First Impressions

January 4, 2010

University College London
University College London

A post on first impressions should probably be made with the impressions still fresh in one’s mind, but as first impressions can be misleading — sometimes to the point of embarrassment, I believed it wise to postpone such a post before I knew whether my first impression of the United Kingdom was accurate or not.

My first impression, and the one that also made the most difference, was that the United Kingdom seemed more sophisticated than my native country, in the sense that it knows how to differentiate between what is important and valuable, and what is not.

Having entered my current university’s grounds for the first time I knew I would like the university, as I value history and traditions. I am also foolish enough to believe that first impressions last a lifetime, something the British seem to appreciate as they always are keen to appear at an advantage, something which the Swedes frequently overlook.

My first impression condenses down to that it provided me with a feeling of that I finally had come home, following a native allocation to Sweden lasting a double decade. I realised this upon replacing Stockholm University with University College London in September– several similar realisations having followed since.

Stockholm University
Stockholm University

2009 is Finally History

January 2, 2010

Big Ben of London

Although I started 2009 with blogging quite frequently, my posts grew fewer and farther apart for each passing month until they completely ceased. This was not really what I had intended would happen, but life can be quite unpredictable–as I am certain most understand.

Last year was quite a milestone for me, with both ups and down–2009 offered me both the best and worst experiences of my life this far!

The year started with my application for undergraduate study being rejected by the University of Cambridge, but once the initial blow had subsided, I realised that it was all for the best as I therefore would go to London.

Having struggled through spring and summer half-heartedly and battling severe melancholia, I then went to London.

I was enamoured by the city from the very first moment. People warned me that it was all consistent with the honeymoon-syndrome and that reality soon would catch up with me. It never did, much to my surprise. My infatuation was instead replaced with a deep affection for the country.

This made me realise that I had been right all along believing that an allocation would do me much good, and I intend to remain in the United Kingdom indefinitely. It is all I ever wished for it to be, only better. If I only escape isolation and find happiness, I cannot wish for anything more.

The allocation did however also have its downsides.

The first year of the course which I studied mostly consists of subjects I believed I had left in the past, and to study chemistry and thermodynamics has done me little good. Hopefully those subjects shall not bother me for a few months now–not until the exams are to be written.

Housing in London is also deplorable. My folly knew no limits when I believed that the standards would be the same in Stockholm and London alike. I only laugh now, having learnt the extent of my mistake the hard way as I went from staying with friends to being homeless, navigating between hotels a few days at a time.

I shall never forget how I pulled two heavy suitcases across the streets of London one very late evening, my body wishing nothing more than to collapse, my mind however musing that I had hit rock bottom and only could go up from there. It was true.

I am now a week away from moving to a town outside London, and I am certain it shall prove delightful as the apartment is all a student on a budget could ever wish for, making the distance to the university well-worth the long commute.

I have great hopes for 2010, and I hope that it also shall allow me to return to the world of blogging, one short post at a time.