Valley Overseas: “I’d Do Anything to Travel…Except Fail All of My Classes”

Welcome to Valley Overseas. We’ll hear from students exploring new lands full of strange customs, seemingly impenetrable language barriers, and Euro-trash. They’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.

The complicated journey from Stockholm to Montpellier (via Google Maps)

Apparently, “I want to go to Sweden” isn’t a valid excuse for missing a final.

I originally had finals week free. I’d even sworn I was done spending money on side trips until the spring semester. But then my friend Amy said, “Hey, want to go to Stockholm?”

Well, obviously.

Amy and I first bonded over our love for Scandinavia when two godlike Swedish men walked into our friend’s apartment party. They were well-built, blonde, blue-eyed and—ugh—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. I’ll move on before I start drooling.

Anyway, that’s not (totally) why I want to visit Stockholm. It’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 don’t you ever wonder what’s up there?

Amy found a cheap flight—the equivalent of $25 from Paris—and I couldn’t resist. We booked a Saturday-to-Monday weekend, because even though that dipped into finals week, our literature professor said our final would “probably be on Tuesday.”

It’s on Monday.

Of course, we didn’t find that out until after we booked. Which is why, this morning, I walked timidly up to my French professor and said, “Hi, I’m an American student and I’m not sure about how the exam system works here.” Playing the foreign card? Guilty.

“Is it possible to take the exam at another time?” I asked.

“No.”

I continued to explain to her that we thought our exam was Tuesday, that we booked flights already…

“Oh, flights to go home?” she asked, a glimmer of sympathy in her eye.

“No, we’re coming back from a trip to Sweden.”

Sympathy gone.

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.

I’m considering it.

Our travel buddy Paul suggested we split a taxi instead of using the airport shuttle. “How do you say ‘step on it’ in French?” he asked.

I’ve always said I’d do anything to travel…except fail my classes.

Even though I likely won’t make it to Stockholm this weekend, I can’t really complain. I’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 “Casablanca”.

“You guys,” I said to Amy and Paul. “We’ll always have Paris.”