It's been a really long time since I last wrote, so I'd like to share what I've been up to.
About four years ago I participated in another (short) student exchange between my high school and a Swedish institution located in the little town of Skövde, one hour of bus from Göteborg. In that trip I learned a few things about Swedish culture and quite a lot about the swedes (or so I thought).
It was shocking. The first days people grouped with whom they knew, spaniards with spaniards, swedes with swedes. Quite normal, considering how little we shared with our guests and how easy it was to stay with the things one knows.
Then swedish voodoo magic happened, and I made some really good friends there. Those who I had though were shy, reserved people turned out to be some of the warmest, most kind-hearted friends I've ever had. One of them helped me a lot recently, I won't say her name for privacy, but she knows that I owe her a lot.
These people and I had a lot in common, and for the first time I really didn't want a trip to be over. I missed them a lot.
I also fell in love with their language, which struck me as a collection of beautiful words and lovely sound.
Over time I have kept frequent contact with only one of them (the girl I just talked about), but I really look forward to see all of them again.
All those things made my decision very easy. I wanted to go back to Sweden, and experience life as a Swede.
East of (Sw)Eden
This time it's not Skövde, but Uppsala. Skövde was not an exchange option and most of my friends are no longer there anyway, so I thought that the proximity to Stockholm and its advertising as a student town would make Uppsala the perfect choice.
So far Uppsala has been presented to me as a cozy little town, where everything is close enough to walk, and walking means sighting such lovely and adorable things that you don't want to reach your destination. I arrived in January, late winter, most of the roads are paved in white snow and slippery ice. I cannot help but grin. It feels like living in my books' world, wading through the white magic and touching everything like a kid, enjoying the sights of wooden houses and feeling the warmth of every place. I have never been to such a welcoming land.
And then there is the people. The thing about international exchanges is that you meet a lot of international people in your first days but not many native ones, which isn't bad as of itself, but I still find that every Swede I interact with is kind and gentle, even though they have to speak with me in English because my Swedish is nowhere as good as the one I'd need to have normal conversation yet.
Anyway, I stand in awe before the Swedish culture. All their cultural bias, their everyman's right, their apparent opinion and tolerance, all of those feel so pure and inspiring to me that I cannot help but want more of it, I want to experience this much deeply and reflect on it.
I feel that this post doesn't quite fit a correct image of Sweden, and I feel naïve writing it. If this were not my blog and one of my few media of expression I'd think about it twice before publishing it, nevertheless my romanticized view of the country and its population leads me to enjoy very much the act of praising them.
With time I will decide whether I want to live in this country in the future (even if that means a lower income or a less interesting job) or I want to visit it on a frequent basis.