Sunday, July 13, 2008

Leaving, again...

Well, tomorrow I am off to Lake Powell and after that, to EFY! It should be pretty exciting and fun, but nonetheless, I am not particularly pleased with having to leave again.
First, I didn't get to have my rehab day with Leslie this week, because of jet lag, getting wickedly sick on Wednesday and having to lay around the house in a stupor all day, and that days after effects hanging over the whole week.
Second, having to pack and worrying over what to bring and all of that.
And third, having to give a devotional at the Youth Conference, finishing planning camp, and making sure I extend my online math course thing.
And, again, I am really mad that I have to postpone rehab day.
On the upside, the next two weeks will be filled with water games, sunshine, and sandcastles, and then spiritual classes, cute boys, new friends, and (if I make it) a thrilling, euphoria-inducing performance in the variety show.
So...I look forward and backward.
Here I go...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Getting Better...

Well, I stayed in bed until 5:30 this morning! Jet lag is wearing off and things are going pretty well; Leslie and I are planning her birthday in August! It's going to be pretty awesome. :)
Next week I am going to Lake Powell for a church youth trip, and just after that, EFY. It's going to be a busy few weeks, so this is my one week to breathe before more vacation stuff!
I hope everyone enjoyed my blog during our big trip to Europe, and thank you all for reading it and commenting. I'll continue to keep track next time I'm gone and hope your summers are as wonderful as mine!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Friday- leaving on a jet plane... (and briefly Saturday and Sunday)

On Friday we woke up freakishly early, got everything together and in the car, and hauled ourselves to the airport(we'd said goodbye the night before). We dropped off the car in the designated parking lot and its keys at the kiosk thingy of the rental company. Then we took a plane from Finland to Heathrow Airport in London. I had a window seat for the first time on this trip. It was cool to see the landmarks we'd already visited from the plane. It seemed kind of surreal, knowing that we'd been there. I wanted to go back (But, then I always do.). :)
We waited at Heathrow for an hour or two, and later we boarded the plane home. On the plane, my movie screen broke, so we used the headphone splitter and I shared screens with Mom and watched The Other Boleyn Girl, which was kind of cool. Later I watched Doctor Who with Dad and then we watched Be Kind, Rewind, which was funny, but kind of lame. They fed us a few times on the plane; the food was better than normal. After ten long hours, we got to LAX, and got off the plane. I called Leslie for about five seconds, but then Mom wanted me to get off the phone. We went through customs, picked up our luggage, got the car, and drove home, with everyone falling asleep in the car.
When we got home, I got my bag out of the car, and promptly went to bed. It was five o'clock.
The next morning, I woke up at two in the morning, suffering from jet lag. A little later, Spencer came in, then Melissa, and hardly later, we were playing Spencer's new board game, Dread Pirate. Mom woke up next, and came in, then Madelyn, Dad, and finally Collin. By five thirty in the morning, Madelyn, Spencer, Melissa and I were all swimming and splashing in the pool. I got out and put my pajamas on and went back to sleep for about two more hours. When I got up, it was only ten and I felt like it was twelve.
Later that day, around five, we saw Wall-E, which was really cute. I worked on this online Math class I'm doing for a while at eightish, when Leslie called and we talked until Mom wanted me to get off and do my work. I went to bed at about nine PM.
Today I woke up at two again, so I stubbornly told my internal clock to shut up and laid in my bed until fourish, when Melissa woke up and asked me to go the the bathroom with her. So I did. We were talking by five thirty.
These are the dangerous effects of jet lag.

Now it's 8:37 and I'm all ready for church! It's good to be home.

I just hope I don't fall asleep during the meeting.

Thursday in Helsinki

I can't really remember Thursday either... we woke up eventually. I read Da Vinci Code a lot that day. We mostly hung out at the house while Dad, Alec, and Collin went to Teemu Selanne's house to play tennis (except Collin didn't get to play). They said it was really nice. Teemu is this hockey player who's on the Ducks and Alec knows him because they're both Finns. :) It's really cool, all the people we get to know through him. We had spaghetti and salad for lunch, and then Alec decided to take us to this go-kart place. It was pretty cool. We all drove go-karts really fast around the track. (Well, not me- I was the slowest one). :) But I had fun too. We wore these funny red suits like we were real drivers at the place. It was really fun. We took some pictures, so you can see what it was like when we download them on here.
After that, we went back to the house and hung around for a while. I read Da Vinci Code some more. Alec and Sari had put on The Little Mermaid for the girls to watch (they want them to learn English words), so, of course, we were all watching it after they got bored of it. Alec invited this Mormon family he knows over and we all had pizza together and talked and stuff. After they left, we got packed and all and we stayed up really late. We thought about pulling an all-nighter, since we had to get up at about three in the morning anyway. I was reading Da Vinci code, and I went down and watched T.V. with everyone else. When Melissa wanted to go to sleep, I went to our room with her and read some more and then flicked the light off and went to bed.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wednesday, in Helsinki

