How incredibly strange to say this, but I am going home.
It’s taking me a while–eight days to be exact–but this girl is no longer all about that fika and fermented herring, nope, it’s back to potatoes and cheese.
After exactly ten months filled with nation life, dark days, some strong coffee, and an explosive spring, the time has come. And in all honesty, I am ready.
What went on in these last few weeks?
Late May and early June were framed by a lot of shifts at my nation and many goodbye parties, dinners, and BBQs. June 3, I had my last exam on U.S. presidential media spectacles, which ended my career at Uppsala University. In retrospective, it’s a good university, but the Swedish education system just isn’t for me. And that is okay.
Around the same time, summer absolutely erupted onto Uppsala. Overnight, we jumped from 15° to 30° Celsius, and if you thought Central Europeans are bad with heat, you haven’t met Northern Europeans. However, I completely fell in love with Uppsala all over again. There is nothing more beautiful than ending a long shift by sitting on the dock at 2 am, listening to birds chirping, and watching the sunrise.
June 6, I had my (not-)goodbye event. A dozen friends and I hung out at GH garden, played some kubb, went out to dance later, and shared long hugs at 3 am. Having moved so many times in the past five years, I have grown very sick of goodbyes, but I’m glad we all got to hang out one last time.
Towards the end of my exchange, I was admittedly also quite excited to get back home. I want to move forward, study what I am passionate about, and not be the ‘foreigner’ anymore. I was sad to leave behind beloved friends, but I was not sad to enter a new chapter (wow, so cheesy).
June 14, the day had come, and I left Uppsala. It was very surreal, especially since I was in a lot of stress the final couple of days. With my two suitcases, weighing in at a shared ~35 kg, I took the train to Norway where I spent a week in the fjords and in Bergen.
Lemme tell ya, Norway is excruciatingly expensive. And quite touristy.
But boiii, is it beautiful.
If you have money to spare (I am talking €6 for a coffee), you should definitely visit and get absolutely blown away by Norwegian landscapes.
For my final days back in Sweden, I participated in something I had been excited about my entire year: midsommar. If you haven’t heard about this holiday, you can check out a video about it here. It is the celebration of the longest day of the year and considered the second–biggest Swedish holiday!
My sweet Lovisa had generously offered me to spend this day at her family’s sommarstuga (= summer house). It was amazing. We picked wild flowers and made ourselves flower crowns. We indulged in herring, meat balls, strawberry cake, and nubbe (= certain kind of snaps). And we danced around the midsommarstång to the song ‘Små grodorna’ (= little frogs).
The following days, we sailed, canoed, water-skied, and did a kvällsdopp (= evening dip) at 1 am. Swedish summer is truly unique: While the sun may be gone for a couple of hours every day, the orange glimmer never leaves the horizon.
Life is so vibrant, I never wanted to sleep.
June 25, I left Sweden to take the train home.
My year abroad is now officially over. It was a wonderful ten months, as you may have been able to see on this blog. Often I am asked why exactly I went to Sweden, which I still don’t really know. However, I have never once regretted my choice.
While I am aware that a year abroad is a big privilege–especially in a country as expensive as Sweden–I still want to take this opportunity to encourage you to step out of your bubble.
Get out there. It is worth all the effort and shitty goodbyes.
And to all my Uppsala lovies: Tusen tack, ni är toppen.