Let me start off by telling you what is happening – today is a rainy Wednesday afternoon, I am sitting behind my desk, looking at the cyclists speeding through the Dutch landscape outside of my window. It is the end of January and I have returned home. Oddly enough I still cannot fully realise that my exchange semester is over, done with. This is it, you know? Here I am, writing my (for now!) last entry for this blog, mesmerising a daydream that once seemed to last so long but now feels like loose sand slipping through my fingers.
So I went home for Christmas and New Year’s, spent some valuable time with my family and met up with some friends as well. It felt good to be home, but discovering new things in all too familiar environments was a weird experience.
‘‘Is that a new chair we have?’’ ‘‘– Yes, it’s nice isn’t it?’’
‘‘I haven’t seen this building yet.’’ ‘‘– Are you serious? It’s been there for years!’’
Quickly, though, I was longing to go back to Sweden, and on January fourth, I travelled from home to home. Turned out winter had arrived in Stockholm! The entire city was covered in snow and temperatures remained below zero. Me and a friend decided to take advantage of that situation and went to Nacka, where we hiked on a frozen lake. This activity stood out, as January was also the time to finish courses and start writing exams. As of now, I am still awaiting my final results, but I expect to have passed without major complications.
January meant also – sadly – saying goodbye. This is something which I believe will always be difficult, regardless of how often one does it. As I had to leave my apartment in the middle of the month already, I could luckily stay over at friends’ places to round off the semester. I liked having a closure like this, because it enabled me to properly say goodbye to all people that mean most to me (top image: What would this semester have been without Ana and Anna?).
And then, it was my turn to leave. With incredibly mixed feelings I stepped onto the plane carrying me back to Amsterdam. The entire flight, we kept chasing the sunset.
How to wrap up five months in a single blog post then? Honestly, I do not know. Since my arrival home a couple of days ago, I have felt rather… empty. No worries, I am doing well! I have moved back to my apartment in Maastricht again. Seeing all my friends and hearing about their exchange semesters was definitely fun too. It is just that I miss Stockholm and I did not expect that the city would leave an impact on me this big.
How is my life in the Netherlands going to look like? Well, I will finish my BA studies at the end of this semester. And I am going to participate in a special project for my BA Thesis, which is a collaboration between several European universities. Soon, I will start a four month research project about diplomacy and the external policies of the European Union and base my thesis on the outcomes of that. I will also need to figure out what kind of Master’s programme I would like to pursue, and where. Maybe I will come back in Stockholm; it is definitely something I have in the back of my mind. And I will read about the new ‘generation’ of bloggers on this blog, whom I am excited to follow and whom I also envy a little bit, because they still have this amazing experience in front of them.
This blog has to a certain extent functioned as a diary for me, but at the same time it only scratches the surface of what I have been up to. It is simply impossible to cover it all! So I have been thinking about how to finish this blog in a ‘worthy’ manner and I think I have found something. Whereas I have mostly written about the big things I have been up to, such as the various travels I have undertaken, I think it is now time to mention the little details. These probably only make sense to me, as many of you will not understand what they are or why matter to me. Nonetheless, in chronological order, this is what I will miss most of Stockholm:
I will miss balsam soap and hearing Bengali in my kitchen. I will miss watermelons, I will miss glow-in-the-dark sticks, I will miss Pressbyrån coffee. I will miss panda’s. I will miss lakrits and Palmyra challenges. I will miss the spinning ventilator. I will miss the lit up moose and making jokes about Mumin. I will miss passing Stadshuset on the train, I will miss the robotic voice reminding me that I need to ‘tänk på avståndet mellan vagn och plattform’ when I ‘stiger av’. I will miss polar bread, skagenröra and Västerbottenpaj. I will miss ‘Det borde man ju veta!’ and I will miss watching SVT Play without restrictions. I will miss stand-up comedy, blue Asics trainers and I will miss strolling through the city at night.
Vi ses, Stockholm. Det är jag helt säker på.