Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Visit to the land of six-foot blonds

My first trip to Asia is hours away. In light of my upcoming excursion, it's worth looking back on my first oversees experience. After graduating from high school, I went to Sweden for a bonus year through Rotary International. Here is an exerpt from what I hope will be a larger project.

Introduction to Sweden

Going to Sweden wasn't the obvious choice for a young brother from the hood.
Just kidding. I am/was far from being from the hood.
I grew up in a lily-white suburb of Sacramento, so going to Sweden was kinda like home, minus the handful of minorities that had somehow found themselves in Orangevale.
I'd hardly left the country before I boarded a Lufthansa flight to Hamburg in-route to Stockholm, but looking back it was one of the easiest decisions I've made in my life.
I'd already graduated from high school and I had no real clue where I wanted to go to college or what to study when I got there so taking a year diversion in land of six-foot blonds made all the sense in the world.
In the interest of full disclosure -- sorry me Swedish peeps -- Sweden was not my first, second or third choice when I went to the interview. Age requirements, me being too old, meant Australia and New Zealand were out. The left Spain and my eventual second homeland.
The brave explorer I am, I boarded the plane and began my journey to the Kragsterman home without the smallest taste of fear.
As it turns out I should have been afraid of one thing, that I'd freeze my ass off.
Oh, the winter months and months were numb your toes cold, but as it turned out, coming from 100 degree weather in California, the first few nights of my inaugural Swedish summer were the most jarring.
I recall sheepishly asking my host mother, Elisabeth, whether I could get another blanket for my bed. To which, she politely told me there was an extra blanket under my bed. To which, I politely informed her I already had that one.

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