How to blend into East Tennessee

Ya'll probably know this and doesn't think much of it. But I do and my friends here do and we have been thinking about it ever since we took our first steps on American soil. I've been around in the east part of U.S but I have to say that when it comes to culture I have got to know the East Tennesse one the best.This is how you survive;
  1. First of all, it is U.S, not USA. USA is something for the rest of the world so if you don't want to expose yourself as an outsider, never say USA, it's U.S
  2. Don't think about straws as something you have at your birthday (when you are five) or something for a special occasion or maybe in your drink. Straws goes in every drink and if there's no straws, there's no way of drinking. Remember that, it is important.
  3. The same goes for ice. Hence the straw.
  4. The same goes for soda. 
  5. But if you're in Tennesse, you prefer sweet tea. You know exactly how it is supposed to taste like and where to buy your favourite one. It is a good conversation piece. I doubt that this is something to try in the rest of the U.S thought, this goes for the south, just so that ya'll know.
  6. If the soda machine is not located behind the counter or a note say otherwise, there's always free refill. Don't question the different sizes of cups and prizes. Don't question the free refill and don't say that it doesn't exist in Europe. (they might get an idea)
  7. Every size is bigger. Everything is bigger. If you normally have a big coffee in Europe, order a small one in U.S and expect the same size. For everything.
  8. But there's no such thing as wasting food. If there's food left on your plate for another meal, ask for a box. There's no embaressment in that. That's what you do. And then you appreciate the big portions and food gets cheaper the less you eat.
  9. Ordinary - dining out, Special occasions - Homecocked food. Homecocked food is cocked for hours. Not made in ten minutes, as in my house.
  10. Biscuits and sausage sauce, in the morning, perfectly normal. Warm food for breakfast, no biggie. Be glad you're not in England, it is actually worse there.
  11. If you go to U.S and especially if you go to the south make sure that you love chicken. There's a lot of good food but the chicken is always good, anywhere. And it is everywhere. Thousands of flavours and preparations. Enjoy!
  12. If you don't like chicken, maybe a roadkill would suit you. There's a few of those as well. Rackons, foxes, rabbits and other small animals are seen quite often on the road. I guess that's why they actually have an own word for it. Roadkill. There's no such word anywhere else. We have fences.
  13. Speaking fo road. Legs doesn't really do you good in this coutnry, unless born with wheels, no way of getting anywhere. There might be a bus that might go somwhere at some point but don't count on it and if it does, it probably quit going at an early hour anyway.
  14. Same goes for drives license. There's no concept of people above 18 without drivers license.
  15. Your car is your fortress. You thought it was your house. No. Half of what you own is in your car. At all times. Everyone have their own car so there's no other use for those backseats. 
  16. Your can do everything from your car. Everything has a drive though. It is not only McDonalds. Drive through ATM and drive in movie theaters are American concepts. There's no need for parking just do everything in or from your car. 
  17. If you need to park however, there's parking spaces everywhere but they seem to never be enough so sometimes there's need for crossing a street, If you parked far away, that will say.
  18. Hence the crossover and crossover signs, they are not there for pedestrians who walk, they are there for drivers who parked far way. Don't think otherwise.
  19. How do I know that? Why would they else place the crossover sign button 20 feet from the actual crossover?
  20. There's 12 inches in a foot, 3 feet in a yard and 1760 yards in a mile. There's nothing in between and nothing smaller than an inch. Great. Easy. I see how U.S holds on to this. Makes perfect sense.
  21. I'm not gonna try to figure out pounds. All I know is that I went from 60 to 140 when I went from Europe to U.S. No wonder they have eating issues.
  22. Vending machines are as common as trees and seem to grow both here and there as a natural element in the enviroment.
  23. Remember the names of everyone you meet. At all times, they are gonna remember yours and they are always gonna greed you every time they see you. Forever. 
  24. Always say hi to people you met and keep the door open. Politeness is big here (atleast in the south) and make sure to appriciate it. We don't want it to go away, do we?

This are some of the things me and my friends have thought about so far. If I forgot anything or if anything comes to your mind while reading this, please tell me so that I can update this list.

I got sand in my high heels

That is my feeling of Miami, sand in my high heels. It is not that clever to walk in high heels on the beach, which I soon discovered and kind of knew from the start, but I just wanted to wear high heels.

