Hej from beautiful Mora. My name is Britta Johnson. I am a Junior Psychology and Scandinavian Studies major from Eagan, MN and I am absolutely loving this semester in Sweden. It is the perfect day here – sunny and in the mid 40s. I just returned from a walk where I got many strange looks because I was wearing capris and a light fleece when others were still wearing parkas, hats and mittens. The weather has been wonderful most days while we have been here in Mora and has enabled us to enjoy being outside.
Last week we went on a geology excursion for a day. One of the courses we are doing while here in Sweden is a science class focusing on the environment, climate change and geology. Mora is located on the Siljan ring, a circular area created by a meteorite impact about 400 million years ago. This impact created many interesting geological formations that we looked at on our various stops while driving around the Siljan ring. It was so fun to climb around on the rocks, look for fossils, and cook hot dogs over the campfire. There was even a reenactment of Rafiki and Simba on Pride Rock from the Lion King. I think it is safe to say everyone is looking forward to our geology excursion next week.
We also had the wonderful chance to spend quality time outdoors on our excursion this past Wednesday. We took the bus to the Dala horse factory and then went to Anna’s (our Swedish teacher) house. While at the factory, we got a tour of how the horses are made. They make over 500 Dala horses every day and all of them are hand carved and hand painted! We even found a mock up for Gustavus’ custom 150 year anniversary Dala horse. They also got a lot of money from our group because obviously you need to buy Dala horses while at the Dala horse factory. After the tour Anna had us over to her house which was so kind. We had a wonderful meal of homemade sausages around her fire. The sun was out and it was such a gorgeous day! After being away from home for almost 2 months now, it was so great to spend time in a home. She told us to make ourselves at home and we did, relaxing for the afternoon and enjoying the homey atmosphere. Some people even fell asleep on the couch for a while.
While we have classes during the week, our weekends are completely free. For those of us who love skiing, that meant taking the bus to nearby Orsa Grönklitt to go skiing one weekend. Though it was very cloudy in the morning, the skies cleared up a bit by mid afternoon and we were able to see the beautiful view from the top. The ski hill overlooked the valley and lakes below making it a sight to be seen.
This week is Vasaloppet week here in Mora which means the town in coming alive. There are races most days this week leading up to the real Vasaloppet on Sunday. Everyone is enjoying wandering around the finish line area where there is obviously the finish line, as well as a small street market and a big exposition of skiing products and other booths. While living in the dorms here at the school we have gotten to know many of the other students. Many of the students living in my building are part of the ski program here at the school where they train most of the day. It was fun to cheer one of them on to his 6th place finish a few days ago and I am looking forward to cheering everyone on at the Vasaloppet on Sunday.
Time in Mora is much different than the time we spent in Umeå and Jokkmokk. I (like everyone) have settled into a fairly routine schedule between Nordic Politics class, Swedish class, and weekly excursions. The town seems familiar, I know my way around the grocery store, I notice when window displays change in stores, and I have figured out what is best at the konditori (local bakery). I have have become friends with the other students living in my building and enjoy spending the evenings hanging out with them in our kitchen. Our group continues to bond and our weekly group dinner has now changed to our weekly “family dinner”. What once seemed like a place I where I was a guest has now become somewhat of a temporary home where I feel very comfortable. That being said, I am excited to find our next adventure and explore new places. We have had so many wonderful experiences thus far these past two months and I am so excited to see what the next three have in store for us. Thank you for taking the time to follow the adventures of our group through this blog. Until next time – Tack så mycket och vi ses!