News & Events
A Round Peg In a Square Hole – Susie in Sweden
- December 7, 2020
- Posted by: Aradhana Pandey
- Category: Education
I’ve been feeling rather out of sorts in the last few weeks, much like many people I would imagine. As the nights draw in and it gets colder, the pandemic has taken away many of the things that help make the winter a little bearable. I find myself sleep walking from home, to internship, to home again and feeling a general sense of unease and disquiet. It helps a little that I will be going home for Christmas soon, but 2020 has been a year that has made me even more uncertain of the world and my place in it than I was before.
Many of us international students that find ourselves inhabiting a foreign country often feel like we don’t quite fit. We understand the system and we sort of know how some things work, but for the most part we are on the outside looking in on culture, tradition and language. The flip side of this is, of course, how once you’ve lived abroad you feel a lot more comfortable with experiencing different ways of living. However, as 2021 hurtles towards us like a runaway train, I find myself wondering how it will feel if I end up finding a job in the UK next year. Will I feel the same sense of not quite fitting in? Do I know how to inhabit the same spaces in the same way before I moved? I also wonder whether this is just a by-product of graduating, and suddenly realising the world isn’t quite as steady and certain as it was when your parents insulated you from most of it.
This isn’t to say I am unhappy. My internship is everything I hoped that it would be. I love the work and the people have made every effort to make sure that I feel like a part of the team, despite only being an intern. I deeply appreciate the opportunity to get to put my academic experiences into practise! Who knows, maybe trying to feel at home in adulthood will be a life long undertaking! I also somehow managed to pass course three of my Swedish exam – pigs do apparently fly.
I don’t think the general doom and gloom of Sweden’s weather is really helping my morose mood and general loneliness. Even if I could meet up with the few friends I have left here, the prospect of a walk in the grey and cold is not the most attractive! It also seems prudent and right to be isolating as much as possible before the Christmas holidays. Surprise surprise – isolation makes you feel isolated! I do feel deeply lucky that I have such good friends on the end of a telephone, I just wish they took more of a corporeal form more consistently. I realise typing that sentence that this makes it sound like most of my friends are ghost people. rather than simply being back in the UK. Oh well, anything for a little frisson of excitement.
In the spirit of this blog which, lets be honest, is much more about me dumping the contents of my confused head onto paper from time to time, I ran a half marathon for the first time this week. I am keen to attempt to run a marathon with my best friend in 2021, so what else is one to do on a rainy Saturday than pop on a podcast and see how far ones legs can go. It turns out, that distance is currently 21.5km. I was pretty proud. Hopefully I can raise some proper money next year and get a respectable time doing double the distance.
I can’t really say that I’ve done anything particularly edifying in the time since I last posted. In fact, my trip to Hanorsand may well end up being the most exciting thing I end up doing this term. In a moment of deep British pain, I went on an expedition to find some decaffeinated Yorkshire tea, only to find out the shipment wouldn’t be in Stockholm for another week. It was a sad, sad day.
I will now of course cheer myself up by watching copious episodes of a Swedish crime drama. What else is there to do in December in the middle of a pandemic?
Vi ses (maybe),