Sunday, September 13, 2015

One Hour in Turku

Here is what I've learned after my first full week of classes at Södertörn:

  • Even though the schedule says we're going to have class for three hours, it's more like two or two and a half hours, because no one, including the professor, forgets about fikadags (or fika time, which is a 30+ minute break where you drink coffee and have a cinnamon roll, which is awesome).
  • Eight A.M. classes aren't really a thing here. Swedes know what's up.
  • You get bombarded with intensive assignments, ranging from eight page papers to reading 500 page books in a day or two, when your professors are expected to teach you a semester's worth of material in five weeks.
  • Despite having so many assignments, everything feels really chill. There's no sense of urgency to get anything done because you only have one course to focus on.
  • We only have class two or three times a week, which totally makes up for the assignments upon assignments upon assignments.
  • You almost always have a three or four day weekend to look forward to.

Life is good.

My class right now, English Children's and Youth Culture, is really, really reading intensive. Last week, I had to read a 200 page book, a 500 page book, and a handful of articles, and this week I have to read two 300 page books, and even more articles. I wasn't kidding when I said reading intensive. But like I said, it's chill. I don't feel stressed or worried about getting it all done because this is literally the only class I have right now (well, I have a Swedish class as well, but the teacher knows our other class is our priority). 

Bunkmate selfie ft. Stockholm sunset
Besides, after I finished all that reading, I had a massive amount of spare time. And what did I do during that massive amount of spare time? I went to Finland.

Kind of.

Fourteen of us decided to take a cruise to Turku, Finland, this weekend. It was a 24 hour cruise that was pretty much 11 hours on boat both ways, a one hour break in the middle of the night, and then one hour in Turku the next morning. And I, uh, kind of slept through the Turku part. That's okay. We're going back to Finland in December, and I vowed that I will not sleep the entire time I'm there this time. 

Besides, the cruise was the fun part! After we threw our bags in our cabins, my bunkmates and I headed up to the deck to catch the sun setting over Stockholm. I got some good pictures, but no photograph could possibly capture just how beautiful it was to see in person.

Sunset over Stockholm!

Where there's a will, there's a way, and there
was a will to fit 14 people in one cabin
After that, all fourteen of us met up again for dinner. Because food on the ship is disgustingly expensive (in a moment of weakness the next day, I spent $6 on a single baked potato), we brought our own food and ate in the hallway where all of our cabins were until a security officer politely asked us to take our party to a cabin to avoid disturbing guests. With fourteen of us and very small cabins, this was no easy feat, but we somehow managed to squeeze into one, where we talked and got to know each other for a few hours. But once the live bands started performing at the bar, that's where we all were! We danced and sang along until all of the bands were done playing, then we moved to the nightclub, where we danced to whatever the DJ played. 

Whenever I got back to my cabin at 4:30am, I was beyond exhausted. And, yeah, so exhausted that I literally slept through the whole being-in-Turku part. 

I guess this is as close as I'll get to
experiencing Finland for now
The next morning, we were all pretty exhausted from the night before, so we kind of just hung out while we waited for the boat to return to Stockholm. We sunbathed on the deck for a while, then hung out at the bar and listened to karaoke (we were going to participate ourselves, but they only had Finnish songs, so we decided to sit at our table and try to figure out what the songs meant instead), and finally, some people wandered off to their cabins to take naps while the rest of us hung out in the cafe for the last few hours of the cruise and gushed over how gorgeous everything we passed was. All in all, it was a great time! 

I'm not sure what's in store for me next weekend. A few people are planning on taking a cruise to Tallinn, Estonia, but being on a ship is exhausting in a way that I can't really explain, so I might wait a while before I go on another cruise. Besides, the end of this period is coming up, and that means more assignments, so I might be ultra-lame and just stay home and work on homework all weekend. Whatever I do, I don't doubt I'll enjoy it because I have enjoyed everything about being in Sweden thus far! 

Hej då!