It has arrived! I have feared it for so long, and it has finally reached the region of Uppsala. Yeah, it’s winter and the cold that I’m talking about. Temperatures below 30 degrees (Fahrenheit, of course), morning frost, and the very first snow of the season caught me by surprise.
As I was leaving Blåsenhus, the place where I have my Sustainable Development class, I was hit by unexpected cold and small white particles flying in the air. It took me a moment to realize that it was actually SNOWING! The weather forecast said that we might get some snow next week, but not now. It snowed for about half an hour or so and right after that one could see some snow sticking to the ground. Luckily it melted quickly. When choosing Sweden as my study abroad destination I decided to simply ignore the weather since I liked everything else so much. I am not a fan of snow and winter, but I will have to deal with it here, I guess. With a warm pair of winter boots and a good winter jacket it shouldn’t be too hard (or at least I hope so)! 🙂
Another thing I am concerned with is the fact that once we switch to daylight savings time (and this will happen in a week or so) by the time I have to go to my class, it’ll be completely dark outside (my class starts at 5pm). My next class will start on November 5th and it will be mainly during the afternoon so that will be fine. Speaking of classes, I have to say that it’s getting really busy now. For my Sustainable Development class we are working within our study groups on the case studies (which in my case is the Urban Resilience and Sustainable Urbanization in Stockholm), but we also have other things due at the same time. This is the only class where I don’t have a final exam that is 100% of the final grade: Here, we have to write 3 smaller papers, one big case study, and hold a presentation, which all count for the final grade (it is more similar to the system at UR). For my Government class, there is only one thing that decides the final grade – a final exam that lasts 4 hours. I really like having more papers and assignments contribute to the grade than only one exam. One exam only creates so much more pressure and requires students to do the entire course work load at once. But, it is doable! 🙂
Before it got really busy I managed to go on a trip to Tallinn, Estonia, with some of my friends. First we took a train to Stockholm (40 mins away from Uppsala) in the morning and spent the entire day there just sightseeing and enjoying the city (I am pretty sure that Stockholm is becoming my favorite city. I fell in love with it from the very first time I visited it. I really love the multiple islands and the sea that make Stockholm to “Venice of the North”). After that we boarded the ship and got ready for our cruise to Tallinn (Stockholm being a harbor, it is really easy to go on a cruise to Helsinki, Riga, Tallinn etc. from here). I enjoyed spending time in Tallinn. It was my first time ever in this Baltic country. Luckily we had a friend, Gretta, who is an Estonian on exchange at Uppsala University, to help us navigate the city. She was an excellent tour guide and made the best out of our stay in her city. Tallinn is beautiful. We were lucky it didn’t rain so we saw Estonian capital in its fall colors at their best! It was interesting to see the Soviet and more modern, EU if I can say so, influence fight and yet coexist in this city. Definitely worth a visit on so many levels!
Another big news of the week is that I bought a new bike! I was using my friend’s bike for some time, but since it was too big for me, I decided to get a new one. I also made sure to get a safe lock to avoid my bike being stolen again. 🙂 Having a bike in Uppsala is truly a necessity. Even thought there are busses (public transportation in Uppsala is super effective and well developed), it is so much easier to have a bike and ‘free will’ when deciding when to leave to go somewhere.
Now, I need to get ready for the Swedish winter by buying warmer clothes and bike lights (new bike = new lights)!