From 12/29 to 01/05 I was in Åre Ski Resort with my first host family. We had a great time enjoying the slopes and riding all day. It was 5 days well spent in Sweden's biggest ski resort. We had a New Years celebration with a few other families that were spending their vacation time in Åre. They had fireworks in the town square and it was nice seeing how Swedes celebrate the New Year.

 Daniel Duenas.Sweden


Then on January 5th, all the exchange students in my town rotated host families. My second host family is great and they are kind people. For once in my life, I have an older brother! His name is Victor and we get along extremely well! 

From January 7th to January 13th, I was in Kiruna with another exchange student. Kiruna is a city extremely far north in the Arctic Circle. We were both keen on seeing the Northern Lights and late December to early January is the best time to do so. Unfortunately, we did not get to see the lights as the conditions were not right, but it was still an amazing experience regardless. There was snow EVERYWHERE and in some places up to our waists! A Beautiful little city. It has an enormous iron mine which that, along with tourism, support the city. We saw many famous buildings in the city and took a tour of the iron mine. Additionally, we went dog sledding! We were there a total of 5 days. I will be returning to Kiruna late March with other exchange students for a Rotary Trip!

On January 25th and 26th, I went with my host family to a small ski resort 3 hours north of where we live to celebrate a family friend turning 50 years old! I got the chance to ski for the first time in many years (I usually snowboard) and for the first time in my life I got to go cross country skiing. Cross country skiing is a lot harder than it looks.... I thought it was going to be quite easy, boy was I wrong! I went 8km and after I felt like I had just taken a bath, I was that sweaty! Regardless, it was wonderful trying new things and meeting new people. I got to practice Swedish almost the whole time and I made great friends. 

Daniel Duenas.Sweden   Daniell Duenas X

Overall, January was one of the best months of my exchange so far and I can only have positive feelings about the upcoming months! Thanks for emailing me John!

Sincerely yours,
Daniel A. Dueñas