Uppsala: the first chapter

Overwhelming. This past week has been overwhelming indeed. However, I also feel happy, sad, melancholic, grateful, and excited over everything that’s been happening. 

There are many challenges of moving to another country, and the first thing I had to overcome was packing. I don’t have that many things to start with, but everything I have feels precious to me. Looking back, the first mistake I made was overpacking. Obviously, there’s so many things I want to bring with me to Uppsala, and at first, I filled my suitcase with too many summer clothes and formal clothes that I might not actually need here. Eventually, I had to leave a winter jacket

The second mistake was caused by anxiety, that will also cause overpacking. I just kept thinking of things I might need, and buy so many stuff that I didn’t end up bringing to Sweden. Those things are: bed sheets, bed cover, pillow and bolster, and some souvenirs for my teachers here. 

Within the last three days before my flight, I was pretty busy saying goodbye to everyone. I went to my mom’s family, I met with my high school mates, and my father’s side of the family had a get-together on the day of my flight. 

I didn’t cry as much as I thought I would be. Maybe because my mind was still in denial, or otherwise occupied by the nerve and fear of leaving home. I was also worried about something that I never really told anyone else, which was the seven hours difference between me and Bintang. 

The last thing I knew, I was already in the airport, checking in to my flight and meeting my friends there. Everyone that came to say goodbye to Bintang on the day of his flight, also came to see me before mine. 

In retrospect, the last three days prior to my flight were really something to be grateful for. I have so many people that I truly cherish, and the fact that they care about me just as much is something beyond my expectations. 

To my surprise, I travelled well. In a sense, I was never lost, I looked at signs well, I communicated well also, and I packed everything nicely that I didn’t really get a problem getting through Airport security. 

My room in the afternoon light

One annoying thing happened though that I never expected. During my flight to Sweden from Istanbul, someone else got into my designated seat. I talked to the person, but she didn’t really understand what I was saying. It turns out, she was with her family in that row. 

At that point, I was in everybody’s way so I had to move and asked the flight attendant to help me. But they didn’t really help me, they just told me to get to my seat. The person’s father then told me to change seats with her, so I have a seat now, but I’m still really annoyed that they did it so irresponsibly. 

Anyway, I arrived in Arlanda airport and met up with Mba Sita. I was really excited to have a family here in Sweden. I never really expected much help and was ready to do everything on my own, but Mba Sita and Erik (her husband) helped me a lot in settling in. 

I spent a night at her house first, before going to my room and shopping together the next day for stuff that I would need in my new room. 

It was crazy, the first time I moved in, the kitchen was so dirty! I mean, of course I expected everything to be messy for a student corridor, but not this dirty. Before I put the groceries Mba Sita bought for me to the fridge, we had to clean the fridge first and the counters. 

Me and Mba Sita, shopping for my room!

The morning after, I had to sweep the whole kitchen, wipe my cupboard, wipe the dining table (super dirty), and wipe this huge sofa we have in the common room. It’s good that we’re going to have corridor meeting Sunday night, so that we can talk about this stuff. But I would just hope to live like a decent human being, even though I will only be here until January. 

Anyway, Mba Sita also helped me get my vaccine appointment. So I had my vaccine on Wednesday, but then I had this hike together with kids from class until late at night. You can imagine how beat I felt that night, and with a fever also! So the next day, I just stayed home and attending classes with a huge headache. 

The hike with friends from Evolutionary Biology class!

Friday, I felt so much better. And I was so excited to celebrate Lily’s birthday. She’s in the same program as me, MEME, and I’m also going to meet everybody else from the same program here. It was a really beautiful and fun night, but it was so cold to the point I was shivering through my spine. 

Lily's birthday dinner :)

But that’s just a couple of stories of me settling in to a life in Uppsala. To tell you the truth, I wrote this post because I never ever want to forget the kindness I received from Mba Sita and her family here. She was really welcoming and helped me get everything I need. I didn’t even pay anything for it. I kept imagining having to move in alone and bringing my stuff, groceries, and stuff for my room alone. I could never have been able to do it. However, I might have to do within the next two years. 

As daunting as it is, I’m going to enjoy my time here first. 

I might write another post about getting the scholarship within the next week, so see you soon!

My room before tidying up

My room after tidying up!


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