Archive for Desember, 2011

Things they never talk about

They don’t tell you this.

The waiting for the train. The 6 minutes that feel like hours, days.

The way your mind goes through every possible scenario. You see the world collapsing beneath you in a couple of seconds. You see the relief that lies within your reach. You see that you have absolutely no control over what will be revealed within the short space of time standing in from of you like a wall.

They don’t show this in the movies

The way everything moves in slow motion. The way your heart beats in your chest. The way you feel like the loneliest person in the world.

They never talk about this when they come to your school

You think of who you would tell. You think of ways to hide it from everyone else. You wonder who you can trust. You realise the irony of needing support versus the intense need of keeping anyone from finding out. You breathe. You choke. Your inside cries.

They don’t teach you how to deal with this, the moments inbetween. The not knowing. The breathing, the walking, the words you have to say to find out the truth. How can you keep the world from saying “We never expected this from her.”

How in a second the preconceptions and the things you never had to think about become more real that the people sitting next to you. How walking in someone else’s footsteps…

And you breathe. And you cry. And you dare not hope. And you wonder if things can be different. And you beg for someone to hold your hand. Yet you keep your phone in your pocket. You hide it from the world.

Some of Stockholm

In the beginning I thought of Stockholm as this cold, dark place where it’s hard to make friends and you’re constantly broke because everything is really expensive. Me and my friends have a saying “You can live in Stockholm, but you can never experience Stockholm” just because it’s so expensive.

Recently I’ve grown to like (love might be a bit strong of a word) the city more and more. I’ve settled in a bit, I don’t miss my friends all the time anymore, I met some really cool people from all over the world. I also had the privilege of travelling to Copenhagen, Barcelona, Gottenburg and to an island on the Stockholm archipelago in the time I’ve been here. I also learned where the cheaper places are to shop, gotten used to the way the bus and metro works, learned to enjoy my own company and I can even believe I’m becoming a bit more resistant to the cold. I am also referring to 5 degrees as a “warm day” now. Plus, my wonderful new Iranian friend borrowed me her heater, so I can heat up my room.

Thus I feel it’s time to share a bit of the quirks of the city and pictures of my experiences:

I used to think of doors as a pretty universal concept. Not here, most doors are really really heavy. And somehow I think they work differently than in South Africa. I constantly find myself pondering how to open a door, which way the lock turns and having to put my entire upper body strength into it to open it up. I think this is to isolate indoors from the cold.

Stockholm is a city of hipsters. Horn-rimmed glasses, skinny jeans, cardigans and other hipster paraphernalia adorn the streets, especially in the middle of the city where all the shops and coffee shops are.  But the hipsters seem to have infiltrated even the way coffee is served. It is not uncommon to receive coffee in a coffee shop in a cup without handles. Or even in a glass, the kind juice or soda would usually be served in. Normally you also have to pour your own coffee. I’m not sure what the sense is in serving a hot beverage in a cup you need to isolate before you can carry it to your table, but hey, maybe I just don’t get how cool it is.

There are little fruit and flower markets everywhere. Generally you can get fruit and vegetables and even sometimes clothing for a little bit less at the markets. And they are beautiful to walk through. Especially during Christmas when the streets are adorned with Christmas lights, larger than life Christmas trees, reindeer lights and other decorations.

Somehow I am still shocked every time the sun sets earlier, sometimes even before I’ve had lunch. Today, this was the view out my window just before 3pm. At about 3:15 it is absolutely dark. This makes for low motivation to partake in any activity that involves me leaving the comfort of my room.

Recently I discovered this magical Christmas drink called Glogg (pronounced glugg). It’s almost like gluwein. Actually it might be exactly the same thing, who knows, but it is a spicy red wine type of drink that you warm up and drink for desert. You can even add some almonds. Recommended to have it with spicy Christmas cookies and cuddling.

For more than a month now I’ve heard about this weather phenomenon where white, cold flakes fall from the sky and cover the surface of the earth. I bought boots, a big fluffy jacket, a warm, furry hat that covers my ears and a scarf that’s so big it obscured the bottom part of my visual field. And finally, last night, the snow came… It was very light, lasted a few minutes at most but I loved it. At first I stuck my head out of my 9th story window and let the snow come inside, then I geared up and went walking in the snow. I felt like a kid in a candy store and wanted to tell everyone “Look! It’s snowing!”  I am amazed at how the world can turn into a white, magical landscape within a few minutes. As much as I’m not a winter person, I simply love the snow!

That’s all I have to stay about Stockholm for now. I will write some more when I come back from holiday. In two weeks I am off to Germany for a white Christmas, Prague, then Berlin for new years and to end it all, watch the northern lights in Norway. See you on the other side!