So now I can fill you guys in on how Stockholm has been the last few days.
Today was my fourth full day in Stockholm. The city is amazing, but I think it is made better by the people I have met here. Everyone is just very tolerant and understanding; and I’m starting to believe that willful ignorance is a very American concept. It is interesting to be in a place where to be different doesn’t automatically mean to be lesser. It is also interesting trying to explain how different America is to people who live in other developed countries. While two of my Australian friends and I were at lunch I tried to explain how frat life is in the states. I was explaining how most of the fraternities and sororities are divided by race, similar to de facto segregation, and they just could not grasp how it was an acceptable concept in 2016. My friend’s literal words were “Is that PC?” which I learned stands for politically correct. So it goes.
I also had my first class today, which wasn’t too terrible. I was concerned that the classes were going to be very difficult, as I have to take master’s level courses since those are the only ones taught in english, but the work seems very manageable. The class sizes are also much smaller than I’m used to (there were only about 20 people in the class) and the professor seemed very committed to making sure we grasped the concept, not leaving until we had all finished the assignment. Very different, but fantastic. There also seems to be a greater separation between school and life here. Assignments are mostly finished in class, and then time outside of class is just for us. I could be making a huge generalization, as I have only had two classes, but that seems to be the general structure. I hope it stays this way.
- The guy who sold me my router invited me to stay for dinner last night with him and his girlfriend. He was Pakistani, she Brazilian, and you literally could not find an odder pair, but It was delicious and they were both very friendly. He invited me back for dinner next week so this might become a regular thing.
- A guy in the subway tonight touched my hair, just sort of swiped it without warning (Y’all have to know how weird it is. Stop touching black people’s hair). He was the first person to try it though, which is both surprising and inspiring, and just adds to my theory about Americans being willfully ignorant. I think he may have been Iranian, and we couldn’t understand each other at all. First I thought he was trying to hit on me. Then he said something about “take 3 years to grow, 3 years?” while pointing to his head, and I just didn’t have the energy to explain my hair to him so I said yes. Then he pointed to my nose stud and said “my wife,” and got suddenly really somber. And that’s all he said until the train came “my wife, my wife” and put his hand over his heart. And what had started as a mildly annoying experience became a really human and sad moment that I didn’t know exactly what to do with. I think maybe I reminded him a bit of his wife and that’s why he was acting out. And it was strange to remember that there are always reasons people do the things they do.
- The rapper The Game had a concert tonight in Stockholm. We saw the line and stopped to ask what was going on. What followed was 2 minutes of me asking “which game, who’s playing, what sport?” and the guy just repeating “The Game, We’re waiting for The Game.” I’m certain he said the word rapper at some point, but I couldn’t understand him. I’m sure he thought I was a bit slow. Just tragic.