Novell Från en Lång Vinter

Lita Asghira Prasetyo (INA AFS to Sweden 16–17)

It means “short story from a long winter”. It was cold. Or maybe, it is still cold. It was white. Or maybe, it is still white. But of course, it is still Sweden. And it is still me, Lita.

Hej! Hur mår du? (Hello. How are you?)

I am Lita, originally from Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia and now is living in one of cold country, Sweden. It is my first winter. My first snow. My first minus-temperature. I got three first-times in November 2016. Or, the best three first-times in November 2016 (because I think I got more than that). It was November 2nd 2016. One fine morning, I received a message from my contact person. A picture. A really beautiful picture. I mean, it was not that professionaly taken. But, it was beautiful. For me, or at least (I think) for all of the tropical exchange students, if they saw it. I opened my window widely. Still with my thin pjamas. And I literally jumped. Screamed. Smiled. Laughed. All by myself. Because of my first snow. It was not that much. Not that thick. I even still could see the orange-red-greenish leaves at the tree. But I was that happy. I could not believe what I saw at the time. Those pretty-white-soft things were falling from the sky. I touched it with my bare hands, was trying to figure how it feels. I thought it will be so soft like cotton, but no. It was white-icy things. It was that awesome. I described my first snow this long because it was really awesome. And couple days later, luckily, the snow came so much. They said it has been about 100 years since the snow was so thick as 2016 in Stockholm. All busses stopped working at the time and I had to walk from train station to home. But it was no problem because I am that in love with snow.

Beside my first snow, another things happened along this long winter. I have to move to my permanent family after living about 12 weeks with my welcome family. Both are amazing. I have been through ups and downs with them. I cannot explain more details about them because I just do not know where to start and I just have so many memories with them.

Then, let’s move to another exciting things. On December 10th, Sweden has that big event called “Nobel Priset” or commonly known as Nobel Prize, the award that is given to everyone who did outstanding contributions in a number of categories from all over the world. Nobel Priset is organized in Stockholm, Sweden and attended by the royal family, including king and queen. I was not invited to that big event, ofcourse, but I was at the Konserthuset, the place for all of the Nobel Prize winners, the royal family and other important person met for the first time after dinner. I did not see the royal family or the winners because I was too late but I saw those expensive cars parked in front of the Konserthuset and there were many polices standing there. It was enough to make me happy.

December in Sweden is just something. The first two weeks were so dark. I felt so tired easily and just wanted to sleep all day long. But then since I was in music school, we had groups of singing for Lucia. Lucia is a tradition of Sweden and held every December 13rd. This is because on that day, usually Sweden gets really dark and everyone needs lights. That is why everyone in Lucia train (because the singing group walk like train) brings candle on their hands. It was really cool and I learned something new.

After Lucia, we had a long holiday. And we had christmas. Christmas in Sweden held on December 24th not 25th. I do not really know why. We spend christmas in Karlstad, 3 hours away from Stockholm with car. Karlstad is where my hostmother’s parents live. It is kind of far from the city, even there are only 2 houses in that area. Christmas in Sweden is basically tradition because as almost everyone I met here said that Sweden is not practically do the religion. And after christmas, we had new year party with our neighbors, we went to Romme Alpin for skiing, I had midstay orientation with AFS which brought me many new friends and finally I am in love with ice skating.

Winter in Sweden is approximately 5 months. Or less. I think. Because at the end of March, spring will come. It was a long time, though. Snow keeps come and go. It is usually colder when the snow is gone. It can be plus 5 celcius degree. But it can be minus 5 celcius degree also, the day after. Sometimes I wonder how 32˚C feels, and sometimes I started to miss it. And I thought, home sick will never come. But it came. Sometimes took one week. Sometimes took a second. When I talk Bahasa to someone older on the phone, I feel so weird. And started to miss it again. Sometimes I am getting sick of talking other language. But I love it when I realized I can talk with stranger on the street. It cheers me up when someone is asking about direction, and I know it. And I use Swedish. It cheers me up when officer at the store talk to me with Swedish and I ask with Swedish also. It cheers me up when I let someone older to sit on my seat at the train and they are being so happy and say “Tack snälla” which means thank you so much in a really respect way. And at the time, I realized that being happy can be that simple.

I honestly learned so much after these past 5 months. I realized that there are more things harder than math examination — that I always complained at — in this world. I realized that there are more things that I should be grateful at. And I realized that there will be more harder problems in my future later. That what makes me will not give up to my problems here.

My first winter is basically the best moment in my exchange year — or maybe my life. It is still hard to get along with Swedish friends. I mean, we talked, but not that intense. But at least everything is getting better. I do not know what will happen in the future. But I thanked everyone who keeps supporting me. I thanked Sweden for bringing me such a beautiful 5 months. Thank you for bringing the sun to my winter, everyone. Ni är fantastiska, tack så mycket och vi ses sen! (I am sorry for the bad quality of the photos, I do not know why).