I rolled off the train desperately presenting an air of control as I wrestled with two suitcases and one bag packed out with airport booze to find myself, finally, thought I, on the platform at Lund station.
Lund itself is a picturesque little place. Everything you would expect from a traditional student town: architecture, mazy cobbled streets, friendly poeple. Was this a little disappointing? In a sense yes since there is nothing which screamed out “Welcome to Sweden!”. On arrival I felt, for the first time, utterly alone. Decision and indecision fought a satirical Stalingrad in the Swedish summer sun and the terror of a claustrophobic year coiled around me.
However, you will be glad to hear that this needless pessimism was rapidly dispelled once I actually began to get settled and appreciate what a stunning town I had had the fortune to rock up in for a year. There are a multitude of events to get involved in – essentially the first two weeks have become Freshers’ Week II. The language course was good fun and you meet fellow students but it’s not going to give you enough Swedish to hold actual conversations –although fortunately every Swedish person seems far more adept at the English language than myself! Mentor groups help you get to know your way around, serving students inhabiting tent like blue t-shirts passing on the tricks of the trade to their new recruits. While the frat house-esque Nations provide a much appreciated cheap night out and the chance to join sports teams. There are literally dozens of opportunities to meet people.
Strangers become friends so easily in Lund, especially when those strangers are international students. Ostra Torn, my halls, are a cosy little residence. I share an apartment with a French guy named Felix – he is yet to become aware that I studied French at school for fear that he makes me “practise”! Just don’t expect every Swede you meet to be an open armed party animal; the majority are quite reserved and if you want to immerse yourself in purely Swedish culture this will take some time.
To be honest, the only stressful events since I got here have been the ones of my own making. Turning up at a uni without the letter of acceptance proving you have a place was probs a bit of a rookie mistake – don’t make it! Rugby boots, it turns out, are pretty useful when trying to play rugby. Forgetting the need to provide a pillow and duvet wasn’t ideal either and getting off a bus at the wrong stop then proceeding to drunkenly stumble in a circle around my halls four times – really, four – was verging on the special.
So to counter my special moment and do as the local Lundians do, two days ago I bought a bike. Yesterday said bike got a puncture. Today I took it to get repaired. Tonight Bike is having a sleepover at the repair shop. Back to walking for now then!
There are two more valuable little titbits I have picked up:
1) The Swedes love to queue.
2) Lloyd does not love to queue.
I think you can see where the problem arises. The solution? Lloyd must fall in love with the queue. More on that quest for love next time….