Sunday, August 25, 2013

welcome to malmö

My plane touched down in Copenhagen Airport at 11:21pm. I rushed towards the train and, somehow, successfully bought tickets, read the timetable, and ended up on the correct platform. It was barely a 20-minute ride to Malmö. Once at the Central Station, I found the bus stop and was able to catch the #4 just as I confirmed what direction I needed to go in. It was midnight by now. As I paid close attention to the stops, listening to the distinct Swedish pronunciations, I texted my CouchSurfing host, Liselott. "On the bus now ... could you tell me which way to walk from Kronsprinsen?" No answer. Ten minutes later, I descended from the bus. Still no answer.

I had no idea where I was.
There was a hotdog stand miraculously open at 12:15am on a Wednesday morning. I was greeted with a hej (sounds like "hey) as I approached. Responding politely in English, I pointed to the address I'd scribbled down and asked if he could point me in the right direction. It sounded familiar. He parlayed the question to an old man who'd come up behind me. Together, they gathered, I had to walk back past the bus stop and make a left. Then a group of younger adults chimed in (a line had formed by now), adding that the street would be on my first or second right after the original directions. I thanked everyone and scurried along with my suitcase.

Walking down that main street in the dark of night, I was touched by the crowd-sourced kindness. The dim storefronts were charming. It felt safe. Suddenly, someone called out in front of me. "It's right here! This is the street." I cautiously approached him and realized it was the old man from the hotdog stand. He must've mentioned it to his wife when he'd gotten back into the car with their midnight snacks and kept an eye out for the street sign on their drive home. Thanking him, I felt guilty for having been alarmed.

I called Liselott timidly while standing in front of her apartment building. She awoke on the third ring and graciously ran down to let me in. She was unnecessarily apologetic about having missed my text earlier. "Please don't apologize, I'm sorry to wake you up!" I recounted the anecdote above while she welcomed me. Gosh, I thought, Swedes are as nice as everyone told me they'd be.

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The rest of my experience in Malmö was just as incredible. I arrived back in Paris yesterday absolutely exhausted, and at the same time, bursting with excitement. Each person I had the pleasure of listening to at the Media Evolution Conference and/or chatting with before, during, after has had such an impressive impact on me. I feel so thoroughly lucky for these past few days, and after I've had a chance to let it soak in, I promise to tell you all about it. I should probably try to catch up on life in the mean time :). For any new readers, here's some more details about me. Otherwise, please enjoy video archives of the presentations.

8 comments:

  1. sounds like such a special trip. i am dying to go to Copenhagen and other neighbouring cities! x

    Miho @ Wander to Wonder


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    1. It was, it was, it was. Hope you get to go soon!

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  2. I have relatives in Sweden but have never been. Now that I'm close enough after moving to Germany, I can't wait to go. Sounds like you had a fabulous experience, which makes me all the more eager to get there. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. My pleasure :) fingers crossed you get to visit soon! Before it gets so cold.

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  3. Little acts of kindness from locals make all the different when travelling... especially solo. I'm so glad your experience was a positive one, I can't wait to hear more about the rest of your trip :)

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    1. Most definitely. It's what keeps me going. Looking forward to sharing more as the week goes on. xo

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  4. How lovely! I love hearing about the interaction with the locals. I would love to see some more pictures of Malmo!
    http://liveitinerantly.com

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