl I love you) who sent me this little picture on facebook reminding me to live in the moment and not focusing on how much or little time I have left, I've stopped keeping day count and stopped thinking about and worrying about that I'm kinda closing in on the end. Right now I have spring break, my class graduated from the first grade and in a bit more than a week we're starting the second! And yeah, I will be one year older than the third graders, but that's another story lol.
Since it's closing in on easter my grandparents sent me a package (which I had NO idea was coming, I almost screamed out of pure happiness) with a little easter greeting and some easter candy - amongst it licorice. And I thought that things couldn't get any better!! And then, yesterday, another package came from my friend Erin from the U.S whom I met on facebook last fall and with who I've become good friends! She had been talking about sending me one and yesterday it came, a heavy package full of amazingness. I'm really overwhelmed and thankful and just wow, THANK YOU SO MUCH GIRL! You just wait until I'm back in Sweden, you have great things coming for you.
One more thing, one more small detail that I thought would be worthy of mentioning..... I'M GOING TO TOKYO! WOHO! So, a lot of exchange students are placed fairly close to Tokyo and doesn't have that hard of a time going there on a regular basis, but then there are those who get placed a bit further away which makes it harder for them to go there as often.... It's not like I'm suffering from it, I'm completely in love with Kyushu and wouldn't have wanted to be placed anywhere else for anything in the world, but I'm nevertheless super excited to visit Tokyo and see all of the things that the city has to offer. My organization is organizing a camp for their exchange students and everyone who wanted to join could sign up for it. It's very expensive but I think that money is best spent on experiences and I knew that I would regret it forever if I didn't go, so I'm going!! IN TWO DAYS! WOH! I'm really excited to meet some of my fellow exchangers, it has after all been 7 months since I last saw them, and I'm thrilled for what Tokyo has to offer me.
And with that, I think I'm gonna end this "I don't think I'm gonna make a monster post" post.... My no-Swedish month is long since over but I still feel really comfortable with English and figured I might as well just continue with the blog like this.... I hope that you're all doing super duper good, Sweden still seems to be a bit cold (at least in comparison with the freaking summer weather we have here), hang in there peeps! Summer break and vacations are closing in so hold on for a while longer and before you know it summer will be there and everything will be all fun and stuff.
You are the best!
Until next time
Over and out