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So an amazing adventure has begun for me, my family and friends all together. I only realised that I am going away from home to foreign country to study for a half a year maybe two days before my actual departure – when my best friends drove to my house shouting : “You, moron ! Why haven’t you told us? How we will survive without you?”. And that was a crach in my concious that really told me : “Hun, you are leaving”.
And still, no matter what, I did not realised it completely until my first night at the place. But first things first.
We were going three girls by ferry from the port in my home country, to the closest port in Sweden. Yes, we did know that we will be traviling through the see for 13 hours. Were we ready? Definitely not. The last view of your own land just took your heart to the slowest beeting and to the hidden tears in your eyes. That was it. Leaving your family, parents, friends, beloved ones for a half a year. It sounds like not such a big deal at all. Oh, wait until you feel it in the deepest corners of your heart.
And then there was the trip by the ferry. It was a one of those transportation companies, that combines transporting passengers, vehicles and loadings all at the same time, causing huge queues for the vehicles and drivers. The idea of buying a ticket with a provided seat was non for consideration at all – 13 hours, what else could be the option. Of course, the sea lines do not mention, that all the seats are in one classroom size cabin with all around 60 seats facing a geographical map of Europe and with a bar behind the carton wall with all possible smells, sounds and atributes, that could ever define a bar in a ferry. Or any other small bar. Most of the passengers were traveling for working purposes – it is not a secret, that salaries in Sweden, even for the dirtiest and most common jobs are significanlty higher than in our country, so it was not a surprise to face that contingent in a ferry to Sweden. What surprised us the most, was that nobody cares, were is their place, if it is free, it is mine and nobody’s else. If you find yourself comfortable in a seat, that can bend a little bit more horizontally than vertically, I congratulate You, my fellow human-from-out-of-this-planet. Because that’s simply impossible. If being sober. In any other cases exceptions may apply. In this scenario won those, who brought pillows, pleds or even sleeping-bags and slept on the floor or on the sofas near the cafeteria (there were few of those lucky ones). I don’t know for sure, how it was for other passengers, but for us, travelling for the first time so long on the ferry and few other students with parents. it was quite a challenge. I have slept that night maybe 1-1,5 hour per 12 hours journey. How it works? Well, you find yourself comfortable enough to lie your head on somehow spined off hand, having your legs crossed and bent under yourself so it won’t be cold and then you snooze for a 5-15 minutes until your hand, leg, back or neck becomes dead and you have to move it to avoid pain, because all the medicine are in the luggage, luggage is in the car, car is in the 3rd deck, that is under 4th deck, that is under 5th deck (the only one you can walk in). Or, if you are lucky enough to find a proper position in the seat, there FOR SURE will be people sleeping or trying to get comfy around you and they will FOR SURE touch, accidentally push, poke you, say sorry and turn over to another side, but already lost your semi-sleep state and have to start counting sheep or stars or cars or camels or whatever you were counting to get yourself to sleep. Yup, that’s going by ferry during the night for 14 hours streight with a room full of 20-40 years older people, who assume, that you have seen nothing in life like they did and few foreigners.
So the night had somehow passed and you are really hungry from all of the sleepless night, acking head, back, shoulders, stomack and realising you have more muscles than you thought you could ever spread, you are really lucking forward to breakfast. And then – surprise ! Pay single amount and eat as much as you can. You are not really into eating after this night and only would like to grab a cup of coffee? Well, to bad for you, price stays the same, grab everything you like !
Business everywhere !
As you finaly can see the shore of the Sweden, you are feeling like in the middle of nowhere. But because we were driving by car, so it was great experiencing the Swedish environment for real, in real conditions and with a help with GPS Navigation system, we saw more of nature than we could have seen driving through normal main roads ! But it was quite fun and adorable to see the country side.
After going there and here, we have finally arrived to Lund.
We had read about the amount of international students in Lund, we did know that there will be around 2,000 students, but we still have not realised how many of them will be in the same hall at the same time. The registration and getting main information about possible Orientation Weeks events took around 2,5 hour to get. Yeah, a lot of random international people who are lost, have no clue what to do next, where to go, etc. Oh, but I skiped the best part. During the arrival day (the main day set for registration and arrival for all international students – both, exchange and degree), there was held a lottery – yeah, a real lottery – where people could WIN a room in a dormitory. Getting a dormitory room in Lund is the hardest part of all the Erasmus period – I am not even talking about trying to rent something. The demand for accommodation greatly surpasses the supply. And if you do get a room from university, then you are freaking lucky ! Because the amount of scammers using naive silly trustfull international students professionally is pretty high.
How do I know that? I have got scammed twice. My advice – if the place and the renting conditions are looking perfect and just like the place you would like to live for the rest of your life and the owner – oh my god, how unexpected ! -is working abroad for i-don’t-know-how-many years, well I have a news for you. You not just won’t be getting that place, but you will be lucky if you will have all your money in the bank account. If not – you have been warned !
