Learn Svenska with BetterCurly

In Sweden, residents know how to speak in English but most of their signage are in Svenska/Swedish. Just like the messages flashed in LED signage on the train or bus. I also noticed that most of the restaurant's menus are written in Swedish and I seldom found English translations huhuhu :(

Glad that I have my Google Translate mobile app with me whenever I travel solo. I also downloaded the English-Swedish translation package so I can always access it even without internet connection.

And before going to Sweden, I also tried learning the language through Youtube videos.
See this Swedish guy - Eric Edler's tutorial videos in Youtube; he's charming too ;)

Well,  here are my top 7 Swedish words and phrases which I hear a lot and I now use to converse as well. So let's start with...

Hej! - Hello; Hi.
photo: at Historiska Museet
Bra! - Good/Great.photo: at the Gamla Stan
Tack. - Thanks.
Hej då! - Bye.
photo: at the Steninge Slott near Märsta outside of Stockholm
Eller hur? - Right? Their version of our "Di ba?" 

Chilla [slang] - (to) chill; (to) relax 
photo: at the Norra Dellen, Lake, located near Fonebo, Gävleborgs län
And Fika - a Swedish coffee break
photo: at Tant Bruns Kaffestuga (Aunt Brown Coffee Shop) in Sigtuna
Of course, it's also good to learn how to say 'I love you' in Swedish.
Just say, 'Jag älskar dig'   

Anyway, I already know how to count 1-10 in Svenska too, haha! Yes, I'm proud of my skill.

photo from Etsy
Take note that there are three additional letters to a Swedish alphabet: Åå, Ää, and Öö.  I'm still learning how to properly read and speak some words with these vowels.

So… our Swedish mini lesson ends here for now.
Until my next post :)
Hej då!

Hej! The Weather Is Good


One of the main and necessary topic or ingredient in a typical Swedish conversation.

Local:  Hej! (Hi.)
Visitor: Hej!
Local:  Hur mår du? (Then he/she will notice you're not from Sweden and then will speak in English) How are you?
Visitor:  Good. Thank you. How are you?
Local:  Good! Uh… It's a good day. It's really hot.
Or not…
Local:  Uh.. Just okay (doing hand flips). The weather today is not good.

It's summer season in Sweden and most people are always outside to catch the heat of the sun. But summer here is kind of unpredictable since some days are cloudy or with clear blue sky then windy with little rain; and some are just cold grey days.

Just like when we spent some days in the summer house of a loving and warm Swedish family where the weather was changing every day. But the view outside their cozy home is just serene and green. It looks like a painting of a nature landscape in countryside. They said that nothing much changed through the years and it's still as peaceful and beautiful as before.

Here in this place you'll see God's awesome creations and appreciate a moment without the city noise and lack of internet connection. I'm using a Swedish prepaid sim but it's pricey to spend it for mobile surfing but glad that my sister had internet connection on her phone so I can check my mails in an instant.

The other day, it was really cold and I can't go out so much but my sister said that August in Sweden is so much like this: cold weather and gray skies.

But luckily, I captured a stunning twilight sky. Do you see the full moon?

I think I've also taken a photo of a comet or maybe a fireball? I was searching in the internet if a comet passed our atmosphere this week but I couldn’t find anything about it. But I’m a little sure that it's not a jet or plane. Anyway, here it is.

And since summer is ending soon, my sister brought me in to the woods to pick blueberries. I'm not outdoorsy but I really tried to help her picking hehe! She's really happy doing this and if I were not insisting to go - she'll probably spend the rest of the afternoon in the forest until her pale was full of berries. That morning, my sister and her family also went berry-picking.

And when we had a clear blue sky one day - we went swimming in the lake at Fonebo, Gävleborgs län and guess what? The water was supeeeeeer cooold! 10-12 degrees Celsius maybe. It was just like trying the ice bucket challenge!

