If you’ve been sticking with me since the beginning (major props to you if you have!), you’ll remember how on my first weekend in Stockholm I went on a hike with my LLC and promptly burned two large holes into my winter coat. I dubbed it “the time Sweden rejected my winter coat.” Well, this is the story of the time Sweden finally accepted my winter coat.
Just like last time, this story comes from a time with my LLC. This time, it was LLC weekend, where we spent Saturday and Sunday caving, camping, hiking, and eating in the Swedish wilderness. In my mind, this was the perfect opportunity for Sweden to strike again against me. The whole weekend I was waiting for the attack.
The weekend began with a group of us going caving and scrambling along the side of the cliff under which we were camped. It was arguably the most fun I’ve had since arriving in Sweden. I had never been caving before and it was so fun to crawl into tiny little spaces (Shoutout to Zoey and Katie, who managed to squeeze into spaces I thought not humanly possible).
We got really into caving and managed to find a cave with some cave paintings in it. They were quite obviously modern, but still really cool. We got really far into the cave, so far that I forgot where the exit was and how to get back out. Luckily, our guide Niklas knew what he was doing and marked the way back out.
We managed to survive the night (it was -5 degrees Celsius!) and woke to more beautiful weather on Sunday. My group that went caving the day before went hiking. We lost the path at least five different times but still managed to make our way to the wooden lookout to find a beautiful view of Stockholm’s rocky coasts and lakes. The way back went a little more smoothly, luckily.
By the time we headed home to Sollentuna and homework, we were all exhausted and the 4-connection trip home seemed daunting (bus to bus to metro to commuter train). Most everyone nodded off, but Joey and I stayed awake, chatting about our time in Stockholm.
Now, if I were you at this point in the story, I would be thinking “So this time a fire didn’t burn a hole in her coat, and she calls that a victory? Weak.” And you’d be right- only that’s not all that happened. As I was giving Joey some suggestions as to what to do with the rest of his time in Stockholm in plain English, the man in front of us turns around as I mention Skogskyrkogården (your homework assignment: figure out how to pronounce that). He addresses Joey in English, adding on to my list of suggestions. But he then turns to me and is suddenly speaking Swedish. Apparently, despite my speaking clear English with an obvious American accent, he thought I was Swedish based on the suggestions I was giving Joey.
I’m gonna be honest with you, it was one of my proudest moments in a long while. I had discovered and seen enough of Stockholm that I was thought of as a native. And suddenly, the already amazing weekend got even better. I felt like I had truly properly taken advantage of my time abroad- I was no longer a tourist, but a local.
I suppose in a lot of ways Stockholm is like a cave- cool from the outside, but even cooler as you go deeper and explore every nook and cranny.
Looking forward to more caving (in more ways than one),