I arrived in Stockholm around 8:30 Sunday night after my bus was over an hour late, this type of thing seems to have become a theme with me on this trip. However, everything else went very smooth. Jill helped me call my next host family and talk to the bus driver so I could borrow his phone to call them when we were about an hour outside the city. The Hemingstam Family are very nice. Annika is a teacher at an Agricultural Gymnasiet (high school) and during the summer she works a night shift as a vet tech. Daniel works with food safety regulations and education. They have a little boy, Lukas, who at the ripe old age of 4 1/2 already speaks two languages, Swedish and Finish. He also loved Donald Duck! They have hosted quite a few IFYEs in the past and had everything very organized and all ready to go for me.
Monday morning Annika and I rode bikes over to one of Stockholm’s twelve 4-H Farms. This is one of the largest and really focuses on the farming aspect. It is really the only operating farm in all of Stockholm County and it provides feed to all the other 4-H farms in Stockholm. The farm is all organic and the guy that is in charge of running the farm was very passionate about it. His big project right now is organic chickens with mobile hen houses. They are out in a field with a electric fence around them to keep out foxes. Their area is moved at least once a week to improve their living environment. A similar technique is used with the meat hens as well. After the farm Annika and I took the metro to a near by shopping center, Kista. Around 3:00 Annika left for work and Daniel and Lukas came home around 4:30 and we just hung out the rest of the night.
Tuesday, you’re never going to believe this, but I went to another 4-H Camp. It was a day camp at Annika’s 4-H farm. I have now been to every kind of 4-H Camp that Sweden offers. It was a lot of fun though to hang out with the kids and see the farm. There were 31 kids at the camp (30 girls, 1 boy) and the camp went on all week. The kids were between 7 to 9 and the leaders were the teenage members. I was with the blue group our first activity was to take care of the sheep which consisted of taking them for a walk with was very funny. Then they did some arts and crafts and had lunch. After lunch we got to do trick riding with the horse. After all the girls went I got to do it too, I stood up on a moving horse! Once everyone had their chance we had a snack and then fed and cleaned out some of the horses and rabbit cages. Then our last activity of the day was moving the goats, which was almost as fun to watch as the sheep walk.
On Wednesday morning I went with Annika to drop Lukas off at day care. He attends a Finish daycare, which is why he speaks Finish. Annika’s mother was from Finland. Then we went to her school. I really liked getting to see the agricultural school. I spent the afternoon at the schools dog unit, which is very unique for the school. It is like a doggy day care and the students help train the dogs. The school does a lot with veterinary nursing (as Annikacalls it). They have a horse riding school for students as well. I took the metro home all by myself. They gave me very detailed instructions and a phone in case I ran into any problems but I made it just fine! That night while Annika was at work Daniel, Lukas, and Annika’s dad Lars went out on their boat and had some hot dogs. It was a really nice day and it was fun to go for a boat ride.
Thursday I made some chocolate chip cookies for them, they’re hooked too! Later that afternoon I took the metro by myself again, I’m getting really good at it. This time it was to meet Annika’s friend, Sara. She took me to this free outdoor theater, where they had a hip hop dance competition. They were all very good! I took a cab home. The city is very tourist/English speaking friendly.
Today, Friday, I got to go to lunch at the American Embassy with Annika’s aunt who works there. We didn’t really get to see that much of the Embassy because of security. After lunch Lars took me sight seeing around the city. We went up and walked around the royal place and old town and just did a lot of driving around. I spent most of the night trying to figure out how to pack my suitcase so that it was light enough. It was the perfect last day in Sweden! My flight is at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. Everyone please say a little extra prayer that this one goes better! See you all back home very soon!!