As some of you might know, I am currently in Jönköping, Sweden. Jönköping is a city in the south of Sweden with 93,797 residents. Not too big but not too small. I’d say it’s a pretty cozy town. I’ve been here about a month now and I’m still not used to the cold. It is freezing here. I mean after having been home in Los Angeles the last couple of months, the weather was a huge shock. On average, the high temperature during the day is -4° C (24.8° F). Brrrr… Right now I’m sitting in my apartment watching the wind blow the snow right and left and it is -7° C (19.4° C). Maybe you’re reading this and thinking that that isn’t so cold, but I definitely think it’s cold. Pretty much every time I go outside I wear 2 pairs of long socks, leggings under my jeans, a long-sleeve shirt under my sweater, a big jacket, a scarf, a beanie, and gloves. That alone discourages us to go outside…
By us I mean my roommates and I! Since our first semesters abroad didn’t really work out, my two close friends from France Sandra and Vojta, and I decided that we would all come to Sweden together. We managed to get a sweet apartment in the center of town right above the only liquor store in Jönköping. If that’s not fate then I don’t know what is. We also live right next to the small lake in the city. Vojta, is a super sporty guy, he’s super into trying new things that are said to be good for the body. So, during our first week here he convinced Sandra and I to try taking an ice bath in the lake next to our apartment with him. Apparently, ice baths are very good for reducing inflammation, increasing blood flow and all sorts of things like that. So we figured why not? We might as well take advantage of what the cold weather has to offer. Sandra went before me, I’ll give her major credit for that. She stayed in about 30 seconds and then got out. She said it was uncomfortable but that it definitely woke her up and gave her energy for the rest of the day. I tried a couple days later. By then, the lake had a thin layer of ice on the top that we had to break. I was pretty nervous but I had gotten in my bathing suit and gone all the way down to the lake so I wasn’t about to chicken out. When it was my turn I took my clothes off as fast as I could and hopped in the water trying my best not to think. My whole body was numb in about 10 seconds. It was a really crazy experience. I thinking to myself, “mind over matter, mind over matter”, trying to convince myself that I was okay and that I wasn’t as cold as I thought. I lasted about 30 seconds as well. I was getting worried that my arms would not be strong enough to lift myself out of the water. It was crazy. I felt so proud of myself afterwards though! Definitely a good way to start the day if you can motivate yourself to get out of your warm bed and go directly into an ice cold lake… Vojta lasted a whole minute in the water. He is trying to work on staying in the water longer and longer every week. We think he’s crazy. Sandra and I haven’t done it again since but we are planning on it (eventually)! The lake is completely frozen over now and it’s too thick to break… Darn it!
Other than the cold weather and ice baths, another thing that came as a shock here is that everything is super expensive. Take a bottle of Captain Morgan for example. In the US, 750 ml of Captain Morgan (a normal bottle) is $16.99. Here, the bottle of Captain Morgan is 255 kr (Swedish Krona) which translates to $30.56! We are paying double for the same bottle! The price increase goes for the majority of other things as well. It’s not quite double the price for everything. Then again I haven’t really done the conversion much for the things I buy here. If I did, I assume it would not be a pretty sight. We are still getting used to it.
Covid restrictions feel non-existent in Sweden. I haven’t worn a mask since I have been here. It feels really weird. But I’ll go more in depth into that in an other article because there is lots to say there! The alcohol prices and drinking culture in Sweden are weird too! Clearly, I’ve got lot’s more to cover but I don’t want to drag this article on so I’ll write individual articles for those things. Looking forward to writing more about this experience and sharing it with all of you! If you’ve got questions or things that you want me to write about please don’t hesitate to contact me!