The Return to Uppsala

The Return to Uppsala

I went to the cathedral today. I did not really have a reason to go there because I had taken all the necessary tourist-photos of the beautiful windows and paintings a while ago. I sat down and followed the group of tourists slowly wandering through the church aisles. I am in no rush. I am not sure if it is due to the cathedral’s peaceful atmosphere or the fact that I have just got approximately six hours of sleep a night for a while now, but I feel tranquil. I am happy. I am here again.

How I ended up back in Uppsala was because of a pure whim. I had agreed to go on a road trip to Luleå in Sweden with my friends so I spent the previous night trying to find places to see and visit in the town. A Wikipedia-article describing Luleå also revealed that there is a relatively busy airport nearby the town. The seemingly random fact eventually led to what was me sending messages to my exchange student friends still living in Uppsala and booking flights for the next day during the dark hours of the night.

It is a rather peculiar feeling to be back in one’s old “hometown” after such a short break. I was away from Uppsala for less than two months but now I saw the city from a completely new perspective. The building I used to live in and now stayed in felt oddly unfamiliar - even though my name was still marked on the corridor list. Things had changed places and my former room was no longer mine. Someone new had made it into their home.

As I walk the familiar routes from Ekeby to the city center, I feel loose. Every house, road and shortcut on the way is familiar but no longer feels like home. It is as if I was walking separated from all the other people. They live and stay here: I am here only for a visit. I try to dive into a pond where I used to swim with others just a while back but now the surface of the pond is frozen and I am forced to just watch those the others who are now on the other side of the frozen glass. I am not sad. I am rather baffled after realizing that my mind no longer lives here, here and now, but it reflects everything through the memories of the past instead.

I had enough time to stay in Uppsala for just a few days but it feels like that within those days I had enough time to see many different things from my exchange and the time after the exchange from a new perspective. All-in-all I feel very calm throughout the trip. At some point, I feel melancholic and nostalgic when I think of how under different circumstances I might still be living here. At the same time, I am happy for getting the chance to still see my friends living here. I am also happy for choosing to come here. That, if anything, is very untypical of me.

I am not a spontaneous person. I want to plan, schedule and organize everything beforehand. To me the whole concept of ‘being spontaneous’ merely means that sometimes I buy a bag of candy or try a new cheese without planning it in advance. I spend most of my time thinking how I would spend that time. I forget to enjoy and that is wrong. I should also remember to live in the moment, here and now. I should savor the moment because this moment is unique and temporary. Experiences cannot be planned. They also have to be experienced.

I wrote the texts in cursive above in café Storken, in the center of Uppsala. I looked outside the window and sketched down my thoughts in a notebook for a few hours. I drank coffee with a friend and stayed in the café for a while after that. I felt and I feel good. I would have not been able to achieve this state of being without breaking my old habits. I decided to be spontaneous (after consulting a few friends first). I decided to do things instead of just planning them. Excited about the experience the last notes in my notebook from the trip are the following: do not feel content with just dreaming and planning things. Go, experience and enjoy. And most of all, do not just think about living, just live instead.

- Juho


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