Cultural Stockholm

KTH is on a break and weather couldn’t be better. So the question now is where else can you enjoy an amazing variety of music performances, great food, incredible ambiance, and crazy outfits? Lollapalooza Stockholm!

Lollapalooza 2019 trailer

Originated in the US, Lollapalooza is a 4-day music festival revived in 2003 that gathers artist from a wide variety of genres. Hip-hop, pop, electronic, rock, you name it, you’ll be dancing and singing to the beats from world-wide artists. Since 2010, this festival expanded outside the US and this summer hit the Scandinavian capital of Stockholm! Yes, this year was the first year this international festival set foot here in Sweden. Despite being a “small” capital city of little less than 1 million people, Stockholm not only is a technological and start-up hub, but attracts all types of events from all around the world.

Finland, Austria, and Mexico at Lollapalooza Sthlm.

Yes, that’s glitter on our beards and why not? Not only Sweden is the land of openness and equality ranking 3º globally in genre equality and 10º in LGBTQ+ rights in Europe, but diversity is well accepted in this country where everyone can be whoever they want and dress however they feel like; also, I was in this crazy festival where people where dressed as unicorns, there were feathers everywhere, and everyone was super friendly.

MØ walking around the crowd.

Maybe if you see her walking on the streets, you wouldn’t recognize this danish singer called Karen Aagaard, but if I tell you that I’m pretty sure that you have danced to her music, would you believe me? Well, maybe you have heard her singing “Lean On” ft Major Lazer! Yes, she was singing and dancing with the crowd! And something that I have to point out is, that everyone respected her space without attacking her or going crazy for a selfie with her (couldn’t imagine that happening in Mexico tho, we are a bit more fanatic hehe).

Stockholm, and Sweden as a whole is a paradise for those who seek adventure, nature, culture, and a high quality of life. Here you’ll find yourself immerse in a culture that will accept you as who you are and who will invite you to accept others as who they are; but forget not the rules implied within this society, you must respect your surroundings and you must respect one another. So, would you like to experience the Swedish state of mind? After-all not everything is sitting at the library here at KTH 😛

An evening at Gröna Lund

I love one stop places. I really do! Then, when this place includes food, adrenaline rush, dance, games and of course, laughter! You can count me in for sure 😉

You might ask,”Is Oluchi referring to a regular sports bar which also has a restaurant? “

Nope

Maybe Disneyland?

Nope. One more try

An amusement park?

Spot on!!! Yasssssss!

As you have rightly guessed, my one-stop excitement is an amusement park but calling Gröna Lund an amusement park, does not cut the mustard. Gröna Lund plays hosts to many summer concerts, tv-shows and even, free dance lessons. I was there two days in the past week. On one day, there was a concert; the other- it was a tv-show. If you ever think that there are not many people in Stockholm, go to Gröna Lund, everyone might just be hanging out there;)

People would usually ask me, ” when is the best time for family and friends to visit Stockholm?” My answer has never changed – SUMMER. In fact, late June-early July is my preferred timeline. I could tell you the reason for this selection in a different post but today, travel with me back in time to Sunday evening…

In my last post, I mentioned that one of the things I love about my time at KTH is the quality of relationships that I have built over time. Last week, I introduced you to Elaine from China. This week, you’ll meet Anna and Weimar both from Greece and Colombia respectively 🙂

The initial plan was some roller coaster rides, games and then , home as the next day, we were going to wake up to Mr. Monday. However, little did we know that Gröna Lund has a way of keeping you and making you do more than planned (in a good way tho…lool).

The actual evening went like this:

Rides---> some games---> Salsa--->one more ride---->food---->more games

Let’s jump right in…

Imagine yourself sitting 121 metres above the ground, rotating at 70 kilometres per hour! Worse, the only thing supporting your entire human existence is a thin steel chain!! That’s the Eclipse ride in one sentence. I remember the first time I ever tried this ride, my friend and I were wondering why everyone was so calm and not screaming but we opened our eyes and understood…

The aerial view of Gröna Lund in its glory with the wind against your face…

One word – beautiful!!!😍😍😍

Should we talk about my inability to aim at a target using a rifle? Or our inability to actually win a proper gift (haha!) The list is almost endless!The only additional thing I’ll say is, when you finally arrive at Stockholm, makes sure you go to Gröna Lund and most especially, try the Snake ride. I thought “insane” (one of the roller coaster rides) did justice to my heart. I was wrong! Snake threw my heart away, made me ask myself some real-life questions. We screamed the entire ride but for Anna and I screaming was not enough – at some point, we were saying things like, “This is the worst decision I have ever made in life! ” ; “What in the world were we thinking?” “Were we crazy to want to do this?” I second-guessed my sanity on that ride! However, I would do it again!!!😁😁

In the breakdown of our evening, I mentioned Salsa! So, Weimar has been trying to teach us Salsa. What better learning environment than Gröna Lund with four hours of Spanish music. I heard that between 5pm to 6pm every weekend, you have free lessons for Salsa or Batchata. Then, from 6pm to 9pm, people just freestyle. We joined the freestyle group even though Anna and I were learning on the job ( 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️ ). It might be good to know that you actually do not need to come with a dancing partner for these dances. There are actually people who are willing to dance with you and show you how its done once you show up!

