Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's The Final Countdown

It's official: my days in Sweden are officially over.

Last night (my last night in Sweden), Roma, her friend, and I headed over to our Swedish friend Oscar's for a little Christmas celebration. I was locked out of my apartment due to room inspection, so I stayed at Rach and Roma's my last night. The Christmas party was awesome--very traditional. We made homemade lingon berry sauce with homemade Swedish meatballs (delicious!), homemade scalloped potatoes, homemade french onion dip, sausages, and some vegetable plate, which we all know I didn't touch.

We also played White Elephant. Roma decided to give very "special" presents--unused candles, a jar of honey, tissues, and a package of soup. I received two Swedish CD singles--Dr. DJ and some cover band. Very awesome. We also had Julmust and glögg, which is very traditional for Swedes around this time. It was a great way to end my adventures.

And then, after a rough night of sleeping, one of the most stressful days of my life took place. After getting to the train station fine via taxi, and a long, but stress-free, train ride, I arrived at the Copenhagen airport. And it was snowing. The plane was late getting in to the terminal, so we were delayed 20 minutes. No big deal. As we were sitting in the plane, however, we were informed that the company who de-ices planes before take-off ran out of de-icing fluid (who does that?! In December?), so we were delayed another 40 minutes so the company could get more. And when they finally did, we were delayed another 50 minutes because the runway was too icy for take-off. Now, for all you math nerds out there, that's a delay of 110 minutes, or almost two hours. And I had about an hour and a half lay-over time to catch a connecting flight in Chicago. The odds were not in my favor. So I spent that entire 8 1/2 hr. plane ride freaking out about catching my connecting flight. Not fun, at all.

Upon arrival in Chicago, and waiting another 30 minutes for luggage, passport control, and customs, I discovered I had, in fact, missed my connecting flight. Go figure. So SAS was going to put me up in the Hilton and booked me for a flight on American Airlines at 6:45 a.m. I was not a fan of this plan. They told me to check in and get my luggage checked in at night so I didn't have to wake up tremendously early to get it checked in. The tremendously helpful workers at the AA booth got me the last seat on a flight at 10:30 p.m. that night, which made everything all okay. After frantically racing to the terminal, I got on the plane. And upon arrival in the Minneapolis airport, I walked down to luggage claim, and saw all of my friends waiting for me. They screamed and shouted, and even made a sign for me. Very, very awesome. They also brought me a Diet Coke and a bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I knew there was a reason why I considered them friends. So thanks, Brandon, Garrett, Lyndie, Melanie, Travis, Lillian, for showing up!

After arriving at the airport, we headed back to the house to just spend time hanging out. Lyndie made Better Than Sex cake, which was amazing. I realized how much I missed everyone while being away.

To sum it up, I had an amazing time in Sweden--studying abroad was the best decision I have ever made. But it's also great to be at home for the holidays.

Somehow, however, I know that I'm going to miss Sweden terribly. Next goal in life: make it back someday. It's going to happen.

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's Just Different

Since it’s my last week here in Sweden (don’t get me started on that), I thought I would dedicate an entire post to the differences between the US and Sweden, at least from what I’ve experienced. So, without further adieu, here we go:

  • In Sweden, it’s completely normal for a grown adult to purchase assorted candy; in the States, this would be considered childish.

  • In Sweden, the legal drinking age is 18 for inside a bar, and 20 for purchasing alcohol in a liquor store; in the States, it’s 21.

  • In Sweden, the yellow light on a stoplight indicates that the green light will soon turn on; in the States, it indicates the red light will soon be flashing.

  • In Sweden, grocery stores charge you for bags for groceries; in the States, they’re provided for free.

  • In Sweden, everyone recycles; in the States….well, not so much.

  • In Sweden, people get a decent amount of money for recycling bottles and cans; in the States, they get diddly.

  • In Sweden, people actually are nice to each other and visitors; in the States…no. Not really.

  • In Sweden, people will gladly switch languages to make it easier to talk to visitors from out of the country; in the States, people become offended if you can’t speak English.

  • In Sweden, the public transportation is clean and incredibly efficient; in the States, public transportation is the exact opposite.

  • In Sweden, there exists an incredibly economical nationwide train system; in the States, there exists cars. (Does this even make sense? A country so small has a nationwide train system, but a country that is 21.8 times larger doesn’t?)

  • In Sweden, there exist very little amount of homicides (around 91-99 murders in 2003); in the States…well, take a look at Detroit or Chicago. There you go.

  • In Sweden, there exists the best fast-food chain known to man: Max Hamburgers; in the States, we have KFC.

  • In Sweden, the price tag on the shelf is what you end up paying at the cash register; in the States, more is tacked on at the cash register due to tax. (I’m going to miss this when I go back home.)

  • In Sweden, new CD’s cost more than DVD’s; in the States, it’s the opposite.

  • In Sweden, students have a student union that enforces specific rules that protect students from unfairness in universities; in the States, it’s every man, or in this instance, student, for him/herself.

  • In Sweden, everyone loves black coffee; in the States, everyone loves Starbucks.

  • In Sweden, bank tellers work 9:30-3 and get Saturdays and Sundays off; in the States, it’s 8-4:30 everyday, with the occasional Saturday morning. (This one was for you, Alaina).

  • In Sweden, most Swedes do not show much, if any, national pride; in the States, you’re not American if you don’t.

  • In Sweden (or at least in Växjö), it’s pitch black by 4 p.m.; in the States, they get a few more hours of daylight.

  • In Sweden, college students drink and club on Tuesday nights; in the States, this would be considered alcoholism.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Now, I know what you all are thinking: sounds like Jordan’s becoming a socialist or wow, he really hates the States. Not true. Both countries are awesome; I just wanted to point out some differences between the two.

So don’t take offense, okay?