You may have noticed this entry is almost an entire week late. You must forgive me; I’ve been chaotically busy.
You may have also noticed I did my greeting in English this time. That’s because I am officially home in the United States! Funnily enough, I keep accidentally responding ‘tak’ instead of ‘thanks’ when someone helps me out— I guess that’s one habit I brought home with me.
For my final written post, I’m going to share everything about my last week in Sweden starting with my trip to Stockholm! Here we go!
Home to the royal palace, gamla stan or ‘old town’ is one of the most culturally and historically important locations in Sweden. It was incredible to walk around and see cobblestone roads, medieval architecture, and beautiful paintings and sculptures everywhere you looked. I followed a tour of the royal palace and royal apartments and learned some very interesting tidbits of Swedish royal history.
I think my favorite area was the throne room. Ornate sculptures lined the entire perimeter, and the ceiling was painted to mimic a Swedish summer sky. The throne itself was one of the few pieces saved from the original tre kronor castle that burned down in 1697.
Visiting Skansen was one of the funnest activities I did during my entire trip! Skansen is an enormous outdoor museum. It was impossible to explore the entire park in only one afternoon, but I squeezed in as much as I could. The park is split into several zones where you can see farm animals, wild animals, and representations of Swedish life before industrialization. I found the rustic buildings to be super charming. One of the displays was an old Swedish schoolhouse. There was even a woman there dressed in traditional teachers clothing. I learned that teachers commonly lived in the school building with their family and kept honeybees as an extra source of income.
Another aspect of Skansen I loved was its enormous zoo and aquarium. I got to see all kinds of monkeys, fish, reptiles, birds, and insects. I even got to touch a few of them!
Stockholm also had many indoor museums to explore and learn from. Hands down, my favorite was the Nobel Prize museum. I got to see mementos from courageous and bold people such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malala Yousafzai. I also geeked out over some of the major chemical breakthroughs recognized with Nobel prizes. I saw many names I recognized from school, and many I still need to learn. Seeing so much excellence under one roof was an incredibly humbling and inspiring experience.
I also loved the Museum of Technology. Here I got to see examples of old, modern, and cutting-edge technological innovations. There was a huge display on robots that was super cool. Some of the robots were interactive— they could mimic your movements and facial expressions, have a conversation, and even perform Shakespeare.
After two full days in the bustling metropolis of Stockholm, I needed a break from the city life! I visited a friend in the small town of Trollhättan and was able to experience some of the calmer sides of Swedish life. We went foraging in the woods for wild berries and mushrooms. We didn’t have much luck with the mushrooms but found plenty of raspberries and blueberries. After that, we went for a swim in the most gorgeous lake I’ve ever seen. It was so quiet and peaceful— exactly what I needed after the fun but hectic weekend in Stockholm.
Once I got back to Gothenburg, it was time to start preparing to go home. I spent time with my new friends before saying farewell. It is a very peculiar feeling to say goodbye to someone knowing there is a good chance you may never see them again. It’s a little bit weird and a little bit melancholic. But on the other hand, it’s really cool to know I have friends on the other side of the world.
During my last few days in Sweden, the weather was pretty rainy. Normally, I don’t like the rain, but in this case I was happy because it meant I got to see and say goodbye to the cute Swedish snails!
And my final farewell was to the beautiful Swedish landscape I fell in love with.
It took me a total of 25 hours to get home leaving me both exhausted and jet-lagged (here we go again). I’ve also spent the last few days moving into a new apartment. I still have a lot of unpacking to do! Sometime in the next few days, I will post one last entry. It will be a video log to wrap up my study abroad experience.
Again, I want to thank you all so much for reading my entries, keeping up with my time abroad, and supporting me from afar <3 <3 <3