Lately, it’s as if time has a mind of its own. I can barely remember a time before I called Stockholm home, let alone the first few days here. Now, it feels like the semester is already starting to come to a close, even though we have (a little) over half left.
The first half of the semester, one thing that kept me going was seeing my parents in Amsterdam and then getting to show them around Stockholm. I remember tearfully departing them in August and already looking forward to that moment. And, this past weekend, it was finally here! I was extremely excited to show them the city that I have come to love so much, and by the end of their three days here, I think they could finally understand why.
We started off the weekend at the Vasa Museum, something I had been saving for their visit. I had heard that you should give only a maximum of an hour or so for a visit to the Vasa, so I suggested we could also try to go to ABBA after. However, with my parents being history enthusiasts (especially my father), we ended up spending over two hours there and had to put ABBA on hold for Monday. All in all, it was okay because the Vasa is an extremely impressive sight in person.
After our morning at Vasa, we headed to Gamla Stan so I could show my parents a favorite Swedish tradition of mine: Fika! We ordered so much food that we looked like pigs and many leftovers were taken, but it was well worth it. My mom also loved the Kannelbullar, which I was very excited about.
That night, my parents and I met up with my visiting host family at Gröna Lund (the amusement park in Stockholm) to check out its Halloween theme. This was definitely a collision of two worlds for me, but my parents and host parents got along very well and were content with chatting together while myself and the other kids went on the rides and into haunted houses. This was also a nice treat for me because I didn’t think I’d have the chance to partake in many Halloween traditions in Stockholm (though it turns out Swedes love Halloween, maybe even more-so than Americans).
On Sunday, we went on a boat tour of Stockholm, had more fika, and checked out a vegan buffet (Hermans) for dinner. On Monday, we finally made it to ABBA in the morning before I had class, and then I gave them a tour of DIS before saying goodbye again until December. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be to say goodbye (even though there were a few tears), and I think that’s mostly due to the fact that the semester is going by sooo quickly.
My parents planned to come at the halfway point, and now that they’re gone, the semester is already more than half over. It feels like time moves even faster here than it does back at school for me, and I already thought a semester there was over in the blink of an eye.
This has truly been one of the best times of my life, and I’m constantly reminding myself to put things into perspective when I get stressed out or homesick. Tomorrow, I leave for Scotland with my core course and though it’s stressful to go on a long travel week again so soon, my mom reminded me today that I could be back in Southern Minnesota right now. Though I love my home, she’s right. It’s easy for me to get travel anxiety, but in retrospect, the time I have here is so short and I want to soak up every minute of it.
Soon, I’m planning on writing a post about hardships while studying abroad. But even though this semester has held some very difficult times for me, it’s also held some of the best moments and times of my life. Something I’ve tried to tell myself thus far (and what I hope to continue doing) is to just go for it. Book that trip that’s only $50 even though you never would do something so spontaneously back home. Try partaking in that Swedish tradition even though you feel like an idiot doing it. These are things I would probably never do back home (especially spontaneous trips), but studying abroad has taught me so much about myself and how to appreciate life in the moment in ways I wouldn’t be able to back at my home college.
So, in short: thank you for a great two months, Stockholm. I look forward to the two more and all that you have to offer.