For those of you who don’t know, DIS offers students to be a part of a Living & Learning Community, and the one I am involved in is the Outdoor Adventure LLC. Before going further, may I just say how grateful I am for the group of people I have gotten to know and befriend in this community? It really is about the people you meet that makes a place so worthwhile. During my time in Sweden, we have done a number of activities together, including kayaking and bränball, and this past weekend we actually went to Tyresta nationalpark for the ultimate outdoor bonding experience!
As a group, we had to figure out how to get to a certain location for Niklas, our fearless Swedish leader, to pick us up, since there was an issue with the train that morning. We were able to navigate there successfully, and had a fun time doing so:
When Niklas picked us up at the designated meeting place, we all managed to squeeze into the large van, and I believe due to Niklas singing the Swedish national anthem, we started singing the Star Bangled Banner, which then led to an onslaught of patriotic songs for the car ride (weird, right? But it was a memorable moment, and a great way to poke fun at our lack of love for our country in the midst of such a crazy election right now).
Once we arrived, we immediately unloaded the van and began to set up our equipment, claiming spots for our tents in the woods.
For lunch that day we had a fine meal cooked to perfection by Chef Tiff:
Afterwards we split up into two groups, one to go caving the first day, and the other to navigate a map for hiking. I was in the caving group, so I fitted my helmet and headed out with a group of six.
Though it was easier than expected, the experience was not without some difficulties. My team relied on each other for support when climbing up rocks and scaling down from higher places. I first helped down a couple of friends, supporting their weight and guiding their feet to a secure location, and later when I had successfully climbed up a large boulder, gotten some cool pics, and started making my way back down, I was afraid of how I would manage the descent, until two of my buddies came to my rescue (Thanks Sarah and Jake!). This particular adventure offered opportunities to help each other out in many ways, which is just another testimony to how great the LLC is.
When we had finished creeping around crevices and caves, we climbed up the mini mountain for a view of the sunset, and at Sarah’s suggestion, paused to meditate for a moment.
Later that night, we made a fire and grilled hotdogs, roasted marshmallows, and shared some of our personal stories. Ya know, good late-night bonding talks. We also came up with nicknames for each other, but since they are codenames, I am obliged to not share them here. 😉 After dinner, a group of us had a much needed cuddle puddle in our cozy tents, furthering the beautiful bonding between members of the LLC.
The next morning I woke up to this:
And diverting from American junk food (mac & cheese, hotdogs, and s’mores), we ate a delicious breakfast of oatmeal mixed with Nutella, nuts, and fruit:
For the second day, I was in the hiking group, and with some hints from the other group and from our own exploring the day before, we navigated the map with general success, having only stopped for 10 minutes to debate which direction we should take.
In the end, we were all exhausted with lots of homework waiting for us back in our apartments, but the experience was unforgettable, and as I said before but cannot express enough, I truly do love my LLC. For anyone who has a sense of adventure or would like to explore that side of themselves, if you are going to be a part of DIS, I strongly encourage you to be a part of the Outdoor Adventure LLC as well.
Until the next adventure,