Sun Mar 11 2018

I write this week from an SJ Snabbtåg ("fast train") on my way back to Stockholm from Lund. Annika, who Sjölunden experts may know as Elina or "the redheaded one," messaged me on Snapchat on Friday (two days ago) telling me that Claes, another Sjölunden student, was in Sweden and that he was coming to Lund to visit her before he headed up to Stockholm to return to the States. She asked if I would like to come down to Lund for the day, hang out with the two of them, and then take the train back up to Stockholm with Claes.

I figured it sounded like fun and I didn't have any plans for the weekend so I asked my host family, texted my liaison, and booked a round trip train ticket. I left Stockholm at 8:20 this morning and I'll be getting back sometime around 23:30. I was in Lund a total of about 6 hours, during which time the three of us went to an excellent bakery/cafe; watched Black Panther in theaters - Claes and my second time, but Annika's first, and if there was ever a movie worth seeing in theaters twice it was that one; wandered around the city a bit and stopped in at Annika's house to meet her host family (Annika is not an AFS exchange student, which means that I can't stay overnight with her).

Sandis (a classmate) just walked past me on the train, having apparently been at a physics camp in Lund over the weekend working on his gymnasiearbete. Running into him was a bit strange, but not unwelcome. He's not a character I feel obligated to describe too in-depth, but he's always been pretty nice to me and to Blair. He and I had a nice conversation just now about his project, which relates to acoustic levitation and sounds really neat.

It's quite late, but I've never been very good at sleeping on planes, trains or automobiles and I don't particularly have anything else to do, so I'm going to keep writing as much as I can; you may forgive me if I lose any lucidity or clarity.

Lund was a fun experience because it is in Skåne, the southern province of Sweden, which is known for its distinctive guttural accent. I ordered a blueberry muffin and a latte from a woman in a cafe who had a strong Skåne accent, and the exchange took a moment, but I was proud of myself for making it through with the fika I wanted and without making a fool of myself.

The cafe itself was a sweet little place called "Grandma's Bakery" (I honestly can't remember if it was named in Swedish or English). We wound up there because all of the other cafes in the area seemed to have some sort of agenda that would make their food work - I think there was a Paleo cafe (if that's even possible) and a vegan cafe, and we decided to go to the place that looked like it would have normal baked goods and drinkable coffee, and we were not disappointed on either front.

I'm still trying to figure out if I will be traveling to Paris over Easter break - Claire, my friend from Minnesota who is an exchange student there, has been somewhat flaky and hard to pin down, and I suspect I may have missed the deadline to book plane tickets for a reasonable price. If I don't go I will instead be staying with Blair for a few nights while my host family is in Finland dealing with some family things which I don't want to get caught up in.

My Swedish class went to an opera ("Aida" at the Kungliga operan, for anyone interested) last Monday and will be writing an analysis tomorrow in class. I could write pages about the opera (at least in English), but I'd frankly rather not, so I'll just summarize by saying that I enjoyed it more than I expected to but I'm still not sold on opera as a genre or an artistic medium.

I could also write pages of complaints about the analysis model we're learning in our Swedish class, but I don't think I'd enjoy writing it or that you'd enjoy reading it. I'll summarize that by saying that in the States I went to a school which focused on the humanities, particularly theatre, and in Sweden I am at a school which focuses on the natural sciences, and that the difference really shows through in a way that I don't appreciate.