Welcome to Valley Overseas. Weâ€™ll hear from students exploring new lands full of strange customs, seemingly impenetrable language barriers, and Euro-trash. Theyâ€™ll dish out the good, bad and the ugly of living in a home-stay, and the tales of discount airlines. From mixed-up vocab to drool-worthy people in fantastic fashions, let us show you the experiences of a lifetime.
Apparently, “I want to go to Sweden” isn’t a valid excuse for missing a final.
I originally had finals week free. Iâ€™d even sworn I was done spending money on side trips until the spring semester. But then my friend Amy said, â€œHey, want to go to Stockholm?â€
Amy and I first bonded over our love for Scandinavia when two godlike Swedish men walked into our friendâ€™s apartment party. They were well-built, blonde, blue-eyed andâ€”ughâ€”you have no idea how many times I paused to Facebook stalk them while drafting this paragraph. I swear one of them is twice my height. Iâ€™ll move on before I start drooling.
Anyway, thatâ€™s not (totally) why I want to visit Stockholm. Itâ€™s a beautiful city on the water and home to great architecture, nightlife and food. Godlike Swedish man no. 1 once mentioned they have a tasty mulled-wine-type drink called glogg. And donâ€™t you ever wonder whatâ€™s up there?
Amy found a cheap flightâ€”the equivalent of $25 from Parisâ€”and I couldnâ€™t resist. We booked a Saturday-to-Monday weekend, because even though that dipped into finals week, our literature professor said our final would â€œprobably be on Tuesday.â€
Itâ€™s on Monday.
Of course, we didnâ€™t find that out until after we booked. Which is why, this morning, I walked timidly up to my French professor and said, â€œHi, Iâ€™m an American student and Iâ€™m not sure about how the exam system works here.â€ Playing the foreign card? Guilty.
â€œIs it possible to take the exam at another time?â€ I asked.
I continued to explain to her that we thought our exam was Tuesday, that we booked flights alreadyâ€¦
â€œOh, flights to go home?â€ she asked, a glimmer of sympathy in her eye.
â€œNo, weâ€™re coming back from a trip to Sweden.â€
It looks like I have to take the exam, or fail. It is technically possible to get from Stockholm to Amphitheatre A of my university by the 4:40 p.m. exam time. However, this would require all our flights, trains, buses and trams to be on time, and for us to sprint in between them and go straight from the train station to our final exam.
Iâ€™m considering it.
Our travel buddy Paul suggested we split a taxi instead of using the airport shuttle. â€œHow do you say â€˜step on itâ€™ in French?â€ he asked.
Iâ€™ve always said Iâ€™d do anything to travelâ€¦except fail my classes.
Even though I likely wonâ€™t make it to Stockholm this weekend, I canâ€™t really complain. Iâ€™ve been lucky enough to have a semester of travel and another one ahead of me.
Besides, I still have a hostel in Paris booked for the night before our Stockholm flight, so I can still go there. For once, I feel like I can relate to the famous line in â€œCasablancaâ€.
â€œYou guys,â€ I said to Amy and Paul. â€œWeâ€™ll always have Paris.â€