Today was a beautiful beginning to our second weekend in Ireland. We went on our first outing out of Dublin!
So, although it is so far not exactly my personal opinion, I must confess that most people told us before coming here that Dublin itself might not have a lot to offer but that the Irish countryside was worth moving to Ireland for. I myself have lived in Dublin for all of 12 days now and I think it’s a pretty great city and hope to discover even more greatness in the future –
BUT that doesn’t take away the fact that the Irish countryside is actually MINDBLOWINGLY gorgeous! Or so we have discovered today.
First we did a train ride all the way down the coast south of Dublin to Bray. The tracks literally go right by the water and on a clear day like today the Irish Sea glistened in the sunlight. We went far enough south to get into Wicklow county which is known as “Ireland’s garden”. And although it’s January and mid-winter and so so cold, I can’t believe how beautifully green everything was.
This is the face she does when she’s smelling flowers. The word “blomma” (“flower” in Swedish) is among the handful of words she can pronounce perfectly.
These pictures were taken at the Powerscourt Hotel… I feel like I’ve been overusing the word ‘beautiful’ and synonyms thereof. So… I will say no more.
On the way back to Dublin we stopped in Killiney. Killiney Hill was one of the top things on my Ireland bucket list because it gives such a breathtaking view of Dublin Bay and the mountains farther inland. You can drive almost to the top and it was no biggie to carry our baby girl the rest of the way. We got there just before the sun was setting, and it was just perfect. This point is said to have inspired countless Irish poets and authors and honestly my first thought when we got up there was that I just wanted to come back one day, alone, to just sit and write.
Ever since five months ago when we left beautiful Hawaii, I have had a deal with Marcus that he would write a guest blog post tributing our stay there. Well, as time goes by and other things come up some things tend to be forgotten. Among which this blog post. So it is my pleasure to finally pass the laptop over to my beloved husband. Marcus – everyone. Everyone — Marcus!
As you read this I would like to take the opportunity to say thank you – not for reading this specific blog post, but for being so kind and encouraging to my wife who truly is a great writer and who finds so much joy in your kind comments and interest in her blog. This post won’t quite be as sophisticated, funny or well written as those you are used to by my beautiful better half – but I’ll give it a try.
When Rebecca and I were engaged we decided that it would be a good idea to move abroad and finish my undergraduate studies. I especially liked that idea as I had spent most of my life in Stockholm and felt that a move would be a fresh start and would increase my motivation to focus more on school. We both felt that studying at one of the BYU schools would be great, and it did not take long for us to decide that Brigham Young University Hawaii was the place where we wanted to go.
In the end of August 2013 we left Sweden and arrived in the beautiful Hawaiian islands. Some friends picked us up at the airport in Honolulu at about 5 in the morning and I remember how my mind was blown as we saw the most beautiful sunrise of our lives when we drove up the windward coast on Kamehameha Highway. You could say it was love at first sight, and despite the fact that we only spent a school year there Hawaii has a very special place in our hearts and definitely feels like a home away from home.
I could probably write a book about Hawaii, but I am going to try to keep this fairly brief and just tell you why we miss it.
1. The BYU Hawaii campus is amazing
In Hawaii I woke up every morning thinking about how blessed we were to live in such a beautiful place. Even just walking on campus is a treat. I’ve had some of my favorite conversations with Rebecca as we’ve walked home from a late night in the library as the starry pacific sky inspires to deep and meaningful thoughts. I wish everyone could experience a night on the North Shore of Hawaii.
The flag circle at BYU Hawaii campus
The new building for the Business School and Entrepreneurship Center
2. We will never have better neighbors
Our first semester we lived in a little house just off of Hukilau Beach, but after New Year we moved into Temple View Apartments (TVA) as the apartment complex for married students is called. Living in TVA means that all your neighbors are also young married couples. I don’t think we will ever live in such a safe and friendly neighborhood ever again.
A Sunday afternoon BBQ with our TVA neigbors
3. Acai-bowls are the best thing ever
Acai bowls originally come from Brazil, but the strong connection to the surf culture has made them extremely popular in Hawaii. They basically consist of a layer of mixed frozen acai berries, granola, and topped with fresh fruits of your choice. Simply delicious!
