I learned that falling snow is one of the most beautiful sights. I also learned that ice on the sidewalk is one of the most dangerous things. The bruises on my knees throughout the month of February confirmed this.
I learned that a public transportation system that works efficiently is life-changing, at least for a Californian who depends heavily on a car. I am not looking forward to higher gas prices and commuting 60 miles a day for work when I get back.
I learned that a smile goes a mile, especially on the metro. Just for kicks, I would smile at people during my morning ride to work and the confusion and double-takes I got from stoic Swedes always entertained me. I like to think I brightenend their day a little, even if they only saw me as a crazy American.
I learned that I can survive and make it on my own, completely by myself. I realized that thinking I was an independent person and actually pushing myself outside my comfort zone to prove it were two different things entirely. Suprisingly, though, there were very few times that I felt alone. There is something liberating when you know you are so far from everyone and everything you know.
I learned that no matter what language you speak or what culture you come from, there is always common ground to be found. I learned that some people really are only in my life for a season, but that doesn't make the goodbye any easier.
I learned how weird Americans are. We say "awesome" and "cool" entirely too much. And Finnish people especially like to remind us of this. I won't deny that I picked up a couple Swedish and Finnish sayings though.
I learned that my goal is to always have a goal. I learned that I don't know nearly as much as I want to. I learned that I never want to stop learning. I learned that it is possible to create a life in three months that seems impossible to leave behind. I learned that I will miss Stockholm more than I thought I would. I learned that I am not the same person who left California in January.