Lunds Angels

One of the biggest changes I experienced in Sweden, but which I never wrote about elaborately so far, was the change of means of transportation. While I was always walking my 800 meters to my primary school as a kid, and used public transportation every day of my secondary school and university life, there was only one time span in my life where I used my bike on an everyday basis. It was the time in high school, those two years where the every day commuting was kind of fun. Despite some cold icy days and a crash on one unhappy day, I was always looking forward to getting on my bike. I lived far away from school from school and it was a daily ritual to collect my two friends on the way there. Since we were the only three people in class coming from my village, it felt like we were this little bike gang from there. Writing about that makes me feel slightly nostalgic.
And I had the same feeling living here in Lund over the last few months. Since Lund is a small bike city, where everything is within cycling distance, everyone has a bike and uses it to go anywhere they want or have to. You wanna go to the shop? Hop on your bike! Want to go for some learning at your friend’s house? Hop on your bike! Want to go to Copenhagen and have to go to the train station? Hop on your bike! Even though I have had this experience in my earlier life, it has become highly unfamiliar to me over the last years, when I used my bike only to get to the football pitch two, three times a month. But although it was a big change of an everyday habit, I got used to it very fast and enjoyed it from the beginning. And since everyone had a bike and used it, I once more had that feeling of being in a kind of bike gang. But this time it was more than just my fantasy. It was one of my friends who one day came up with the idea of finding a name for our gang. In the end we decided on Lunds Angels, the notorious bike gang of Lund. This idea developed so far that we even planned to make our own stickers and put them on our jackets. This sadly never became reality, but we still have our emblem and used the chance one day on our Lapland trip to make a gang picture. Of course that whole thing was just a big fun insider story, which never left our little family. But it still created this group bond, which showed a nice feeling of friendship, solidarity, and, for me at least, nostalgia.

This is just one of the experiences I made, where something unfamiliar grew familiar. Other examples would be the style of teaching, respectively the system of university lessons they have here, as well as the friendly relation to teachers and university staff in general or the ability to keep up the good mood and happiness despite the grey and often rainy dark days. What I still did not familiarize with is the use of credit card instead of cash. But this not for the reason of me not wanting to change that. I would even love to use credit card instead since it’s so much more convenient to just have a card with you instead of all those coins and bills, and it would even be way more convenient if they would expand the contacless paying that’s on the rise in Switzerland but missing here most of the times. But I rather refuse to use it simply because of the charge that would be laid on every transaction I would do, which would be much higher than the one time charge laid on my withdrawal. So all in all I got the feeling I can adapt fast to some new practices, as long as I don’t have any clearly negative outcome from adapting. Since I’ve never seen myself as a conservative guy, relying strictly on his habits and practices and unable to get used to changes, my self-perception did not really change through this experience, but was much rather given proof that it was correct.

I am mournful when I think that this Sweden experience will end in few days. But I will look back on a wonderful time when I made lots of new good friends and experienced a lot of great unforgettable stories. I got the feeling that I do not really have to say goodbye to Sweden, since a part of me will always be here.

Severin Siegenthaler

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