Studying abroad is always a unique experience. After almost 4 months as an international student in Sweden, this is my colorful life in numbers:
1.000.000 minutes spent on running to catch the tram/bus and even begging the driver to open the door and let me in.
980.000 times the driver denied opening the door because I was one minute late or three inches too far from the platform of departure. But there are always exceptions because I still had 2 fortunate times. And if I knew the names of these two drivers I would send flowers to them right now.
50.000 times I fell in love with the pale blue of the statues in the city.
1.000.000 times that I had salmon for lunch or dinner.
3 times I had salmon for breakfast (yes it was after a hangover).
5 irrelevant cleaning products I bought trying to get that specific one only for carpets. Not even one word in English in these products so now I have two for curtains, two for floors and one more for floors with salmon scent.
400.000 times I was happily surprised by the politeness of Swedish people.
2 times I accidentally tried to open the door of my classroom in the University with my credit card instead of the Chalmers card. The more many cards and passwords, the little time you have.
3.000.000 times that I swore that this is gonna be the last kanelbullar. (I’m eating one now while I’m writing but I swear it’s the last one – 3.000.001 times)
200.000 brain cells, 7 pencils and 2 pencil sharpener were destroyed after my first two written exams.
5.000 unsuccessful jokes in English (the goddamn translation) and 70 really successful ones (score!)
8 times I felt like a 3 year old, playing in the snow with my dog. (We had snow only for a few days unfortunatelly)
700 weird sounds like “hamna hamna bluh bluh blah blah bluh’’ at the beginning of each one of my presentations in front of my fellow students and teachers.
2.000.000 times I was unable to remember the reason why I am here instead of being home with my friends and family.
10.000.000 times I almost laughed myself till cry with my new international friends and after that I automatically found all my reasons and all my answers.
10.000.000 times I felt like I was always here, like Gothenburg was really my home.
60.000 times I tried to finish this text.
1 time I succeed but to be honest, there are not enough numbers in this world for me to describe all different situations and all mixed emotions that I’ve experienced since I came here. And if putting names for some of them, they are maybe: fear, excitement, loneliness, companionship, disappointment, happiness, insecurity, satisfaction, love, anger, joy, anxiety, thrill, nostalgia and so on.
So probably once again, it is not the destination. It is the journey. It’s not the place. It’s the people who, with me, have created unforgettable memories. These can’t be counted by months or the years. They can only be – the moments.
And by the way, don’t panic about what people say. The cold is not bad, especially when warm hearts always around you. Probably, that is the secret.Written by Ioanna Maragkoudaki
Photos by Anastasia Triantafyllou

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