Weeks have gone by since I got home. Usually when I’m home for break I go back to my usual “Taiwan routine”. Things go back a certain way and I don’t notice much change. But this time I felt different, besides my expanding waistline due to so many delicious food, I have noticed that my year in Sweden has changed me in ways I didn’t realize before.
1. Sweden is not Switzerland!
I never realized this would bother me. Before I moved to Sweden when family and friend mistake Sweden and Switzerland I would just chalk it off to ignorance. But since I have been back, when people ask me “How is the weather in Switzerland, it is really that cold?” And I always have to start my answer with I am in Sweden, not Switzerland. I feel the need to explain to them that Sweden has a total area of 450,295 km² and it is the biggest country in Northern Europe while Switzerland is surrounded by Germany, France, Italy, and etc… with a total area of 41,285 km². I don’t understand why people confuse the two, but when they do, a little bit of my Swedish pride gets hurt and I feel the need to speak up to defend and correct the misunderstanding.
While we do recycle in Taiwan, the category of recycling expected from the general public is much less specific than Sweden. But now when I throw things out, my mind tries to find the exact bin which does not exist here. For the sake of the environment I hope this is something that would change for the better in the future.
Even though Sweden has a long daytime hour during the summer, the sunshine you feel is never hot and burning. Here, daytime is not that much longer for the summer, but the sun burns and the humidity feels like you are inside hot yoga all day. Besides after my first Stockholm winter of several months of darkness, tropical summer sun is just too much brightness for me to handle.
A Sweden cultural practice of fika time really rubbed off on me. I find myself wanting that cup of coffee or just a break in my day to enjoy a little down time.
I guess the year in Sweden has affected me more than I expected. I wonder what I would be like after my second year?
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