Linnea Nilsson: Sweden to Sacramento

Linnea Nilsson was a Health Science student at the California State University, Sacramento. Interview and photos are conducted and taken by yours truly. On a side note, Linnea was the first person I met in California. We later became roommates. She was truly an essential part of my exchange. 

Why did you decide to do exchange at Sac State?
I wanted to do my exchange in the USA to experience new cultures, especially the American culture. So, I applied for five different universities in the US, and Sac State is the one I got. My major is health science, and Sac State has a big department for that, which gave me opportunities to take interesting classes in my field.

What was your favourite thing that you learned about American culture?
I liked that the Americans are very open (compared to the Swedish culture). They talk a lot and say what’s on their minds. If you’re on the bus, or in an elevator, there’s always someone who says hi and smiles at you, which I appreciate a lot since we don’t really do that in Sweden.

I also got to know that the Americans are very engaged in stuff, such as sports and events. I really enjoyed when everyone went to a game a supported our team together. And there is such a good atmosphere. At games at home, there are often fights between the supporters. But at the games I went to in California, people were cheerful and happy.

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What is your favourite memory from exchange?
It’s really hard to pick only one favorite memory, because I got a lot. But one of them is definitely going to Hollywood for Thanksgiving with my sister and some of my new-found friends from all over the world. We went shopping on Black Friday, spent time on the beach at Santa Monica and had a great thanks giving dinner that ended with a night at a really nice Mexican bar. It was the perfect weekend.

What is one thing about Sweden that you missed while you were on exchange?
The thing I missed the most was actually Swedish coffee (I think everyone knew that lol). I’m used to drinking very dark and strong coffee, which is not usual in the US. So I often made my own coffee or ordered with extra espresso shots at cafes.
I thought I would miss my family and friends more, but since my family came visit and I Facetimed with them and my friends, it wasn’t that bad.

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What destination do you want to travel to next?
My next travel will be to Hawaii and hopefully New Zeeland. I’m going to apply for an internship at a health care center in Hawaii, but if I don’t get it I will go there on vacation. Me and two other friends went there a few days before Christmas last year, and I fell in love with it. The people, the climate, everything. So, I felt that it wasn’t enough with only five days there and therefore, I’m going there after my graduation. And after Hawaii (depending on the internship), I think I’m going to New Zeeland to visit my friend who’s going to be an au pair there. I have never been there before, but it looks amazing so I would really like to explore it.


2017 End Of The Year Goals

Most people wait until the new year to set their resolutions. I want to end my 2017 on a positive note. 2017 started off unstable for me. Suffering from cattiness, bullying, anxiety, and depression the first few months, it appeared like this year was going to be quite the rollercoaster. In August, I moved to California. This was a decision that completely changed my life (for the better).

I am the type of person that dwells on the past. When something doesn’t go my way, I reflect and contemplate why that happened. When I fail to accomplish my already unattainable goals, I get saddened. My perspectives on goals have changed recently. Before I begin listing what I expect to accomplish in 2018, here were my senior year goals:

  1. Get a 4.0 GPA both semesters of school
  2. Befriend all my professors – Ask for extra help and recommendation letters
  3. Earn $10,000 in profit through work, other freelancing opportunities, selling pre-loved things to new & welcoming homes, and blogging (a girl can still dream)
  4. Volunteer once a month. It doesn’t matter where, when, or what charity
  5. Buy a sewing machine then learn how to use it

As you can see, only 2/5 of my goals were achieved. And that’s okay! Earning $10,000 in a couple months without having a steady, full-time job is nearly impossible to do. Volunteering while travelling, in cities I’m visiting without proper transportation is difficult. And how did I expect to lug back a sewing machine from California to Toronto?

My senior year wasn’t a complete flop though. On top of befriending all my professors and getting a 4.0 GPA (So happy about this), I progressed in areas of my life I didn’t even realize needed attention.

 My fitness journey & body appreciation

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It took me 21 years to realize the importance of body acceptance and self-love. For once I am FULLY satisfied and appreciative of my petite, 5’2″ stature. Going to the gym regularly has made me realize that strength (both internal and external) is not defined by an individual’s frame. I feel stronger and healthier than ever before and no person, bigger or taller than me, will ever belittle my self-love again.

Now, onto my end of the year and new year goals

2018 All About Me

Sounds a little conceded, I know. But, the second half of 2017 was rewarding because I was centred on my self and my self worth. For once, I lived my life focusing merely on me. I want to continue this in 2018.

  1. That workout grind continues.
    • Instead of achieving a specific body type, I workout to gain mental strength and stability. It helps me clear my mind. If I gain physical strength as well, that is a bonus!
  2. Work, Work, Work
    • As you have probably assumed, California has drained my bank account (I have no regrets though). Since my course load next semester is extremely light, I plan to find a job, or two, or three.
  3. Take a trip
    • A lot of my happiness this year stemmed from travelling. I made a whole blog section on it. I have the travel bug.
  4. Apply to Graduate School
    • I’m taking a year off before I begin my masters. 2018 is the year to apply to my dream schools.
  5. Start a creative initiative
    • Super general, but I want to keep this a secret. I already have an idea of what I would like to do. I think a leadership role producing some creative content will be rewarding for me.

