I can’t believe how fast time has flown by! And I realize how bad I’ve been with updating my site…
As mentioned, I went sailing in the beautiful Swedish archipelago in August…
The first week in Umeå was focused on getting myself a bike, getting my home set up, and trying to meet new friends.
The last of the summer sun of Umeå back in August…
The town itself is quite pretty!
Interesting art installations around the main campus of the university
It’s a little bit more expensive eating out in restaurants in Sweden, especially considering being on a student budget with no income. I’ve never tried cooking so many different recipes by myself before.
Swedish blood pudding
Smoked mackerel… heavenly
Per’s parents, and Per came to visit me during the week of my birthday (during separate visits). My friends surprised me at school with a delicious Swedish Princess cake (cake with perfect amount of sweetness sandwiched between light cream and covered in marzipan).
After the initial weeks of fun madness, I’ve kind of settled down into a routine and been pretty occupied with school – I’m usually at school 6 days week, and take Sunday off to clean, shop and cook. I’ve also been down to Linköping twice to visit Per. In some ways it doesn’t feel like I’m immersing myself into a cultural experience, given that I don’t go out of the school much, and I spent almost all my time speaking English. Maybe if I lived in Stockholm I would get out and try to experience some more outside influences, though Umeå has a surprising amount of culture given the size of the town.
The people in my program are pretty diverse, with degrees ranging from industrial design, to ergonomics, engineering, business, and even political science. Everyone has a different goal ranging from getting into a masters program next year, to supplementing their design experience for their own start-up businesses, to getting a broader perspective and experience to work with designers as opposed to doing the design work themself. As for me, I’m still undecided where I should end up next year… Which worries me, because if I don’t know where I’m going, how should I know how to get there?… But I am trying to work hard to see how far I can progress in industrial design before I question it too much. There is a lot of partying and extremely late nights at the school, and though I feel like I’m missing out a little by always leaving “early” (as in midnight or 1 AM), I’m trying to keep my priorities straight and not regret that I didn’t work as hard as I could have.
I admire that one of my classmates’ attitude is to make it a priority to experience Sweden. Another priority for me is learning Swedish, and of our class of 20 at the design school, it’s down to about 5 of us now in the class, since it is quite time intensive. I also signed up for a Swedish host program, in which a local Swede hosts 2 International students. Despite it being a busy week at school, I didn’t regret taking time out to go with them and her sons on a walk in the forest, then to her house located on her family’s farm, for the most Swedish experience I’ve had (without Per) so far.
Poor photo, but the forest was nice. The funny thing was, for the student from Pakistan, he was tired after the 3.5 km walk, the walk was my exercise, and for my Swedish host, she changed into her exercise clothes before dropping us off and one of her sons at karate lessons, for her “real” exercise for the day.
Hope to stay in the cute guesthouse on the farm when the warm weather returns!
My Swedish host has an absolutely gorgeous house… Love the cast iron stove. And she baked a delicious zucchini cake, amongst other things
And she and her sons baked BREAD, cinnamon buns and cookies… Served with Vasterbotten cheese, yum… The Pakistani student joked, “See you! I’m moving in here!”
And there’s something about the skies at Northern altitudes… I won’t be able to see these exact colours in the skies again for the rest of the year, since the sun is rapidly disappearing and changing its position, but I’m looking forward to the high probability of seeing the northern lights.