I have a lot of high heels but I rarely use them. Mostly because I feel to tall and I can't keep up with my friends. In Miami I felt the opposite. I felt widely under dressed without high heels and even though that really doesn't bother me I just wanted to grab the opportunity to wear high heels. So I did.

Spring Break in Miami was great. I brought a book with me but I didn't read too many pages in it, just lying in the sun was enough for me. I could easily have done that for another couple of weeks. The only thing that kind of annoyed me was that we had to take the car everywhere. It wasn't like we had a choice either, the distances were too far for walking.

Even though I didn't plan to do very much other than lying at the beach we still got some things done. We went to down town Miami, we ate at a Cuban resturant, we saw flamingos and alligators and other animals, we spent a day in the car without getting anywhere, we went to a reaggie bar that served drinks with more vodka than soda, we turned in the door of Mansion, we saw the Venecian pool that actually was nothing, we went to a club called Bed and I will let the name speak for itself and we drank lots of lots of margeritas.

In the middle of all this the Bahamas travelers stopped by to say hi, which was nice. We rented an apartment with the beach right in front of it and a tiny kitchen. In the end it was two king sized beds, two matrasses and a sofa with 7 people and a ton of clothes that was everywhere. The difference from New York tis hat even if things would screw up I didn't care cus it was warm and sunny and a blue sky.

I love Miami as much as I love New York and the main reason is that they are both cities far away from forest and nature. I don't mind nature, as long as it is something I can visit and then go back to people and houses and asfalt. I know I grew up basically in the forest and I know that it is a sin to not love Sweden for it's beautiful nature and I am really sorry but I prefer the city from the country.

More pictures for those who want to see
2009-03-06-14 Spring Break Miami Wasted


Six days ago since last entry. Don't really know what I've been doing since then. I guess there was a party (birthday, of course...) some margeritas and "Kill Bill". Other than that my mind is set on the big trip for tomorrow. We're going to Miami for spring break and I don't really know what to expect, I have nothing planned to do there and I don't really know if there's anything to do other than being at the beach anyway.

I see a lot of movies. That is basically what I do. I wish I did go to the CPA (exercising facility) more often but I am just too lazy for everything. I barely have classes, which makes me barely wanna go to the ones I have. My days is filled with news, homework and few classes and then a movie at the end of it. I like it but it numbens me sometimes. I guess the warmth in Miami will wake me up.

I haven't started packing yet.

Pouring rain

My socks say that it is Wednsday today so I'm gonna go with that.

I really need to go and cut my hair, I think sholder length is what I should have and not a cm longer (yes, that is centimeters, I don't know inches, they don't make sense in my world, sorry)

Things are piling up everywhere, both with funny stuff to do and interesting stuff to do and, of course, required stuff to do.

I discovered that I like going to lectures. I was at one last week, on Thursday, and I really enjoyed it.

It was a free lecture ("Differences in Ways of Thinking in the Middle East from the West") held by Dr. Graham Leonard about the middle east. After I've been to Washington I really like to see what the American point of view really is. So I wanted to go to this lecture and see what kind of point of view this guy has.

One and a half year ago I participated in a journalistic seminar at my home institution (KAU) and one of the speakers was a former millitary lieutenant. He had been involved in the Yugoslavian was as well as been placed in the middle east. His lecture was very interesting and I really felt that he knew what he as talking about (which may seem obvious but there are many people out there who doesn't seem so have a clue on what is going on and still claim they know this and that).

I got the same feeling from Dr. Leonard and I liked his lecture. I don't know much about the middle east so I'm not gonna claim that I know anything about the area but Dr. Leonard pointed out that it wasn't unitl west interfered that it really became bad. Everyone affects everyone and all stories has two sides (atleast). It is specially important to remember that when it comes to international relations and Dr. Leonard was good in pointing that out.

There's a free lecture on Wednsday as well and I hope I will remember to go to it.

This morning I participated in a group interview about religion. The first thing I pointed out in my blog when I first got here was that Sweden and U.S are primary different in three ways;
  1. Bigger packages
  2. Wider roads
  3. Religion
I mean the very presence of religion. Some of the things going on here would be considered propaganda or atleast scandalous in Sweden. Other than that, U.S is the exact opposite of Sweden when it ocmes to believing in God. At home, most people wouldn't say that they believe in God, because it is considered to be dorky and a little dumb to do. You have to believe in science and nothing else to be taken seriously by most people. There are of course, people who are religious, but they are very open about it and their entire presence is about religion and their beliefs. In U.S, however, I experience it to be the opposite, if you don't believe in God there's something not quite right with you. Not that everyone hangs on the church door handle but everyone has God in their life some way or another and if you don't, people need an explanation for that.

