Swedish Winter Wonderland

Winter Uppsala

Not having written a single line in a couple of weeks, which I apologise for in case once upon a time far far away there was someone looking forward to reading about the ups and downs of my exchange, makes me wonder where to start. Well, let’s go for a sort of stream of consciousness for a change and see where it takes us.

Snow. This is an obvious choice to start with since Uppsala has turned into Winter Wonderland. Last few days Uppsala was looking really pretty; all dressed up in white and sometimes flooded with sun, a combination I have not seen for a while. A perfect opportunity to take pictures, one might think. Well, I did manage to persuade myself that capturing this winter beauty for future reference was worth freezing in minus 12 degrees for an hour or two. Nonetheless, my body was making it pretty clear that it strongly disagreed since it could not warm up in the warmth of my bed for another two hours. Needless to say, I have not even taken all the pictures I wanted to.

Daylight. Lack of daylight. It is early December and it starts getting dark at 2 in the afternoon and at 3, half three it is almost pitch black. Though, to be fair, the snow makes the city brighter now. With Christmas knocking on the door, the centre is lit up with street decorations looking really festive, beautiful and romantic so going for a walk one does not really mind the darkness. On the other hand, my exams are looming and the lack of daylight tricks my body into believing that it is night (understand sleeping time) all the time leaving me neither awake nor focused enough to study as much as I would wish to.

Coffee. Unfortunately, not fika. Just coffee.

Revision. When I come back to Edinburgh, I will not even think about complaining about the library opening hours ever again. Carolina Rediviva, which in my understanding is sort of a main library here, closes at 9 Monday to Friday, at 6 on Saturdays and on Sundays it does not open at all.  People usually study in partially specialised libraries that belong to their departments, put in a rather simple way, but their opening hours are equally hopeless. To be fair, there are study spaces across the uni buildings so you do not necessarily have to study in a library unless you need a computer or books available on reference loan only. However, these buildings close quite early as well (alternatively, do not open at all at the weekend) and to access them after opening hours you need an access card. The catch is that one’s card is activated only for the complex where one has classes. So, in case you like to study in a particular building where you do not have classes just like I do and want to study in the evening or on Sunday you will need to knock on a door/window and hope that someone will come and open for you, or to be lucky enough to arrive at the exact same time as someone with an activated card.

Books. A piece of advice, do make use of the library resources. As far as I know, I am the only one in my course who did not buy the entire arsenal of course books despite the fact that books are really expensive in Sweden and, generally speaking, easily accessible in the uni libraries. I would say, check out the library resources first, use them for a couple of weeks to see which books prove to be useful and then buy those. Remember that in a couple of months you will be moving out and you will either have to leave the books behind or pay for extra kilos.

Music. I have recently been introduced to Mumford & Sons. Love them!

Christmas! I cannot find the right words to express how excited I am about Christmas. There is something pure, original and uncommercialised about Christmas in Scandinavia, it reminds me of what it used to feel like when I was small. When I am done with exams I will share more thoughts on Swedish Christmas. Or perhaps even earlier if I give up fighting those Christmas thoughts that keep distracting me from exam revision.

Well, this pretty much summarises my week. Snow. Winter Wonderland. Extreme cold. Countless layers of clothing. Hectolitres of tea in desperate attempt to keep me warm. Daily soup lunch at Ofvandahls. Revision. Exams. Christmas!

Categories: UppsalaTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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