I figured pictures and text are not capable of painting a full picture of the kind of evening we had. So, ladies and gentlemen, this post includes a video!

Watch the video below to see the much talked about Snake ride, my failed attempt at shooting a rifle and our amateur Salsa skills. Also, pay attention to the subtle way you can minimize plastic pollution in your everyday life 😉

Looking forward to creating your Gröna Lund experiences with new friends you plan to meet when you arrive at KTH? I am certain that you will love it! Recall I mentioned that I went to Gröna Lund twice in one week? Find out why in the next post 😉

Till then!

Oluchi

Midsummer Realness

Winter is coming. Yes, summer solstice is gone (longest day in the year) so that only means one thing… this is going down! Well, not literally but now days will start getting shorter as we head up towards winter; that didn’t mean that Swedes didn’t enjoy at its fullest this day. Although weather may be a variable that could affect drastically your plans, this year Sun shinned and temperature was +25º. Midsummer, or midsommar in Swedish, translate in real life to maypoles, dancing, and large gatherings in- but mostly outside cities. Swedes build a maypole by collecting flowers early in the day and later in the evening they begin to dance around it while chanting “små grodorna” or the small frogs 🐸 song! Although this is the “traditional” way to do it, I had the chance to enjoy it in a “foreign” kind of way 🙂

Midsummer birthday part-ay!

One of my closest friends was born exactly on midsummer, so he decided to throw a midsummer birthday party! What a genius! As people tend to head out from the city, a friend of a friend has a house near Ingarö (20min from Stockholm) which he decided to lend for the midsummer/birthday party. We headed there and we had a super nice and chilled barbecue. Oh yes, barbecues happen everywhere throughout whole Sweden; nonetheless, as temperatures rise across the country, bans came into place for barbecues taking place in public spaces. Did you know that little more than 10 % of the wildfires caused in Sweden during 1998 and 2014 were attributed to grilling! That’s a lot! So no surprise authorities have been introducing this type of ban.

View from Ingarö

Despite we didn’t construct our own maypole, we enjoyed the celebration doing the second best thing Swedes like to do during Summer, swimming! To be honest I’m a bit skeptic of swimming in “open” waters mostly when it comes to Nordic waters, as they are cold for this Caribbean boy; nonetheless, I did enjoy jumping and swimming around with friends from time to time. An important thing to highlight is the “white elephant” on the Baltic sea everyone should be talking about! Eutrophication! This sea is highly polluted by a huge amount of nutrients dispossessed by many industries which have access to it; as a matter of fact, the oxygen levels are so low that this sea barely contains any marine life at all (read more here). The above doesn’t mean that is not swimmable, but that marine life can barely develop here.

How to end a good midsummer day.

Although some people decide to stay over the weekend in the summer houses, we decided to go back to the city and enjoy a glass of wine in one of the few open places in Stockholm!

What do you think? Craving to taste the experience of Swedish midsummer? I assure you that Sweden, Stockholm, and KTH’s student life will offer everything to create amazing memories!

Fika!

” Let’s Fika next week! Good plan?”

“I’ll take a Fika break now”

“I had Fika earlier, I am not hungry at the moment”

As you plan to move to Sweden in the next couple of months, be ready to hear this word and also, use it multiple times as represented above. Fika has to be the first Swedish tradition I learnt and also, the one that is practiced everywhere. When I say, everywhere…

What is Fika?

Fika in its most basic form actually means coffee break. However, in Sweden, Fika is much more than just a coffee break; it is the time you set aside to meet up with colleagues, friends or family at work, in a cafe or at home. It usually involves coffee and some pastries.

In fact, you can set up a meeting with your future employer for fika. In that way, it is an infomal style to get to know more about this company and they also, get to know more about you in a very relaxed environment. Meetings like this would usually take place at the fika room of the company.

Swedes consider having fika as part of their culture. At work, we currently have what we call, “Monday Fika”. In this case, we have sandwiches, some fruits, coffee, tea, etc. and we basically engage in small talk and end the fika session with a presentation from a certain group, explaining their current projects. Apart from these scheduled Monday fikas, most people usually take fika breaks at either 10:00 or 15:00 each day.

Fika with Elaine…

One of the things I am happy about my time here at KTH is quality relationships. Getting to experience the world through the eyes of other people and becoming a part of their individual stories is something I would always relish.

