Just like every coach I had in high school made VERY clear to me, I am a student before anything else. And that is true. I am here to learn and go to school and study… BUT! I am also here to explore, have memorable experiences, and not spend all my time in a classroom!
This week has been about doing things for fun. Because why NOT!
First of all, if I have learned anything about moving away from home – and now moving away from the USA – it has been to appreciate my alone time. I have the ability to make myself happy and pleased independently of others. My alone time is special because I have the power to do what I want and bring myself joy.
Specifically, I have been able to play piano and sing a lot because of my host family’s piano in our house. My favorite moments thus far have been when I have late start mornings, watch the sunrise over the Baltic Sea, make myself a latte, and play piano. It is a perfectly relaxing, uplifting start to my day and week. I have taken a lot of time to appreciate these moments.
In the evenings, there is so much else to do! I have been attending Queers and Allies (Q&A) club the past few weeks and it always makes me happy. We meet once a week, get free fika (!), and either play games, watch a show together, or just talk about our lives/current events. It is relieving to spend time with a group that makes me happy and has given me really interesting, fun friends to spend my time with.
When there is nothing planned to do, never fear. There is always something to do in this city. Wandering around T-Centralen and getting lost looking for the PERFECT coffee shop. Finding a small cafe and randomly taking a chance on the food inside. Taking the subway to a random stop and enjoying the area. Going out on the weekend with friends! I have never felt bored in my time living here. As long as you throw yourself into it and get out of your comfort zone, there is something new to see or do every day.
One of the museums I have explored so far is the Vasa Museum. It tells the story of a grandiose ship built by the Swedish king in the 1600s. To be the envy of all the European powers and to establish Sweden as an imperialist nation, it set sail with much celebration and fanfare. Yet, it sank less than 100 meters into its journey. Oops!
This museum was beautiful and really telling of the history of Great Power Sweden. Although many Swedes look back on the time in history when it attempted to be an imperialist power and laugh (teehee!), it is a great reminder of how strong this nation is. Not in its conquests necessarily, but in the ambition of its people.
Lastly, my latest adventure has been with my host family! We spent a day at Exploria, a trampoline/arcade/ballpit/laser tag adventure park! I had way too much fun as a 21 year old playing with my little host cousins in the ball pit and on the trampolines. Although I lost epically at laser tag, I got this great gem of Julian and I.
I have been learning a lot through my adventures outside the classroom. Take some time for yourself today and enjoy what is around you. Do something new and explore! Get out of your mundane bubble and engage with your environment. Be present! It’s worked out for me so far, and I’m sure it will for you.