The clouds move so quickly in Sweden.
At home, I can lay back and watch the sky for an hour with hardly any change in the clouds. But on a breezy day in northern Europe, I simply glance up and become disoriented by the dizzying speed at which the clouds whiz by. Sort of like the time I’ve spent here.
When I first arrived, time seemed to drag on forever while I oriented myself to the time difference, unpredictable weather, and foreign culture. My body was in Sweden, but my head was still stuck with the slowly drifting clouds in California. ‘Just get through today,’ I would tell myself. ‘Just get through this week. You’ll adjust.’ And I did! In the blink of an eye, eight weeks have come and gone, and my time abroad is nearly up.
Where did the time go?
For that matter, when did I get so comfortable using public transit or going grocery shopping? At what point did Chalmers transition from just ‘the place I’m working temporarily’ to ‘my lab that I take pride in’? And when was the moment I began to see the people here as good friends instead of total strangers? Time passed, and these little changes seeped into my head without me even noticing.
With such a short amount of time left in Gothenburg, everything around me provokes the thought, ‘this will be gone soon.’ I’m undoubtedly excited to return home to my friends and family whom I’ve missed this entire time, but I can already feel that it will be difficult to leave Sweden. The chattering of magpies from all directions, the sight of hares grazing outside my window, and the aura of generations of culture ingrained throughout the city have all built a space in my heart. Even more than that, I’ve made some good friends here. It will be hardest to say goodbye to them.
I hope I will have the opportunity to return someday. But with my future uncertain, the possibility to travel abroad once more seems lifetimes away. It still feels surreal that I was able to do it now! I am overjoyed to have had this experience. I’ve seen more of the world than I thought possible. I have a never-ending supply of gratitude for the people who made it possible for me to come on this trip.
The blog is coming to an end!
My next blog entry will be my last written one. I visited Stockholm and Trollhättan this past weekend, so I have a lot of awesome pictures and experiences to share with you. For the rest of this week, I will be wrapping up my work in the lab, packing up my belongings, and saying my farewells. I return to California on Saturday, and I will upload a post-trip video shortly after to sum up my experience. Thank you so much to everyone who has read any of my blog posts. I hope you’ve enjoyed my musings and hearing about both the exciting and the day-to-day happenings of my Swedish adventure!