Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Coming back from Lapland and being forced to face reality feels a lot like how I imagine being hit upside the head with a 2x4 would feel. There are classes to attend and assignments to complete. There are mundane, tedious, everyday tasks to do. Suddenly my life here in Sweden started feeling rather dull because I kept comparing it to life in Finland.
Don't let the leis fool you, this was very
much a Christmas party!
Shortly after we returned, the school's exchange student programme held a Christmas/going away dinner for us! As always, getting to spend the night with all of my best friends was fun, but it broke my heart knowing that it was going to be my last party with some of them. I had to say goodbye to a few people, and it was the hardest thing I've ever done. I'm not looking forward to saying goodbye to the others in two weeks. I don't know how my heart will handle it.

It took a few days to get out of this weird, post-vacation depression feeling (and saying those goodbyes sure didn't help), and just about the time I started feeling better was when my mom arrived. Things are always better when Mom's around. It was awesome to have my mom here. She had never been to Sweden before, so I felt like I was pretty much working with a blank canvas. I could paint Stockholm to be whatever I wanted it to be, and that would be how she saw it. So I used my (metaphorical) paintbrush and painted Stockholm to be the beautiful old city that I've been falling in love with for the past four months. It was really hard for my mom to accept that I had to go so far away for so long, and I wanted to prove to her that it was worth it. 
Selfie with mom and Gamla Stan!

I think I made a successful attempt, because she seemed to be in awe of the city. She gawked at the old architecture littered across the fourteen islands and still found appreciation in the modernity of the city. I love that I was able to share my new home with my mom and that she seemed to love it as much as I did (if not, maybe a little bit more!). 

Christmas was a success as well! I spent Christmas Eve (the 24th) with my friends here in Sweden. We had dinner together and exchanged gifts and spent hours just being together. It was such a simple thing, but I think we all appreciated it more than we've admitted. Christmas Day (the 25th) was spent with my mom and my roommate, Valentine. We went to a swanky Italian restaurant in the middle of
Christmas Eve dinner spent with the best
the Old Town then spent the afternoon walking around until it got too cold to stay outside any longer. After that, we returned to my mom's hotel room and watched Snow White until we decided it was time to go home. There was nothing really extravagant about Christmas this year, but I still feel like it was the most special Christmas of my life, maybe because I got to share it with so many special people. Whatever it is, I wouldn't change a single thing about this Christmas. It was too perfect to put into words. 

My mom left this morning, and now I only have two days until I go to Helsinki, so I'm trying to create a feasible to-do list for the amount of time I have, but I'm not sure how productive I will be in the end. Hopefully I'm able to cross a few things off my list. 

In any case, I am excited to be heading off to Helsinki on the first of January. This winter break has been the best one ever, and it just keeps getting better!

- Lee
We finally got some snow! Two days
after Christmas, but who's counting?