Stockholm/ 斯德哥爾摩, Travel / 探險
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Stockholm Summer: Moving to Sweden

In my ideal life, I’d spend winters in Asia – I need bowls of hot noodles during the winters, and I need them to be good. But summers, they’d be for Stockholm. Stockholm summers are perfect.

None of the stickiness of Taipei, when every foul stench of the city rises with the heat, and going out & about on the city sidewalks is more of an act of swimming rather than walking. Quite different from being limited to exiting the house either before 5 am, or after 9 pm – and oh, the awfulness of humid, hot summer afternoons…

Once, again, my writing has spiraled into blathering on and on about Taipei. This will no longer be the case, as I’ve just officially made the move to Sweden until the end of the year. Though I’ll be studying in a university town called Uppsala, my family  accompanied me to Sweden, and we started the trip off in Stockholm. I rented two beautiful Airbnb apartments in Södermalm, the southern island of Stockholm, and planned a few days to show them the city.

Behind the colorful pictures and Instagram shots, it’s been pretty damn stressful. Up to shouting arguments in the street stressful – shocking all the mild-mannered Swedes, who are probably wondering why this Asian family is choosing to air their disagreements in such a shockingly public manner.

I’ve been thinking that it may be due to the fact that we’re in a strange in-between stage, Stockholm and I. I spent the bulk of my time last summer working at a farm on an island outside of Stockholm, so I’ve  had limited exposure to the city. I have my favorite restaurant in Stockholm, but I’m just barely starting to learn the T-bana (their public transport) lines. I have a favorite cafe, but admittedly – I’ve only been to three cafes in the entire city.

My single night out in Stockholm last summer turned out to be pretty fucking surreal – it involved Sandra meeting some banker-type on the street that she hadn’t seen in years, being coerced into ordering dessert we didn’t want one at one of the fanciest addresses in Stureplan as banker-type blathered on about his new venture, one of those giant, douchey magnums of champagne, and a small stint at some terribly exclusive, tiny rooftop club crawling with Swedish celeb-types.

And yet – I don’t even know a single place to go for drinks with friends, or where to go when I’m feeling a hip-hop kind of night out (which is, to say- always). When can you say you know a city, anyway? Is it after you’ve been to three cafes, or had five weekends out? Is it like with a person? Is there a point where you allow yourself to say you know a person after a certain amount of time, a set of questions?

Showing my family around Stockholm has been a bit like introducing a new lover to your family, I suppose. At the same time that you’re practically sick with excitement, you’ve been talking so much about them and now they’re finally going to meet – every hair is bristling at the merest hint of criticism or doubt. Most importantly: The shock of realizing, through being tasked as their official representative,  you perhaps don’t know someone – or a city- as well as you thought you did.

Nevertheless, summer-Stockholm is as gorgeous as it always has been. And if sweating out champagne alongside the Swedish jet-set  felt surreal, it pales in comparison to the feeling of  knowing that I’ll be spend  fall and winter with Stockholm, too.

SWEDENBREAD

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The Airbnb we stayed in was way incredible: Stockholm has some of the best Airbnb porn out there. All the Airbnbs in Stockholm seem to be impeccably decorated – and if you’re a family, it’s way more worth it to go the Airbnb route (the kitchen means that you can buy groceries and eat at home, saving you a ton). 

If you don’t happen to have an Airbnb account yet, this is my personal refer-a-friend link. You’ll get $25 USD in free credit to use towards your first Airbnb booking – and hollo – when you book, I’ll get $25 USD in credit too, so help a girl out. 

7 Comments

  1. Welcome to Sweden! Indeed, summers here are the best place to be. But when autumn comes… Well let’s just say that it’s going to be different.
    Of you are looking for a Stockholm city guides I think this would be worth a look :http://rodeo.net/niotillfem/

    • Stephanie Hsu says

      Sussi –

      Just read your blog and love the idea! So interesting that we’re essentially in opposite places – you as a Swede interested in Chinese/Taiwanese culture, and for me, vice versa! I have heard so much about the winter here & I am indeed afraid…but for now it’s the hottest summer that Sweden has had in decades! So just trying to enjoy and soak up the sun while I can! Looking forward to hear of your adventures abroad in Asia!

  2. Yes, enjoy the summer while you can! The seasons come and go but there is also something very pleasant about that. Yes I look forward to spring all winter, but having something to long for can also be quite nice.
    Soon you will be able to enjoy the beautiful colors of fall and then you should make sure to get out of town and enjoy the nature a little bit. And during winter feeling cold is an excellent excuse for getting cozy inside with some good fika 🙂

  3. Sounds like a good plan. I know the pain of living in most of East Asia during the summer–fortunate I had a mild summer split between Seoul and mountain town in Italy this year. Although, if I moved to Sweden for a summer, I’d probably end up staying there permanently.

    • Stephanie Hsu says

      Yes, living in East Asia during the summer is agony – you pretty much throw out the hours between 6am-8pm in terms of outdoor activities (unless a beach or pool is involved) due to the heat. A mountain town in Italy sounds amazing! You’ll have to come to Sweden in the summer someday – there’s nothing like it!

  4. I love the idea of winter in Taiwan and summer in Stockholm. Asian noodle soup is the best thing on a cold winter’s day, I might go as far as to say there’s nothing else like it.

    • Stephanie Hsu says

      Charlie –

      It’s honestly my dream, and something that I believe I can work towards! Maybe I’ll write a post / brainstorm on it…that’d be interesting, basing your career entirely around weather (and enjoyment of it!) Sort of a twist on the digital nomad concept.

      And as for the soup – there is a reason that I brought like 500 packs of miso soup to Sweden – and I just discovered an Asian grocery in little Uppsala that sells noodles! Bliss!

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