Agh, the dreaded blog post. It’s going to be another long one.
I’m sipping my second-to-last Cold Brew with oat milk and feeling numb as heck. Last night, I listened to “Rivers and Roads” as I walked back to my dorm and felt something, but not much. Even today, I watched my roommate pack her suitcases and felt only the slightest twinge. There’s no way that I took the redline toward Fruängen or stepped off the bus at the Högalidsgatan stop for the last time yesterday. There’s no way that I made my last ICA purchase or kicked off my Stockholm-dirtied running shoes for the last time this morning. I’m undoubtedly in the denial phase.
Last night, a classmate and I sat in a McDonald’s (yes, very classy) and took turns sharing our roses, thorns, and general take-aways from the summer. For me, the larger abroad experience was composed of a bunch of small, “holy” moments. In the past, I’d find a “near-holy” moment here and there, but not often. I collected several at Camp Merrowvista (read “Dear Stockholm…” for context) and maybe two or three more scattered throughout my college experiences, but here, I’ve discovered armfuls of moments… fully “holy” moments.
It’s impossible to relay all of them, but a few include: making utensil sculptures in the Musée d’Orsay cafeteria, witnessing a classmate finally giving in and making the first knot of a friendship bracelet, taking an evening walk along the water in Tantolunden Park with my roommate and witnessing her first hysterical burst of laughter, staring in wonder as a paraglider floated over Uetliberg summit in Zurich, reuniting with an air bnb host’s guitar in Copenhagen, taking the first bite of parmesan-coated scrambled eggs at Gast Café, taking a liberating pee in the woods of Tyresta National Park for the first time since last summer, and sneaking away to a sauna during a class barbecue. I’ve included pictures of just some of the lovely people I’ve met here.
These “holy” moments weren’t always expected. Sometimes they were just feelings that snuck up on me and made me pause and think, “Wow. This is pretty cool.”
My parents and brother arrive in Stockholm tomorrow afternoon, but we’ll be traveling around Norway for a little over a week. Luckily, my Scandinavian adventures aren’t ending yet. I pit-stop in the US on the 11th, and then drive to New Hampshire to visit some friends and family. After that, back to Oberlin for pre-season cross country training. Full-speed ahead! I don’t feel ready.
I leave you with these final conclusions and self-reflections: During my time here, I’ve grown and changed, in the simplest terms. At first, noticing this scared me, and I thought I was losing my mind. But growth and change is necessary, and I feel a little closer to a fully-formed person.
I’ve also discovered a “new way of living” (creds to a beloved classmate for this phrase) that has taught me the beauty of trees, caffeinating in the presence of good people, unpressured silences in conversation, and early mornings.
I’ve been so spoiled these past seven weeks—by the food, the classes, the convenient transit, the weather (for the most part), the people, but more importantly, by the novelty of it all. I was apprehensive about studying abroad at first because I wanted it to be amazing, but knew that I should go in with no expectations. Now I’ve learned that novelty, in whatever form, is inherently valuable.
…So I’m extra fortunate to have gained this amazing, novel abroad experience.
Good-bye DIS Stockholm. Thanks for it all!
Oh! And the last post-run elevator selfie…