10 Hours Til Sweden (Okay I’m already here…)

Editor’s note:  I’ve been in Sweden for about 24 hours already… woops.

I’ve debated starting a blog for a long time and had the perfect opportunity to debut this one when I visited the vibrant capital of Mexico back in February. I reneged. I said I would absolutely blog about the following trip to Toronto… But I could never find the time…
 
Now, I’m embarking on a 5 country tour of Europe and I 100947482o20% have to blog this.
 
 
I leave first for Sweden, a country I know next to nothing about and whose language I’ve only just begun bingeing on Duolingo. (If you want to join me in my language learning adventures, my Duolingo username is krbbrb. Hit me up!) My flight to Stockholm leaves in roughly 2 hours, and my To Do list seems to grow every second I get closer to takeoff. I’m sure this is primarily nerves due to a very serious dislike of flying in airplanes. Part of me is thinking that if I keep plowing through this list I might miss my plane and then I could stay safe on the ground in my room…
 
 
But I have to be in Europe soon no matter what because I’m taking a summer class at King’s College London!!
 
 
Yes! The next stop after Sweden is the UK. I’ll be in London for about two and a half weeks taking a crash course on the arts and digital humanities. Along with roughly five other graduate students from the Pratt Institute School of Information, I’ll visit some of the most prestigious cultural heritage and public history institutions in the West. While I’m in town, I might even stop by the birthplace of William Shakespeare. No big…*
 

*JK. Very, VERY BIG.

 
Fortunately, the fun doesn’t end in London! The week after the King’s College program ends, I’ll be in Venice (for my 23rd birthday) where one of my favorite artists is representing Japan at the Biennale.
 
 
Then I get visit my sister in Paris, where she studies dance/choreography and makes beautiful, strange art stuff. My visit coincides with a performance of her and her partner’s collective, so I’ll have the pleasure of taking in a show by one of the art world’s great undiscovered talents!
When the time comes to say goodbye to my sister, I will take comfort in my final destination: BERLIN.
 
 
I have dreamed of visiting Berlin since I was a child. I chose to study German throughout high school (and rather sporadically in college) with the hope that one day I would see in person what I eagerly studied from books. Fingers crossed that the weather is perfect (although I will be in Berlin and I suppose any weather when I’m Berlin will be ~*perrrrfect*~) because I have a more specific fantasy in which I stroll down an outdoor cafe-lined street in a killer sundress and wedges while the sun shines down on me and all the people in the cafes turn and stare and smile and…
 
 
Anyway, I am beyond excited to go on this trip, but I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention some of my fears and worries:

  1. As I’ve already mentioned, I hate to fly. Luckily this first flight is nonstop overnight and I will definitely be sleeping through most of the time we spend over the Atlantic ocean… Still, there are many more flights to go before I make it back home. Any and all of the positive vibes you want to send (by any means you feel appropriate: Twitter Facebook Whatsapp Tumblr Instagram) will be gladly accepted.
  2. Traveling while Black is… Well… Other people have written about it better.*
*Since I first wrote this, I’ve had an experience that illustrates this point: Some old white lady boarded the plane and saw a Black person in one of the rows before me. As she approached my row she remarked to her (old white lady) companion, “Black people? Traveling to Sweden??” She was shocked and amused that Black people would be traveling to a country where we’ve lived for centuries…

 

3. What if I get lost or stranded? I know that I’m a resourceful person, but being isolated in a foreign country where you don’t know the language (especially when you willingly put yourself in that situation–ahh the sociological complexities of tourism…) is not an enjoyable experience. Been there, done that. Some day I’ll tell the Mexico City story… It’s still too fresh to be funny.

 
 
Barring these concerns, I am over the moon for the travel to begin. I intend for this post to act as the motivation I need to continue blogging, but I hope you’ll forgive me if I forget a day or two… or five… Even if I don’t write out a blog post, I will share photos and updates through social media. If you follow me there, you’re sure to get the latest!
 
 
Thanks for reading, and prata snart!
 
 
-Kara

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