January, 2017 —it’s been a year.
Exactly a year ago, I landed on a country miles away from my hometown, freezing to death and standing awkwardly with a mind full of worries.
Little did I know, it was only a prologue of my whole journey.
Now, if someone asks me how I remember Sweden, these are the things I’d tell them:
Winter in Sweden was rough, but beautiful.
It was a bone-numbingly cold for someone who was accustomed to tropical climate like me. The cold made me feel it’s not necessary to take a shower, but once I took a hot shower I didn’t wanna go out -> my dilemma in a nutshell.
But with such a wonderful sight like this… I know I shouldn’t be complaining. Winter suddenly became my favourite season.
And now that I’m back in Hong Kong, it doesn’t really feel like winter anymore. #ntap #congkak
Nevertheless, Sweden is always pretty all year around.
Spring was still windy yet so pretty in pink—thanks to those cherry blossoms. And when summer was finally here, I was surprised by how the Swedes whole-heartedly embrace the sun. People could sit on a bench for hours, shades out, and gelato store was always full of people.
Riding my bike everywhere.
It took me quite some time to get a perfect bike—price, size, colour, bike features. It was just like finding a boyfriend, you know… things like: charming but he doesn’t like dogs, ok bye / smart and funny but miles away, so no / everything’s so fine but doesn’t really exist #FangirlLyf —the struggle is real.
Btw, in case you don’t know, this is me and Rubi (a reverse of Biru—the colour of blue):
I used to go around the town with her in the evening when I had nothing to do.
I was worried that I will lost her—I heard that bike stealing is quite an issue, tho. (but I guess my bike is just too small for an average adult here HAHAHA)
and on the days when I was about to leave Sweden, I got so emotional when I had to sell her so I cycled around the park near my dormitory—the one last ride.
The Cycle of Learning Swedish
It goes from “I’m gonna be here for 6 months I gotta master this language!” on the first lesson of my Swedish class, to “You know what, I’m done.” when I figured out everyone will just switch to English right away.
But that doesn’t stop me from saying hej, hur mår du? jag prata lite Svenska, tack! and then being so proud with it.
For the first time in my life, I went to see a movie alone.
I remember it was not so easy to ask people to go for a movie. A friend of mine said it’s a bit expensive, some said cinemas are just the same everywhere, and some just travelled a lot. And I always felt it would be so awkward to go there alone.
But one day, I won a free movie ticket for posting a picture of Lund Uni on instagram. So I decided to overcome my fear.
“Hej! What do you like to see?”
“Er… The Conjuring…?”
“…okay,” (awkwardly stares at me for 3 secs) “For one ticket only?”
I gave her an awkward smile. “Yes.”
And so there I was, sitting in the middle, upper row, surrounded by lovey-dovey couples. It was even more awkward when the song Can’t Help Falling in Love With You came out…
I swear The Conjuring couldn’t be any scarier.
Me and Bus No. 4 to Norra Fäladen
As much as I enjoy cycling, sometimes the weather just can’t cooperate with me. I tried cycling once, when it was raining snow… I looked so miserable as I was struggling to keep my eyes opened.
Bus no. 4 is the only bus that stops right in front of my housing area. It doesn’t stop at the Economics School, but it goes to the City Centre.
This picture right here, it was never intended to capture the bus… yet somehow I had a mixed feeling about it.
It reminds me how I many times I need to rush from my room to the bus stop, how I still missed it and so I had to wait for another 10-15 mins, how people said hej to the driver while tapping the bus card, and how it became a habit for me to sit on one particular spot (a single seat behind the driver).
And how I once decided to stop taking this bus for a week or so, just because I recklessly left my favourite beanie on one morning in February—they couldn’t find it, so it was gone. I know some people have lost more important things like wallet or bike, but it still broke my heart.
Köttbullar—all day, err day.
It was such a blessing that the famous Swedish meatballs are available in the supermarket—no need to go to IKEA. And I was so obssessed with it to the point it became an essential food… like, spagetti/noodles/chicken soup/fried rice + meatballs.
And I guess my obssession towards meatballs were so obvious that my Swedish friends were kinda amazed with it.