San Diego: Seaport Village

I spent days consuming the glistening sand of Coronado‘s beaches and hours in a trance glaring at the bright blue color illuminating from La Jolla’s skies. On my final day in San Diego, I decided to visit the sunny Seaport Village.

Window shopping by the waterfront, strolling on the boardwalk, and honouring veterans and current troops at the Maritime Museum. What a wonderful way to spend my last few hours in San Diego.

Again, let us just appreciate the beauty and history present in this environment. San Diego in general was life altering. I admire and value California’s culture at a much greater level because of my heart-stirring experiences in San Diego.

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The art; the music; and the animals. Just a few of my favourite things.

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Wave after wave.

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It wouldn’t be a Seaport Village without some ships.

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Veterans Day spent honouring our troops.

San Diego: La Jolla

Just a random thought before I start this post. I wonder if every blogger starts blogging because they enjoy writing, need a platform to vent, or have an interest in their niche of choice. Or, do some bloggers go into it already with the intention of making profit? 

Just a thought. 

Welcome to Part 2 of my mini San Diego series. If you tuned into last week’s post, you will remember my personal reflections and appreciations of Coronado. This week, we fly to the breathtaking La Jolla (seriously get ready to be lost for words). Since my last San Diego post focused heavily on my experiences and reactions to the city, this post will be mainly photo driven.

This journey starts off in the Ocean Beach neighbourhood. Let us all just take in those bright blue skies. Vivid and bold colours tend to brighten my mood.

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La Jolla

After spending a few hours in the Ocean Beach neighbourhood – eating ice cream, taking photos, and window shopping – We started our route to the legendary La Jolla. Every Uber driver, San Diego local, and California lover has spoken highly of La Jolla. My crappy iPhone 7 photos do not do this place justice. At this point in the day, it was dark, chilly and gloomy outside. I was too cold to pull out my DSLR. Still though, take in those views.

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OMNIA Nightclub

I am 21 years old and I like to have fun. Even though I was completely satisfied with my busy exploration day, the night was still young. I’ll leave the OMNIA stories out of my post. Those are “friends only” stories. In short, I had a great day AND night. Here are a few pictures I captured.

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Farm To Fork Festival In Sacramento

I had the best weekend! Blog post done.

Just kidding… My weekend in Sac Town was lively. Can you really blame a girl for wanting to share her happiness with the rest of the world? I don’t think so.

One of my roommates wrote in her journal: “Happy thoughts only.” I think this is an important motto to remember when writing. Even though, I still want to share some of my deeper and more emotional thoughts with you, I want my travel section to remain POSITIVE. Looking back at my travelling adventures, I only want to remember HAPPY THOUGHTS.

Friday Night Lights

This section will be short and sweet (you’ll catch my drift in a bit). A typical Friday night for a bunch of college students was in place. You know the type filled with beers, other drinks, food, music, and more beers. A Sacramento pub called Low Brau has officially become a Nicole favourite. That is where we spent our Friday night. The atmosphere there is homey and fun. It’s just what I like. After a couple of drinks and an incentive to explore, we found ourselves stumbling into a dessert diner. Yes, those apparently exist. Giving us total 1960’s feels, we ordered the most delicious milkshakes and sat for a few hours. What a night!

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Farm To Fork Festival: The Real Fun

Sac Town is apparently America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital (I did not know this). Just like its name, the festival celebrates where the local food comes from. Wearing our comfiest shoes, we spent what seemed like the whole day checking out each local vendor. The free event offered a generous selection of fine food and drinks.

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The Food

Heading to the event, it was our intention to buy lunch there. We would find a vendor that appealed to our tastebuds and purchase lunch from them. But, booths were giving out free samples. And of course, I took each free sample I could get. Cheese, bread, fish tacos, pumpkin pie, cookies, and coffee were handed out for free. After devouring what seemed like my 20th free sample, I was full.

To be fair, we did pay for a fun, interactive wine tasting event held at the festival. California wine really is a marvel.


The culture and community made this event special to me. Back in Toronto, locally grown foods aren’t celebrated or even acknowledged as much. Seeing thousands of people come out to applaud their local food culture was charming and quite inspiring. In a city that is so diverse with national identities, I appreciate the bond the food culture established for the citizens of Sacramento.

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If You’re Going To San Francisco

The first stop on my exploration of California was San Francisco.

Travel, travel, travel. My mind constantly repeated this word. Coming to Sacramento, I knew I wanted to explore the State. And finally, after 2 weeks of laying low in the old Sac Town, I was off to a bigger city.

The skyscrapers, local traffic, and swarms of people in SF made the city feel like home to me. Being from Toronto, I missed the busyness of a large city. My weekend trip to San Francisco was the ultimate beginner’s trip. Tourist attractions, sleazy clubs, and wild Uber rides sum up my exploration quite well.

Here is the essential touristy guide to exploring the beautiful San Francisco (in the form of my photos).

Lombard Street

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Golden Gate Bridge

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Pier 39

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The Nightlife


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The Eats

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