Hiii! There's been so many times in the past week I've sat down to write here, sorry to keep you guys in the dark! I have loads to say and don't worry, this blog won't become a diary of Sweden living, in fact it may become more fashion obsessed because people truly do have such amazing style here!
But right I'll start from the beginning and clear up that I'm in Sweden for the year doing like an optional year out to take a few classes here. They count for 10% of my final year and I only need to do 30 credits and a 30 credit report, so there's only four classes! I'm still doing textile management here and the courses are taught in English to the international students. Ah and I'm in Borås, which is about 30 mins from Gothenberg and is famous for their textiles! The uni I think has around 9,000 students, which compared to the 100,000 in Manchester is a bit of a change!
So it's been stressful all summer to organise and in the end I could only take ONE suitcase. One! For a whole year! Some friends came round the night before and I went through my whole wardrobe SATC-style and basically took my absolute favourite, wearable things. The shoes below stayed at home, sadly! I might bring them when I visit home though! I was still packing at midnight and when I managed to shut the case, it was ripped! So I had to pack another bag and couldn't fit my tripod in. I'm buying a new one though so no problem! I got my Luella bag in as it's way too heavy to carry as hand luggage, so it's not all bad!
It was pretty sad to say goodbye to my Mom at the airport but I can come home and Skype is free! There are three other girls from Manchester uni here but I didn't know them before as they did textile design, and it turns out they all came with their parents! I like doing things by myself and was exciting to change at Copenhagen, a city I'd love to actually leave the airport of! I think I've said before that I hate flying, but I read the new Georgia Nicholson book and a guide to Sweden, which was pretty rubbish to be honest!
The first sort of taste was in Copenhagen, where everyone around was very tall, slim, makeup-less, tanned, and had their hair in buns on their head. Moving abroad is so different to being a tourist because you're not with your family or friends in your tourist bubble. You have to do practical things and find places like the supermarket and pharmacy for your daily life along with the people who actually live there and speak the language, not just souvenirs or holiday buys. On the flight to Gothenberg, there was a little bright blonde boy babbling to his Mom and loads of people chatting but it's so strange to just sit there clueless to what the person right next to you is saying. It's not like a novelty like on a summer holiday because you're alone and you have to adapt for survival, rather than just observe it.
My journey was pretty complicated as I had to then get a coach. As I was waiting for my bag, another flight came from Spain I think, so I was surrounded by Swedish people. I'd never met a Swedish person, have you? Suddenly all these blogs are coming to life and all around me were amazingly tall, tanned, blonde girls with yes, the hair buns and little denim shorts and white pumps. It's so strange! I was wearing a black dress and long, lilac cardigan but felt so odd and out of place, and actually kind of short! I found the coach OK and people were just chatting at you in Swedish, to which you have to keep saying 'Sorry, English???'.
A main characteristic of Swedish culture is that Swedes are very modest. I'll talk about this later as it kind of explains Swedish fashion blogs, but everyone you speak to will apologise for their bad English, when in fact they are amazing!! I keep remembering that I was originally going to Hong Kong and am so thankful that almost every person here speaks English (they stopped the HK programme for the year boo!). I counted the stops on the coach and found some taxis to head to a hotel to pick up my room key. I chatted to the taxi driver about the town and it all looked so odd. It hits you at first how everywhere looks so foreign and the city is nothing like England. Everything is so clean and unpolluted, the roads are wide and there are no sky scrapers, the traffic is slow, all the houses are detached and look like gingerbread houses. It's just so calm! My flight was at 10.30 and it was now about 6pm, so I got my key and the driver drove down large roads surrounded by forests for around five minutes before pulling into an area of tower blocks and halls.
I'm living in student halls for international students. There are two sets, the others are down the road. I found out I was on the 7th floor, the top! I walked in with a German girl who said hi and I was thankful I was in the right place! We had a little chat in the lift and I accidentally hit the 6th floor before going up to the 7th and seeing my lovely room! The view is unbelievable!! I pieced together the pictures at the start of this post to show what I can see all around. Every time I look outside, I can't believe I live here! I just looked out for ages and ages until checking out the room, which is a million times bigger and nicer than my old student halls. If you've been in student halls, or even moved in anywhere new, at first it's so alien and can feel a bit grimy. I've got loads of storage space, which is a bit of a joke since most international people can only bring a limited amount of stuff, me having only a suitcase sized amount! Our floor has four flats, each with four rooms and the fourth flat being a common area with a laundry room, kitchen and dining area, and two sitting rooms! It's amazing!
