The easiest thing to write about is the weather, as it is the thing that I complain about the most these days. I always joked that my Lund year would be the test to see if I could live in the Pacific North West, as the weather is very similar. I have ultimately decided that it is not for me.

Lund weather isn’t inherently bad. In the autumn, it was gorgeous. We experienced a long fall with many changing colors and slightly chilly evenings. It was a happy relief after it had been extremely hot in August when I first arrived (the area was experiencing a large heatwave my first week). There were a couple moody days with rain, which I used as an excuse to enjoy reading inside and drinking coffee. However, the weather started to turn bad in December. It is now to the worst of it (according to people I complain about the weather with), which I had anticipated. I told my family and friends back home that January and February were going to be the worst months for me, as I am currently taking a very intense masters course, all of my one semester abroad friends went home, and Lund has been covered in a damp grey blanket. 

The weather wouldn’t be too bad if it were just cold. In fact, it has been colder in Colorado practically every day that I have been in Sweden since the break (even when I was above the Arctic Circle). As a proper Colorado kid, I am ready for the cold. What I was not ready for was the rain, wind, and clouds. Every morning of the week, I bike to my applied ecotoxicology course that starts at 9:15. Because it is on the opposite side of Lund, I have a 4.4km uphill ride at 8:30. Mind you, the sun ‘rises’ right around 8:00 right now, so the sky is lit up when I am biking. However, there has always been a heavy sheet of grey that feels as though it is right above the buildings. Somehow, being closer to sea level makes me feel like the sky is closer to the ground (yet it still feels so far away when I am on the top of a Fourteener). My weather app always says that it is just ‘cloudy’ but as soon as I start biking, there is water hanging in the air that sticks to me and soaks my clothes through. I still get just as wet if I wear my rain gear, because then I just sweat as I bike uphill. Add to this the wind (which just makes me feel even slower), and you will find me slowly pedaling up the cobblestone path cursing the Swedish weather every single morning. 

The only thing that makes me feel a bit better about my hatred of the Lund dampness is the fact that everyone else hates it too. In the US, talking about the weather is small talk when there is nothing better to discuss. In Sweden, people love to chat about the weather and how it is impacting everything. The weather is so integral to Sweden that they name their streets after it. The street I live on, Blidvädersvägen, means “mild weather road”. The Swedes have the saying “Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga klädder” (There is no such thing as bad weather, there are only bad clothes), which is very accurate for how they seem to handle the gloom and rain. While I convinced myself that the problem is that I don’t have the right clothes, Friday proved to me that the Swedes are actually lying to themselves (and me). 

Friday was the most gorgeous day I have experienced in Lund this semester. There was not a cloud in the sky as I biked to class, and it stayed clear all day. At one point, I was remorseful that I had buried my sunglasses deep in a drawer in the apartment, as I felt blinded by the sun while biking. I appreciated so much just getting to see the blue sky again, and I was not alone. It was still chilly (right around freezing all day), but my classmates all wanted to sit outside for our lunch break. During this, the BeReal time happened (I don’t know if that is the correct terminology) and everyone who had it took a photo of the sky. Throughout our hour-long lunch, some people would break away from the conversation to just close their eyes and face the sun. I met a friend for our weekly fika (coffee and pastry break), and we purposefully repeated a cafe with outdoor seating. I have not seen so many people out and about in Lund since September, but they were all outside on Friday. Another friend mentioned that he had slowed down while biking to purposely miss a green light and get to sit in the sun a bit. I have ultimately decided that the Swedes are just little lizard people, soaking up all of the sunlight and Vitamin D that they can on the one good day they get all month. I think it’s really cute that they all make sure to appreciate the little bit of sun that they have.

The good weather held up through the night, and I biked East of town with three friends in hope of getting to see Comet ZTF (a supposedly green comet that hasn’t been by Earth in 50,000 years). We had tried on Tuesday, when we were supposed to have a clear night. However, Tuesday had been clouded over and we were unsuccessful. On Friday, we could see the stars and we convinced ourselves that we saw the comet because we were looking in the right place (so then we must’ve seen it, obviously). Even if the comet was a bit of a letdown, having a clear night was almost as nice as having a clear day. I miss the blue sky and stars I see at home, so it was good to get it for one day here in Lund. 

I do have high hopes as time progresses, because everyone tells me that the spring in Lund is gorgeous. I don’t know how nice it’ll actually be, but I’m certain I will be happy enough if it simply better than the current conditions. Even if I am not loving the weather, I do appreciate how different it is from Colorado. Getting to experience something different is why I studied abroad, so different weather is okay. And, let’s be real, home has the best weather ever, so it really could only be worse no matter where I went. 😉


Introducing Melodie Lee

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What is/are your major(s)?

International Studies

What is/are your minor(s)?

Spanish and Business

What is the name of your study abroad program?

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

In what city & country is your study abroad program located?

Amsterdam, Netherlands

What is one thing that you are most anticipating about your study abroad experience?

I anticipate that it will be exciting and challenging. I am both an American and European citizen, and I have experienced the differences between living and traveling abroad. I anticipate learning a lot more from living abroad than I ever would by simply being a tourist for a week, and as difficult as it may be to adjust to a new culture, It will be an experience worth sharing with other students.

Why did you decide to study abroad? or What inspired you to study abroad?

Before I even started my first year at DU, I wanted to study abroad. Not only because I have to for my major, but because I am the happiest when exploring and studying in new places. It was a no-brainer when I saw the flyer advertising studying abroad in STURM hall during the last fall quarter. My biggest life in goal is to visit all of the continents and as many countries as possible. I want to experience new cultures, languages, ways of living, etc. It is truly what makes my soul happy.

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Photo of Nyhavn, the iconic waterfront canal in Copenhagen, Denmark this summer. It was my favorite city I have visited so far.