Ok full disclosure: I wrote the following on a train from Goteborg to Trollhättan when I was experiencing great homesickness. I even texted my roommate back home “taking crying in public to a whole new level”. So the following is raw, harsh maybe, but honest truth.
Sometimes the most profound things don’t make sense, and that’s why they’re profound, right?
Some definitions and synonyms of profound are as follows:
- Penetrating or entering deeply into subjects of thought or knowledge; having deep insight or understanding:
- Being or going far beneath what is superficial, external, or obvious:
- The deepest part of something, especially the ocean:
- Deep, complex, difficult, enlightening, intense
You see when it comes down to it, I don’t want to be here in Sweden, living in a dorm apartment across from a cemetery, and a miles walk away from school. No, I want to be home in my sweatpants playing Mario kart with my siblings and my beagle snoring in my lap. Because that’s my comfort zone. But you see, even if I was in Colorado right now I wouldn’t be in my comfort zone because I would be away at school, living with my crazy, loving roommates, working and going to school.
All those profound clichés about growing as you step out of your comfort zone, they’re true. I can’t get where I want to go by staying at home, by staying where I’m comfortable. Even if I don’t know where exactly I want to go, I know that I must keep going, walking, moving, crossing mental boundary lines and doing what scares me, but excites me at the same time.
So ask me again: did I make the right choice coming to Sweden? I look at my international family every time we eat dinner together, travel somewhere together, play card games together, laugh together and I say yes. This is where I am supposed to be.
Do I miss home? Of course. Am I excited to go back? Yes, but first, before I can go back to the place I love, I have to do something profound. I have the opportunity to fall in love with a new “home” and a new “family”. There are people here who I am called to love like Christ loves us. There are places here that I’ve never seen that are so filled with God’s beauty and He wants to love me by sharing that beauty with me, while I share it with my new friends.
Now a full week later I reread that and I laugh as I think “wow, I should stop trying to be philosophical!”
I knew from the moment I received my acceptance into this exchange program that it would be tough, wonderful, and something I absolutely had to do. I knew I would face culture shock and homesickness, but I decided that those were not enough to keep me from coming.
To my international family, I say thank you for sharing this adventure with me. To my family and friends back home, I say thank you for standing with me an ocean away. To my God who gives me the strength to do this, I say thank you for guiding me every step of the way.
Ok enough of my deep thinking! Time for a little catchup one what I have done since my last blog.
Most notably, I’ve gone to school! What? Yes, I have actually participated in the very activity that brought me to Sweden. Let me tell you, for all the things in the American schooling system that are wrong, there are a lot of things we do right! Here in Sweden I have 2 very similar marketing courses with 5 teachers each, 2 different books, one work group for both classes, and too many assignments of the same style to keep track of what goes with what class. So thank you U.S. schooling system for your uniformity and tech savvy classrooms! I wont take you for granted any longer.
I also went to the sea! We took a girls day and travelled by car to the Iconic colorful houses in Smögen, Sweden. Seriously if you Google or Pinterest search Smögen you will find these houses!
Visiting the sea was a windy experience where I was literally knocked over by the gusts. But after we ventured around a bit we spent a few hours at a harbor café, glad to be out of the wind and watching the white crest waves crash from a warm building.
Two days following this adventure I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Goteborg to pick up my dad at the airport and spend my birthday weekend with him. He had just finished a jam packed business trip in Switzerland and well, since he was in Europe he thought he would see Sweden while he was at it.
I am so grateful for my daddy-daughter trip with him. We stayed in the very businessy, but very welcoming First Hotel G, directly above the train terminal. We explored much of the Goteborg shopping district and I was pleased to show him many of the “must see” things I had found previously on the internet (Pinterest!). We also traveled up to Trollhättan and he got to meet my wonderful international family, see the church I attend, school, and my apartment. It was very much a whirlwind weekend, but I am so glad we had the time together.
Oh and I turned 21…. Which would have been a much bigger deal in the U.S., but I probably would have celebrated in a very similar way! A lunch with my friends and a quiet dinner to end the day.
I have also experienced the true Trollhättan. You see the wintery Narnia I described last time was a lie. Trollhättan is a rainy, blustery town, where the weather is as unforgiving as a tanning bed gone wrong.
But we did have 3 days in a row of sunshine! It was glorious, and still cold. I have been told that spring is here! Or at least coming….
On the home front I have enjoyed reading all of the Denver Post articles about the Broncos and Super Bowl 50! I am so thankful for technology and the ability to be connected, even if its just snapchats of the blizzard and other adventures back in Colorado. I even had the pleasure of waking up at 3am to facetime with my family at 7pm Denver time just last night! A birthday dinner for my two wonderful brothers and they were kind enough to invite me from afar.
It really is good that I am here in Sweden. I will continue to be the bright raincoat amid all the black and gray ones*, looking for the sunshine wherever I go.
(*I missed the memo that black is the trendy color here in Sweden. What can I say? I like to be bright and happy! Swedish fashion blog will be up soon I hope!)
More adventures to come! Thanks for hanging with me.
Until next time,
Dream Big. Live Courageously. And Thrive!