I wasn't so nervous to be there as I've been a fresher before, but I found myself really scared to investigate the bathrooms and kitchen. It's just that fear of the unknown and not knowing who you're going to meet and what's going to happen. Like your whole future year can be decided in the first second of meeting new people, and it still felt like I was living in someone else's place. There are two bathrooms in each flat and there was already posters everywhere and people's shampoo, and it's so scary! It's all a bit of a jumble but I forced myself to go look in the kitchen, and met one of the Spanish guys who lives here sitting with more Spanish people watching the TV (yes we have a TV in our halls, luxury!). I was like hi! and we introduced each other and I said a few random, silly things, then went to unpack. I really wanted to wipe everything down a bit but once my stuff was arranged it felt better! Sadly I couldn't even bring a quilt or pillow so the first night was not comfortable! My mattress is about an inch thick but I managed to find a mirror in one of the hall cupboards after a few days so that's one thing!
Then I sort of bided my time. I was a bit scared to go back in the living room as everything is so unknown and I didn't know what would happen or who I would see, and if I'd do something wrong. Also I had zilch food or drink and had no idea if anywhere would be open that late or where to go, so I was a bit lost. My internet wasn't hooked up and my phone doesn't work here so I was just battling with myself finding things to do. I did go back in the kitchen and I think I met another of the spanish guys in there. Apparently this place has been refitted with a few things and there is three people to a fridge, but my fridge was full of stuff, scary! Maybe that wasn't when I met anyone else, as I went back in my room and debated whether to just go to bed or finish the book. It was about 9pm and I walked out to brush my teeth for bed when a guy was like hey, you're my new flat mate! Some people have been here for years or since the start of the summer to take a Swedish course and I was happy there was someone friendly to meet! He's a guy from Iran, which kind of highlights one of the great things about living in international halls because you actually meet people from those countries you only hear about on the news and they give you the real deal of where they're from! So a few hours later I was sitting in his room listing to him play some crazy sitar type instruments I'd never even heard of before! Meeting guys here too highlights how less sensitive typical guys in England are, as he was telling me about all the songs he has wrote and how the music makes him feel, aww!
Then about midnight some English girls arrived! There are six girls from Warwick uni here for three months working in nurseries as they study education, two who are on my floor, one in my flat. They all came up and the Iranian guy was like wow, there are so any English people in my flat! The girl next door to me actually has a balcony!! It was so strange after going through the journey and feeling so alien, to actually meet a load of English girls. They were all gossiping and checking out rooms and a few said they wanted to go home! Meeting some lovely girls though is so lucky as a few hours later I was chatting with both the two new flatmates, feeling a lot like a fresher again.
We were all desperate for internet asap, and I had planned to go to the uni the next day to get the code, but now I had people to go with! But first we headed to Netto, the nearest supermarket, two minutes away. This took about two hours haha because now I was in a big group of girls! As you probably know, things are more expensive here, although not too much for food. Swedes seem to stock up way more because you can only buy HUGE amounts of cheese at a time, and the juice cartons are massive! Or maybe the english have smaller items? I tried to avoid the hello kitty socks they had as somehow I have brought a hello kitty bed cover, poster, tattoos, bag and hair clips! Then in the afternoon we went up to the uni, which is lush! Being at Manchester makes you feel quite anonymous so it's nice to be in a smaller uni, and a lovely one too! This statue of a huge 'student' makes for pretty funny photo opportunities!
It was still quite quiet around as the term hadn't officially started, and we started to realise that Borås is a very small but very pretty town. We met the exchange coordinator, who all the girls love (and it's not hard to tell why!). Only I could get the internet for some lucky reason so I went off with him to get my code while the other girls went to meet their tutor. Then I went off by myself to search for Knalleland, the shopping centre. This was a bit of a revelation as it's where I'll essentially be shopping for the next year, and it ain't exactly big. There are lots of malls surrounding a big dual carriage way and I went from shop to shop, asking directions to the next shop that would sells hairdryers and bedding, etc. People are so helpful! Then I saw a beautiful sight. Gina Tricot!! Lindex!!! DinSko!!!! It's SO fun to spot all the Swedish shops that I've read about on blogs before and I can see myself buying LOADS of things to wear in England!! I didn't have time to clothes shop but went the next day! I will have to tell you about it tomorrow as this post is so long already! So to be continued... then I can finally talk about the fashion! Thanks for not abandoning the blog!!
p.s. Did I mention yet how fashionable it is, and how HOT the guys are...?!