After three weeks in Copenhagen, I’m now headed to Stockholm for the remainder of my time abroad. I find myself remembering a feeling that I had before I left the U.S. to come to Denmark, one of feeling unprepared, as if it’s too soon. Right around two weeks in Copenhagen I started to feel like I could relax slightly. I used maps less, got to know people more, felt comfortable in my class material. Now it’s time to start over again, and with this comes an unexpected sense of sadness intermingled with the excitement of all that I get to experience in a new city.
Copenhagen: What I Learned
In this city I learned to ask for help when I didn’t know where I was going or what I was doing. I shed some of that fear of looking silly, because the only way you learn is through experience.
I found myself appreciating potato pizza, seven-eleven trips, and the summer sun that seems to drag its feet going down. I danced at Distortion, laid in the sun at The King’s Garden, and jumped in the canal. I met some beautiful people and travelled to rural Denmark to see monuments and museums with my class. The most recent Field Study took us to a burial mound that dates back to 3000 BCE!
I learned that I will never be entirely sure of what direction I should be going, but that sometimes it’s really nice to look up and see what’s around me, regardless of if it’s in the right direction.
What I’ll Miss
I’m going to miss the flat, bike friendly roads of Copenhagen, the Danish love of elderflower flavor in everything, and the incredibly quick transportation. I noticed after my morning walk here in Stockholm that getting around by foot takes a little more energy due to the inclines. I will also miss living so close to the beach (Amager Strand) in Copenhagen. There are some friends in Copenhagen that I’ll miss, but am nevertheless glad to have met. Also, I will legitimately miss my course material, which was so interactive and engaging.
My course, Nordic Mythology, taught me so much about a fascinating society that unfortunately has little remaining primary sources. Runic inscriptions from the Viking Age were carved into wood, which have rotted away by now. Beyond that, many sources regarding Nordic society were written either from individuals from different cultures or were written hundreds of years after Christianity had been adopted by Scandinavian countries. Considering the lack of first hand accounts, my professor – Bettina Sejbjerg Sommer – made it a priority to expose us to the primary documents available as well as the archaeological sites throughout Denmark. I learned about the ritualistic elements of Nordic religion, gender roles, and Christian influence just to name a few things. I really enjoyed my time in and out of the classroom during session 1.
Looking Ahead to Stockholm
I arrived in Stockholm yesterday and am already struck by how scenic and nature-forward the city is. I am really looking forward to walking through the many parks and being by the water, which I can see from my room. I’m very excited to check out Södermalm and all of its thrift stores and coffee shops. I just visited Fotografiska, the photography museum, and really enjoyed Diana Markosian’s exhibition Santa Barbara. The exhibition recreates the experience of Markosian’s mother taking her two children to the United States after the fall of the Soviet Union.
I’m also glad to be here during Midsummer, which is a beloved Swedish holiday. I hope to get out of the city and celebrate outside somewhere! I’ll get back to Stockholm right in time for the holiday because my study tour is in Berlin the week before.
Now that I have visited Fotografiska, I can now move on to some other museums of interest. I have to check out the ABBA museum, the Swedish history museum, and the Stockholm medieval museum. I also would love to visit the Temple at Uppsala, which is just north of the city. I learned about this site during my session 1 course and how it combines the pagan Nordic religion and Christian influence.
Some other things I look forward to experiencing in Stockholm include seeing live music, collecting more rocks, and seeing some movies on the big screen.
Goodbye for now!