Acai bowls at our favorite place in Haleiwa
4. Laie is the most beautiful little community you’ll ever visit
Laie really is a tiny little town but when you have a grocery store, a burger joint, and the most rad little movie theatre you’ll ever see why would you need more? One of our favorite things in Hawaii was that we learned how to enjoy a very simple lifestyle. If we ever had aspirations for fancy things we definitely learned that you don’t need stuff to be happy. I guess that’s what wearing flip-flops seven days a week does to you…
Hukilau Beach in Laie
Laie Temple seen from Hale Laa Boulevard
5. BYU Hawaii has professors that truly care
When I went to high school I didn’t really care about the academics, I was more interested in sports and preferred to spend my time playing soccer. At BYU Hawaii we met professors that truly changed our lives. Rebecca and I met weekly with a professor whom we now consider a good friend who guided and mentored us in our endeavors in learning more about internet marketing, social media, blogging and anything internet related.
Another professor helped me realize that I could achieve things I did not think I could, and taught me more about strategy, case-studies and management than anyone else. He essentially opened my eyes to a world I thought I was not good enough to succeed in. Professors like these two inspire you to work hard in school, inspire you to get good grades and not just care about sports like I used to.
6. The Laie temple grounds are simply stunning
Just go there and see for yourself. No pictures or words can do it justice.
7. The wildlife is rad
How many other places let’s you surf and swim among sea turtles and dolphins?
8. Kahuku Grill and Seven Brothers make the best food
You would think you’d get bored with the food when you really only have these two places that make good quality food in town, but oh no. We still dream of the Coconut Macadamia Nut Shrimp from Kahuku Grill and the burgers and fries from Seven Brothers.
9. The beaches are beyond amazing
Whether you wanna surf, snorkel or just take a casual swim, Hawaii is the place to be.
In conclusion, Hawaii will always be our home away from home. It is the place where we spent the first year of our marriage and where we set most of our family goals. It really is a pearl in the pacific, but the beauty of the island is just a tiny part of why we miss and love the place so much. The Aloha spirit of the people is something I hope we can keep in our family for the rest of our lives. The dreams and goals we set, and the friendships and memories we made will truly live forever.
Being a dane abroad you get to meet a lot of people. And somehow you always seem to run into people who get excited when you tell them you’re from Denmark.
There’s the ones (the vast majority) that exclaim “Denmark?? No way!! That’s where my ancestors are from! Yes! My family is Danish! We have abelskeevers all the time!” – Cute. And hey! Good pronunciation!
Then there’s the next to largest group that immediately say “Oh Denmark is amazing! It’s so cute with the tulips and the wind mills!” – Bless them. Not much to say to that. … Then they turn to Marcus and say “Sweden looks beautiful too! I’ve always wanted to see the Alps!”
Then there’s the smallest group that seem so hard to find that you actually get as excited about them as they are about you. These are the people who have actually been to Denmark or at least have their facts straight. They may know about Hans Christian Andersen and his stories. They may know about Danish history and may express a desire to visit our medieval castles. They may comment on the Danish nature and even call it “idyllic” and “just like a fairytale”.
Well I’ve never given much thought to the fairytale part myself, but now that I’ve lived abroad for a year and have experienced coming back here.. I have to say Denmark has never seemed as idyllic or fairytalish to me as it does now.
I have taken the liberty to note down a few things that have really stood out to me.
So in Hawaii there were a lot of birds. A lot. And big too. My parents would often ask when we were Skyping whether we’d gotten a bird, because they could hear the big tropical birds just outside our window. So it’s not like we didn’t wake up to choirs of tweeting every morning this past year. But boy, when I came home. And I had to get up every two hours to go to the bathroom and opened my window to cool down the room… there is just nothing like the way birds sing at 4am here. Talk about the most peaceful happy sound you every heard! Like you’re right there walking through the forest with your favorite Disney princess.
After 8 months in humid Hawaii and 2 months in dry dry Utah, the very first thought that came to my mind when I stepped out of the airport in Copenhagen was how it felt like I was breathing fresh air for the first time in almost a year. I don’t know what it is… maybe the fresh ocean breeze that you can’t escape anywhere in the country… or maybe a perfect balance of humidity.. or maybe just because this is where I grew up. I don’t know, but it is really quite amazing!
I’ve noticed how a lot of tourists in Denmark comment on how incredibly green it is here. My mom still talks about how beautiful she thinks Denmark is because of this. Growing up I always thought that just made Denmark boring, but after – yes, even after – living in beautiful lush paradise Hawaii I must admit that Denmark is quite beautiful. I can’t quite describe it, but it’s almost as if Hawaii was a wild kind of green and Denmark is more like the King’s gardens compared. And then enjoying it while breathing that fresh fresh air and listening to the birds in the background….! Mmm!
