Returning

It has been four years since I visited Lund, and then it was only for a weekend. The circumstances are not unfamiliar, though — I have come from Iceland, on an early flight, and I will be visiting the same relatives, whom I have not seen since that first visit. The sense is the same, too — of relief — glad that I have found myself in this warm, sunny southern Swedish city after months in the more rugged Reykjavik. Here, at last, it feels like spring!

What has changed in four years, in my circumstances? I am no longer under the illusion that my finances are endless. I travel now with more purpose, and more aim. I am also more inclined to fret. Did I have a plan last time? Was I really only making it up as I went? Yes — but I didn’t mind. My school plans and my ideas of fun have changed, and my grandfather, the link to these relatives, has died. There are distinct differences in this sense.

Like last time, I am running short on sleep, with an early flight giving me a strong need for caffeine. But instead of having had a late night due to a long picnic and revelry with friends, last night I stayed awake trying to seek reassurance after attacks at the airport in Brussels gave me an uneasy feeling about flying. I flew into Copenhagen, but traveled independently to Lund, taking the smooth, efficient train, rather than being picked up. Even though the reason for this is sad (my cousin’s failing eyesight), it is a pleasant train ride, and I had time to enjoy the scenery and wake up a little before arriving. Coming in on my own also meant that I could see the city before meeting up with family, and I am writing from a cafe that I think could become a favourite were I to stay here any longer.

I think the people at the table across from me are foreign students. By the sounds of it they are not here on exchange, but the conversation is in English, so I would guess they are from different places, taking their degrees in Lund. When I last visited I was considering a degree here myself. Now the hope is that my sister will come here on exchange next year. The same — but different.

The feeling of a return is pleasantly nostalgic, but it is still mostly a new city to me. One weekend is not enough to see everything, and having more time is an exciting prospect. I believe it is time to explore!

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