A Friendly Welcome

by Andrew Stein

Feeling more at home while traveling can be a challenge. Sleeping in hostels, constantly meeting new people, and not having go-to restaurants or cafes can be fun but also tiring. Although Stockholm is about 5500 miles (8800 kilometers) from San Francisco, I met up with several friends, had a chance to try their go-to restaurants, and even enjoyed some home cooking. I can’t thank them enough for making my Swedish experience feel so comfortable. I met up with Siri, an old friend from University, for a quick work break. I had dinner and drinks with Liina and Mikael, a couple I met while scuba diving in Bali just a couple months ago. They took me to a great restaurant where I had a chance to sample some traditional Swedish foods while we caught up on each other’s lives. And I stayed in Linkoping for two nights with Matilda, whom I’d met in southern Cambodian caves. When I arrived at the train stations, Matilda and Jesper, whom I’d also met before, were waiting with a picnic packed, and we went to a nearby park to play volleyball. They had brought me several traditional Swedish beers from around the country as well as a couple very Swedish dishes. One new dish I tried was cut up raw fish swimming in various sauces. Out of all the sauces, I think I liked the mustard-based one the most. And finally, they brought me some Swedish chocolate, which was the perfect ending to our picnic in the park. Thank you so much to everyone for going out of your way and making me feel comfortable!