Monday, March 14, 2011

Post Scandinavia Part 1: Stockholm

How do I summarize my trip to Scandinavia? Well, how do you put words to something that was life-changing? Life-changing isn't even the right sounds cheesy and hackneyed. Maybe I will find the words later, or maybe words will just cheapen the experience. I wish I could bottle this sentiment up and save it with me for all time. Let me try to explain: this was one of my most challenging trips of small trips. Obviously, moving to France all by myself had the same effect on me: life-changing in an almost inexplicable way. But this trip was like an offshoot of that. I went to Scandinavia all by myself, not knowing anybody or anything. Nothing was familiar, whereas, with my other trips, I usually had some sort of connection. I was either visiting someone I knew or was traveling with a friend. Not this time. Many times throughout the trip in Stockholm, I thought, "What the hell am I doing here? Scandinavia in Winter!! I just wanna go back and curl up in my own bed!" Yet, because of the challenges, it ended up being one of the most rewarding and self-empowering vacations I've had here; and that's really saying something, because I've had a lot of amazing vacations. So, enough rambling. Let's post some pictures.
1st Journey: Stockholm
Longevity: February 28th-March 5th.
Location: I stayed near Duvbo in a big blue house in the suburbs which is occupied by five awesome 20-somethings.
One Word: "Lagom." This is the most Swedish of words that has no exact English translation and it gives insight into the Swedish psyche. It means something like "just the right amount," which contrasts to the American psyche of more is better.
Traveling alone makes you take pictures of yourself like these:
Creepiest bathroom lighting ever, or maybe I just couldn't translate how to turn the light on:

Personal Favorites:
  • Finding my way to the big, blue house with google-map instructions late at night, walking through the Swedish suburbs, and it looking like a fairy-tale.
  • Staying in the big, blue house with the 20-somethings. They are renting this house while the owners are on a year sabbatical in America. Apparently, their son is a famous swedish pop-star!
  • Fika (coffee break in Swedish): I love the cafe culture in Stockholm. There is always a side bar, with serve-yourself everything (which is more like America and not at all like France). So that made me happy. It was so cozy and a great break from the cold.
  • Trivia night at a bar with other couchsurfers: Thankfully, it was about pop-culture trivia, my area of expertise (if I can actually claim any area of expertise). I met so many amazing people, especially the Russians, the German and the F'ing Canadian.--his words ,not mine.
  • Couchsurfing meet-up Friday, discussing Nike Drake and other great music with the Swedes and the Belgians. Doing tongue-twisters in 3 languages (French, English, Swedish).
  • Eating a Chocolate and Cheese-Cake Muffin that almost sent me into a sugar coma @ the Muffin Bakery with Chanti.
  • Coffee and a bagel with Feather, a Chinese exchange student.
  • Observing the ubiquitous, beautiful blonds with super-hip, yet uniform Swedish style. 
  • Observing and hearing about Swedish distant behavior and non-confrontational culture. Everyone avoided eye contact. No one stared at you (so refreshing after being in France!). 
  • The extremely friendly and polite customer service (again, so refreshing after being in France!).
  • Hearing perfect English spoken with so many bizarre accents.
  • Eating Swedish butter. I liked it so much I had to post the picture twice. The best butter one can buy in a supermarket.
  • Going to Design Torget (as mentioned in Anthony Bourdain's episode) and drooling over all the cool little gadgets. Then going right next door to Granit and drooling over all the minimalistic yet stylish storage and organizational products.
Wow, so many words and pictures. Next post will be Copenhagen!


    1. awesome. booking a flight there in the future, right now.

    2. Scandanavia! A land that looks AMAZING! I'm loving your trip saga- seriously so excited to hear/see more! Also, I have heard that the blue lights in the bathrooms make it impossible to find the veins in your arm so that addicts can't shoot up- so, fun times!

    3. how incredible. I long to go to Scandinavia - I'm of Swede/Norwegian stock (plus a couple other things) after all.

      It's been a while since I've gone on that kind of trip alone and I've never gone somewhere alone not knowing at least a little of the language. I'm proud and inspired by you!


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