Week Two

Hej!!! This week includes:

Day 9: Hornstulls Marknad | Day 10: Rest | Day 11: Kaffe and Kayaking | Day 12: Tacos and Pandemic (not COVID-19) | Day 13: Board Game Björn | Day 14: Sick Statues | Day 15: Food Prep & Fun | Day 16: Caves | Day 17: Hearty Hike and Thai

Day 9: Hornstulls Marknad

August 27

On Saturday we went down to Hornstulls marknad that’s set up from April to end of September every Saturday and Sunday from 12-5pm! It’s basically a really cute flea market down by the water where people were selling clothes, crafts, art, food, antiques, etc. A tip: if you plan to go to places like these, they typically only take cash (krona) or Swish which is the Venmo of Sweden, but it’s only available if you have a Swedish bank account. So, despite what you might have heard about Stockholm being cashless — you may, in fact, want to exchange for some kronor!

Day 10: Rest

August 28

Sunday was the perfect rainy day. A friend and I walked in the misty chill to Kaffebar just outside Hornstull to do some ethics reading and Swedish homework. I love Sweden because people were still chilling in the outdoor seating areas, unbothered by the almost-sideways drizzle. Afterwards we went to pick up a package at a DHL, a courier service. Tip: you will need your passport or at least a picture of it to do some things like collect packages or even buy liquor at the Swedish state-owned alcohol retail monopoly, Systembolaget. Sometimes your ID will do the trick, but I heard some people had to show their passport.

Back at Högalidsgatan, we did some more work, cooked some pasta with pesto for dinner, and did some laundry. At our housing site, we have a calendar where you can sign up for a three-hour slot to use the one washer and one dryer, and so Sunday night 7-10pm was my slot! It was a little confusing to find the timer, and they were kind of small compared to what I usually use, so I did one load to wash the essentials — I didn’t have time for another load because the machines lock at 10pm. That night we watched Loving Adults on Netflix, which was kind of a Danish thriller that was just released. It wasn’t the greatest but, despite the content, we had a few laughs.

Högalidsgatan living

Day 11: Kaffe and Kayaking

August 29

On Monday morning I had Affective Neuroscience where we talked about the accuracy of the Pixar film, Inside Out, in portraying emotions. Then we grabbed lunch at Oktav on the first floor of the building, and I wish I had taken a picture of my meal because it was actually delicious: chicken in a red wine sauce with bacon, small onions and potatoes with quinoa and fresh bread on the side. We hung out in the Student Hub before our Swedish class where we learned basic questions and how to order food and drink (jag vill ha en kaffe, tack).

Later, the Outdoor LLC met up at DIS for our first Monday-night outing: kayaking! We walked for about 30 minutes up to Brunnsviken near Stockholm University. After donning our fashionable life-jackets and spray skirts and lugging the kayaks to the water, we set out just before sunset. Though it was a little chilly, the water was warm and the sky was gorgeous. Below is a shameless photo dump. After kayaking we took the bus back to Hornstull and made a 10pm ICA supermarket run to pick up quesadilla supplies and hot chocolate which we devoured and promptly went to bed.

Day 12: Tacos and Pandemic (not COVID-19)

August 30

On Tuesday I went to Medical Ethics where we talked about religion in ethics. Afterwards the gym program SATS came for an info session/sign up! The pricing was around $150 which was not super cute but a good motivator if you need a standard gym. I got lunch with some friends at Oktav and had a mushroom risotto with veal meatballs which were actually pretty tasty! No photo unfortunately because I was incredibly hungry, so it was gone immediately. Then I had my Affective Neuroscience lab where we learned about the eye-tracking, facial emotion recognizer, and GSR measures available for our semester-long research project. After lab I went with a friend to get Mexican food at a place in Hornstull called Chelas for dinner. We ordered carnitas and fish tacos which were delicious and a greatly missed cuisine. Later that night I met up with my lab group at Beer n’ Play in Hornstull because we were supposed to play the co-operative board game Pandemic for class the next day — it was pretty complex but good fun!

Day 13: Board Game Björn

August 31

Wednesday’s at DIS = Field Studies!!! My Affective Neuroscience class had a board game workshop at DIS with a board game designer named Björn who came in to teach us about the ~mechanics~ of board games so that we had some guidance for our final project for the class: producing our own neuroscience-themed board game. It was really cool to have to put ourselves behind the scenes in the makings of a good board game and appreciating all of the thought that goes into it. We had a lot of work that night, so I made a quesadilla for dinner. It’s easy to forget you’re still “doing school” here!