So yeah, a lot of international people, circus around them, completely lost mentors and chaos everywhere.
When we finally managed to leave the place, I moved in my place, that I will be willing to call my home for a whole semester until the middle of January or, if I will be lucky enough, until the late December.
And this is where the fun begins.
I have the culture of my studies right beside of my room wall. A complete stranger, who is really keen to be BFF’s from the second we met. Am, this is not how it works with me. It was awkward, freaky misleading. And the feeling, I know for sure, that you’re not home. You’re at the place of someone’s, a stranger, you’re a guest who’s staying there for a half a year. Not at home, at the guest’s. At this point, I would like to do a commercial time out and talk about dormitories. Yeah, they some times are nasty, noisy, unbearable and the roomates, ah, I won’t even start talking about this point, but dorm is what really students life is all about – a comunity, always in contact, knowing everything and everybody. This is what you should feel during your degree or exchange studies. You will never feel that living at someone’s place, or renting the place. It’s good, comfortable, you have your own space and you can use kitchen and shower whenever you want, but you’re a temporary guest. Nothing else. This is not your home and will never be like one, and you have to be always in a good mood, pleased with everything and happy about every single day in your life. And that, actually, completely turns all your international experience down. You are in a constant worry of being “impolite guest” in a place you are renting.
I won’t touch any culture-related topics, sorry, if you were looking forward to it, not today, huns !
So after I packed out my bags, set everything into places and started to think about usual depressive-for-being-away-from-home stuff, I was really looking forward to see the city, know the main places and I was really pleased that my landlord volunteered to show me around. It was strange, but I still got to know the streets and the main routes home, which was nice.
But after getting home, the reall home-sickness came and the few sleepless night before, trip by the ferry and by car, unknown places, people, language you cannot understand or speak, a lot of stress and waiting did its impact. And I was just sitting there, writting a long message for my parents and friends about how awesome everything is, and how good people are to me, and all the cheary blossom stuff everybody want to hear, but your eyes were full of tears and you could not even think about sleeping in a unknown place in a city in somewhere. I have never been so home-sick before. I was lying in my bed with a toy in my hands and just simply trying my best not to shed a tear, but they were running in streams from my eyes and all I could do is not to cry out loud. I felt terrible. Still feeling that way, but just with a spice of everyday spent here in company of great interesting people and positive emotions.
The second day was when all the fun begun – meeting new people, first Swedish lectures and some fun things wondering around. I won’t go into details about everyday, just talk a little about few interesting things.
Nations. Every students best wish and worst nightmare in one. Of course, we do understand that nation is an unavoidable part of being in Lund community, but the idea is – they have nothing more to offer apart from never ending party, baking, making dishes for other students and maybe sometimes organising one or two concerts, inviting few unknown (or only locally known) musicians to perform and that’s it. Nothing more. There are also unions – people, who are dealing with all the politics, academic affairs in the faculty and in university and they are open to grab a cup of coffee or to chit-chat during your brake. And that’s it. I was comming to Lund hearing all about how is important to be a part of any nation, to feel the real student life and everything, and I have already been to some of the events held by them – it is not what you would expect from any student organisation. At home, we just do not do things like this, and if you do, you do not publish it university-wide that you are one of the best organised nations ever. No. Just don’t. And the thing that you have to be in any of them in order to participate in one or another event of theirs, well, I would say, there is nothing much impressive about it. It is a great variaty in the supply, but, come on, if you are not of party-animal-beer-lover type, you are just spending 275 SEK for nothing. Oh wait, for a card with your name on it. Well, but a man gotta do what he’s gotta do.
I cannot even remember all the great and in the same time awkward or weird things that happened during this week – and I do regret of not doing my best to write this earlier. I do my best not to do it again !
Oh, getting a bike here is essencial ! It is a first thing in your list even if you were not riding a bike for 10 years at least. It is a top priority. Nothing else. A bike.
Yeah, I did get one, not new, a little bit used, old, squeeky bike, but it’s fun and fast (of course, because it is heavy, but I am not feeling harmed or anything). It is cool to be able to move whenever you want and where ever you need. Until the first drops of rain. And I hope they will come really really late this year, because I am not a fan of riding around in heavy rain. Not at all, trust me. But we’ll see what happens.
And on the last day of this week I am writting this first time about, we went to Malmo ! Amazing city, port, with a seacoast (with no sand), a lot of sweet narrow streets and strange interesting architecture and statues. It was actually great deal – walking around amazing city, seeing the monuments and knowing, that you will be able to come back here once in a while.
Am, maybe I will stop here for now.
Feeling lack of inspiration to write about all the amazing and weird things happening.
One for sure – I will have something to tell You guys about !