On Wednesday, we woke up on the cruise ship (which seemed really early), got dressed, packed, and got off the boat in Helsinki. Then the rest of us waited while Alec and Dad picked up the car, which is this great big white Volkswagen van; it seats 10 people! It's really great.
We drove around; Alec had to go to a meeting, so we dropped him off and then drove around in Helsinki for a while. It was pretty; a lot like the other European towns we've been in. We stopped at a little store, and Collin, Spencer, and I went in and bought two pastries and two rolls, some sweet rolls, some peanuts, and a pack of this "yoghurt" drink called Actimel. We ate that in the car, and then we picked up Alec after it had been an hour.
After that, he drove us in the van to his house around a little municipality nearby; it's actually in the forest. It's a pretty house and it was built by one of his relatives 20 years ago. It's very nice and high tech, especially for so long ago. There's this nanny-type person he hired to help around, and she brought us some juice and we talked to her for a while; then Alec showed us around the house. We went back outside and I talked to that lady some more, and now I'm in the car blogging more!
Okay...later on Wednesday we ate dinner, cooked by Sari, which was this really good Thai food stuff with rice. I can't really remember much else, but I picked up the Da Vinci Code at some point (it was in Sari's library) and I read a bunch of it for the first time. It's pretty good and really interesting.
Later Alec drove us around and we geocached and went grocery shopping and bought ice cream and cookies at the store. Then we went home and went to sleep later at Alec's house.
That's Wednesday!

Tuesday in Stockholm and on that weird cruise ship

On Tuesday, we woke up, ate breakfast at the hotel, and then we set off to go either to the museum of Technology, or this big outdoor museum called Skansen. Outdoor museums are sort of a weird concept. This one holds a zoo and about a hundred buildings brought from all over Sweden, so it's supposed to give you some insight into the past.
We decided to go to Skansen, since it was the most uniquely Swedish, and we'd been to a Science and Technology museum at home. To get to Skansen, we walked forever (our subway passes had expired; the subway didn't go there anyway) and on the way, we stopped to find a geocache we'd looked up the night before. There was another lady there who was geocaching too, so we found the cache, after some looking (it was very cleverly done) and we chatted for a while afterward with her and her husband. They were from Germany and had been around Stockholm, so they told us about stuff there. It was cool.
After that, we walked into Skansen and hiked up this slope to get to the main part of the park. We looked around for a while, and then we decided we wanted to go to the zoo. First we went to the Children's Zoo, which had little animals like chickens and parakeets and turtles that you could pet if you wanted. it was cute. After that, we went to see some other animals like seals and elk.
Our favorite thing was the bears. The sign said they were Brown Bears and there were these two little cubs, romping around and playing and wrestling together. There was another cub, but it was playing more by itself. They were all really cute. It was the highlight of our trip to the park. We walked some more to the front entrance of the park and there we took a ride on this swing thing (you've seen it, I can't remember what it's called) and after that, we left the park, found another geocache, and then walked to the Vasa to look for another one. I sat with Melissa and attempted to braid her hair while everyone else looked. They couldn't find it. We walked some more for a long time and stopped to eat lunch at around 3:00 at this little place inside an office complex. It was actually really good food, for cheap. There were these paninis and sub sandwiches and good salad and these great brown rolls that were basically unlimited.
When we finished, we walked home to the hotel, packed our bags, and went to board the cruise boat that would take us to Finland. Alec and Dad got our tickets while we waited, and then we boarded the boat. Later, Mom classified it accurately enough; she called it "Vegas on a boat." Yech. There were slot machines, sort of trashy people, bad karaoke, shows to watch, outlets, the works. We went to our cabins and left our stuff there. We hung out on the deck while we were leaving Stockholm and watched stuff. Then we got to go up to the top of the boat where they steer, because Alec knew the captain of the boat, so he gave us a tour. it was pretty cool. Then we went around the boat and booked at a place for dinner. Mom and Melissa and I went to our cabin and slept until it was time to eat.
We got up and met everyone else at the restaurant. I blogged a little at this place where they had a connection to the Internet. We all decided to order the starter buffet for our main course, so we got to try all kinds of weird Finnish foods. Then we got the dessert buffet, which had all these other weird things; I only liked one, which was this cobbler type stuff. Yum.
After dinner, Madelyn and I decided to hang out around the boat together, which is basically what we did until 11:30 at night, which was when Mom wanted us to come back. We ran around the boat, watching the band for the dance play (there was a really cute guy at the piano) and we went to the area they had for teenagers. We wanted to do karaoke, but the queue was all full, and it was late anyway. We also spent a lot of time looking for Alec and Dad, because Mom wanted us to remind them to buy duty-free chocolate and stuff. We went back to the room on time and then we got our pajamas on and went to bed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Monday in Stockholm

