Heard: In Swedish class and at home, in the discussion of Swedish-ness and Swedish cutlure. Lagom has no synonymous definition in the English language, but it means just right or just the right amount. It’s really quite a bit of a cultural thing, applying to the work-life balance, or the repression of those things that might make you stand out: lagom means not being too good or too rich, in the same way it means not taking too much food at a buffet.
It’s been a couple weeks since I last posted because, frankly, time has been slipping away from me
It’s been about 5 weeks? 6 weeks? since I’ve gotten to Sweden, and I’m beginning to settle into an inescapable routine, for better or for worse.
The homesickness has subsided, the honeymoon phase of abroad is over, and I am now beginning to feel just the perfect amount of at home here. I’m no longer overwhelmed by the amount of things to do, I know a couple of good restaurants to visit, I can walk my way around the city and give people directions without completely making things up.
But, as it is at home in the United States, settling into a routine can be a bit of a let-down. I couldn’t be more glad to feel at home in Stockholm, but with that comes a sort of lack of curiosity, a lack of creativity, and a lack of, well, wanting to do anything.
I haven’t taken a picture in, like, a week! WHAT! I used to take pictures constantly. But things just aren’t exciting to me anymore, I suppose.
I’m not being the most lagom, I guess. I’m not savoring this experience quite as much as I should be – I’m taking it a bit too heavy on the shoulder, not regarding my unique experience quite as unique as it is.
I don’t even really know how to describe how I feel about this experience right now. Part of me is aware that this experience is unique; part of me feels like I’ve lived here forever, so it’s nothing special.
I suppose, then, what I’ve taken from these past two weeks is that, once the honeymoon stage of abroad is over, it isn’t easy to love every minute of it.
Things get hard while abroad. It isn’t all travel and good food and beautiful places. It is a good amount of travel and good food and beautiful places, but it is also schoolwork, culture shock, unexpected troubles, minor inconveniences.
Before going abroad (and while you’re abroad), be realisitic about your expectations. Don’t expect everything to be perfect, but go in with a happy and open mind.
Sorry for the wordy post this week – it serves more as a reminder than anything that it’s okay to feel a little lost or confused, and that being abroad doesn’t always mean an exciting new experience every weekday. But that’s the beauty, I guess – monotony means you’re getting a hang of it.