Saturday, December 24, 2011

When you wish upon a star your dreams come true...

Here are a few things I have been up to as of late:

Baking peppermint melting moments with Martina

Snuggling up to movies

Large family dinner at my aunt's parents house since my dad was here


Quaint Christmas markets including one in a barn with free glögg!!

Fika. fika. fika. fika.

Christmas present wrapping at Christina's sisters house with only the girls. A cozy night with Christmas music, candlelight dinner, and presents up to your ears to wrap. Swedes have a very Swedish way of wrapping presents!

Afternoon sunset from my room

Everything covered in ice

The following pictures are from the Lucia gasque at our nation (first of three julbords that week! mums!). Avery and I made three new friends that night. Three lively, bubbly Swedish girls who invited us back to their apartment between dinner and dancing. Too bad I left the following Wednesday. I think they might have become some very good friends!

It doesn't get any better when it starts SNOWING!!!!

The peaceful morning bliss after a snow <3

Our goodbye dinner with my CIEE study abroad group at the nicest restaurant in town, Lingon.

Julbord på Lingon med CIEE group

Last photos of my room :(

Uppsala's stora torget

Lights strung across Uppsala streets downtown

Gotta love Swedish Christmas decorations :)

Fika Ofvandahls

Tomtar hus!!!

Last picture of my precious bike

Skating in Stockholm center, on my list of things to do, but didn't get the chance

Seregel's torg

Gamla Stan-Stockholm

Dad's old house in Katrineholm, Babi planted those trees <3

And....we saw a MOOSE

Pappa's stuga outside Katrineholm

Does "The Notebook" ring a bell with this picture? 
Jul bok

Christmas klad table

David (Christina's nephew) is entertained by the fire

Miriam always puts out the best spreads!

Fika hos Miriam och Johnny

advent ljus

Gammaldags Julmarknad

Fika hos Veronica och Lennart

 My aunt lives right on the water making for stunning sunsets every night

View from the balcony

Christina's street :)

View of their building from the lawn
It was entirely too difficult to leave Uppsala. I haven't posted since before I left because it was too painful. I felt as if I literally just got my heart broken...again. I have fallen hopelessly in love with Sweden, as I said in my last post. But it's true. I am trying to imagine my life once I get back to the states, and although I may know exactly how it will go, somehow, I can't place myself there. Because you see, Sweden stole my heart and doesn't plan on giving it up for a long time. Packing was overwhelming on so many levels. On the most practical note, I didn't know how I was going to fit everything into the three suitcases it came in, and let's be real, it didn't all fit. I had so much stuff I didn't even know where to begin. But, on a more emotional level, besides not knowing where to begin with the stuff in front of me, I didn't know where to begin with sifting through my emotions and saying goodbye. The first night I tried to pack, I sat in front of my empty suitcase and cried. I tried, I really did, but I couldn't bring myself to take my clothes out of my closet and place them neatly in my bag. It was more than just packing stuff into bags. It was the sadness that came with knowing that this wonderful chapter in my life was coming to an end. This place where I independently navigated my way through the ups and downs of everyday life, traveling alone, and living on my own. This place where my anxiety that comes with academia turned into an immense hunger for learning and knowledge, but in an environment that allows for time to relax, recharge, and be ready to learn. It is understood that studies are not your entire life, and one needs to have personal time to keep going in a healthy way.  There are not many days at Willamette where I can sit by the river after class with a friend and talk about our life, our goals, and our dreams. There aren't many days when I can walk around downtown and enjoy the scenery, hustle and bustle, and watching people with their loved ones. There are not many days when my friend and I can go apple picking because it seems we are out from last weeks supply. There are not many evenings when I can enjoy the company of friends in a cozy apartment with the aroma of freshly baked rolls filling he house amid the twinkling lights of Christmas stars and candles.  It is rare that I can enjoy a movie night with ice cream and cookies with the smell of snow to come. There are never any evenings when I can enjoy the company of my friend in a basement pub of a building built in the 1600s. There are never any evenings when I can dress up for a fancy dinner at our student run club and enjoy a 3 hour dinner with the company of old and new friends, Swedish traditions, and toasting with schnapps followed by live music afterwards.

I love the city. It's the perfect balance of size between a town and a big city. It's got the charm of a small town but enough business to make it feel a little bigger than a quiet little stad. It's scenery is beautiful and the cafes are never ending along with their bottomless cups of coffee. It's cozy and it's got both lively student life, but also community life. It's a university town with it's own identity as well. It's antique character shines through and never takes a bad picture. A walk through town is enjoyable on so many levels. Especially at Christmastime with the lights in all the windows, and strung across the streets. Even though the sun doesn't bear much natural light at this time of year, Christmas makes up for it. Everyone warned me about the darkness and how much of a toll it can take on your emotions. I found that I embraced the darkness and learned to love it. No longer did you need to feel uneasy about walking around "at night" because nighttime is at 3:30 in the afternoon. And these short winter days make for stunning sunsets. The sky is a deep royal blue with a hint of violet and magenta as the sun begins to creep down around 1:45pm, or likewise, as it begins to creep up around 8:00am. It feels a bit magical, the sun going down so early, the starkness of night at 3:30, it's perfect for this time of year to snuggle up inside with candles and Christmas lights.

Uppsala will always have a special place in my heart. The memories I have made there will last throughout my life and I know I will think back upon my time here in Sweden often. The semester of my dreams since I was a child has now been completed and many of my dreams have come true. I'm trying to continue to suck the marrow out of these last few days as my heart explodes with happiness, yet aches with the sadness that I must leave the place that has provided so many cherished memories, and became the place I called home for the last 5 months. Sweden has always been my other half, but the tension between life here and life at home in the states is much more of a battle now as I know life has so much to offer here and my family ties are much stronger. It would have been different had I studied in a completely foreign country without any personal ties or direct family ties. The tension of life there and life at home would exist, but it absolutely would not feel as a place I could equally call home. Sweden is so much of my life at home already, I know it will lure me back for longer in the years to come, and maybe, just maybe, it will steal my heart to keep. Until then, I know I will be back soon whether it's for a graduation, a wedding, or a graduate program and when I do come back, it will feel less like visiting the place where my father grew up and my relatives live, and more like visiting my second home.

Now it's Julafton, with that said, En riktigt GOD JUL alla!

No comments:

Post a Comment