I can't believe my time here is at an end! I know I say it just about every post, but honestly the time really did go by so incredibly fast. It actually scares me since I only have a few quarters left at UCLA. How can life do this to me?! Why does it fast forward all of the best years?! Although its not fair, I am in no position to complain. I've truly been blessed to add these five months in Sweden to my book of experiences. I cannot thank my parents enough for all of their support both tangible and emotional. And really all of my family and friends back home for the early morning Skypes and late night catch-ups. And of course I thank God everyday for the opportunities he has granted me.
Its hard to recap my experiences abroad. There's so much! So many people, places, culture and foods eaten! Numerous forms of public transportation taken; countless time spent lost; leaves turned, fell, and snow frosted; new friends, old friends, hostels, B&B's, apartments, homes, dorms. Over 70 miles jogged, 2,165 pictures taken, 150 cups of coffee consumed. I've worn through two pairs of shoes and I even used a notebook, Dad ;) Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Ireland, France, Austria, Germany... Lund, Malmo, Lomma, Copenhagen, Malaga, Cordoba, Granada, Dublin, Cork, Kilkenny, Paris, Vienna, Erlangen, Nuremberg, Wurzburg.
I will always have a soft-spot for Sweden! I've discovered a ton of things here, about myself, about others, about...biking in pouring windy rain.. (I learned NOT to do that; take the bus for Christ's sake). A lot of things revealed are trivial, some deep, most cliche. Studying abroad in fall of junior year is a perfect point in college to take a break from the routines you may take advantage of, the challenging classes, the same circle friends (that I can't wait to return to!!), and if you go to UCLA the 50 billion clubs/associations/activities you're surely involved in. It gave me a reality check in many ways and certainly gave me time to think.
On a not so serious note I did discover I LOVE mangos. Also I now like olives and some mushrooms. Plot twist. I've also decided I'm retired at heart. Molly and I lost count of the number of times we took part in activities that are really only ok for grandparents to do; you know go on long liesurely morning walks, spend more than 20 minutes in a greeting card store, or in a candle store, go to bed before 10 PM... I'm really concerned what will happen when I actually get old if I already enjoy these activities HA. I'm now aware I can live without peanut butter (kinda). And on that note I can now (kinda) cook/bake but only using the metric system so the US better switch stat. As you probably know I'm now obsessed with gluhwein, kanelbullar, scarves, Christmas and black Swedish coffee. Traveling only made me want to learn more history and languages (lets be real if I could just learn one language that would be an accomplishment).
More importantly, I can survive! YAY! This is basically a successful experience if I live to the end, right? First time completely independent of my family (I swear I'm not spoiled, I'm just a baby ha) and I will make it back home in one piece. But, despite your undeniable awesomeness Europe, I know I probably couldn't live outside of the great USA for an extended period of time. Some other things discovered were merely reminders such as the importance of family and friends (you know the true ones) and the fact that I personally thrive off of challenging routines. I just don't get things done when my schedule isn't full! I have to be doing something, anything, always. Don't get me wrong five months of life abroad was bliss, but I'm ready to get back to real life.
UCLA. I swear to savor every last second of you! Five quarters is not enough but I will do everything UCLA related as I can. Because one quarter away from it brought be to realize I might have a breakdown at graduation... It will be tears of sadness, pain, and longing NOT happiness in those cap and gown pictures on that ominous June afternoon. But, for as great as UCLA is being away reminded me that life is not like college; groups, activities, etc are not just thrown in your face in the real life. If you want something you're going to have to speak up and go out and get it, for as cliche as that sounds. On that note, being abroad has definitely asserted the fact that graduate school and NOT real life is in my near future haha
No matter what, I know I'm going to miss life in Sweden a ton. I can already feel it! All of the beautiful seasons, people, cobblestoned streets and bike craziness. I'm going to miss taking an hour to sip my coffee while watching Grey's reruns, corridor parties, countryside runs, mouthwatering chocolate, and playing the "what's the English word for..." game with all my favorite Swedes! I will definitely be back in this lovely country again, but for now I'm ready for my sunny, homey, Bruin-ized, car driving, bright and lively southern California.
Home for the holidays never meant so much! See you in a few hours, Riverside!