I don’t have crazy much to report on this week, which should be a relief for those of you who read my last blog post! I tried to keep it short and sweet but it’s hard when you have twenty amazing days to cover. Either way, I appreciate those of who you have and continue to read my blog. It has been an incredible experience to share my time here with all of you, and it means the world that so many of you have been supporting me.
I am happy to report that I finished my first course, Sweden: Society and Everyday Life, with an A! I know my dad jokingly doubts that I am studying at all…so this will show him! In all seriousness though, I am so happy that my hard work paid off and hope it does for my next two classes as well.
I am currently in the final week of my second class, The Viking Age, which has been so fun to learn about. Yesterday, we took an all day excursion to some Viking Age sites near Stockholm. We first travelled to Brö, Sweden to see some cool rune stones and then explored the Viking-Age town, Sigtuna, which is still occupied today!
The most interesting part for me was how embedded Viking history still is in everyday life. Many of the stops we made were on private properties where the history still stands though modern life goes on around it. A lot of the rune stones and burial mounds are located in the front lawns of farmsteads that were likely used during the time and that continue to be used to this day!
Our professor informed us that many of these Viking-Age sites have not been excavated because it is rather difficult to get the permission. She also noted that unless there are large or nagging unanswered questions about time and people, there is no reason to disturb each and every Viking site. One fun fact I learned is that Sweden has the oldest site-protection and historical preservation laws in history, dating back to the 17th century! So on top of being eco-friendly, the best non-native English speakers, and having amazing coffee and pastries, they also value their history and the significance it holds! I’m tellin’ ya, for a history nerd like me, I could not have picked a better place to study!
To finish the Viking class, I have five essays due by next Monday. I’m not too stressed about finishing them because the information is interesting and I don’t have many plans this week. However, I have a lot of plans this weekend so I am in a bit of a time-crunch!
Valborg, the Swedish festival to celebrate the arrival of spring, is happening this Thursday and it is common to lay out all day, drinking champagne, listening to music, socializing and soaking up the sun. Clearly I won’t be getting much done that day! My friends and I are planning to head to Uppsala where the biggest celebration takes place. It is about an hour north of Stockholm and we plan to be there from dawn till dusk. To give you an idea of how long we’ll be outside, the sun now rises around 4 AM and doesn’t set till after 9 PM. When I arrived in January we were lucky if we got 6 hours of light and now there are 17 hours! Needless to say, it is going to be a long, long day… but hopefully fun as well!
Once I return, my older sister, who lives in Amsterdam, is coming to visit me in Stockholm with her husband. I am so excited to see them both and show them around my beautiful city! I am also just excited for the time I will get to spend with them. Since she lives in the Netherlands, I am lucky if I see her every other year. But this semester I am going to get to see her three times, which I am so grateful for.
This semester is coming to an end so quickly and I can’t help but feel like it’s happening way too soon. I’ve done so much with my time here and yet, there’s so much more I want to do! This upcoming month and final month I have a few more trips planned and I can’t wait to share all of those experiences with you. When summer hits though, it will be back to life in San Diego. I’m still shocked, time really does fly when you’re having fun!