It’s my fourth night in Sweden, and I am slowly adjusting to being so far from home. One of my biggest challenges has been adapting to the time difference. We are nine hours ahead here, and my body has been vigorously protesting the flipped sleeping schedule. It doesn’t help that the sun is out so late in Sweden this time of year!
However, being in such a beautiful city is definitely worth a little jet lag.
It still doesn’t feel completely real that I’m actually here. The environment is so new. There is more lush greenery than I’ve ever seen in one place, sprinkled with idyllic playgrounds and quaint cafes. The wildlife is different too— I was surprised to see giant rabbits and even a wild hedgehog running down the sidewalks. Just a few miles away, the green is offset by a beautiful harbor view filled with an endless sky and boats of all sizes.
And of course I have to show off a bit of the Swedish food I’ve tried so far. The restaurant menus I’ve encountered are mostly in Swedish, so I haven’t always been completely sure what I’m ordering, but it’s worked out pretty well so far! I ordered meatballs with lingonberries (a classic Swedish dish) and a popular Swedish lager from this cute little local pub that is quickly becoming a favorite. I’m sure I’ll spend quite a few evenings there socializing after long days at the lab.
Speaking of lab, we start our first day tomorrow! I think it’s mostly going to be an orientation day— paperwork, introductions, and tours of the facilities. I can’t wait to learn about the project I’ll be working on and meet my teammates.
The last 4 days have been a whirlwind of emotion and adjustment. I’ve felt many conflicting things— excitement but also trepidation… exhilaration paired with exhaustion… the thrill of adventure interspersed with brief moments of homesickness.
But what stands out the most is the sense of ‘new’. New friends, new places, new foods, new culture, new experiences. A new world!
And I’m gonna keep diving right in.