Welcome to Sweden

Umea Travel Blog

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After six months of planning, twenty six almost sleepless hours of travel I’m finally here in Umeå. I can’t say I have the greatest luck on planes seeing as how all three flights I was stuck by some screaming child. However, if you ever go to Stockholm, you get lots of leg room in the winter, and I mean three seats to myself a lot. All the travel tired me out enough to sleep through the takeoff of my flight up to Umeå. That was definitely a first for me! After all my careful planning I forgot one thing at home, my address. Well, of course they can’t give you your keys without an address. The woman at the housing office dug around a little for my address and handed me my keys about half an hour later. I think she felt sorry for me in my sad state and called me a taxi and offered me food and tea. The rest of my afternoon was devoted to sleep after a nice shower.

I left my room the next afternoon after hibernating in my room since the previous day. I first met my Iranian flatmate, who gave me detailed instructions on how to get to two groceries, but wouldn’t let me leave until I had something to eat with a glass of milk. I don’t ever remember someone that I just met being so hospitable! He asked me many questions about America and especially politics. I was amazed that someone from a country that isn’t so keen on America was so well educated about our politics. After chatting for a while, he offered to go with me to the grocery store, which I was very thankful for! Everything I looked at he told me what fruits had better flavor, which brands were worth the extra kronor and things like that. The labels in the grocery are very weird and I still don’t quite understand. It gives two prices with one large and one small. The only thing I’ve figured out about it so far is that the small one matters more…maybe I’ll figure it out someday!

I managed to meet all but one of my flatmates in the same day, who are all very friendly. I’ve got three Swedes, an Italian, and a Taiwanese, most of whom asked me right away if I was Swedish. So far it has been fun trying to adjust to Swedish life but there are weird little things that you just can't figure out sometimes. Swedes drive the same way we do in America, but if you're walking on the sidewalk its opposite. I couldn't figure out why people kept almost walking in to me. You better watch your step too because picking up dog poo is not common courtesy, surprising trait considering how Swedes are.
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photo by: harleyd