08 Oct Mexpert’s internship programme: Maëlle at Caprifolen
A quick and eagerly awaited start !
I am in Sweden for 4 months !
Hello you, I hope you are well ! I’m glad to know that you will surely follow my adventures during this 4 months stay.
So I knew I was going to Sweden only one month before I should go. As I was registered at the local mission of Alès, I was able to access the project of the Maison de l’Europe of Nîmes allowing me to travel in a foreign country. It was on July 6th that I got the accepting answer to go to Sweden! The same day I got a negative answer for my dance school, so I concluded that this trip was perfect for me, and especially a great opportunity; I should not miss! However when I took the decision that I would leave, my mother told me about her beautiful adventures, when she went to Sweden as a teenager. She had crossed fields and fields of birches (trees black and white)! And you have to know that I like birches very much, plus a friend of mine had given me a picture of a birch field two years before! So all that is to say, is that it encouraged me and confirmed that I would fit in. And well; I did go to this wonderful country ! I’ve been in Sweden for over 15 days now!
My first impression :
So I took off on the 27th of August, with five other French people* for an Erasmus+ trip, with different work placements and projects. I arrived in this big riding stable, right next to a farm, in the middle of Swedish countryside (surrounded by forests of birches, spruce bread, oaks and fields). In spite of the three little hours of sleep I had and the long journey, I was amazed by these new landscapes and the warm welcome of the Swedish people! They are very cheerful and friendly (Vincent even lent me one of his guitars for the four months)! The same evening they invited me to eat some small Swedish speciality cakes, including the « princess cake », which is a green cake, (but I didn’t eat it, which I regret now in after hand. xD) I also tried the « Kanelbullar » a cinnamon pastry which is very good.
With my French group we were even invited to a meeting to meet some Italians who were also on an Erasmus trip! We were able to learn the traditional Swedish dance, which is surprisingly similar to the Salsa dance. I liked it a lot because it is danced in the circle and it reminded me of Jewish dancing! That’s all to say that we were very well received! And what’s great is that we don’t have to wear the mask in the public transportation, shops and restaurants. It’s total freedom from that! Come to Sweden and breathe the fresh air!
*Olivia, Thibault, Imran, Pierre and Maëlle (yes, there are two of us, Maëlle).
My daily life :
It’s all very cool ! But what am I really going to do there for 4 months? Well, I’ve signed up for a professional training course in this big riding stables, to do volting, (acrobatic dance on horses!) I also have to take care of the horses, change the water every morning, brush them and equip them before the acrobatic classes. I usually take care of the cleaning of the dance hall, the acrobatics hall and the training shed. I did all this with Ammaarah, an English girl who is also on an Erasmus exchange! This means that I am in total immersion, I can even speak about everyday tasks in English which makes me progress very quickly! The only problem is that my friend is only here for three more weeks. She is very nice, we laugh a lot and we have good discussions on interesting subjects! I’m going to miss her, because I’ll be doing all the work alone, after her departure…
On our first day of work we went out and saw this huge heart in the sky (the first picture in the letter) “it’s a bit like a dove” (my mum said). And it wasn’t the only one, I must have seen four in the same week, so I often think of my family!
Concerning the dance, I started to animate some warm-up and as an activity I taught them the little choreography of Jérusalema, it was very nice! Minna, the director of the centre, offered me to give one dance class a week! I didn’t refuse but I have a lot of stress because I don’t have the vocabulary even if I have already started to look for and write the beginning of a choreography. I also tried acrobatics on the horses and it’s not easy at all, but it’s a lot of fun! In their dance hall they have a fake/ mecanical horse that moves to train the acrobats, which will allow me to look for potential movement on the horse too! At Caprifolen (the name of the place), they welcome disabled people and make even acrobatics with horses accessible to all, the first time I saw them it touched me a lot! There is a lot of softness and delicacy in their movements!
My week-ends :
I only did 3 weekends and yet I was able to discover a lot of different places. I even met several people despite the fact that I was lost in the countryside x)
As I told you the first weekend we were invited to a cultural meeting around Sweden. Then there was a big party in Maëlle and Imran’s university. So I was able to meet a lot of students, and I had to force myself to speak English the first night! The next day we went to have a little brunch in the city of Lund with Monika (the organizer of the House of Europe) So nice! Then we went for a little walk, and I was amazed by the typical Swedish houses, we saw the cathedral from far, the big library and some historical places… Then we went to a little party which ended in a bar under the rain, because there were too many people so it was a funny adventure! I had more interesting meetings and conversations.
On the Friday of the second weekend we were invited by Charlotte. We had a good meal, talked and played board games! Afterwards we went to a cosy party, at Rabi-Lund (Maëlle.M’s accommodation in the university). They brought out piano, guitar, and Caron so we sang and danced together, it was really nice! The next day, I went to Olivia and Thibaut’s house, who are staying in the center of Malmö. So we visited the big park in Malmö, then we went to a restaurant. After that we tried to go to bars to meet Swedish people, but strangely most of the bars only accept young people who are 23 years old or more, and there were security at all the entrances of the bars! One of the security men explained to us that they do this because the young people between 18 and 23 are mostly students who are in student accommodation and therefore have their own parties, and above all they don’t have a job so they are not stable (financially or mentally), which means that most of the time they are the ones who make the mess and they have to through them out. On top of that they all have a dress code, all dressed up for bars xD Personally I don’t mind because I don’t drink! So we wandered the streets of Malmö in the evening x).
On Sunday morning we had a traditional Lutheran service in a beautiful church, it looked like a mess hall after all and the singing was beautiful. I could understand what it was about thanks to the biblical references in Mark 11, if not it was all in Swedish! In the afternoon we went to the beach right next to the tallest tower in Sweden (it’s not very tall xD). We played volleyball and frisbee.
The third weekend was soooo good! I spent it with Ammaarah, we went to a big adventure park, went sledding (without snow), giant zip lines and bike-cross (yes, because Swedes are the specialists of bikes, you can see bike fields in every city, it’s very ecological). Then we were invited by Amanda, a young Swedish girl of my age, to eat pizza and play cards. And the next day we joined Rebekka, a good friend of Ammaarah’s, and had a Swedish brunch with other friends in her church! It’s the Kingdom Center (Sweden), with a hotel, restaurant, farm and other activities- all in the theme of Texas (full of western decorations). They are very welcoming and when I talked with the pastor Chris, he already wants me marrying his son xD They invited us next weekend for a service and a little party before leaving Ammaarah! Afterwards we helped them to finish the painting in the kitchen, very funny too!
Then we did a bit of shopping and went to Jump Yard, a great trampoline park, with zip lines, basketball, football and foam pools all on trampolines, it was awesome! Yes I am a fun kid x) Then we ate at Max which is the best Swedish fast food restaurant (the sweet potato fries were excellent)!
And the same evening, Minna gave birth to a little boy (because yes she was pregnant). So it’s a party at the moment in Caprifolen! I haven’t seen him yet, but I’m going to see him today, I can’t wait!
That’s all that happened during these 20 days in Sweden! Don’t hesitate if you have any questions, if you want more details about what I’m doing or even the country how they live etc, I can do my little investigations and I’ll tell you all that in the next letter!
Thank you for taking the time to read and thank you for your support, whether in prayer or just in thoughts, it helps me a lot!
I send you all big kisses, I will read your feedback with pleasure as soon as I have some time and I see you very soon!