Then we also drove to the mountains to eat SIA glass [ice cream], SIA is a Swedish brand, at the Avholmsbergets Restaurang.  From the top is the breathtaking view of the Lake Norra Dellen.

I'm so happy and thankful to whoever invented the camera, the panorama and the video! Bra!
Thank God for this fun and memorable vacation. I already accomplished a lot in my bucket list.

God is good!

Hej from Sverige!

I've been in hiatus in my blog for a month because I'm spending my fun "hashtagged" yey vacay moments in a Nordic country called Sweden/Sverige now.

Here, I also celebrated my blog's 6th anniversary. Such an awesome way and place to recall my blog's journey and start a new chapter.

Because amazingly, almost every place where I've been were absolutely picture perfect. The country is beautiful and calming. Thank you Lord for everything 

I update my Instagram account from time to time though.
And here are some of my photos. You may check more of my photo travel diaries here.


Just Got Older! It's BetterCurly's Birthday

Happy Birthday to BetterCurly blog!

Yey, another year!!! Now officially a six-year-old page and a warm home to my swirly and random thoughts. I'm really glad that God inspired me and gave me courage to start this blog in 2010 with only one goal in mind: BE BETTER NOW OR NEVER.

This blog is a treasure to me. Writing here lets me discover more about my heart and what's happening to the other side of my walls. As I've said last year: "This blog had opened doors of opportunities, new friends, inspirations and encouragements which I never thought could come in. Little by little, I gained confidence in myself."

So today, I encourage you to set aside your fears and take risks to pursue what you really really love. Sometimes, it's okay to move without waiting for inspirations and perfect timing and just let things happen.

As for me, I just keep on writing, doing artworks, taking photographs and serving the Lord through our ministries. But I usually do a lot of prayers before I go and pursue something. I pray for God's wisdom, courage and strength so for whatever fears, doubts, and testings which might come, I'll be confident that He'll be with me and help me move forward and then soar higher.

God is able to create something from nothing because He is our Almighty Creator and is sovereign.

But whenever I don't have peace in my heart, I pause for some time and reflect on it. I seek God's Word and ask the Lord for confidence. Because as I want my works to be beneficial to me; I hope for someone out there who is getting/feeling better after seeing/reading what I posted online. I feel so glad every time I read someone's message to me saying they got inspired and could relate to me well.

I hope to see more courageous people out there pursuing what is good and helpful to everyone. I remember a line from 2009 CNN Hero of the Year Efren Peñaflorida's speech: “You are the change that you dream and collectively we are the change that this world needs to be.” We can help the society and this world through our passions, hobbies, habits and random interests. As long as we do our part with excellence. So stand, move and fly. Try moving and you then will discover the incredible things waiting for you.

Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of NEEDTOBREATHE’s great music and here’s Difference Maker and of course The Heart – perfect songs for my blog’s anniversary J

Thank you for reading and following my curly adventures! Until my next post :)
God bless!


The Deal

Fourteen years ago, I received the saving grace that gave me a big opportunity to walk a purpose driven life. It was during an intimate moment with the Lord Almighty in a place of jam-packed crowd of young people seeking changes and God's presence in their life. 

Ate: Sige na, sumama ka na sa (youth) camp na ito.  
Ako: Ayoko. 
Ate: Sumama ka na, at pagkatapos nyan, hinding-hindi na kita pipilitin mag-church kahit kailan. 
Ako: Ok. Deal. 
*Ate - big sister

I didn't go to sleep that night before the event. My heart's still hesitant for I'd be going without someone I know, or at least from our home church. I was not happy to socialize with other people. 

Before the break of dawn, we ate breakfast. I took a bath. I brought a borrowed bag of clothes and a borrowed Bible from my sister plus a pocket money. We traveled to the big church and registered. There I saw the list of things to bring and I had no utensils and own plate.

I was neither excited nor my feet were willing to ride the bus to bring us to the campsite in a nearby province. I thought I left my heart back at home.

