“I hear echoes of a thousand screams
As I lay me down to sleep
There’s a black hole deep inside of me
That I lost my backbone
Somewhere in Stockholm
I lost my backbone
Somewhere in Stockholm”
As these lyrics play in the background, I think of Stockholm and how I actually found my home 7064 km (or 4389 miles away).
I love everything about that city, absolutely everything. I love how the sun rises and sets weird there, I love the summer with so much sun and I love the winter without it. I love how you can roam around freely until 4 am if you want and you feel safe, even when alone. I love what I feel for the city and how it makes me feel warm in the heart. I love some of the people I met there, and the career it gave me. The purpose it gave me.
Stockholm’s just stunningly beautiful, with such beautiful beaches and forests, and exceptionally amazing museums. The land of Abba, Opeth and Avicii, the place that has something to offer for everyone. The place that accepts you however you are.
Stockholm and some people I met there gave me the strength to be myself, that I wasn’t the misfit I thought I was. It gave me the courage to talk about my goals and aspirations, and that if I really want, I can achieve them.
The Avicii Tribute Concert held every year in Stockholm on December 5, taught me in a way how important mental health is, how it doesn’t discriminate against anyone. That it’s not only okay to talk about mental health, but it’s important to do so. We can’t lose more people to mental health, can we?
I also went to see Sweden vs Spain Europa qualifiers, and damn, Spain tied in the last 2 minutes to spare, but the experience was something beautiful, you only have to be there to know that feeling.
And of course my fun trips to Ikea, where I always spent at least 4 times of what I had planned – no no I am not a bad shopper, ikea is exceptionally good at selling stuff! (You didn’t think I would write about Sweden and not mention Ikea, right?)
I also had the best time volunteering for the Stockholm’s Nobel Nightcap and meeting some of the Nobel Prize Laureates. I am featured in the aftermovie, dressed as a beatle.
So many good memories, amazing people I met there, the poker nights I had with my friends, the new year’s bonfire, the Diwali get together, the India day hosted by KTH Royal Institute of Stockholm and trying out new outdoor activities during the summer. It was just amazing.
When I moved from India to Sweden in January 2019, I did see a cultural gap, but the one I enjoyed to the utmost level. I enjoy freedom and open thoughts, and that’s exactly what I got there. Not to mention, my professor at KTH, a tall Polish dude (three times my height) was the best mentor anyone could ask for. Probably nocturnal like me, as he used to reply to every email even in the middle of the night and always checked-in on me (also my lab-mates were awesome).
I learnt so many things after moving to Sweden such as speaking a little bit of Swedish, cooking amazing food, baking the best cheesecakes with strawberry syrup (ask my friends), the feeling behind fika and the importance of Lagom.
Maybe next time, I will talk about my travels there (which are breathtaking by the way), but this is what Stockholm makes me feel at heart. It’s the home I found 4389 miles away.