At the end of the first semester, I would like to take a moment and look back on what has been going on. Four months of Sweden have provided me with long dark days, new wonderful friends, and enough halloumi burgers for a lifetime.
Let’s dive in.
Ingen ko på isen
= No cow on the ice = Don’t worry. Aka one of the many weird Swedish sayings and words I have learnt while working insanely long shifts at the nation.
Oh wow, nation life as a club worker has been filled with superlatives. I have worked the longest and latest shifts of my life, I have partied the most I have in the shortest span of time, and I have connected with people faster than ever. I have learnt how to pour beer correctly, how to cook in a professional kitchen, how to skirt Swedish alcohol laws, and how to sing along to several Swedish (Christmas) songs.
My favorite memories include:
- our infamous conquests of the dance floor 15 min before the party stops
- blasting out shitty German music, which exposed innocents Swedes to Culcha Candela and DJ Ötzi
- philosophical conversations in early morning hours whether they be in pubs, our kitchen, in a shitty student apartment, or on a street corner
Now, my life as a club worker is over. It was definitely the right decision for me this past semester, however, I also can’t wait to do more actual fun stuff with my lovely co-slaves.
Staaaaad i ljuuuuus
= name of a song Swedes love to sing at the end of every party
Friends and family, this darkness has been no joke. With about five hours of daylight, a screwed-up sleep rhythm, and a lack of university, i.e. intellectual challenges, November and December have been a mental roller coaster for me. I definitely underestimated the impact sunlight has on my body in terms of energy and moodiness.
To prevent this severe lack of Vitamin of D from turning my annual pre-Christmas-post-October-blues into a full-blown SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), I decided to take measures. Thus, I visited the light room offered by the university pretty much every week and started taking Vitamin D supplements on the daily basis.
It is important to remember that it is okay to not constantly feel your best. And I am proud that whenever Swedish summer decides to arrive, I will have earned it.
Ett gott skratt förlänger livet
= A good laugh prolongs life.
A further highlight of these two months was definitely my trip to Amsterdam with my friend of ten years Nicole. We spontaneously got pierced, ate a lot, and cried over The Fault in our Stars, ’cause… duh.
Another highlight was my train journey back to Switzerland for Christmas. As an attempt to save the planet and visit some friends while doing that, I tackled the 2000 km by train. I stopped in Copenhagen, Hamburg, and Heidelberg. The latter of which confirmed what I already knew: I have the most wonderful friends back in good old blueberry town.
After spending this semester settling in, I hope to travel much more next semester. Ideas/plans for that include Lapland, Istanbul (to Flora!), Rome (to Adina!), Norway, Finland, and perhaps one more stop in Heidelberg. In addition, I am really hoping to spend Midsommar in Sweden.
= Swedes’ favorite swear word – just add ‘fan’ in anything
In other news, university has been a bit of a disappointment. So far, I have neither been truly challenged nor captivated by a course. Sadly, most of them are very broad and basic. As a student of a very specific degree, this has left me mostly unsatisfied. However, next semester I am studying more varied topics, which I hope will spark my passion for academics again.
Similarly, my Swedish language skills have been an exhausting journey. At this point, I can understand perhaps 80% of what is said and am constantly learning new words. NONETHELESS, it has proven to be very difficult to practice my speaking since I am not forced to switch to Swedish and my Swedish friends always switch to English (or make fun of me, sniff). Thinking back to the beginning, I have definitely made enormous progress, yet it annoys me to constantly address language issues and barriers.
We will make it work! I am still determined to attain fluency in this beautiful, quirky language!
Borta bra men hemma bäst
= away is good but home is best = stereotypical Insta caption
My first semester in Sweden has simply flown by. I am surprised by how comfortable I am in my shitty student dorm and especially at my nation. Already, I have learnt so much about Swedish mentality and culture. However, for these following months I hope to further decrease my status as ‘the foreigner’ and become even more integrated. By now I have many places I consider ‘home,’ which can be painful to coordinate, but which in the end is so rewarding and wonderful. I am excited to add Uppsala to the list.
Stay tuned for hopefully more posts next semester. The days are getting longer again, my spirits are awaking, and my agenda is overflowing. I am definitely feeling very grateful this Christmas!