Yes, I must bring this up as my last point. I’m sorry folks but Danish food is really the stuff. Oh and especially after being in the states! I thought it would be like Food Heaven in the US – but turned out I hadn’t tried living there yet. No matter what you say – no restaurant meal beats a homemade one made from scratch. It just doesn’t. High-five to Europe!
When people asked me as a kid whether I felt more Danish or American, I would usually answer American. In truth certain elements of the Danish culture do make me feel more American. I always expected and imagined I would get married and move away from here forever and not look back – and I was fine with that. But turns out I just missed being around reserved rough traditional danes that could never dream of uttering the word “whoop”. I have to say I am very surprised that I reacted this way as soon as I was gone.
Just wanted to share a few pictures from our visit to Pearl Harbor. Yes! We finally went. About time too. We left home before sunup and were able to enjoy the atmosphere of the site before too many tourists arrived. It was a very special experience. Standing there looking across the water to the USS Arizona Memorial picturing the horrible scene that took place just over 70 years ago. (more…)
So the second biggest attraction of Oahu is just up the street from where we live and it only took us almost 4 months to get over there. Thanks to my ever so totally awesome and amazing in-laws who gave us this early Christmas gift, we were able to fit a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center into our budget. Thank you!! (more…)
We’ve had a few rough moments this week. One of them being Sweden’s kick out of the soccer World Cup. One of us was very sad about that. The other one of us cooked dinner and gave massages.
But bad days just make good days even better.
Today our day began at 11 when the finale of the Great Ideas Competition on campus took place. Marcus competed yesterday by presenting his great idea for a business to judges and last night we got an email that he had been selected for the finale. And what a marvelous job my man did today. So marvelous that he came in first place! A prouder wife was never before seen.
So far I have talked a lot about dreams and setting goals. I’m sorry. But I just got married, so basically I recently had my entire life thrust into my hands. Can’t help it.
I saw this image on Pinterest this morning, and due to its insane awesomeness I had to show Marcus and then decided to share it with all of you.
If you haven’t looked through the pictures. Do it now.
Pretty cool, right?
I automatically start thinking about other things that would be cool to have… like… a fireman’s pole from the second story or… fake natural lighting in the entire house or… one room filled with pillows and the floor, walls and ceiling were mattresses or… a developed laundry chute system that lead from each bedroom and bathroom to certain baskets in the huge (clean) laundry room.
Dang, I would gladly live on oatmeal for a few months to save up for any of these!
But subconciously I know that I’ll never have any of this, so I just keep Pinteresting and eventually forget about it.
But wait a second. Why not think about it? Why couldn’t I have this? Why limit myself like that? And that is the question. Why decide from the beginning not to pursue something? Isn’t that stupid? Why do I have this determination that it is silly and a waste of effort to simply try?
Because I thought about something else. Something else, that I try hard to pursue every day. Cause I see the sun, feel the wind and hear beautiful sounds. I witness people doing amazing things and doing amazing things for others. And I don’t just smile and keep walking. But I choose to believe that there is something more. That there is a reason behind my existence. And even if I didn’t arrive at golden gates when I die, that choice changes my life every day. Because I choose the unlimited.
So why choose to limit your freedom and dreams by being “realistic” when you can choose to live a life to your full potential? In any aspect of your life. Whether it’s academically, your religious views, career or simple family values. Isn’t it more fun (if I may be so silly) to find out what you can do? To feel that high of creativity every day, because you’re striving for something.
So having given that fancy speech… Imma go design my laundry chute.
I need to introduce you to a Danish word called “hygge”. I will attempt to explain its meaning with the English word “cozy”. “Cozy” on a pillow. In front of a fireplace. Drinking hot chocolate. Wearing thick socks. Having a good time with his friend, “Snug”. Actually it’s maybe if “Snug” and “Cozy” had a baby. And they named it “Hygge”.
– by now, if you’re not Danish, you might be feeling stupid trying to pronounce it in your head. Sorry. I suppose you could pronounce it “hoo-guh”. But not really.
When I was little I said I wanted to be a blogger. I didn’t. I said I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write the next Harry Potter. That didn’t happen though – well not yet anyway. But now the journey has started like this. Blogging. I think I prefer it! What better than to tell the story of my own life – as I’m living it! (more…)