A walk by a frozen lake to heal a lonely heart (Week 1 in Sweden)
Today is exactly a week since I arrived in Stockholm but it seems so much longer. At some point I was ready to throw in the towel and call it off. But then I remembered that I am not on vacation where I can control how long I am staying. I want to go home but I can’t.
It was a rough week. Walking back to my rented room on Friday night I felt defeat. The week didn’t go well as I hoped: the tax authorities refused to register me in the population census because I am here for under a year (what consequences will that have? I am such a reject!), I screw up my presentation forgetting everything I wanted to say, I was physically exhausted and my cough was getting worse (do I have a bronchitis, pneumonia? Will a doctor see me here if I am not registered in the population?), I am in a strange country where I know just a couple of people and felt lonely and trapped in this small room.
But a good night sleep can change everything! Well, not exactly good night but definitely sleep. My tiny cheapest bed from IKEA is not the most comfortable and now I realise that cheap pillows can lead to a pain in the neck, but sleep is sleep. I woke up to a sun shining through out the window and everything looked so much better. So I decided to take a stroll in Hagaparken. It is a huge area of nature with lakes, woods, gardens and historical buildings such as royal palaces and the royal cemetery, including the current residency of the Crown Princess Viktoria with her husband and their baby. But unfortunately I only had a chance to visit it once. When we previously lived in Sweden, one summer we took a boat across one of the lakes and found a cute small cafe to have lunch outside and watch the lake. We lost track of time and run to catch the boat back but missed it and ended up walking to the closest metro station instead.
I wish I visited it more but it is located on the opposite side of the city from where we lived and it is not easily accessible. But luckily to me, now I live just next to it! So I turned on a GPS on my mobile and head towards it. Surprisingly the lake was completely frozen and had a path for ice skaters to skate. You can see small figures in the pictures. It was also very empty and quiet with only a few runners jogging on completely icy roads! So I carefully walked on icy paths around the lake while talking to my family on Skype and enjoying the sunset. But as soon as the sun set, it became very cold and I had to turn back home. My Californian jacket is not the best for handling this kind of cold.
On my way there, I even came across this cute cafe on top of the hill overlooking the lake. That is why I love Sweden so much because it is full of nature and small cafes in the places where you at least expect them. Spending a weekend sitting outside and enjoying the weather and Swedish pancakes with lingonberry jam bring me many old memories. Oh I cannot wait until the warmer weather comes around and becomes possible to sit outside.
But no more dreaming of pancakes, lingonberries, no more distractions and back to the research, reading articles for my thesis. That is where I am here for after all.