Surviving the winter in Gothenburg is not always an easy task, especially during those long months! Many of us internationals from the tropics experience a huge weather/climate shock when moving to Sweden. To our utter dismay it can be difficult to adapt not only to the harsh coldness, rain, and strong powerful winds, but also those long dark days when the sun sets around 2 P.M. As an extremely active person who absolutely loves the sun, warmth, nature, and being outside; my first year in Sweden was one of the most difficult years I had ever experienced. Having moved half way across the world from Los Angeles, California during the summer, I didn´t take full advantage of those long hot summer days – the first year around, thinking that most days would be similar throughout the year. How gullible was I? I was definitely in for a huge awakening!
Those dark cold Swedish days crept up like a shadow when the sun starts to set. I just couldn´t believe it! Walking home on occasion I literally felt my bones shiver, the rain hit me from all angles, and those horrible gusts of wind would be so strong that even my umbrella would turn inside out! This was not so cool to me – and I did not want to accept this as my reality. I was used to wearing flip-flops and my bikini underneath a plaid button down Abercrombie t-shirt not thinking twice about any kind of rain or cold weather. Now I was stuck with layers of long johns underneath my clothes and having to wear penguin looking winter coats – I did not feel stylish and wasn´t happy looking like a fat penguin. I would attempt to go shopping around noon and then it would get so dark unexpectedly, that I would not be able to find my way home! Walking around the city, with all the streets iced over I would watch the Swedes slip and slide dropping their groceries and bags attempting to walk back to their homes. Was this my reality? I felt as if I was in Siberia!