I thought about how we sometimes forget to acknowledge the people dearest to us, simply because we’re so comfortable with them, and it becomes almost easy to overlook their love. That’s why I decided to start off my first post with things that I hold close to my heart.

Being 6216 miles away from home can be difficult, and the cold only seems to add to the misery. I lamented to my friend earlier how I haven’t truly felt homesick just yet, the reason being having my best friend by my side. It isn’t always smooth sailing, of course. In fact, our friendship has suffered more wear and tear than you could possibly imagine – it’s a wonder how we could still remain friends. Even before we embarked on our exchange journey together, there were several incidences that deterred us from spending our exchange here together, but with a little luck (and pixie dust), we arrived on a snow-covered Gothenburg on the 19 of January.

We uncovered the city on foot and trams, getting lost once or twice, sourced for authentic Swedish food (IKEA would be your safest bet) and spent most of our time roaming the aisles of the supermarket. But after days of eating yummy brie/ mozzarella filled sandwiches, we realized we had to start cooking.

We love how the Swedes take pride in their Fika (we do, too), and back home, there’s this saying how people complement each other like kaya and toast; well, we’re kinda like that, except he drinks coffee while I nibble on the pastries. He is a constant reminder to me that no one is perfect, but we can choose to become the best people possible, if we only put ourselves in another person’s shoes, and to think about how our actions will affect others. What I find incredibly attractive about him is the creative mind he possesses, and also his courage to dream.

We don’t always see eye to eye on things of course; in fact, we’re rather different to begin with. He enjoys solitary every now and then, and he gets extremely annoyed when he isn’t able to get enough space, and I always find myself annoying him more often than not. Despite our disparities, the one thing that draws us together is quite possibly our innate ability to have fun. Spontaneously.

There are times when I felt that our friendship wasn’t worth putting so much effort into, times where I felt that I was being unappreciated, times where our friendship is being put to the test. And perhaps this is why I pen it down, because I hope to remember this, that one day, if and when our friendship has dwindled, I’ll look back and remember, that at a certain point in time, we were each other’s best friend.

There are coincidences, then there’s chance, and then there are choices. People come and go, just like the wind. The people who stay in your circle of friends are the people you choose to have in your life. And I hope that I am able to look back one day, and be happy with the choices I made.

Having been in this city for a month now, I am now more accustomed with the cold and am beginning to adjust to the culture and the people, who really are quite unpretentious – something I find myself drawn to.

I’ve heard stories about how winter can be a rather depressing period, and I find myself pretty fortunate to be armed with a lovely bunch of people who managed to bring warmth to Gothenburg. British Air may have given us 23kg worth of baggage each, but I got more than what I bargained for – four new friends who will be journeying with me during my stay here in Gothenburg.

For a peek at his work, including amazing pictures of Gothenburg, feel free to drop by www.samuelwongphotography.com

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Written by Fiona Fong