A Story Yet To Be Told- The Journey to Stockholm

“So close you can almost taste it…

-Natasha Bedingfield

Flight #1- Chicago, IL

Sitting in the airport waiting for my flight, the song Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield comes to mind. A song that I probably haven’t thought about in over 4 years, yet I find myself feeling like the beginning of an early 2000’s movie. There is of the excitement and anticipation of my life about to change.

The last week has flown by. It was accompanied by lots of stress about packing (you can see my post about it here!) and an overwhelming amount of love and support from my co-workers, friends, and family.

The week wouldn’t be complete without an outing with some of my best friends doing what we do best, eating pizza and playing video games. I wanted to make sure I got a picture of us all together (It’s pretty rare) so I can look back on all the fun times we have and will continue to have when the FOMO (fear of missing out) kicks in later this semester.

Blake, Carter, Cole and I at Up-Down Bar in Uptown Minneapolis. Having a blast playing our favorite classic arcade games and finishing the night with some pizza!

Remembering that it’s not goodbye forever, just see you later!

I never thought I would see Chicago slow down, but the city proved me wrong. Sitting in the airport at 2 am, the silence reminded me of anywhere but the bustling city that I know. Trying to stay awake through the night to acclimate myself to the time change I’ll be facing in Sweden proved to be a difficult task since I am very much not a night person. I did find that the maintenance staff are all very friendly and offered some great comments on my random dancing while trying to stay awake. As the city woke and people started rushing through the airport, I couldn’t help but start to feel as if I was in a music video. The feeling of going through a busy crowd with nowhere to go.

Flight #2- Newark, NJ

I’ve gotten maybe 2 hours of sleep so far and I am so ready to just get to where I need to be. I would highly recommend not having this much time for layovers, I have no idea what to do with myself anymore besides spend absurd amounts of money on airport food.

I had some strange cravings for Asian food and hot chocolate while sleep deprived.

Flight #3- Stockholm, Sweden

The flight went much better than I expected. I was sat between two very nice gentlemen, one of which lives in Stockholm and the other was just visiting for the day before he moves on. The exhaustion from not sleeping helped the flight go by quickly. I don’t remember taking off and woke up only because of the smell of food. The excitement overcame any exhaustion I had once we landed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many pine trees! Going through the airport was a breeze, I took the express train and made it to my housing without getting lost. I have to say so far things are looking up.

Updates about my first impressions of Stockholm… COMING SOON

All Of The Things… 4 Months, One Suitcase

When putting my list together for the first time I thought there was no way I was going to fit everything I could need for 4 months of my life into a suitcase. There was a lot of texting my friends (Thank you again!!) about what I should bring and whether it was too much or not, going over the DIS packing list, and searching past DIS bloggers about what they brought (this one was helpful).

Just in case you’re feeling the same about packing, I put together a list of what I brought and some outfit inspiration I found. I ended up spending waaayyy too much time on Pinterest and various other fashion blogs to see what people were wearing.

Clothes

  • Pants (7)
    • Jeans (3)- Light, Dark, Black
    • Black Plaid Pants- for more of a professional look
    • Sweatpants
    • Athletic leggings (2)
  • Shorts (2)-Jeans and Athletic
  • Tops
    • Tanks (2)
    • Plain T-shirts (4)
    • Long sleeve shirts (5)
    • Light sweaters (4)
    • Button-down blouses (3)- I love my button-downs
    • Flannels (2)
    • Light cardigan or jacket (2)
    • Heavy cardigan-My go-to cozy item in the winter
    • Sweatshirts (2)- had to bring my Patagonia pullover
  • Pajamas
  • Workout tank and sports bra
  • Dresses (2)
  • Swimsuit
  • Winter coat
Just a few of my favorite items! Swedes are known for wearing a lot of blacks which is great because that’s what I wear a lot of as well. I did bring some color to make the winter a little easier though!

Shoes

  • Chacos
  • Snowboots
  • Light brown booties
  • White converse- They go with everything
  • Black flats
  • Black boots

Other

  • Blanket scarves (2)
  • Black leather gloves
  • Fun earings (3)
  • Hot water bottle- I love having one during the winter months, great for colds!
  • An assortment of pens
  • Watercolor pallet
  • Small MN themed gift for my visiting host family– Will keep you updated about who they are
  • Umbrella

In My Carry-On

  • Personal ID information- Passport, Drivers License, etc.
  • Printed housing information, Visiting Permit, Itinerary, etc.
  • Phone & charger- With lots of music and podcasts downloaded
  • Laptop & charger
  • Ipad & charger- I love taking my notes on it instead of using notebooks!
  • Journal & my favorite pen
  • Book
  • Basic toiletries-face wash, deodorant, toothbrush &toothpaste, etc. (Will buy most when I get there)
  • Water bottle
  • Medication-Melatonin, pain killers, etc.
  • Vitamin D- Trying to get ahead of the deficiency before the winter darkness starts!
  • Extra pair of clothes- You never know what could happen!

OUTFIT INSPIRATION

Just a few images I found off of blogs or Pinterest to get you thinking about Swedish fashion. I’ll let you know if they are true to life once I get there!

Hopefully you found this helpful or it at least gave you some inspiration! Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!

Happy Travels!

The Count Down

6 Days, 15 hours, and 46 minutes.

Less than one week until I get on my first plane to Sweden. I can no longer see the floor of my room because I have piles of clothes everywhere trying to decide exactly which things are coming with me and how I am going to fit them all in my bag. I am texting all of my friends or family that have either visited Scandinavia or lived there for a period of time trying to ask them what they wish they would have brought with them or left home (one of the things on this list is peanut butter, it CAN be found in Sweden). I’m attempting to come up with a packing list so I don’t overpack but I know it will be inevitable because “Yes, I really do NEED that or what if (fill in the blank) happens.”

After making a list and checking it twice, all of the fear and excitement set its in. The thoughts tend to be “is this really happening?! and is this REALLY happening??” Knowing that in a few short days I will leave all of my friends and family behind for 4 months live and travel around Sweden and the rest of Europe.  There is the thrill of getting the email about my housing assignment and seeing the faces of the girls I will be living with, trying to find them on all types of social media #sorrynotsorry to figure out what types of people they are.

The fears tend to be: what if I don’t make friends, what if I don’t like my roommates, how am I going to live in another country and afford all of the traveling I want to do, and how many times am I going to get lost on the T-bana because I am terrible at navigation.

These fears and worries are often settled when I think back on how I felt getting ready to go to college freshman year. Many of the fears are the same and others are unique to traveling in general. It helps to think about how far I’ve come already, how I’ve faced those fears and can do it again.

All I can do right now is enjoy my breakfast looking out at the beautiful lake in front of me and savor each and every last bit of summer I can get before I am onto my next adventure!

Cheers!

-Kayla