T minus 264 Hours
As of right now there are 11 days, 1 hour and 40 minutes until I land in Arlanda airport in Stockholm. The countdown app on my phone seems to be moving at triple time these last few weeks and I often check and double-check it, convinced that it’s incorrect. I couldn’t possibly be moving country so soon.
I found out I was going to Sodertorns (Södertörn University) for my Erasmus 10 months ago, on the night I turned 20 years old. This discovery coupled with a number of alcoholic beverages and the fact I now considered myself ‘old’ led to a messy few days, leaving me unable to really digest the news until the following week. I remember the uncontrollable excitement I felt when I first researched the college and the city itself. A feeling similar to the over-whelming excitement I felt as an eight 8 year old girl waiting for Santa Claus to arrive. But just like this excitement, it eventually dies down and reality begins to set in.
This reality hit me around mid-November when I got my accommodation place. I suddenly realised that I needed to change money to Swedish Krona and in order to do this I would need money which, after working an unpaid placement for 6 months, I did not have. I have to admit, I’m not exactly the best at planning ahead, a trait which proves to be my downfall on a weekly basis. In an attempt to right this wrong I got a second job and worked both for, what felt like, the longest month of my life. This and the fact that most of my family received hugs from me as Christmas presents means financially things now seem to be in order for my Swedish adventure.
There are many silly things itching away at my brain during the last few weeks when I contemplate my journey. I have this irrational fear that something will go wrong on the day I fly. I’ll forget my ticket or I’ll arrive a day late or there’ll be a problem with my check-in bag. I have travelled, what I would say to be a reasonable amount for a 20 year old but I have never flown alone. Anyone I’ve travelled with has taken the wheel in regards to checking in and getting bags weighed and I have followed in their footsteps but never really taken in what we were doing. The prospect of Dublin Airport as a solo traveller is more daunting than I care to admit but there is a definite sense of independence surrounding it too. The main aim is to get on a plane bound for Stockholm, preferably with both bags in tow.
Any reservations I have about the next 6 months are to do with the things I must have in order before I leave more than the time I actually spend in Sweden. I’m the only person from my course in Ireland going to Sodertorns and, bar a few connections I’ve in the last few days, I have no friends in Stockholm. Perhaps this should make me fearful but, on the contrary, the thought of so many new faces takes me right back to that Santa-like excitement. Sweden presents me with a clean, blank slate with which I can do what I want. I’m excited to meet new people who will, hopefully, turn into good friends. I’m excited to fully immerse myself into a new culture and I’m excited for the opportunities for travel and fun which will, no doubt, be plentiful over the course of my Erasmus experience.
Writing has always been important to me but I usually don’t write overly-personal pieces for the public eye. This blog gives me the opportunity to voice my thoughts on the highs and, the inevitable lows that will happen over the next six months and for that, I’m grateful. I’m willing those 11 days, 1 hour and 40 minutes to tick by even faster so that I can begin, what is sure to be, one of the biggest adventures of my life. Stockholm, here I come!