And so...

Umea Travel Blog

 › entry 21 of 38 › view all entries time is quickly coming to an end here in Sweden. I literally have three weeks from today until I leave for Austria. I'm excited but at the same time sad to leave. I'm excited to go hike around Austria and maybe make it into Italy for a couple of days. I'm excited to go home and see familiar faces and have familiar things around me but at the same time I'm not. I'm not excited to leave what has become my new family, literally that's what they feel like. We gather at least once a week for a dinner together and spend a lot of time with each other. I'm finding it hard to believe that I've been here since January. It feels like so much and so little has happened since then. I've broken myself a few times with knives and bedposts, gotten to know many nationalities and some of their customs, learned how to grocery shop in a foreign language, and so many other things. The amount of daylight I see has drastically changed since I've come here as well. Back in January the sun was out for a few hours a day and now it's completely reversed, I see light most of the day except for a few hours at night and even that's getting shorter now.

I still remember my first day getting into UmeƄ at 2.30 in the afternoon in the pitch dark after many long hours of travel and no sleep. I forgot my Sweden address at home and the lady at the housing office said she couldn't give me my key because of it. I remember sitting in her office about ready to cry from exhaustion because she was being completely unhelpful and not willing to look up my address in her computer. I remember bonding a few days later with a few new friends who were complaining about the same lady being unhelpful.

I also remember going out my third night here with Annika, who was my new American corridor mate, to the international pub. I also remember trying to get home in multiple inches of snowy slushy gook and getting lost since there are no street signs and our neighborhood looks all the same. I also remember skipping part of orientation with Annika. We were a little fed up with it when they told us to wear hats, dress in layers and don't wander down dark alleys (seriously, they said all that!).

I have learned some things about Swedes and Swedish culture though. They love their lines. You have to take a number and get in queue to return your library books. Fortunately, there is never a line at the library. Don't believe a word what people tell you about Swedes. They really aren't all that shy and reserved, especially once it gets warm out. You also have no chance at becoming a Swede if you can't sleep when its light out. They also don't do things in bulk over here. The only thing you can buy in bulk is a pound of potatoes from the grocery, that's about it. I've also learned that Swedes do not wipe down machines after working out. It is one of the most disgusting things to me and every once in a while I'll get a stare for doing it. I've also learned that you can easily cheat the your way through Sweden with a Eurail pass in the off season. The ticket people seem to forget how they work in off season and rarely ever mark the pass. I think the most important thing I've learned while being here has been to be open minded and adventurous about new experiences; being able to laugh when you screw up or make a fool of yourself.

I guess part of me doesn't want this to end cause it's a great life over here. Despite the fact school is almost non-existent in my life, I still find plenty to do each day. I can actually cross of one of the goals in life; which was to live in a different country for at least a few months and Sweden was my preference for that. At least I know I still have plenty of traveling and things left to do in life too. I have plans for weekend trips to Chicago to meet up with Annika and Kline, the other Americans. Also a trip to New York next summer to meet up with the family and have a little reunion. Who knows what else will happen or where else I'll end up some day.
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photo by: Sjoshie