Me: (making a soup with veggies and meatballs)
Friend: It’s strange to see someone boils meatballs for a soup…
the other day
Me: (trying to cook fried rice with kimchi and meatballs)
Friend: Do you even fry them, now?
the other times when I cook something with meatballs
Friend: Sheren, do you like meatballs that much???
He told me that people usually will bake the meatball… which is something I’ve never tried. But then I did it anyway, and it was still tasty.
And when other girls bake cookies… I baked broccoli + meatballs at once. Amazing.
I never imagined I’d cook almost everyday.
As a clumsy person I always try to stay away from the kitchen. I never really cook something back in Indo or Hong Kong. But I got 3 pretty-fixed reasons that motivate me to cook (no matter how crappy my cooking skill is):
- It would be so costly to eat outside twice a day everyday. I think it starts from SEK 70 up to SEK 90 for a set of meal (similar in HKD). The thing is, I’d rather save my money for travelling around Europe… so yea.
- Most restaurants serve potato, salad, chicken, burger, and everything else other than rice.
For someone who is super Asian like me, it’s hard to call it proper lunch or dinner if I don’t eat rice.
- There are times that you just don’t feel like going out. There are only McDonalds and a Pizzeria if I only wanna walk for <10 mins. Or, I can go to the Food Court located at the mall, which is 30-40 mins by bus… so, okay, nevermind.
By the way, I once had a lunch with my friends at one cafetaria in the university building. At first I thought it’s just an ordinary canteen… but, god, everything is hella fancy I wanna cry.
That feeling when you’re surrounded by good-looking Swedish people…
Insecurity level: max. I mean, they are generally tall (taller than me, for sure) and blonde, with blue or grey eyes—completely the opposite of me. Also, most people are just simply fashionable. I remember I once spotted a guy coming out from the gym, wearing a black coat, scarf, and jeans. Like, how can a person be that cool after working out?
But I like the feeling of being somewhere with old buildings around, where nicely-dressed people walk their bike, carrying their postman bag.
And throughout my 6-months stay in Lund, one day I decided to went to McDonalds near my house for breakfast.
McD guy: Hejsan! Good morning! (insert a Colgate-smile here)
McD guy: What do u wanna have for breakfast?
Me: Uh… bacon? (or your instagram username, maybe?)
McD guy: Sorry, we don’t have bacon today. But you might want…. (I couldn’t hear him anymore)
On the other day, when my friend and I took a train from Copenhagen to Lund, the train was stopped for ID checking process. The moment when we saw one policeman came in and he looked so fine, my friend said, “how about we pretend we don’t bring our ID?”
One of the things I miss the most: the slow-paced life in Sweden.
Been living in Hong Kong for around 3 years, I am so used to rush everything and get impatient easily. Maybe that’s why, I immediately felt everything moves so slow when I studied in Lund. Partly because I was there for an exchange program too, so I don’t need to be kiasu when studying (5 hrs of class each week, guys).
It was summer, when the sun sets at around 9 PM. My friends and I had our dinner and decided to just spend our night watching the sunset.
There’s this particular hill nearby our living area, and it was, amazingly pretty and peaceful.
It was the moment when I felt so happy just because I could laid there, falling into my thoughts along with the evening breeze as the sky turns from orange into blue.
Sweden, particularly Lund, is where I left a piece of my heart.
Sometimes it makes me aching to see any picture of Lund on social media—it reminds me that I’ve been sitting there, or that I used to walk past that street. It makes me realized how much I love every corner of that little town.
I know 6 months are relatively a short period to call a place, home. But it just feels so nice to live in a place and cherish every moments as everything around you suddenly becomes familiar.
Here’s one last picture of a one fine day in Lund during summer.
ps: hey stranger who suddenly popped up but somehow makes this photo even more so-Lund, thank you!
Anyway, guys, thanks for putting up with me as I can’t stop talking about how I love and long to go back to Sweden (plus, being so cheesy sometimes hahaha).
You can see more in the video that I have posted previously—it’s just so heartwarming to read comments from others who are going to Lund or have been there before. Sooo if you wanna talk about Sweden, I am more than happy to share more stories!
Last but not least: Sometimes, time flies so fast that everything changes and moments are gone without us realizing—so let’s be more positive and cherish every moment. 🙂
Happy New Year 2017!
HK · January 2017