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.

Shift to a Minimalist Lifestyle

I’m a hoarder, collector, and a compulsive buyer.

I buy things for temporary happiness. I keep things because of an emotional attachment to them. I keep buying, buying, and buying because I can never find true happiness in my purchases.

I have an obsession. Not only with the act of shopping itself, but with purchasing things that make me feel prettier, richer, and more stylish than others. Fuck, saying that out loud makes me feel like a bitch. But, it’s true. I would receive an immediate satisfaction upon purchasing things I really didn’t need. That satisfaction quickly fades after I use the products. If I even use the products. I have countless amounts of purchases that are still in the original packaging, still containing the price tags.

I now feel claustrophobic surrounded by all this stuff. I have thousands of articles of clothing on hangers, in drawers, on the floor, and in my luggage, because I have run out of space in my room to put them. I feel overwhelmed being in my own home, looking at all these things.

And I feel sad, sadder than ever, that 21 years and millions of purchases later, I’m still not happy. Materialism has done nothing for me other than put me in extreme debt at such a young age.

I think I’m in that rebellion, fuck normativity phase of my life. Or, I might just be realizing what is actually important to me. Something that very few people can accomplish. I’m realizing that material goods have and can never help me achieve true happiness. I feel the most happy when I’m merely just surrounded with the people I love.  I feel the most satisfied when I’m strolling through nature, taking in the beauty and alignment of an all natural environment.

I’ve decided to make the shift to a minimal life. It will definitely take time to completely change my lifestyle, but this is a challenge I’m ready and willing to take!