I've been tagged a few times but Typepad just changed and I can't search comments! So if you kindly tagged me in the past months please don't be shy to remind me or say in the comments so I can link a thank you!! But you're always a bit stuck when you have to suddenly say ten things about yourself so I thought I'd sum up the best things I've learnt about here, and then some of the less great things!
1) The shops of course! It's just nice to have access to some new places. Also the British high street is quite common but Swedish style is plainer, so if you pass someone in the street wearing the same item, it won't necessarily look the same. Things are very ethical so people don't seem to go crazy and splurge on loads of stuff.
2) I'm certainly not a nature girl, but things are so clean and beautiful. I live in the 'ghetto' apparently, or at least the nice, Swedish version. And there's even the forest with the lakes right next door, and the other day a deer ran in front of my bus!
3) Swedish people. Everyone is perfectly lovely. I read in a few places that Swedes can be a bit cold and silent, but I've only found they are more than helpful and will always speak English with no hesitation. I can speak a bit of Swedish now and can aaalmost go through a shopping transaction.
4) It's still great to live in International halls. A Chinese guy on our floor made a shrimp and vegetable stir fry the other day and ate it on toast with Nutella?! Aww he's only 19 and we made him borrow a friend's passport to come to the (only) club here. There was this beer pong and sauna party too, but I didn't go in the sauna as I have no swimming costume or anything like that here. When I bring one back though I am totally going in the lake, even if it will be freezing!!
5) Swedish living is very cool. You are encouraged to stay really long in cafes and restaurants and just chill and drink coffee. Swedes drink a LOT of alcohol though despite it being so extortionate, so you can guarantee everyone in the club is seriously hammered. The girls will push you because they are dancing so crazy, but are very friendly and will offer you drinks and little cigarette parcels that you put in your gum?? My friend and I acted enthusiastic to be polite, then took them out straight away!
6) The uni is very student friendly. You don't even need to open doors, they're all mechanical!! Maybe it's because it's a small uni, but life is made very easy for students and it's so calm.
7) It happens to be next to some pretty cool countries. Where to shop first?!
8) It's strange not to be around so much western language or culture. Like watching TV means you don't understand any adverts or if the bus driver stops and shouts something, you don't know what's going on. You get used to it but when I went back to England last week, it's so much easier to know all that's going on around you. But it's a good thing because I guess it makes you stronger, more adaptable, and you are more appreciative of other cultures and where you come from. Also you're not affected by advertising!
9) The girls. The fashion is more subtle too, so the girls can be totally stylish but don't stick out. Then again, to me Swedish style is always insanely fashionable and inspiring but maybe it's just normal to the Swedes! I think 'omg, a hair bun!' about ten times a day.
10) The boys. There are many stylish guys here, but again it's not so showy. I have met a Swedish boy but it's OK, I won't start filling this blog up with that :)
1) Of course living away from home is the worst thing. Home being your family, friends, language, cultures, customs, everything! Sometimes it's so frustrating if you need to get something from home or say if you have to contact someone or do something important like with banks, but you simply can't.
2) The post is incredibly slow for packages. It takes two weeks for a slip to arrive saying you have a package. This might not seem that long, but by the time you are able to walk the mile to the post office, half a month has already gone by. You know when you buy clothes and things online and you want them straight away, but say if I wanted or needed something from home, by the time someone in my family can post it, it's about three weeks later, nearly a month!
3) As I found last week, the plane is the easiest part of the journey home. I'm scared of flying but it's even tolerant when you have to travel to the airport, which means an extensive journey. There's all the stress of what to pack and what to bring back and leaving everything in Sweden OK but making sure you're fine when you get to England, and then getting home from the airport. Ryan Air might be cheap but if you ever travel through them, book priority boarding as people just about run to the plane to squish into a seat after forming a standing queue about 30 minutes early in departures. It makes home seem that much further away. If you're having an off day, you kind of feel quite trapped.
4) I'm really independent so it's weird to feel so helpless if you want to buy or do the simplest thing. Like if I need even some eye-makeup remover or to find a card shop for example, I have no clue where to go. You're kind of trapped only to what you know so life is a little more closed. The shops here are very few and it was EXTREMELY apparent why England is famed for shops because there, if you need a card, you go to a shop absolutely brimming with any type of card you would ever need. Or if you need makeup remover, guaranteed you'll have a shop dedicated to cosmetics and toiletries right nearby. Here maybe they'll have the supermarkets and malls, but there's no huge retail chains with flashy discounts and endless products.
