It was my second semester in college, Spring 2011, when I made my first Swedish friend. At the beginning of every new semester I would walk into a brand new classroom feeling excited and in that first 60 seconds would immediately scope out every individual seeing which ones I would best relate to- who would become my friends and sit right next to them. Every semester, without fail. I remember strategically sitting next to 2 girls on my right and a guy on my left- quickly becoming friends with all of them. One of the those 3 happened to be a Swede. I was 18 years old and I barely even knew where Sweden was on the map let alone having a friend from Sweden or anywhere else outside of the valley I grew up in. Even attending SMC at 17 was a huge "adventure" which I embarked on. I admired her so much, she wore floral boots and an undercut hair style. I was so curious to know about her and where she came from and what life was like in Gothenburg. I remember telling her that I was going to come to Sweden some day. The next semester I remember sitting on the patio with Spencer and he (lover of blondes) was pointing out the crazy amount of Swedish people that attended our school. They must have taken up about 10% of the school population…I mean, they were EVERYWHERE. They were tan, blonde, wore white converse and were always speaking in some foreign language I could never could understand. I remember half way through 3 years at SMC, I started noticing a group of Swedes that were in the photography program I was fully indulged in. They were in the classes below me so I didn't really get the chance to become friends with them but I wanted to be. I wasn't going to graduate college without being their friends. It wasn't until my last semester in college when I friended SO MANY of them. Maybe 12 of them. I remember talking to Niklas last year about Sweden and how in the summer sometimes the sun never sets- and how they get crazy amounts of daylight. That was the exact moment I told myself I would go to Sweden the following summer. I remember one Swede telling me he didn't believe me, that all people say they were going to come but never actually do it and THAT was the moment I sealed the deal and promised myself it was going to happen because when it comes to traveling, I fulfill my promises.
Well now I'm here in the heart of Stockholm and my adventure has only begun. It's been fun, beautiful, confusing, and unique thus far. Days have been filled with homemade meals, lots of "Fika", walking, modern/weird museums, subway rides, great and meaningful conversation, Swedish subtitles, floral wall paper and patterned furniture, "simple" "typical" and "super", pastel buildings and lots of windows, church sermons in Swedish, great playlists, water closets & drying closets, beautiful human beings, hope, and extensive chatter of the weather.
It's been such a culture shock being here. I've never in my life been in a place where I was almost helpless. Having to rely on other people for directions, translation of language and basic knowledge of living..example; the grocery store. It's definitely one of the most interesting feelings in the world but it's okay, for once in my life I am not the "planner" or in control at all of situations ahead of me. I'm learning a lot about silence, simplicity and myself and I'm really….really trying to learn Swedish ;)
It's all so interesting. It's interesting to me how I was so interested back then and how I'm still SO interested now. For some reason God has placed Sweden, Swedes and Swedish so heavily upon my heart. It's a magnetic force I almost cannot explain but I guess God Himself cannot be explained. The journey has only begun and I'm off to Linkoping tomorrow, which is southwest of where I am currently. If all goes as planned, I'll be here till July where there will be sunshine all day long and countless fields of flowers
If you're wondering why I'm here, I'm on a mission trip. I don't know exactly what I'm in for but I'm here to fulfill a purpose, to live out the last 3 years of my curiosity and to grow more than I ever have. I'm SO ready for it! God is good, ya'll.