On Monday we got up, went to breakfast and all, and then we got ready and left the hotel. We took the subway to central station, where we walked to city hall, which looks really cool because the tower of it is all gold and shiny with these three crowns above it. We wanted to all take a tour of that, but apparently it can only hold 30 people at once, so Mom, Spencer, and Madelyn all went up while the rest of us stayed down. They thought it was really cool, but by the time they told us it was worth it to go up after them, the line was about 40 people long and we didn't want to wait. By the time they got down it was around 11:30 am. We then decided to walk across a bridge and see the Royal Palace. We saw that, and then while we were walking somewhere else, it started to sprinkle. Shortly thereafter, it started to rain. And minutes later, it was pouring down on us and water was rushing down the gutters of Stockholm.
Great day to forget my umbrella.
We sought shelter under the shade-things at some Pakistani-Indian restaraunt, where we stayed for the bulk of the storm. Some of us wanted to eat there, but Dad didn't want to, so when the rain slowed up, we ran down a street to see if we could get anywhere. By mere coincidence, after we had been searching for the Nobel Prize museum a lot of the day, the very edifice of the Nobel Museum rose up in front of us.
We huddled by some of the doors for a minute while Dad went inside to check it out. Then we walked in together, paid the fee, left our soaking jackets in the cloakroom, and started browsing the museum. It was really cool; there were pictures of the winners and models of things they had discovered; really interesting. We stayed there for an hour or so, looking around and watching informational movies and all that interactive museum type of thing.
After that, we walked around Stockholm for a while, looking for a cheap place to eat lunch and somewhere to get an ATM, since we were out of cash. After a lot of walking, we found a junky hamburger place and Dad went to look for an ATM.
We ate lunch and then we walked to the Vasa museum, which is a great big building that houses a boat from the 1600s. The Vasa was commissioned by some Swedish king who gave the boat builders some if not all impossible, then impractical demands. It had two gun decks, loads of gilding and paint all over it, and had insufficient ballast to keep it from tipping over.
On its maiden voyage, the boat was sent into a harbor of Stockholm to parade before the king. Unfortunately, before it ever reached any destination, during a turn, it began to tip onto its side. Due to the redundant gun decks, all open for the showy parade, it filled with water extremely fast, and sunk, standing straight, Swedish flags flying from its masts until it was completely submerged.
Right; this is boring, so why am I telling you all this history crap? Hundreds of years later, the Vasa was brought back out of its tomb in the Stockholm harbor by researchers who were riveted by the story of its remarkable disappearance. With much care and many boats, the Vasa was resurrected from the sea in the 1950s, almost entirely preserved. This is because of the Baltic Sea's negligible salinity; it is more like freshwater, whereas briny water would have rotted the boat more. Because the boat was so perfectly preserved, it gives visitors insight into life in the 1600s.
It's really pretty cool.
We stayed there for about an hour and a half, and we would have stayed longer if the museum hadn't closed. After that, we walked for a while, bought some ice cream and food at a little store and we all had ice cream bars. Then we walked to the subway, rode it to our station (Gardet). Dad and I decided to exit the subway a different way than usual, but we ended up getting really lost and walking a lot more than everyone else. When we got to the hotel, we napped and stuff for a while, and Alec came to the hotel, which we realized when he poked into our room with Dad and asked if "our future Nobel prize winner" was here. (I assume he meant Collin, due to his scientific prowess)
We got up and got ready for dinner and then we all went down to the lobby. We decided to eat at this pizza place at the bottom of the hotel, but Dad and Alec and Mom wanted to go out to eat in Stockholm, so they went after they had ordered us three pizzas to go.
When the pizza was done, we took it up to our room, and, while we were watching T.V., cut them with spoons and ate them. They were kind of gross and salty, but we finished them off and watched T.V. until the adults got home, I think. Then we went to bed.