But most of all, the huge giant white cross outside of Johnson city, kind of scare me.

Crazy sun, crazy times

Just as I thought, the sun and the degress is what causes people's mood to change. Nothing has happened and is had been mostly quiet with more or less nothing to do for a couple of months now. But now, the degress is staying above ten and the sun comes out in a clear blue sky and suddenly, there's people everywhere.

This is the reason why I love spring. At home, spring is like the morning of the year. Everything wakes up and comes to live after being dead and cold for months. I'm not only talking about nature but about people as well.

It was almost a week ago since I wrote in my blog and since then I've been to a birthday dinner at Amigo's, a birthday party at a cabin, I've been hiking, I've been at a Mardi Gras birthday party and I've been to Chrome.

The crazyness kind of started on Tuesday. A friend of mine had a birthday so some people met up at Amigo's for dinner, which was fun. The waiter was first really grumpy and seemed to not really want to have us there at all but one of my friends melted his heart and in the end he was chatty and smiley. Me and one of my friends continued the evening somewhere else with drinking margeritas.

Wednsday was quiet.

The crazyness continued on Thursday. Another friend had a birthday so we went to Cheddar's for a drink. The birthday girl went home and we decided to meet up in Chrome. Me and my friend went to my place and drank some of my Moonshine.

Chrome is the nearest nightclud to campus and is where most people I know go. We have Poor Richards and Accustic Coffeehouse too, but they are more "sitting down and drink beer"- kind of places. Chrome is the nightclub where you go dancing. Even though it's the same playlist everytime and people are sometimes going maybe a little too far on the dancefloor, it's an okay place and I usually have fun going there. 

I shouldn't actually write about moonshine online, due to the fact that it's not legal, but there are worse things going on on this campus, so to speak.

And moonshine hits hard, very hard.

We have that at home and we drink it at every occasion. I don't. Because I know what it does to me. So I stay away from it. Not this time. And I knew what was going to happen to me the next day.

I had the worst headace I ever felt. Like a someone playing pool in my head.

I stayed in bed a few hours more than I was supposed to and I was late. Late for the cabin trip. The birthday girl from the night before had her official birthday party at a cabin over the weekend. At the beginning I just felt bad and we played scrabble without counting points (makes sense, sure...) But the evening progressed with a really fun beer game and lots of lots of talking.

The next day was hiking.

I really enjoyed hiking. We were more or less hungover but we walked to the Laurel falls (Smokey Mountain) which was really nice. I was of course terrifired of falling all the time as we went up and down the mountain and of course I did fall on the way back.

On plain surface.
I tripped over myself.
Of course.

After coming back to my dorm, muddy, smelly and exhausted I didn't have much time to recover before I headed out again. This time to the Mardi Gras Birthday party. It was more a birthday party than a Mardi Gras party and I really enjoyed it. I finally got to meet the Swedish guys that are here and we spent a long time just making fun och Sweden and America. After the party, we went to Chrome (second time that week).

Sunday was just for rest, as far as I know. And then the week just progressed and here I am again. It's Thursday and my weekend has started.

My Current Project

I got a flower for my birthday and I really love it. It has become my very own project. Because, you see, when it comes to flowers I have a tendency to kill them. Brutally.

If they need water every day, I never give them water.
If they never need water, I give them water every day.

With this flower I try my deepest and best to keep it alive. As you can see, I'm not suceeding awfully wel l. It is a Primrose but I am not reall y sure on how to take care of it. But I try my best and what I know. I chec k up o n it every day and give it a little water at a time. I opened up the window so it will have sunlight and I actu ally try to talk to it oc casionall y.

But it has lost most of its flowers and more often tha n seldom it looks sad. I forgot about it in the beginning and then I gave it to much water and then I overheated it in the sunlight but hopefully it will survive my treatment.

I really appriceate getting a flower and I really hope that I will be able to keep this one alive. I have a plant of some sort at home. I have no idea wether that thing is alive or not. Actually, I haven't known since 2004.