So, when Elaine hit me up with fika suggestions, you can guess my reply without reading further 😉

In every corner of Stockholm. you would find cafes of different styles and different atmospheres. So, we went to this Japanese Cafe and I had the best matcha cake ever!! If you doubt me, visit Cafe Koya and I’ll bet that you’ll be bitten by the matcha bug (haha!)

Oh! Yes, we had matcha drinks also. It was a hot day, we did not want tea or coffee

This should be the end of the post but I feel it’s just right I mention how much I love summer in Stockholm! Considering I was told that it is cold round the year in Sweden, Sweden has proven that theory wrong in the past two years, as it gets considerably warm in the summer. The good thing is, you get to enjoy the sun, hours after the usual working time frame.

Guess who decided to take some time out in Vasa park and soak up the sun?

Short story: Half the time, this is how you’ll find us – always laughing
That’s Elaine 🙂
In my natural habitat (lol)

The Final Sprint

Ready. Set. I-see-the-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-GO! Hey peeps! So today I bring you exciting news as not only Summer has arrived here in Stockholm, but I’m wrapping up my thesis project. Yes, it seems like yesterday when I was sharing with you about what I was planning to do as thesis project, but now, it has come to an end. With a date for my final presentation at KTH set, I’ve been working now on finishing the written report for me to send it to my tutor, yes, I’ve been glued to my laptop for the past weeks. Now, taking into consideration everything that I’ve been dealing with for the past weeks regarding my thesis, I decided to post not only some sneak peak of what I have found as thesis results, but I would also like to share some advices for the moment you start doing your own projects.

Image result for meme thesis

If you had to guess which would be the top sector at risk by environmental policies like carbon pricing (carbon tax and emission trading schemes), which sector would you think about first? Would be a high energy-intensive like electricity production? Would it be a road transportation as it highly contributes to GHG emissions? … well, according to my model… under a 2º scenario policy (and with some assumptions in the background), the sector which could have the highest risk in the future in terms of revenue loss by carbon tax and/or emission trading schemes is… INDUSTRIALS!

According to my model, companies listed under the “Industry” sector (i.e. chemicals production, iron & steel, cement, etc), could have almost 9x more exposure to carbon pricing mechanisms by 2030 when compared to 2017 price levels. Furthermore, another interesting thing that I have found here, was companies under “Offroad transportation” (i.e. airlines) come secondly with almost 7x more exposure in 2030 compared to 2017 price levels. I do believe is very interesting because airline companies fall behind in internalizing the social cost of carbon and they could be subjected to stronger environmental policies in the future. As I told you peeps, this is just a sneak peak of the results I have come up during my research, soon I’ll have the complete paper done 🙂 Furthermore, what advices could I give you to deliver your thesis on time and for you not to suffer any stress associated to this necessary step for you to obtain your degree?

  • Project pipeline. Even though you don’t know if you will or not achieve your desire results, have a pipeline of what you expect to due and how long it will take you!
  • Social media overdose. If you are a social media addict like me, add plug-ins to control your access to any of these distraction factors.
  • Food overdose. Your craves of distraction may drive you towards the fridge, so fear not and just keep handy some healthy snacks like fruit and veggies that will make your craves go down.
Image result for crave food meme

Do you have any other advice to keep our fellow readers away from procrastinating? Don’t forget to share!

Happy Nationaldag!

June 6th. Today is an important day in Sweden, not only because it is a red day (which means day off for everyone), but for what stands behind this “red-marked” day. Today, Swedes are celebrating their national day! Now, taking you all back to 1523 when Gustav Vasa was appointed as King of Sweden, it was here, when he set the course for what it is known today as the foundation of Modern Sweden; furthermore, he would eventually make this amazing country independent from the Kalmar Union.

The Kalmar Union, c. 1400
Source: Wikipedia. Former Kalmar Union (today Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, and Greenland)

So as the national day, we can expect a lot of events for sure! Here is a list of how, where, and when you can celebrate nationaldag here in Stockholm.

  • Gärdet – What about bringing some food to a huge park near the city center, while enjoying some sports. During this day, the famous Gärdet Games take place where kids from all ages compete among different disciplines; so what can you expect from this? Well, lacrosse, beachball, soccer, rugby, and so on. Don’t miss it!
Source: dif.se. Gärdet Games plan
  • Skansen. Yes, more nature but with a twist. Famously known for being the center for today’s celebration, people can make their own swedish-colored flags, go to concerts, and of course (why not) meet the King. Here at Skansen you will surely create great memories that you will be able to share with friends and family.
  • Royal Palace. What about enjoying some cultural activities for free at Sweden’s Royal Palace? Yes, if you are enjoying Stockholm during this amazing holiday you can’t miss going to this Palace located in the old town to enjoy concert, parades, and exhibitions for free.
Image result for royal palace stockholm
Source: Stockholm Pass. The Royal Swedish Palace

Are you attending any of this celebrations? Let’s us know your opinion regarding this! Remember that Sweden has so much to offer for us all! Happy Swedish National Day! 😀