5) I've lived in Birmingham and Manchester, so coming to a tiny town is the biggest shock. There's just not a lot to do or see. But the only reason to leave the city is to shop maybe in Gothenburg, but you can't justify a shopping trip every week! I live in somewhere similar to estates, and it's not a town crammed with houses and streets, it's mainly motorway-like roads or forests. There's no corner shop to pop to or little high street to pick up a few things at.
6) This is kind of related to fashion to where it's a problem that you don't understand things around you. It's a shame to hear of all the blogger events and promos in England, because obviously they have huge fashion blogs here, but I don't know anything to do with them! There's fliers and advertisements everywhere but you don't know what any of them say. Maybe someone will say they've heard a party might be going on, or the student pub will be open, but you never really know what's going on so it always ends up to be bad haha! It's like you're outside of the loop. In Manchester, everyone knew everything that was going on. Also the headquarters of Gina Tricot are in this town and (while I was in England, so it's OK) there was apparently a MASSIVE sale there, where all the only stock was heavily reduced and people were just stripping in the middle of the shop and throwing clothes on big piles and it was insane. My friend only found out because the chef at her work happened to mention it a few days later.
7) It's weird too that I'm here for a whole year, so only need to do 15 credits a term, whereas almost everyone else is here for their whole degree or are doing 30credits in one term, so are leaving at Christmas. This means I will be graduating a year later, which means all the people that were in my year at university in Manchester and all my friends and people on my course will have graduated, so I will never see them again! Looking at photos now of my friends going out to the clubs we used to go to is so strange, almost like I should be there. It seems so far away!
8) It could be said for every nationality or culture, but you don't really know what the difference of being English is. Some people, especially guys from certain places, are overly friends and sometimes quite creepy, which makes you suspicious of everyone deep down and you wonder if they're just so keen to be your friend because you're an English girl? You started here with an open mind but a few guys have just proved steriotypes right and it's not always pleasant. Also say if an Italian or French boy joined your class, naturally everyone would want to be friend's with them mainly because of the novelty and uniqueness. So can you be sure someone likes you for you, and not because you're from somewhere else?
9) Magazines! Argh!! The problem isn't the lack of them, it's the huge supply of them! In the newsagents, they have ALL the Vogues and even Jalouse, 10, and a huge selection of men's magazines. Maybe like me, you have your monthly magazines that you always buy, but you tend to get others on impulse if you fancy one or have a flick and they look good? Well at £10-15 a magazine, I can't afford any at all! Elle UK didn't show for three weeks though so I had to order it online for £12 and it came two weeks later!
10) I miss English shops!! You might think I'm mental because of Weekday, Monki and Gina Tricot but really, the town I'm in only has some Gina's, and they're basically like a small, small New Look. Weekday and Monki have very small ranges too and don't have fresh stock coming in. I can totally appreciate how amazing the British high street is. When I went home last week I went to the Bullring and couldn't even shop! Imagine if one day you were taken to a shopping centre with all the shops you know, but also Forever 21, all the Swedish shops, every designer you could want,etc. Just imagine all the shops you've ever wished to shop in. That's how I felt. Like going from H&M and Gina to about a million amazing high street stores jam packed with the latest season's stuff, all of which I'd never seen before and it's all fresh for Autumn and lovely. And of course if someone gave you anything in Topshop for free, you would love it because everything in that store is lovely. I couldn't shop because I liked everything. It was so overwhelming. I used to high street shop at least every week but now I had no idea where to start! I went into Miss Selfridge first and could of picked up almost everything to try on because it was all just great. I forgot that on the British high street, it is quite painful to shop but you have to hold back for thing you really love and know what works in your wardrobe.
Hmm the cons seem much longer then the pros! But really the bad things are just little niggles that you think about if you're having a bad day. It all makes you stronger!
p.s. You are tagged! If you have a blog and do this tag and tell me, you will be entered into a contest to celebrate the new design of my favourite online jewellery shop, Love Hearts and Crosses! You can win this sweet Alice in Wonderland pin. If you don't have a blog, you can comment ten things about you, ten favourite things, ten things you hate, ten anything! Or get 10% off anyway by putting FLYINGSAUCER in at the checkout. A little present from me to you to say sorry for the absence :)