The first time is always the hardest.
Don’t we all agree on this phrase?
(Well, maybe we can’t really remember our feeling in every first-time we’ve experienced, but anyway.)
In my third year of study, I made a decision to leave Hong Kong for an exchange program. And as an Indonesian living in HK for 2.5 years, I feel like this isn’t a big deal… Hey, I know what it feels like to survive on the first days in a new environment. It’s gonna be the same.
So yeah, after all crazy preparations: visa-that-takes-forever-to-get, credits transfer (I thought I have to defer my study), housing, and other little things… here i am now, in a country where IKEA comes from.
Ok, I know I’ve been here just for 4 days… but, hey, let me write you several things I experienced or felt since my arrival.
(please don’t expect something really amazing because I haven’t travelled a lot. This is just a beginning guys)
I live in Lund—a small city in southern part of Sweden. I took a long flight from Indo to Copenhagen, then a train to Lund, and then waited for the shuttle bus—no, actually it’s a van—provided by the university. (Btw, one van is for 6 people and there are a lot of exchange students waiting so I swear it felt like forever)
My dorm is building L in Delphi area. When the driver dropped me off at the main entrance, I was like, okay, I’m gonna find L and sleep soon. So I carried my luggage and wandered around…….. for 30mins to find this damn L.
ps: I gave up and decided to ask someone. You might wonder why I didn’t ask one in the first place… Truth is, there are not so many people walking around. I walked down on the streets—it’s 1ºC and dark already—as if I was in a horror movie. It was hella scary, no joke.
I asked someone (yea, she’s a person, thank God) and then she brought me to the front door of building L. Just when she was about to leave, “So…” I said, “Where is the elevator?”
“Oh,” she smiled. “Unfortunately the buildings here they don’t have elevator.”
[insert thunderstorm sound effect here]
I processed that sentence for 3 seconds and said, “Can I cry now?” Like, OH MY GOSH SERIOUSLY? First, I was so tired. And freezing. Second, I got a 34kg luggage with me. And third, I got a room on the 3rd floor. So, this lady is saying that I have to come up the stair carrying this 34-freaking-kg luggage? Like, really?
But then she helped me. So, we two went upstairs step by step that it made us hard to breathe, until we finally arrived at my room. That time I was so thankful for this lady—even until now, I still am. It made me believe that there are still a lot of kind people in this crazy world. #CryEvenHarder
“What, it’s dark already?”
It’s always been so hard for me, waking up to a deep blue sky even when it’s 8 in the morning. I feel like it’s still 4am and that I still have 3 hours to sleep. The struggle is real, man.
Like, okay, so I was also told before that the days are short here… but I didn’t expect that the sun sets at 3.30-4pm. I mean, omggg, you know that feeling when you went to a restaurant for lunch at around 1, and by the time you’re done… lights on the streets are on. It’s getting dark.
#foodprobs What should I have for breakfast-lunch-dinner?
I know this might sound silly but… I don’t normally cook. Well, I do, if instant noodle counts. Hahaha anyway, whether it’s in Indo or HK, I always find it easy to grab a food. I mean, there’s my mom who cooks very well and restaurants are everywhere in these two countries—not to mention the street snacks and dessert cafe. Okay, I’m hungry now.
Aaaand here, on my first days in Lund, I’ve been questioning myself: what to eat? Like, you will die soon if you keep eating instant noodle for 6 months, right. So yeah, my first dinner in here was… instant noodle (oh well), with fried egg!—it’s supposed to be, but I cracked it too excitedly plus I couldn’t flip it over perfectly so… yeah, it was a bit abstract.
But hey, things are not always bad. I’ve got two Singaporean friends and they love to cook. “We just love to try, we are not expert,” they said. Oh, really, to me you guys are amazing. So these 2 days we gathered and had our dinner—proper ones. Ha. Finally. And now I’m so inspired after I helped them with the cooking (YEAA I DO.) and I’m gonna prepare myself for every lunch/dinner. Deep down I know I can be a good chef.
ps: yesterday I just cooked fried rice with scrambled egg and meatballs by myself. I repeat, by myself. It was not a perfect one tho but stilllll. (no photo is taken because you cant judge food by its appearance right)
#np Do you wanna build a snowman?
The temperature is ranging from -6º to -9º and I’m all covered by slices of winter clothes. You know, as a person living in tropical countries, this is so hard for me. I’m freezing to death (ok, this is too much) and I can’t even feel my face… but it doesn’t stop me from playing with the snow! He-he. Even I was late to my Swedish class because I kept stepping and kicking the snow on my way to school. #norak #sorrynotsorry
To be frank, I feel like I’m living in a completely different world—I mean, obviously, with snow showers and cold weather, which I never experience in Indo and HK. But changes like moving from a compact-slash-crowded city like HK to Lund—where all you see is no skyscraper but grasslands, beautiful houses, and old fashioned buildings—it makes me scared sometimes because I find this place really new and unfamiliar. Or like, it’s easy and fast to travel in HK and I used to ‘compete’ with others just to get on the MTR, while people here ride a bike within Lund area and take the train to travel to another city… I mean, I don’t wanna walk along from my room to school because it’s cold. But to ride a bike, in this weather… is not a good idea either. #BiggestDilemmaEver
There are a lot of new experience and culture shocks I’ve encountered here, that sometimes I just feel like sharing or complaining about it to someone else. But just when I’m about to finish my day, I realize that nobody’s there. Oh, wait—even when it’s 6pm here, it’s 12am in Indo and 1am in HK.
You probably know, that kind of feeling. This long distance relationship is killing me. #EITS #SensitiveTopicAlert #LDRwithParents #OkStopTalkingAboutLDR
So yeah basically I will just tell my mom what I’ve been doing in that day along with some photos, how cold it is in Sweden, or how to cook rice with a rice cooker (seriously, Sheren?), or whatever. Then I’d close my whatsapp, knowing that I’ll get her reply when I wake up the next day—it’s like a one way conversation.
And sometimes, it makes me feel a little bit lonely.
I’ve survived my first days here, yay! #proudmoment
And as much as I miss Indo food (martabak, ayam goreng, sambel, I miss u guys a lot.) and its 25ºC weather, I am enjoying Sweden to the fullest. Everything seems so new and fun; everyone is so nice and I’m glad that I get to know people from all around the world.
All I can say is that my days here, are gonna be amazing.
I’m so looking forward to it.
Sending love from Sweden,
ps: to my Tujuh and my uno-mates (especially my #jijibanget buddies), I miss y’all… days in here are not the same without u guys.
pps: all photos are through my lens—i know i’m not an expert one tho.