Some time ago, I wrote down 13 reasons I love it here at SSE. If I was to come up with a 14 one, it would be one-month-long Christmas break. I haven’t had such luxury for years… When I came back to Sweden, a fifteenth reason met me right at the doorsteps…
So the story started – you guessed it – at the airport. It was only there that I realized my bigger bag weighted 17.5 kg. This time, Poles were kind enough to let me go through with that one (yeah, it said 15 kg on my Ryan Air ticket). Once off the plane, the bus and the metro, I realized how the last 200 meters of a marathon could prove the most challenging. I just moved to student dorms in one of the hilliest areas of Stockholm. So the only thing separating me (and some 30 kilos of my luggage) from the new home was an insurmountable staircase of seemingly unlimited length.
I grabbed my two suitcases, determined to conquer the hill just fine. A stooped lonely figure in the middle of rainy evening, I crossed the street and made a heroic effort to get 50 meters closer to the staircase. I stopped there and looked around: it seemed like a deserted place, not a soul was walking by. As my thoughts were wandering around the hill, the staircase, and my marginal propensity to pay a million to move my bags up, an elderly man appeared – as if from nowhere – and went just past me. He made a couple more steps and looked around. I was too desperate to think what his words meant. “There are exactly 120 stairs. How did you imagine to manage those suitcases by yourself?”
“Have a nice stay in Sweden!” he wished me once we reached the top of the hill. “Tack! I can’t thank you enough…” I mumbled. But he already dissolved into the rain.
It took me a second look at Stockholm to realize how cheerful people are here. To appreciate those little conversations in the shopping moll elevator. To notice sudden outbursts of laughter in the midnight metro. To look around and reflect on where true happiness comes from. That evening, I found my fifteenth reason to study in Sweden: people figured out how happiness is born when helping others.
Image source: here