ESN Kalmar’s Introduction Week was filled with events lined up to get all the exchange students to mingle and get to know each other. It was exhausting having to socialize every day, but it was nice meeting people from all over the globe.
I usually don’t go out this much because trolls have a hard time in the sun. Something about the ridiculousness of having to wear a fluorescent green headband brings people together. Here are some highlights of the introduction week:
City tour + movie night
Skipping the volleyball tournament because I had to take a shit real bad after finally getting to my residence. It was also my first time at a European supermarket, and my first purchases were toilet paper and “shower milk”.
I also did not go to the movie night because the movie they were showing was Meet The Fockers. However, we did manage to gather energy to go to the city tour of Kalmar. That’s when we walked around the city looking at main points in the city.
Because we were slow walkers, I ended up trying to come up with some false fun facts about the city. Did you know Kalmar’s McDonald’s was also where the current prince was christened?
Orientation day + Ikea trip
Speedfriending + Garden Party
We were forced to wait almost two hours for buses to take us to Kalmar Nyckel. This was the day where we went to some location to learn about the academic structure of Linnaeus University. Things like what happens with plagiarism, the clubs available, etc. It was worth it because I love complaining and we got free lunch!
Afterwards, we went to Sportson. This is where we were able to rent our bikes. It’s 1750 SEK ($203) but if I return it with a receipt, I get 1000 SEK ($116) back.
This was a rock bottom for me because I was really nervous and had a really hard time riding the bike. But now that I’m basically Lance Armstrong without the drugs, I’m glad I got it. They sold out like the day after!
At the Garden Pre-Party, I got a taste of flavored vodka water thanks to my old friend Manuel. There was no alcohol taste, which is my favorite type of alcohol. At the pre-party, I talked to Johansson*.
He’s a Swede that’s studying to be a sailor. That’s a huge thing here at Linnaeus University! The guy loves San Francisco because of our fondness with Mary Jane. However, he does not love our healthcare system.
Hunger was settling in, so we went towards the partay! I ordered a hot dog wrap, which is a large juicy beef sausage wrapped in a warm tortilla that’s slathered in honey mustard and mayonnaise. I want to say it’s the best hot dog I’ve ever eaten.
I bought beers for my friends, and we headed towards the music. The music was on point. A Canadian rendition of “American Idiot” by Green Day had me rocking out. I think I was dancing like a madman, because of the alcohol. I also like to believe that I was dancing really well, but I have no evidence of that.
This was one of those moments in my life where I wished I could control the space time continuum. I wanted to bottle up this perfect moment in time and save that instance forever. It was such a great time.
Garden Party Day 2
We went to the Kalmar Castle, where we went on a fun tour full of interesting facts and information. I felt like I was in the Game of Thrones, which was why I felt like I was going to die at any second. From the heat though, not from decapitation.
The second Garden Party was not for me. Something about Swedish Reggae music doesn’t make me want to jam out. Although I did go to Max, the Swedish version of In N’ Out. I went with my American comrades from Georgia and South Carolina.
We were comparing notes on what was different than back home, although I think San Francisco is pretty different from both Georgia and South Carolina.
Bränbollsturnering (sober event)
Hangout/grill with Lambda.
After class, the exchange students AKA ESN Kalmar went to play bränboll. It’s like baseball but easier. You hit the ball with a paddle or stick. I used the paddle, which is easier. I catched a ball, which was probably the highlight of my sports career.
The green bands won against the red and yellow team. However, our buttholes were demolished by the blue and grey team (Lambda). I don’t want to make excuses, but the grey team were all sailors and sea captains. The blue was just good.
Afterwards, there was a barbecue hangout session. There was some problem lighting the campfire and my ashy legs were freezing. And guess what? We were supposed to bring our own food. The memo was not received. I stole a s'more and received a free hot dog, and promptly left.
We were divided into groups to do missions while traveling in between bars. My team was Le Puta, which is roughly translated as whore from French. Some missions included forming a human pyramid, creating our own song/dance, and making speeches. I was in the bottom of our pyramid.
