In this series of posts, expect a story on how Sweden changes us into someone new – someone better (hopefully). Following a conversation that Andrés and Sania had during our last meetup, we agreed on telling the world about how great the force is in Sweden. The kind of force that encourages us to change. In my case, it made me Brave!
My story begins in the beginning of time. Well my time. I am the last born in a family of two. Most elder children will tell you having a smaller sibling is a nag. I was the definition of a nag. I would whine for my sister to take me to the bathroom, tag along to her friend’s birthday parties and basically be my child slave. In her defense she was pretty good at it. In my defense, I loved having someone to protect and watch out for me. However, in hindsight I realize that this cushioned me from a lot of things. I was always used to hearing do this for the baby, you’re the baby, are you sure you’re okay. Someone was always fussing over me.
Then came the time when I chose to study abroad and move away from home. The utter horror. I had to learn how to do my laundry, cook and I mean not ramen noodles but cook, open a bank account, travel long distances by bus, the list can go on forever. It was a big adjustment and slowly but surely, I learnt how to cope. So, when I moved back home after finishing my undergrad I was sure I wanted to move out of my parents’ house to their utter disbelief. Sure, it was hard paying for stuff like electricity, water and remembering to take out the trash on trash day. But it was fun, I had my freedom. When the time came to do my masters my dream of studying in Europe was realized when I got the chance to study in Sweden.
Now my move to Sweden has been an adventure, to say the least. I thought I was Miss Independent but living in a country where yes, English is spoken but is the secondary language has been interesting. I wrote a blog where I got to interview a few African students and ask them about life here in Sweden. Check it out here.
In my case, Sweden Made Me Brave! I have dragged a suitcase to the bus stop at 4:00 a.m. in pitch darkness and not once did I feel unsafe or like a stark raving lunatic. I take solo road trips to when I want to see a new city I am curious about and even tried new vegan foods and adopted a healthier diet. See Andres post on how Sweden made him a vegetarian.
My study abroad journey has been marked with ups and downs of course. It has tested me in ways I could never have imagined. However, now I speak my mind more, I feel comfortable challenging norms and raising my voice. In a world that at times makes us feel like we must conform, Sweden has let me brave and discover myself. If I wake up and want to wear a bright neon African dashiki print with purple lipstick so be it. Even if I do own more black clothing.
Sweden has let me brave and let me discover me!
Check out Sania’s post on how Sweden Made her Active.
From Sweden with love