Day 14: Sick Statues

September 1

Thursday I had my neuroscience class where we did some brain anatomy. SSIF came to the DIS Student Hub to give some info about their sports teams/classes for students to join for around $50 for the entire semester, and I joined! Then, I headed over to Nordic Contemporary Art where we talked about aesthetics and left for the Konstakademien (the Royal Academy of Art). It had gorgeous sculptures/statues as well as modern exhibits with cool photography and interesting art that I genuinely wanted in my house. Unfortunately, I felt incredibly ill and passed out in my bed when I got back to Högalidsgatan. Evidently there was some sort of cold/virus going around. It’s important to slow down and listen to your body — if you need a nap, take a nap. I woke up feeling a little better, and my friend made me some chicken and spaghetti for dinner :’) A little later I Facetimed some school friends which also made me feel a lot better. It’s definitely a struggle to stay in touch with loved ones back home, especially with the time difference and getting so caught up in the moment. It’s been really helpful to consolidate my experiences into a blog like this, so I recommend finding some sort of similar outlet: a journal, a shared album, a Sunday night call — pretty much anything to help you reflect on your time here!

Day 15: Food Prep & Fun

September 2

On Friday in Medical Ethics we talked about utilitarianism and “killing vs letting die” thought experiments — if you don’t know it already, look up the Bathtub Case for some food for thought 😀 Afterwards I got lunch with a friend at a Chinese restaurant right by DIS called Xiang Yue which was delicious. After lab I headed home and helped with food prep for the Outdoor LLC’s weekend camping trip! We chopped up some potatoes and peppers and loaded them into big Ziplocs, which had quite the adventure, as you’ll see soon. Later, a group of us went out in Hornstull and had a fun night.

Day 16: Caves

September 3

On Saturday morning, the Outdoor LLC embarked on our multi-bus journey out to Tyresö for our camping weekend. I stuffed my backpack with things and put on my leggings (ah, how I missed Athleisure) before heading to the first bus stop. The potato-pepper Ziploc bags had quite an adventure and, by proxy, so did our group as we navigated our way through multiple bus stations and stops — I’m sure you can imagine a gaggle of college students with backpacks and gallon-sized Ziplocs of veggies running into traffic to catch a bus. We eventually made it to the free campsite (thank you, Allemansrätten), and the first group of us hastily ate our pre-packed lunches before donning our helmets and gloves to go CAVING. I don’t even know how to describe the experience because it was so surreal being in the damp dark for 2 hours and 20 minutes, not even realizing time had passed. We were just chilling with the spiders and our tour guide, Joakim, whom we called a magician because when he crawled ahead of us, we wouldn’t be able to see him until his face magically appeared 10 feet away down a hole. It was physically taxing at some points but so rewarding to test my willpower and my body’s limits (or lack thereof 😌). We emerged with bruised shins and smirks on our faces to talk to the rest of the group who would cave tomorrow, trying to keep secret the sheer craziness of the experience. I was assuming it would be a pretty spacious cave that we might have to crouch in at some points…but it wasn’t. There were points where we would look at the “path” and not even fathom how our bodies would fit — it was almost comical. There was even a pass called “Devil’s Gate” that Joakim couldn’t let us go through because there was a loose rock above it (?!?!) The exit was by far the worst of it — I was slowly but surely wriggling between two rock sides as my body was in a horizontal position parallel to the ground.

Afterwards we set up tents next to the lake and started on dinner — roasting the potato-pepper bowls over the fire. There was a group of friends who were sharing our campfire, and we made friendly conversation with them — there was an Australian man whose partner was a Swedish woman, her brother, and their Dutch friend. They were very friendly and cooking some sausages on the fire, off of which they were picking them up with their bare hands 😀 which at least provided some entertainment. The campsite was really nice, and there were some people walking past us with dogs/kids to check out the caves and rock climb. After our friends left, the Outdoor LLC hung out all night making s’mores, playing games, and talking around the campfire.

Day 17: Hearty Hike and Thai

September 4

Early on Sunday my tent-mates and I woke up to some birds chirping loudly. I got up to go pee (yes, in the woods) and then wash my hands and make myself breakfast. I had a nutella sandwich and a breakfast quesadilla, enjoying the quiet company and blissful sounds of nature at 8 A.M. It was really nice to get away from the city and actually see the easily-accessible nature that Stockholm has to offer. Once everyone was up, the other half of our group went caving long at last, and our half set out to do the hike the others did yesterday. It was SO beautiful with perfect weather and few people. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. Afterwards we packed everything up and headed back to Södermalm in the van. I unpacked, showered, and passed out in my bed for a much-needed nap. Afterwards some of us ordered takeaway of a bunch of different Thai food dishes, buffet-style, from Lemon & Chili which was absolutely delicious.

I’m so glad I get to live with the Outdoor LLC because the opportunities they provide for us are so incredible, and the activities are things I would want to do anyway but are now organized for us. It was really nice to be with likeminded people who wanted to grow closer through shared experiences — which we did. 🙂

Thanks again for reading! See you next time for a weekly update. ❤

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