Our song and dance took inspiration from Ludacris’ “Move Bitch”. My speech was about why Sweden is the best and why I’m not going back home to the United States because of Donald Trump. I also tried Guinness, and I do not like Guinness.
Swedish culture night
Learning about Swedish culture through the avenue of our tastebuds. We also watched Swedish music videos and learned about Swedish culture through YouTube videos shown through a projector. It was like going to someone’s house and trying to show them a funny video on the internet.
The food was pretty good though. I don’t know the specific Swedish names for these dishes so I’ll just Americanize them.
- Crispy wheat crackers with cheese spread from a tube 8/10
- Crispy wheat crackers with shrimp spread from a tube 4/10
- Meatballs 10/10
- Sausages 8/10
- Blood pudding 6/10
- Pea Soup 9/10
- Mashed Potatoes 7/10
- Pancakes that were more like crepes 5/10
- Chocolate cake 8/10
- Lemonade 7/10
Preparty: Be your own nationality
Playing beer pong on the basement of an apartment building. The floors were sticky but the atmosphere was great. I drank a disgusting beer but the games were fun. I am not good at beer pong. I don’t have any aim, whatsoever.
When I play Overwatch, I mostly play Mercy, Tobjorn and Symmetra because those characters do not require aiming. Do not expect me to make shots, but I will hype myself enough to make it seem like I did! I think I won ⅙ games.
The fine dinner is where ESN Kalmar and Lambda come together to celebrate the last day of wearing ugly headbands. Lambda is the Swedish students who are studying to be sea captains.
You know, the grey team that kicked our asses in Bränboll. The night was filled with conversations, singing, dancing and skits.
I sat next to one of the Lambda mentors who looks like Chris Hemsworth. We ate chicken with buttery-ass mashed potatoes.
The first performance was by four Lambda members. It was like if you combined a lot of alcohol with a flash mob dance that was inspired by Magic Mike. There was some Gangnam Style there too, which is very throwback!
The second performance was by our ESN Kalmar ladies. More of the same dancing except not as raunchy. After drinking two delicious ciders, I was disappointed.
The third and final performance, which was a skit, really topped off the night. It was a story of an ESN Kalmar Dutch Ash Ketchum looking for his Pikachu in Kalmar, Sweden.
He and a couple of Lambdas sail the world looking for Pikachu. They go to Paris, where a haughty “French” person remarks on how Pikachu ate her baguette and went to Amsterdam.
In Amsterdam, a pothead comes out and points to the direction of America where he saw Pikachu being taken by “a giant orange monster.”
America is here, and there is Pikachu… And Donald J. Trump. He is defeated by the united fronts of Europe, and Pikachu is finally reunited with Ash. I heckle Trump because it felt nice, and the best skit in human history ends.
Next comes the award presentations. My team, Le Puta, win the pub crawl even though I left early with the excuse of having diarrhea. I am ecstatic, a little too ecstatic. We sing our song, Move Bitch in the stage. I thank my parents, and ESN. We win a mustache stick.
I also win The Zero of the Year. It must have to do with my enthusiasm for all the events while I was a little inebriated. A lot of times I just complained, but I did accept this award with grace. I thanked everyone in four languages, took my commemorative sash & plaque, and took a bow.
Next, a game where you feed your partner a banana with your hands while behind them.
A Lambda pair win, because they were doing erotic stuff with the banana on stage. Although I don’t mind that, I thought the rules said the fastest pair to eat the banana wins; not who gets the judges wet the fastest. Am I right ladies?
To finish off, the Lambda crew serenaded us with a beautiful Swedish song while we held our iPhones with the flashlight on, in the air. As the song finished, we took off our headbands and left. To the next pre-party, the next party, and the next couple months in Sweden.
While wearing my Zero of the Year sash, I threw my plaque in my bike basket and took off with everyone else.
Liping is the founder and editor-in-chief of lipinghuang.com. He is currently a junior at SFSU studying Business Marketing while studying abroad in Sweden.