At the moment of writing it’s 2 AM on a friday. I just had some beers after a horrible hangover day and a nice thank you dinner after weeks of intense movie making. I am not drunk or anything. ( maybe a bit on the tipsy side 😀 ). So excuse me for any mistakes I make. I just felt like writing this because it is something I would never say and writing it is much easier. I am not even sure if I should post this…
This is the beginning of the last of my days here in Sweden. I still have around a month to go. but I have already said goodbye to first group of people. I am really sad that this whole journey will be over soon. But I am also happy at the same time, I’ll explain later on.
I am truly sad because this probably one of the last times I will see all these wonderful people. Who I have come to love and cherish in these past few months. I am not good with goodbyes. I am always distant in those kind of things because, yeah goodbye’s are the worst. I always like to say “see you soon” instead so we at least try to see each other again.
Sweden was though on me. When I arrived I was literally alone. I was late for the intro days, so I had to figure out everything on my own. I didn’t know a soul in this country. I had to carry all my brought belongings through the snow (notice that I am black and black and snow don’t mix well together 😀 ) and hope I would sleep in a warm bed soon after.
After arranging my place to stay and food for the next days. I felt the full force of what I just did. I just moved to another country and decided to live on my on for the first time in my life. I have never done something that big. I have always had the comfort of parents or family just a door away.
It was my intention to take this humongous leap, but it hit me hard at that moment. The next day I went out to the school and saw for the first time the place where I would be almost daily. I arraigned my application and went back home. Again it hit me and this time even harder than the first time. I had nobody right now. It was just me in Sweden. Sitting in my room.
The next day I entered a classroom full of strange new faces. Like the awkward kid I am I tried to look confident, but I was seriously dying inside. I am not good with people. I need time to really be myself and ready to interact with people. But Sweden was meant for me to get over that. I wanted to be a new Jeff and be done with all that.
This classroom full of strange new faces turned out to be a classroom full of new incredible friends. I just hadn’t figured that out yet. I was scared and quickly went back into my shell. I focused on the courses and on myself. I turned to video blogging to keep myself busy and to explain my situation. It helped a lot I became more satisfied with my choice and ready what came next. I just had to voice my thoughts. Writing has never been my thing, you must have noticed that by now….
Then came that switch. It seemed to happen so sudden. I don’t know how, it was so not like me. But suddenly I understood these people. They were in the same place as me or at least they used to be. They were alone and lost, but became a cohesive group of friends that would stick together. I became part of that. I am not sure how or when, but suddenly I didn’t care about composing myself. I was just me.
This is where I start to explain why I am happy that all this exchange is soon over:
Fast forward days, weeks, months.
The same group I saw the first time I entered a classroom in Sweden. Is the same group (plus even more international and Swedish people) that I can almost call family. We have hung out so much together that I almost can’t figure out what to do when I don’t see these people anymore. These people are the nicest, most awesome, most creative, most versatile and most interesting group of people I have ever met. I could talk days about 1 of them just to explain what kind of person they are and I would love to explain to all my dutch friends who these people are.
I am happy that I met these people and they helped me achieve my goal: getting away from the usual and always ready to embrace the unusual. I would say that is probably one the most important things I learned while living here. This Is why I am happy. I am not the same Jeffrey as when I came here. I grew, I learned. I am ready to go back home and apply all that I have learned.
To all the friends I will have to and already say goodbye to: I will miss you all dearly but this is not a farewell. We will meet again.
To all the students who are thinking of doing a semester in a foreign country: Don’t overthink it. Just do it. It will cost you a lot of money, you will be lonely, but you will have the best time of your life, You will make the best friends of your life and you will learn the most out of the experience. Do not hesitate. Make the jump!
I am going to enjoy this last month in Sweden, but now I am going to sleep. I am done with this sentimental piece of writing. I am way too tired. Peace 😉