Fika means friends, coffee, pastries.
There really is no direct translation of the Swedish word/concept/motto of fika. It is a break in the middle of the day to drink coffee and eat amazing pastries, but it’s also a time to relax, separate from the work day, and be with the people you love.
In this spirit, I had a “Farewell Fika” this Sunday so I could say goodbye to friends and family while enjoying some traditional Swedish goodies. Having practiced my Swedish on Duolingo all summer, I also made some tent cards explaining each treat and how to pronounce it in Swedish.
What I wasn’t quite prepared for was the outpouring of love and support. During the last few weeks, the reality of my impending trip has set in, and I’ve been alternating between sparks of giddiness and flashes of sheer panic. Seeing so many people in my life who are rooting for me reminded me that I won’t truly be alone on this journey.
Friends who I’ve known since kindergarten came with their families. One of my college roommates made the four-and-a-half hour drive from Raleigh, NC and stayed the night. Wonderful people who I’ve met through my brother’s Boy Scouts and my grandmother’s work gave me words of excitement and encouragement.
Normally, this might make me miss home while I’m abroad even more. However, I recently Skyped with my homestay family, and I’ve been thinking about how home doesn’t have to be one particular place. Here, I love to cook and bake with my mother, an excellent chef. My homestay family shared that they cook dinner almost every night, and would love for me to help.
Just because I won’t be around those I am familiar with every day, doesn’t mean that I will be without love. So many people gave me enthusiastic hugs, promising to follow my journey either on this blog or through my parents.
As I face the unknown (and a mountain of clothes to be packed), I am not intimidated. Okay, maybe by the packing. But this semester holds so many adventures and so much opportunity. And I am ready for it.
Amazing what some coffee can do.