I’ve been in the moderately sized town of Jonkoping, Sweden for about two weeks now. I honestly cannot describe how amazing, beautiful, exciting, and fun it has been. I had heard many stereotypes of Sweden before my journey, and I was hesitant to believe them. “Sweden is just freezing cold and the sun sets at 3:30 PM.” “Everyone in Sweden is tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and beautiful.” “Swedish people just club all of the time and listen to DJ’s play House music.” Well I hate to say this but all of those stereotypes are so true. The weather started off in the 40’s but the temperature is dropping and snow is starting to fall. I can’t complain though. I love the snow and cold especially coming from Texas where it snows like once a year. And the people are all beautiful, dressed well, and fit (and blonde). And I have been in new student orientation (like Fish Camp) for the past two weeks and our group leaders have taken us to a different club every night. Yes they play house music everywhere.
Anyway I live in a dorm overlooking Lake Vattern, the second largest lake in Sweden. I live with 60 international students, only 3 of which have grown up speaking English. The language barrier is sometimes an issue but it is mostly just humorous. Living with people from other countries is actually my favorite part. The Italians are teaching me how to cook and the Mexicans are helping me with my spanish. The multitude of other nationalities are influencing me as well but in other ways.
I must say that the Swedish lifestyle is very different from that of a Texan. Everything here is so clean, simple, environmentally friendly, and safe. Everyone rides bikes, but no one locks them because the crime rate is so low. The Swedish standard of living is very high so every establishment is nice, clean, and sophisticated – even gas stations. You get money from recycling bottles and cans, and the printer at school prints on both sides of the paper (resourceful). I would never eat at a 7/11 or a McDonalds in America, but I would go there whenever here! All 7/11’s have bakeries and gourmet food. Coffee shops are very prominent because Swedes spend time in the afternoon to meet friends and eat coffee and pastries. This time is also known as “fika.” No one needs to worry about the calories though because we walk everywhere! Now I just need to figure out how I can spend the rest of my life in this country… next time you hear from me I may be married to a Swedish boy. Fingers crossed!
Thanks and Gig’Em,