Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ikea, meatballs and lingonberries

If there were any country inside Europe that seemed the most familiar to me, as if I wasn't in a foreign country, it'd be Sweden. It honestly felt as though I was in an extension of the North Western US, with a slight language barrier.

A few months back a friend of mine asked if I would join her on trip to Sweden to go to a singles conference for our church. I have never been partial to conferences like that, but went anyway since she requested I go. Besides, any excuse to travel is a good enough excuse to me.

We flew up to Gotenburg (South Western portion of Sweden) on Good Friday, and took a train 30 minutes north to a campsite that overlooked a lake. It was quite a surreal experience while taking the train since we passed through places that looked like Lake Tahoe. The houses were built in the same style that I've been used to seeing all my life in the US. And in a way, it slightly disappointed me. I'll always have a love for my home country, but when outside of it I'd rather experience something different than what I'm used to.

The weekend was nice enough. I was able to meet kind people from all over Scandanavia and the UK, and the surroundings were beautiful. But I was quite grateful for the few hours on Monday that we were able to spend in Gotenburg before our flight back to Amsterdam. Although the architecture was inspired by other cultures, such as the Dutch, German, and English, the European charm was quite strong. And it was the first time in the entire trip that I felt like I was in a foreign country.

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