“Mars” is the Swedish word for “March” and is pronounced Mash. I chose the word for today’s post because I want to write about this month that was packed with many different events: The 2nd of March for me meant half time here in Sweden, what is so crazy considering the time flies by so fast. Other than that my best friend Emma from Germany visited me and we got to spent almost three weeks together during which we experienced a lot, also a little accident on my side.
But first things first. Last month was not only special for me because of my “half time” and my friends` visit, but also because of work. Many things are happening, new projects are starting up, kids are coming back to Rapatac after Covid, and we are growing together as a team even more. Realizing then, more than half of my volunteer year is already over, I`m getting a little sentimental, but also excited and motivated for everything that still waits for me.
During the first week of March the kids here had their winter break, the so called sportlov, and we organized many exciting things at Rapatac like a basketball tournament, going skiing, or barbequing in the park. At the weekend Jonas and I went skiing as always and the weather was amazing once again!
The next week my best friend arrived in Sandviken – so exciting! We planned a bucket list together to make the most of her time here. The first days were mainly about introducing her to the town, my work place and favorite places in the area. The weather was great and we got to walk on the frozen lake, did a hike in the woods to a cute village, and explored Sandviken. Also we spent a lot of time with my roommates, at work, visited a theater play, and celebrated one of my friends birthdays. It was a great start to catch up, but also see and experience the culture and my daily life.
On the first Sunday, Emma, Jonas and me planned a trip to Falun to watch this season’s final two races of the cross country world cup. The weather and the atmosphere was amazing and besides some exciting competitions we also explored the town and the country side while including a little hike and some Swedish Fika.
The upcoming week we decided to schedule some smaller events in the mornings before my work so that we can combine all of it. We visited some of the towns close by, did morning walks, and went skiing – the first time for Emma! In addition to that my friend experienced a lot of Rapatac during my working hours and got to help me at work as well as met all my co-workers who welcomed her warmly.
On Friday I took a day off from work so that we could go to Stockholm and enjoy a little girls trip in the Swedish capital. We stayed there for one night in a hostel and went back Saturday evening. Having two full days in Stockholm was perfect! We got to explore the inner city, enjoyed the architecture and history, had lots of amazing food, and found some lovely second hand shops. Having this mixture of sightseeing and relaxing with good food was the perfect balance for the both of us and the best short trip we could imagine!
Back home we decided to finish up this perfect weekend with another skiing day on Sunday. It was a perfect sunny day, it felt like spring and we enjoyed the exercise and the good food on the balcony at Kungsberget. But sadly in the afternoon I fell and twisted my knee. Back home I rested but it got worse so the next day I went to the hospital and apparently one bone is fractured. So, on Monday and Tuesday I spent most time in the hospital and at the end got a cast.
Although this was not quite planed, it was still an interesting experience and since I can`t change it anyways, I will make the best out of it. My friend stayed for three more days, so besides me going to work we used the mornings to have lots of quality time, tried out some food places here in town, and just had the best time also with my co-volunteers at home.
Now, Emma is back in Germany and looking back on the three weeks, we had such an amazing time full of experiences. The bucked list we created before is fully checked and we are filled up with memories. It is always great to show friends and family our lives here and I can definitely recommend it for every other volunteer: If someone visits you, choose a balance between sightseeing and spending quality time at your new home, also with your new friends. This way they get to know your daily life as well and it is a great experience for everybody!
The few remaining days of March I will now spend resting my leg and enjoying my time at home and at work. Hopefully soon I`ll be able to explore more of the country again but for now I think this month was quite full and its good to pause, reflect, get some rest, and start again with new motivation and power for everything that will come during the second half of my voluntary year here in Sweden.