I had little chat with my seatmates but I wasn't open for friendship. My mind was into something else - the cravings of my selfish heart. Then we made a stopover for an early lunch and I brought home my used plastic spoon and fork so I could use something for this five-day hell week. Yes, with my grumpy spirit, my mind was bombarded with negative thoughts.

Upon arrival, we were directed to the sanctuary. We started with hi and hellos to fellow campers; followed by home rules to keep in mind. There I found a familiar face, a female church mate, who was also unexcited and bored already. She was snob but since we sometimes talked at church, we tagged along. Everyone was designated to several groups called tribes. Since my church mate, J, and I were the only representatives from our church... they put us into the same tribe: Simon. And then we went to our rooms to place our things for we're to start an activity and meet our tribe mates for the week.

We met our two counselors and co-members. They seemed nice and some of the guys were really funny. Thankfully, a female team member lent me her extra plate.

Challenge #1: we were tasked to design our tribe's flag. I helped conceptualized and was assigned to be the flag bearer. A specific rule for the flag was given: we should not allow anyone from camp organizers to take that away from our team "anytime". It'd represent our soul and spirit so we must guard it with all our might. Deduction of points was enforced for every tribe that would fail to do the challenges and follow the rules.

"Okay, I'd be able to survive this week since I'm competitive and an achiever by nature.", I told myself.

I was a good flag bearer. I assumed I was a genius in hiding it. Some of the bearers suffered a lot protecting their tribe's flag from the "thieves". But I had good sleep for nights until it was taken away from me while celebrating our tribe's victory over some challenges. I was too happy and full of pride, unable to notice that the Speaker Pastor was already taking our flag out of my hands. I thought their team was at halt since it's awarding time.

What does this say about me?
When pride and success get in my head - I'd be lost again. That was totally an eye-opener.

And the most important lesson I learned from this experience:
while we're celebrating triumphs, the Enemy is not at rest, he's still there ready to do his job and devour us. That's why, we must be super cautious and prepared to defend our faith - in season or out of season.

And who would have thought that God was in business of crushing my heart and re-routing the track of my life in that summer camp?

He already prepared in mind this five-day event of laughter, tears, pain, joy, friendship, and revelations. That He would actually talk to me to convict me of my rebellion, self-seeking character, and secret sins. That I was in great need of Him and the gift of salvation but I was too shallow to understand its necessity in my life. For I was a lost sheep for so many years but He found me because He loved me first.

The Great Shepherd was already thinking about me and to every soul in that campsite during the summer of 2002. It was simply beautiful, touching and transforming.

God greatly dealt with me that week. He exposed the real issues of my heart.

Well, is He done with me yet?
No, as I've said before, I'm a work in progress. There are still issues in my heart but most of them are way different than what I had fourteen years ago.

I'm growing, thriving and not forgetting about His amazing love and sacrifice.

Because I sought Him, I found Him.
Then, He showed me how sufficient was His grace for us
and how wide, long, high and deep His love for us all.

I can still picture myself in that sanctuary on a Wednesday night of May. Pouring my heart out and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. I was comforted by the Father's love; healed and secured by Jesus' blood and sanctified by the Spirit.

That summer, I fell in love with God and made a powerful U-turn away from the lies of my youth and back to the True Lover of my soul. Of course, I came back to church as well and let Him take over my life since my freedom was paid by Jesus on the cross. Many of my co-campers became active at church and J became friendly with others. I just hope to hear from them again soon. I didn't own a cellphone during that time and sadly, I lost my address book. I pray that their souls are still in good shape and anchored in Jesus.

To this day, I'm still thankful that God used my Ate's authority over me to bring me to that life-changing summer camp. Thank God she didn't give up when I was hard to convince. Since then, we're serving God through His church together.

I pray that you'll also surrender to God's will. And if you already made the decision to live a life in Christ - I pray that you'll finish the race by faith and His grace. You must not give up, no matter how hard it is for Jesus is our strength.

A blessed day!
Love, MM