In the land far, far away

The thing that has affected me most about being in the states is how different it is from Sweden. I did not relize how big the pond actually is. I guess that the media and the internet makes us believe that the world is small.

It is not.

The interesting thing is that when I discovered that U.S is a lot farther from home than I first imagened it to be. Sweden proves itself to be actually the same distance from U.S as the U.S is from Sweden. Does it sound obvious? What I mean is that when I am in Sweden I hear a lot about U.S and therefore I believed that it was close. Now, when I am here, I believed that I hear the same things because I am in the country I hear about all the time in Sweden. But guess what?

Sweden does not seem to care at all, neither about U.S or the world. I just found out that the huge thing in Sweden right now is regarding whether a novel is true or not and what court decision it may or may not have affected. And all this started with blogers.


Even though the internet is wide open for everybody who can access it (more or less but you get my point) I am still unaware of this big, big thing.

Don't get me wrong, this is important and a lot of people in Sweden are really uspet about this. But I can't help to feel that maybe Swedish blogers take themself a little bit too serious. But that is just me. I am after all one of these blogers and I really wish that I could make a difference with the crap I write.

I really can't believe that people are actually discussing whether a novel is true or not, a novel? Even though it may say on the fancy cover that the novel is true, who believes that? Anyone who has ever written anything, at all, have to know that you can't write a novel and have it all true. That would be boring and noone would read that, unless it is claimed to be really, really important. Everyone who has ever read anything in Anne Frank's Diary, should know that too.

Reality is boring and it sucks, that's why there is no such thing as a true story. Even though, when you think about it, everything is true, because you can't make up stuff in thin air. Everything starts somewhere.

I have to say that if the Swedish court have used novels, books and articles in their decision that is a scandal. But really? Isn't Sweden more professional than that?

According to blogers, I guess not

I'm trying, I truly, really am.

As I look thorught the news at New York Times website I discover that they added a smart link for me to follow. If I am currently reading a news article from the world I see in the bottom of the article a link that takes me to the next article from the world. This is really clever and smart and I highly like it, I often get confused with all the links and articles everywhere on a newspaper's website. But, if the next world article is considered to be an economic article, the link in the bottom goes to the next article within economy.

Which confuses me. A lot!

If I want to read the articles related to the world I want to finish that before heading to the economic news, so why do they throw me into that before I'm finished? Now I don't know where I am. Am I supposed to klick around in circles forever?

I am highly disapointed and frankly, I am not gonna read any longer.

Singles awareness day!

Happy Valentine, or Singles awareness dag as my room mate calls it.

I was at this party last night at Campus Rigde, also called Criminal Ridge. It is outside of the campus area so we are allowed to drink there. I always feel like I'm doing something illegal when I'm drinking here, like I am not supposed to. But seriously, I am 25 years old, I've been legally drinking for seven years. In other words, I've been drinking for ten years so why would I feel guilty for having a beer or drink myself shitfaced for that matter? But I do, I do feel a little guilty going home drunk when ETSU is a dry campus and I am not supposed to be drunk on that property.

I believe the party got busted by the police. I don't really know, everybody was hushing and a few asholes wouldn't shut up so people got annoyed. After ten minutes of hushing, people started to leave and we decied to go to another party. It was maybe ten people or so on that party so we decided to go home instead.

I had fun on the first party. We were drinking the left overs from my birthday party and that was enough to get five people fairly tipsy. I was drunk. People always tell me when I'm drunk because I apparently change a lot, one person even told me she prefer the drunk me. I talk slower and louder the more drunk I get. I do, however, believe that this is the case for most people as the alcohol fills up in ther veines.

That was the report for yesterday. We're planning to go to Miami for spring break so hopefully I will have a little more to tell you about after I've been there.

Mary the Elephant

Just now I learned about a dark spot in Tennessee history, atleast something that locals find somewhat embarassing. To be honest, I find it mostly amusing because it was a long time ago and people living in Tennessee now can't really be responsible for what people did in 1916.

They hanged an elephant for killing its handler.

Her name was Mary and she was a part of a traveling Circus. In Kingsport she stepped on her handler's head. People along the traveling route got upset about it and in Erwin the Circus decided to hang the elephant. Johnson city and other places threatened to boycott the circus if Mary was still participating so the Circus people took care of the problem. But instead of doing it nice and clean, they made a spectacle of it and hanged the elephant. They used a rail road crane and 3.000 people wathced it. One obviously took a picture.

