So, when you are excitedly packing your bags to not only move to a new country, but a new continent, nay a new hemisphere, you well up with joy at the thought of all the things you are going to be able to do, everything you will be able to experience. The excitement is resounding. The thought of the flight experience, what is going to happen when you land, how you will get to where you’re staying, what you will eat. Will you miss home? Of course, you think, but definitely not those first few weeks, because that is your time to take it all in.
Your first fall, your introduction to autumn. That’s something that grips you unexpectedly especially when you are used to two seasons, hot and cold. Everything else is almost hot or almost cold. That’s what life is like in the tropics, I guess. The weather starts turning towards a chill, you start thinking about shopping up for winter, a bit prematurely you realise when you dash to a store to buy winter jackets in the middle of October. Everyone is walking around in light jackets and shorts and you are tempted to convert your sleeping back into a walking ‘nu-age’ blanket taken from the runway of some fashion-esque show somewhere in Europe. I mean you could do that and no one would question you or your sanity at all. Back home? You’d be laughed and ridiculed off, before being dragged to the nearest asylum for an “assessment.” Oh, the freedom of the global north!
When the leaves are all but done falling off and dying on the cyclist infested pavements and as they collect together with the mud and muck that is produced by the unannounced rains, you realise that the beauty of a falling leaf also quickly disappears into the mulch of some random Uppsala street. You think of that other random girl.
With no warning, no announcement, no sign post, no bureaucratic informercial or notification, somebody switches the lights off! Just like that. Day turns to night and night turns to nightier night. You awaken and the sun is not familiar with where you are until later in the day when you have been up for what seems like months. And don’t think it will come and be with you for a while? The sun will not tarry. As soon as you rush outside to catch a few rays of sun, it retreats into the gloomy clouds and in no time, the light fades. With 4 – 5 hours of sun during winter, your sun burnt days are but over, but also your days of enjoying the warm that came with the sun gently kissing your cheeks at sunset. You now wish you spent more time outside when you were back home, because when you were home, you had 350/365 days of sunglight. You can forget it for the next two years.
‘The night is dark and full of terrors.’ Those writers were on to something. A lack of Vitamin D in your system will leave you feeling like half a human. Seeing everything dark all the time literally eats away at your soul, and if you’re not careful, will find yourself falling into the winter “slump” were everyone retreats into themselves and become a depressed, anti-social (I laugh as I write this) members of society. You will leave home whilst it is dark, walk into a lecture and buy the time you decide to do a quick pass through the library before you head home, it will be dark outside. It won’t be that the sun did not come, but it came and went back, before you had a chance to experience it.
Would I call this a solution-based blog post? Not really. I won’t spoil you that much. I want you to discover it on your own (wink wink). Or maybe I’ll shed a few pointers here and there. Just do what everyone else does. Take supplements everyday like a junkie; start a month earlier. Go to the gym like you on something. 2 hours every two days works more wonders than you would expect. The university has a sun room (or light room, or star room) somewhere. Go there and get some fake sun. It is better the fake stuff than no stuff at all. This is the time when people should be more social and not the opposite. Hang out more with friends, party, do sleepovers or whatever you do for fun. Just make sure the activities are not sun-based, because, well…
So, embrace the dark side. It will be over…eventually.