1. Sweden is BEAUTIFUL.
From cobblestone streets to ivy climbing up brick buildings, there is not a building or street corner that doesn’t catch your eye. What strikes me most about this gorgeous city is the architecture. I have yet to find an “ugly” building. I am convinced no such thing exists here. It honestly seems like there’s a castle on every corner (I counted five castle-like buildings on my way to the grocery store). Everything is so green and full of life here that you can’t help but smile at the natural beauty all around. There have been two separate occasions where I actually have stopped to smell the roses because they are just that potent from the other side of the cobblestone street that I couldn’t help but take a closer whiff. There is so much I have yet to see and already I am blown away by the beauty of this town. It is as if I am walking down the streets that my great-great-great-grandfather once roamed. The old-town architecture with it’s pink and yellow houses, wood-checkered walls, and bright blue skies is simply breathtaking and to think that I am lucky enough to spend five months living and exploring in this town still leaves me speechless.
2. You can walk everywhere.
You best put on those boots that were made for walking because that’s just what you’ll do! Nearly everything is accessible within a 10-20 minute walk which is so nice and convenient. Sure, when you’re lost for 45 minutes and carrying a 15 pound backpack and rolling a 40 pound suitcase in each hand over uneven cobblestone streets with an orthopedic foot brace that goes up to your calf and running on virtually 4 hours of sleep in the last 35 hours, yeah, walking doesn’t seem too fun. But when you’ve woken up to the sun shining through your window and the promise of a new and exciting day, walking around the city and getting lost seems like the most amazing way to explore your brand new surroundings. And it is. Not only is everything accessible by foot in Lund, Sweden, but it is beautiful to walk through as well. I have definitely found my new favorite means of exercise.
3. The Swedes do not deserve their reserved reputation.
Every single Swedish person I have had the pleasure of meeting thus far has been kind, welcoming, and accommodating to my 3-word knowledge of the Swedish language. From cashier clerks, to waiters, to new roommates, everyone has been sweet and helpful, which has made this transition infinitely easier than I anticipated. I would say, “hej då!” to the stereotype that Swedes are reserved, shy, and reluctant to interact with you, as my experience has been quite the contrary. In fact, let’s all make an effort to say, “bye-bye!” to stereotypes in general as they serve no purpose other than to promote false beliefs and negativity.
4. The Swedes sure love their candy.
Okay, you caught me. I guess I am generalizing (aka perhaps stereotyping Swedes) when I say that they love their candy. But oh my! I have seen more candy stores and varieties of candies than I have ever seen in my 20 years of existence in America! If you can think of the strangest combination of foods, the Swedes have probably made a candy out of it. That being said, I have not actually tried any of their candy (yet). While some of it looks quite strange, the majority looks amazing and I am sure is fantastic! Bottom line, there are a million different types of candies to choose from here in Lund, and I may or may not attempt to try them all. 😉
5. Being restricted is actually quite liberating.
Because I do not have a Swedish phone plan, I can only use my phone when I have access to wifi, which basically means I only use my phone when I am in my room. Sure, the coffee houses have wifi, but why be on your phone when you could be reading a good book or enjoying fika with a friend? It turns out that this very restrictive phone use has been one of the most liberating experiences of my life. I have already made a core group of friends within the last five days, and that is more than I can say during my entire first two years at college in California. The fact that I am not constantly checking my phone for the latest feed or retired old twitter quote has liberated me immensely. I feel like I am no longer dependent upon technology, and that I can just roam around the town taking in the beauty and culture around me all while being immensely, incredibly content. I have had great conversations with even greater people, and I have finally broken down my self-conscious barrier that had always kept me from talking to new people. If my phone worked, I’m sure I’d continue to hide behind it like I have all of these years. I do not have that luxury while I am out and about, and as a result I have explored my incredible surroundings and have made some awesome friendships.