One Week Down in Sweden

One Week Down in Sweden

Crazy to think that I have already been in Sweden a whole week. The time has really flown by and I am sure it will continue to move fast and before I know it I will be back in the states.

The week was filled with many ups and a few downs. One of the best ups is simply the town itself. This morning I went for a quick walk to the grocery store. As it was Sunday Kvantum (the main grocery store) was the only thing that was open, so the town was essentially empty. I used this to my advantage and really took everything in on my walk. The quaint coffee shop, Komin, the ice rink in the town square, the beautiful gold detailing on the church, the hundred year old cobble stone streets, it is enough to truly take ones breathe away.

Another one of my favorite parts of the week has been all of the walking. At first I was a bit hesitant because as Americans we are used to driving just about everywhere. I have found that all of the walking is great and is something I really would like to continue once I am home. Walking really clears your mind, not to mention all of the health and environmental benefits that come from it. You also feel a sense of accomplishment when you walk somewhere to get something. I do not quite know how to describe, it is something you must go out and try for yourself!

The relaxed and simple way of living I at first found hard. Waking up to complete quietness, leaving the Tv off during the day, never really knowing the exact time of day, were all things very foreign to me. However, as the days go on I have started to enjoy it more. Here I am not constantly bombarded with advertisements, load noises, and people glued to their cell phones. I began reading a lot more, going on long walks everyday, and overall just spending more time focusing on me.

While visiting a new country, perhaps one of the most exciting things that people look forward to is trying out all of the new local cuisine. My first day here I had a very traditional Swedish salad that included cucumbers, a type of potato salad, and some little shrimp all on a bed of greens. The shrimp were amazing I must say, they had so much more flavor then those in the US. Besides the salad I have also had some great sweets at Grandmas house – a frozen lemon custard, savory cinnamon rolls with raisins in them, and Semla which is like a bun filled with cream and sticky cinnamon. Tonight we are having a type of potato sliders that are filled with meat among other things, should be good!

While my first week in Sweden has been overall great there have been a few downsides. One of the biggest one being the jetlag I encountered. I am a girl that loves her sleep, so not being able to get my usual 10 hours was a challenge for me and functioning in a brand new country on merely a 2 hours of a sleep a day is not something I would recommend. However, as time went on it has gotten better. In the scheme of things it is a very minor set back and one that is easily overcome with a little time.

In general it is always just a little hard study abroad the first few weeks I am sure. Living with a family you have never met is quite the experience. Getting to know each other and falling into a completely different routine can be a challenge. Finding out when it is okay to shower, do laundry, watch Tv, where cups are, are just a few examples. My host family has been wonderful though and the transition has not been too hard for me which I am very grateful for.

Constantly being surrounded by another language that you do not know can be hard. 90% of the time I feel like I am in my own little world because I just have no idea what people are saying. Surprisingly though it is pretty easy to tune out, and although I have only been here a few days I am already started to pick up on a lot of key words and phrases. Sweden is also very nice because almost everyone speaks at least a little English, so I am still able to communicate with most on a basic level at least. This makes going out on my own into town a lot easier.

Overall, I am very happy with how the first week has gone and excited to see what the next weeks will bring! For now I am off to have some lunch and then possibly go to the sauna later.


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