My week in Link√∂ping, Sweden

My week in Sweden is quickly drawing to a close. When I planned to come to Sweden after Norway, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I asked two friends, whom to be honest I had only met twice, if I could stay with them and they said yes. Sweden has been a very different experience from Norway. It has not been better or worse, simply different. In Norway I was welcomed by nature and beauty. In Sweden I have been welcomed by family. From the second I arrived here, my friends have been nothing but the best hosts. We have bonded and talked, laughed, eaten, danced our faces off, laughed and eaten more. They have taken me to see castles, museums, the old city, the ABBA Museum in Stockholm, fed me and welcomed me into their home as if I already belonged there.
I have eaten some of the most delicious food, most of which was home cooked. We have had Swedish meatballs, something amazing that sounds like Peter pan, moose tips and moose stew, Raggmunk, tacos, pizza, porkchops, red beet salad and so many other wonderful things. I have been welcomed not only into their home, but also into three of their family and friends. We have had coffee while chatting and truly getting to know each other, forever sealing the bonds of friendship.
They have been my tour guides, my chefs, my shopping buddies and have granted me a much different Sweden than I could have experienced otherwise. In Norway, I found inspiration in my solitude. In Sweden I have found joy in my friendships and the welcoming nature of two people I barely knew and now I consider to be true friends.
Tomorrow I head to Belgium for yet another entirely different experience. I will be working on the farm of a family I have only met through email for two weeks. They will house and feed me in exchange for me working for the farm a few hours every day. Here’s to my Swedish friends, to tomorrow, and to many more new experiences.

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Fond Memories

Last night after a relaxing, yet wonderful day one I began to be overwhelmed by some serious emotions. However the more I replayed my day and 2015 in my head the more they began to dissipate.
Yesterday after two flight delays, a cancelation and a rebooking, I actually made it to Oslo. I left Memphis, TN on the 29th. Flew into Newark. Took the bus to JFK where my amazing roommate met me with the rest of my things. I got on my Norwegian flight and made it safely to Oslo, on time and no worse for the wear. I checked into my adorable hotel and went out to see what I could see. I wandered around the old city and the new. I was famished so I ducked into a bar only to learn the only sustenance it offered were spirits. I allowed myself to be warmed by a glass of Jameson, made friends with a delightful bartender and then went off in search of something a bit more sustainable. I had a mediocre dinner and then returned to my room at 4 when the darkness had finally set in for the day.
After a two plus hour fight with my new selfie stick and the hotel internet, I finally gave up on my video log shenanigans for the time being and drifted into a slumber.
While I slept my, mind was full. It raced and I woke very often in the night. I kept springing awake from my slumber with questions or just a simple jolt. “What time is it?” “Did I miss my flight?” “Why does my phone have two times on it?” I wrestled with sleep and odd idiosyncrasies of the subconscious. When I awoke, I was excited, but also a tiny bit grumpy. However the grumpiness only lasted until I went downstairs and saw the hotel breakfast.
I was swept away to Prague four and a half years ago. The gigantic rolls with the little black seeds that I filled with salami and cheese. The meats and fruits and yogurts my friend and I would stick in our bags for later even though the sign clearly said we couldn’t.  It was a blissful deja vu and for a brief moment I was not in Norway, traveling alone for self reflection, but in the Hotel Europa in Prague, surrounded by the fantasmical ghosts of Prague society and the faint scent of parties and days truly gone by.
I ate my breakfast and was filled yet again with the wanderlust that has become as much a part of me as the heart beating inside my chest. Today I head farther North in Norway, to Tromso where I will dine in a gourmet restaurant in the center of town and explore; then tomorrow I will embark on my two day Arctic Cruise. I’m sure I will get tired eventually and weary, but no matter what, I am here and my spirit feels better than it did yesterday. Which I guess is more than anyone can hope for anyway.

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