I was 21 years old, and a few days earlier, I had packed a huge suitcase and traveled by plane and train from Denver, Colorado, to Uppsala, Sweden where I was to spend the next 11 months as part of a student exchange program. I was assigned to live in student housing; in my "corridor" lived 10 students - we each had our own rooms (fully equipped with Ikea furniture) with private baths, and we shared a living room and a kitchen/dining area.
Most of the other students hadn't moved in yet so the corridor was kind of lonely at this point. One afternoon I turned on the TV and flipped through the channels. They were all showing pictures of Princess Diana, but I didn't know what they were saying because at that point I didn't know a word of Swedish. Then I found one station that was showing a picture of Diana with the caption: "1961-1997". I got the details from a phone call with my mom.
News of Diana and the car accident always brings back memories of my first months in Uppsala:
- Figuring out where I could buy a bicycle so I could get around town like everyone else
- Compulsively checking my map to orient myself whenever I had to go somewhere
- Getting used to taking a number for service at places like the post office and the government liquor store
- Learning that *I* need to bag my groceries, not the checkout person (hurry up, there’s someone waiting behind you!) and if you want a plastic bag, tell them before they’ve rung you up so they can charge you for it
- Realizing the pleasure of shopping at H&M 3 times a week
It was during this year in Sweden that I developed a sense of fashion and style. In Colorado where I had been going to college, outerwear was made from one of two fabrics: Gore-Tex or fleece. In Sweden, which was equally if not more cold, I discovered you can stay just as warm in a long wool coat. This picture is from the springtime when I was visiting the town of Linköping with a friend.