I Have Arrived in Sweden


I Have Arrived!

After 20 hours traveling, 4 cities, 3 planes, and 2 continents, I have finally arrived in Sweden for my study abroad program! With a few minor set backs as well as a few new friends, I have finally begun my new life.

After a testy goodbye, I boarded my first flight which flew 3 hours from Tampa to Toronto. I sat next to this very nice couple named Corinne and Steve. I told them why I was crying and they were very interested in my exchange. Corinne told me that she used to work in Sweden on-and-off for years. We shared many stories together and it was nice to make a friend right off the bat. They also helped me fill out my immigration form when they could tell I was struggling! Once we landed, we said our goodbyes and I headed off to the baggage claim to retrieve my suitcase and begin my 8 hour layover.

Bag Scare #1: Once I got to the baggage claim, I waited for my bag to come. Soon, the bags began to lessen along with the rest of the people on my flight. A man and a daughter who were also missing a bag took me under their wing and we searched for our bags together. Luckily, customer service for my bag quickly found it, as it had been put on the wrong carousel! (He however was not so lucky!)

Flight 2 was 6 hours long and headed to Reykjavik. I sat next to a man named Derek and we talked the whole way. He and his wife were taking their children on a trip around Europe for a month. I was just as interested in his travels as he was with my trip. Since he had been to Sweden before, he gave me ideas for places to visit in Stockholm and told me about the people.

Sometime between the many documentaries we watched of why Iceland is so great, our laughter, and our commentary, I was looking out the window and saw the Northern Lights!!! I freaked out because I had never seen them before and have always wanted to. I was so excited and couldn’t stop staring at them. What better way is there to see the Aurora Borealis than in the warmth of your plane flying parallel to them??


Shortly after that I ordered my very first airplane meal, 3 sliders. Unfortunately, they were not as good as the ones at Chili’s, however they were surprisingly better than I expected. Around 1 AM, the sun set putting out the prettiest sunset I have ever seen. You could see every color so distinctly. It went from red, to orange, to yellow, to green ( I’ve never seen that in the sky before!!!), and finally went to blue. We could finally see the water we were over and the clouds which looked so cool. Iceland soon came into view, with its Mars-like terrain, and I knew I had just completed 3/4 of my traveling. When we landed, I sadly said goodbye to my new friend Derek and walked into the Iceland airport.


Iceland is pretty much where everything went wrong. With only an hour until my next flight, I was already nervous I wouldn’t make it. Before we could go into the airport, we had to go through another set of security because apparently Iceland looks for different things than anywhere else. After almost 30 minutes, I cleared that and made my way to the gate. Before I got there I had to go through immigration which took forever!! (and the man in front of me who took 10 minutes alone was no help either). Finally, I was free to head to my plane, which was already boarding. When I got there the line seemed to be a mile long so I knew I was safe. On this 3 hour flight I sat next to two Chinese women who didn’t speak English, so I thought it would be good for a nice nap.

I must have been tired because when I woke up, we were flying over Sweden whose landscape is too beautiful to put into words. I instantly had a huge smile on my face and couldn’t stop because all my excitement was just beaming out of me. When we landed, I couldn’t wait to just grab my bag and finally get my bag.


Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy. When I got to the baggage claim, my bag wasn’t there AGAIN for some reason. Luckily, this time I knew what to do. I went to customer service where the man told me my bag had been stopped in Iceland for some reason, thank you so much Reykjavik. Luckily, it is supposed to come early tomorrow so he took my information so they could deliver it. Being in an amazing country, I was not going to let a little bag get me down. I headed out and my amazing host family was waiting there to greet me!


They were all hungry so we decided to go for a small meal at none other than McDonalds! I can’t think of a better way to welcome an American exchange student to a new country. Our drive home was a little under and hour, but I didn’t mind it at all. We went through a little of Stockholm and we listened to Swedish music the whole time. When we finally arrived to my house, my two host sisters gave me a tour and I think my favorite part is that we have a basement! I just think that’s super cool.


We really only went home to change and then quickly left to go to my host mom’s brother’s wedding dinner. He and his fiancé of 11 years, which is apparently normal in Sweden, got married that day. The dinner was at a restaurant on the water and the weather was so nice that we were able to sit outside.


They kept saying I brought the nice weather with me!


I have to say, my first Swedish meal was amazing. With three courses I was completely stuffed at the end.


Once we were home again, we decided to go for a walk to my school so they could show me around. It wasn’t far at all and we went down to the water right behind it for a beautiful view. It’s safe to say that Florida’s water is definitely warmer. After our walk we went home and I gave them their gifts! I think they like them all. Papa got a Starbucks mug that says Florida on it, Mamma got a decoration with a saying about sunshine, Ebba got a left-handed notebook, and I gave Anna and Alex and Ani bracelets. We talked the rest of the night and then went to bed. Tomorrow we are going on a road trip to Trollhättan to visit my grandma. I will write about our mini vacation in my next post!!


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