Happy

Mahalo Hawaii – Best year of our lives

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.

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IMG_2176The flag circle at BYU Hawaii campus
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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.

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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!

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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…

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Hukilau Beach in Laie

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 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.

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6. The Laie temple grounds are simply stunning

Just go there and see for yourself. No pictures or words can do it justice.

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7. The wildlife is rad

How many other places let’s you surf and swim among sea turtles and dolphins?

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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.

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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.

Mahalo, Hawaii.

Summer of 2014. I have a lot to be grateful for

photo 1It has been a very memorable summer. In some ways a summer that I hope we’ll never have to experience ever again. And in other ways a summer with so many happy times that I wouldn’t want to miss for the world. 

Among these happy times are first of all being reunited with Marcus. Fortunately, and for what reason I have no idea, the five weeks apart went faster and to some extent smoother than I ever thought possible. Despite stressful days and smaller pregnancy problems I managed to survive without too many tears and with all the comfort I needed from my family. My philosophy of keeping busy actually worked and in the end I was almost sad that my alone-time with my family was over so soon. Whether Marcus found our time apart as easy I can’t say but I think we can agree that as much as it is an experience we have learned a lot from it is not one we wish to ever have to repeat. 

I went with his parents to the airport to pick him up. It was the best feeling ever to see him crossing the parking lot. Not like back in the way when we were dating and I picked him up at the ferry. Not the same kind of butterflies of seeing your crush, but a much more powerful longing to be with the person that you love more than anyone else in the entire world. There was even a split-second when I realized that I had actually been without my other half for a month – as if for a month I had been helped to not notice – and how that hole seemed to fill as I gave him that first hug on the curb. It just felt right. And that is the best feeling in the world. 

The other most happy experience this summer has been being reunited with family. I really think it was good for Marcus and I to get away early in our marriage and to learn to establish ourselves as our own family and to learn to make hard decisions together. While we were in Salt Lake, I remember thinking that being away from home really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be and that we could easily spend some more years on the other side of the world if necessary. I still think so, but boy! had I forgotten the comfort of being around family. Again, it just feels right. The definition of ’family’ may be different to different people, but one thing is true for all – Families are meant to be together.

I now realize just how big a blessing it was to spend my time away from Marcus with my own family. To go home and be back in the ’eldest daughter’s shoes’ again. To have a second chance at my last month with my family. I don’t think I took full advantage of that rare opportunity but it really opened my eyes a little more not only to the kind of daughter I wish I was and plan to be in the future, but also to what kind of daughter I hope to raise myself. 

Also, I love my in-laws. I mean, how lucky do you get to both have an awesome family of your own and to marry a guy who also has an awesome family. Seriously, my life is too happy. I’m expecting to be struck by the worst evil any day now – it’s just too good to be true. (Knock on wood!!). But coming back to Marcus’ family’s house really felt like walking into my second home. Yes, I said it. The Dane feels at home in Sweden. 

I have to give a shout-out to friends and distant family as well. From the friends and family that have helped and supported us before this summer when we were far away from home to the friends and family who have been there for us to welcome us back home – I just have to throw in here that I was lucky enough to have two baby showers thrown for me. Each were attended by family, close and distant, and dear friends. You guys, I’m not the type of person who loves being the center of attention, but I do love being surrounded by people I love. I really really appreciate it! 

You really notice how many treasures you have in your life when you go through hard times and this summer I’ve discovered gold mines. My heart is so full of gratitude for the people I have in my life. I can rest assured that counting my blessings will comfort me in any hard time to come. For they are many. 

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Lovely ladies

IMGYHjpgYesterday was pretty glorious in the most genuine of ways. I have learned that after being married for a year’s time – and especially when you moved half way around the world and had a lifestyle where you pretty much spent every waking (and sleeping) moment together- you grow quite accustomed to just being around each other, and you’re okay with it… You almost feel like you don’t need anyone else in your everyday life to function (more…)

What anyone who wants to get married should know

IMG_8246.jpg.jpgYHI had the pleasure of starting my day today by reading an inspiring blog post by a man who at the time had just gone through with his divorce and was now sharing a list of 20 things he wished he would have done in his marriage to keep it alive.

He ends his post by expressing his utmost regret that his list of advice were all things that he learned too late. That he should have known this at the beginning of their marriage instead of at the end.

Marcus and I celebrated our first anniversary this last Sunday. (more…)

How I hate it when people… nevermind.

3150930741_This_is_my_happy_face_xlargeLet me just start by deciding that life is good. Can we agree on that? That the fact that we are alive is something to be embraced and to be grateful for. That no matter if it has its hard periods and can be pretty unpredictable, that it is still a priviledge simply to have a chance at a life in this world.

This morning I came across a post on a Danish ‘second hand’ ‘buy and sell’ type of Facebook page. The girl posting was attempting to sell a small coffee table that she had bought the same morning at a big sale – the kind where people stood in line waiting for the doors to open. The girl had been there when the store opened. In the craziness of determined shoppers she bought this table without being completely positive that it would match and fit in her apartment. When she returned home and unpacked the table, to her dismay, the table wasn’t a good fit for her living room. (more…)

Finding Christmas Spirit

photo 1 (10).jpgYHAnyone of my family members will tell you that I am a sucker for Christmas. So much of a sucker that I am known to get really annoying every year the last weeks of November, when I try to persuade the family to start Christmas a liiiiittle earlier. Making sure the Christmas decorations are up as early as possible is my top priority. It turns out things are a little different when you’re in your own house. Not to mention when that house is on the other side of the world. (more…)

Happiness is Thankfulness

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In 2005 a study was made on the causes of happiness. Part of this study was based on a questionnaire in which 577 people participated. The participants were divided into groups to each test a different method of generating happiness. The results of this test showed that the group that was to test the method of practicing gratitude, easily experienced the highest immediate effect. The exact task that they had was to write a letter of gratitude to an important person in their lives and then deliver the letter.

This year in July, one of my favorite Youtube channels, SoulPancake, made a video, demonstrating the same test. PLEASE take the 7 minutes to watch it. It’s really good! (more…)

That good day

photo 3 (5).jpgYHYes, had a pretty good day today!

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.

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