This is my first time in Stockholm, as you all know, for Spring and Summer. I can say that I honestly did not expect the weather to turn so extremely Australian like! Having spent almost a year living in Australia before I moved to Sweden, I must admit it gets confusing sometimes when I wake up and my room feels like a sauna, add this to the constant sunshine, soaring temperatures and the fact I now have a bike (as I did in Australia) it feels all too familiar and unexpected in this Northern country. This is not to say I am complaining, Stockholm is truly at its most beautiful when the sun is out, when the trees and flowers are in full bloom and it is bursting with life. This is either from people cycling, jogging, picnicking or swimming or by the birds in the trees and the rabbits and squirrels running around foraging for food.
About to begin my cycle through the woods
Cycling by the Water
Enjoying the Sun in Djurgården- one of my favourite places here
It is beautiful and I am loving every minute! So this I have decided is a huge advantage of living here- the extremes in weather. In Winter you are treated to pure darkness, cold, snow and rain and vice versa once Spring/Summer hits. In my opinion I really appreciate this shift, it helps me to enjoy each season more readily, as opposed to if it were constantly hot and sunny, as was the Australian situation- as I am by no means a sun person, in fact I prefer rain (Irish remember… ). So now I am going for a cycle and a swim before I go to Karolinska for an event ‘How to be the the Best Leader Possible’ organized by a group of my friends who are Harvard Ambassadors here in KI ‘Women in Leadership’. I know how much work was put into this and I look forward to seeing this come to fruition.
Thats all for now, enjoy the weather in whatever country you may be!
In typical fashion, I’m going to sit here and tell you that my last few weeks have been busy – and that would technically be true – but now I’m officially on summer vacation and enjoying the slower, self-dictated pace of life. That being said, I hope to be somewhat productive with various pursuits, such as practicing my Swedish, traveling around Scandinavia with my family, and even laying the groundwork to be able to begin my master’s thesis work. I hope to accomplish a lot this summer both academically and socially, but it’s nice to have a little break from classes and have the option to take some days off here and there. Supposedly the entire country essentially shuts down for the month of July, and I’m looking forward to seeing what that looks like (and ironically that’s when I plan on doing the bulk of my academic work).
Through a friend/classmate (shoutout to Johannes!), I was able to sublease an awesome studio apartment in the city center this summer. I’m pretty sure he had to stay on the waiting list for like 5 years to be eligible for this student apartment, so it was nice that I could basically luck into this situation for the next few months. I’m really happy with the location, amenities, and the price isn’t half bad either, all things considered. I’m within walking distance to nearly all of the most popular areas of the city, which is nice after recently living in a more suburban area. Since I don’t have many of my possessions with me here in Sweden, I made the financially motivated decision to move via public transportation right before my last exam of the spring semester. So four bus rides later I was officially moved out of my old place and into the new place downtown. Then I took my exam and departed for the US at 6:00 AM, or 12 hours after finishing my exam. I wouldn’t recommend moving, taking an exam, and traveling overseas in a 24 hour period, but I did manage to pull it off with some careful planning. Here are a few pictures of my new place for the summer:
I actually have an oven now! Photo by Brett Seward.
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Before I first came to Sweden I associated the country with blue and yellow Ikea, the world famous Eurovision sensation ABBA, meatballs (even as a vegetarian I know these are good homey Swedish food); I associated Sweden with Phoebe in the American sitcom “Friends” playing a Swedish masseuse but maybe more serious and something I aspire to win one day: the Nobel Prizes (yes I intend to win them all . However, during my first trip here I experienced a side of Sweden that for me is one of the best aspects of Sweden.
Sweden has a population of around 10 million people. The main cities are Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo. However, a large part of Sweden is the countryside, the rural aspects that are not only people but deer, moose, fox, hares, owls and all sorts of other fascinating creatures. To me the Swedish countryside could easily be a place I could call home!
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For me, as for Bryan Adams (please, don’t judge my music taste) and for a lot of you I guess, summer is a special time of the year. As one Russian song says: “Summer is a small life”, meaning that it’s a whole life on its own, isolated from the rest of the year.
At the end of every scholar year I have the feeling that summer is going to bring something, something exciting, something incredible in my life.
And here, in Sweden, the relation to summer is even more particular.
I had a conversation with a Swede who told me that for a lot of people in northern Europe, Scandinavia and especially in Sweden, summer is a sort of a huge getaway. Summer is the time that everyone is waiting for, the time during which we can do everything we were dreaming about during the cold winter. And especially in Sweden summer brings hope and people believe that it will arrange things and everything will be better afterwards.
Summer is here, and then there is nothing.
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