I guess this was before the animal rights movement.

I think it is hilarious thought. They actually did hang the elephant instead of shooting it or drowning it or any other way of killing it that would have been a lot easier that hanging it, (is it, "it" when it comes to an animal or would it be more appropriate with "her"?)

Independent studies on the move

Finally something is happening with my independent studies and I get to do them on my blog, which is great. This forces me to really read the news everyday, to reflect about them somewhere more than just my head and to practice my writing. The reason why I created my first blog (I count this one as my second) was to practice my writing and now, finally, I really get to do that with something more useful than writing about what I had for breakfast.

Today, I didn't have a breakfast.

Yesterday I went to El Torrito, a mexican resturant in Johnson city, and had a margerita. It was me and two friends. After that I saw Madagascar 2 on my computer. This is how my days are here right now. Most on my focus is on school and studiyng so there is nothing much exciting to tell about.

I will however try to write down in this category the fun and sometimes not as fun things that I occupy my time with here in Johnson city.

I really look forward to work with my blog and my writing and my favourite time of the day right now is when I have a cup of coffee and read the daily newspaper. Which I am currently doing.

Seventh time is the charm

Even though or because of I am taking antibiotics I don't feel sick at all anymore. I am still worthless of being in time though. I don't know why, but I am always late, always, always always. This was of course the case this morning when I did not get out of bed to go to class until it was basically to late. I shut the door behind me and relized my keys and my phone was still in there and ran to class, I was five minutes late.

This is maybe the seventh time I locked myself out (while living in Lucille clement). I can't really remember anymore. The first time it happened I turned to my RA and paid a dollar for her letting me in. The second time I didn't even relized it until I saw that my roomie had written "the door is unlocked" on our door. At first I believed she was crazy who wrote that on our door, then she told me it was in Swedish. It was perfectly translated, I didn't even think about that it was in Swedish and not in English. The time after that, she just left the door unlocked, she figured I'll try and open it. One time I locked myself out when I went out to help someone else find his keys. Another time I called my roomie, she was not far from home. Yesterday, both my roomie and my keys was still in the room so I just knocked seconds after I closed the door.

It is a good thing I have a room mate.

Easter is in the air

Actually not, but with 15+ C outside and the fleece on I feel like it is time to bring in the sprig of birch, blow some eggs and make the whole world yellow. And of course, vomit from candy (even though that is more a tradition for younger kids). But I do have some traditions with me. This morning I found out that I caught a sinus infection, proabably as a result of a quick flu. Which means I need to get me to the pharmacy and get me some antibiotics.

Beacuse I missed my class being at the doctors, (even though I took the early appointment so that I would have a chance to make it to my class) I had some time on my hands. Even thought I should have used that time to complete my homework I chose to read the news instead. There is certanly a lot of highly interesting things going on out there, but I am not gonna focus on that here (not in this category atleast).

I remember a Swedish columnist, Fredrik Virtanen,  that I liked very much, until he went to the U.S. He had the annoying habit of ending every column with "only in U.S, kids, only in U.S". To me, that sounds like U.S is the cool party noone of us got invited to exepct from Virtanen and that he really wants to rub our nose in it. Besides from that he only got obnoxious in general being "over there", which now is "over here" for me. I really hope I am not walking the same path he walked down.

Anyway, one thing is trues though. This place is kind of strange. I red about a guy who randomly killed two people in a church because he didn't like their liberal point of view. This happened in Knoxville, Tennesse. Sure, crazy things happens everywhere but I still find the right to have a gun somewhat hard to defend.
"Guns don't kill people, people do".
But I wonder what he would have done with a shuffel. On the other hand, according to witnesses, he was evil. i guess that explains it.

Another crazy thing I often heard about in Sweden that is going on in U.S is the lawsiut against everyone about everything. Here's and example, Artist Sues The A.P. Over Obama Image. It turns out though that A.P first went to the artist demanding money for his use of their image, or what they say is their image. And now they are in a fight about who owns the picture the artist used to create the image in question.

Before Obama won this was apparently not a problem, then he won and the problem appeared.

Fun.... or funny?

Now, I am off to drink cofee :)

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