After my rather hasty goodbye to Nashville; and my spending of the last two weeks in Sweden, I felt a need for making some kind of final reflection. What this summer’s been like, and what it has meant for me. And since a picture is worth a thousand words, I will give you a visual recap of Elin’s Nashummer ’13. Enjoy!
It started off with the mandatory traditional frappoccino at Starbuck’s in New York… But this time, I actually tried to say ”Eeelin” and not ”Ellen” as I did at Penn State. It had, varying results…
Safe and sound down in the deep south, I met up with Isak whom I’ve been studying/traveling with since 2010, and Kristen who was a part of the CIRT-program and were in England/Sweden/Penn State with us. Surreal to all end up at the same place, but very nice.
I then had the luck of finding housing super central in Nashville (5 minutes bike ride from campus), and my ”host mum” was so sweet. Her house was much her own work, and she fed me with delicious treats, yum!
And thanks to my host family, I got to listen to Michelle Obama’s commencement speech at the graduation of Martin Luther King Jr. High School. That was powerful, and truly one of the high lights of this summer.
My favorite club – The 5 spots in East Nashville. Monday nights with retro/soul/Motown theme, and the swing dancing just never stopped.
I took a 28h bus trip to Dallas, Texas, and could tick off some new states: Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi and Finally Texas. And when there, I hung out with a dear CISV-friend from last summer, such good times.
Beautiful view over downtown Nashville from a rooftop.
And CMA of course (Country Music Awards), where we spent four days with tens of thousands of other country music lovers, listening to bands like Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Zac Brown Band, Keith Urban, Kelly Clarkson aso. It’s such a nice memory, and something I felt I had to do while in Nashville.
I was super happy for my bike for $40 on craigslist.com, but I also sprained my fingers… But it healed soon though.
I sneaked into a conference on critical race theory in education…
…and volunteered at a house for former prisoners…
To support my eating habits, I started running every morning. And learned to do real push-ups haha!
Got a bunch of super cool class mates, and enjoyed the City of Music.
I had a wonderful class in Young Adult Literature, where the heavy reading load could be nicely combined with hanging out by the pool.
My place for meeting great people this summer has been at the weekly meet-up for Couchsurfing at Café Coco, a cool 24h-place with Open Mic on Tuesday (as in the picture). Those Tuesday nights gave me so many inspiring encounters with people from all over the world, mixed up with local Nashvillians. In common, most couchsurfers have a great interest for other cultures and for people in general. It’s such a great community.
And through Couchsurfing, I made another great friend, Ally, who among many other adventures, I did an awesome bike race/event with. It was called Tour de Fat, and a ton of bikers just took over the streets and showed the city that Americans can (and want to) bike to. Yey!Thank god for Skype! This is my sister when she’s in the States, her friend, and me. Blond Swedes with same kind of glasses… :)
My dear Malin came to visit all the way from Sweden, and we met up with our Canadian friend Erin in New Orleans. Such a great city! We also got a week in Nashville together. Our first 4th of July was celebrated together with some awesome couchsurfing people, and we realized that there were probably 4 Americans at the party (2 of them were babies). But let the patriotism roll anyway!
One of our last adventures was being a part of a music video for an (unknown to me) artist called Jackson Wells. A lot of fun! On our way home we passed the legendary Cafe Loveless.
Yes, the weather was hot. And the humidity was killing. I can’t say I got used to the heat, but I found coping strategies. Like staying at cool cafes, and drinking lemonade.
A multicultural school, Peabody College of Education, a part of Vanderbilt University.
A very nice evening with some faculty from the University.
So, it’s been such an amazing summer. I cannot begin to express the thankfulness I am feeling for this opportunity to spend 3 months in Nashville and in the States. I am still in love with that country, and I hope I won’t bee too long. Academically, I feel like I’ve got so much in my ”teaching tools-backpack” to use in my future career. I feel more than ready to graduate, but this last year will probably give me just the final touch I need. Can’t believe I’ll be a ”real teacher” next fall, I’m soo excited!
Something I have learned, from all of my episodes abroad, is that happiness is not attached to a specific place, or specific people. It can be found everywhere, and it can be lost everywhere. Happiness reaches us without any effort, and can be long gone when we work hard for it. But I think I’ve found some kind of safe spot within myself, and a knowing that I’ll be fine, wherever I am, wherever I go in this world. I’ll find my way, and I find my meaning. Hope you’ll do it too.