For the past few blogs, I have talked about my travel plans to Sweden as a foreign student.
My typing this post from my room here in Sverige (Sweden) still feels surreal to me as I never thought I’d actually make it to Sweden in one piece.
I previously talked about how I got hold of my student visa and resident permit, which is one and the same. 3-weeks after my visit to the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok, I picked up my resident permit from the Royal Swedish Consulate General in Makati, Philippines. After that you’d think buying tickets online were easy. boy, was i wrong! but more on that next time.
So, my visa starts from August 2 onwards, but i wasn’t needed in school until the 27th of August, So i picked a number between that. I decided to fly to Sweden on the 20th of August for no particular reason other than it was a pretty number.
little did I know, it was the worst day to pick to go to the airport because of the weather. The weather started being horrible on Saturday, August 17, and on its 3rd day, Monday Morning, (August 19) almost the whole of Metro Manila was nearly submerged in water, its nearby areas declaring states of calamity already as most houses were deep in water already. our area, San Pedro Laguna, was one of the areas declared to be in a state of calamity. we were lucky that the water did not reach the inside of our home, but the outside of our garage was knee deep! we were afraid that our cars would be submerged but luckily the flood did not reach the inside of our garage. Monday afternoon, the flood subsided already and i was able to breathe a little better because i foolishly said to myself that since the water was already subsiding, the streets would be clear by the next morning. But when evening came, it started pouring heavily again and it was no surprise that the flood was even higher the next day. our area was not flooded again though, which was a small mercy.
So my mom and I decided to leave for the airport earlier than usual to make sure that I don’t miss my flight. However, due to the severe flooding in manila at the time, we were stuck in traffic with my chances of getting in the airport on wheels bleak. it would normally take me about 30 minutes to go to the airport from my place but due to the flood, it took me about 6 hours to get to the airport. luckily there were a couple of really nice guys from DSWD (department of Social Welfare and Development) who were driving this huge ass truck and were nice enough to let us hitch a ride all the way to the airport, but since they were in a cargo truck, they couldn’t really drop us off in the arrivals section of the airport as they were not allowed, so they dropped me, my mom and my luggages at the gate of the airport, and instead of hoofing it all the way to the airport, we rented a cab for 2 minutes and the cabbie charged as 300% of what he normally charges because of the “weather”. meh, you win some, you lose some. at this point i was just relieved to be finally at the airport.
I arrived at the airport just in time for my check-in counter to open and about 3 hours early for my 6pm flight. my check-in luggage went in with no problem at all, but i had a little bit of an incident with my carry-on as it was 9 kilos heavier than the prescribed 7-kilos. luckily i was able to talk my way into it. airport officers are more forgiving if what you have in your carry-on are gadgets, and as i had a multitude of gadgets with me including a laptop, 2 tablets, a kindle, and several cameras and cellphones (did i mention i am deathly afraid to be bored in-flight?) they were a little compelled to let me through. i was in a rock and a hard place since i need those gadgets as i explained to them that i am a student-slash-blogger-slash-writer (if only i’m any successful at the photography and writing part, that would be perfect!) and it’s against their policy to check-in delicate gadgets, i’m left to the task of lugging these things across borders while they look the other way. it helps that my carry-on is up to the allowable size for carry-ons and i don’t really have any liquids with me so the only rule i was breaking was the weight allowance and as it was justified, they were happy to look the other way.
after going through immigration, i happily parked myself in one of the lounges on the 2nd floor of NAIA terminal 1 til about 30 minutes before my flight leaves. but as i got there we were told that our flight has been delayed for an hour and a half due to the weather, but other than that it was a smooth 8-hour plane ride to dubai.
after the 8 hour plane ride, and at this point i was already traveling for about 18 hours straight i wasn’t even halfway done and i had another 9-hour wait before my next flight leaves. but the airport in Dubai is nice, it’s one of the reasons why i chose to have a layover in Dubai in the first place. I enjoyed my 5-hour stopover in dubai airport two years ago. so a 9-hour wait wasn’t as daunting to me as it sounds. i may be one of the weird ones but i like people watching in airports and i do actually enjoy my stay in airports so i really don’t mind the long wait. Plus, about 98% percent of the staff in Dubai airport are filipinos so i felt right at home! XD if the shops and the sights tire me out, hey, i still have a multitude of gadgets to entertain me so i’m covered.
Then it was time to board my flight to Copenhagen. it was a 6-7hour flight to copenhagen and it was a relatively smooth flight, not to mention i was sitting beside this really cute danish guy so i was a happy camper during the 6 hours of flight. i might’ve been asleep for about 5 of the 6 hours, but hey, i was still asleep beside the cute danish guy. hehehe. i did not have any problems going through Copenhagen Immigration as my student’s resident permit answered all the questions the immigration officer might have had for me, so off i went to retrieve my giant pink luggage from the baggage claim, and i did not have a hard time spotting the monstrous pink thing through the carousel. i had a harder time hauling it off to my luggage cart tho.
after retrieving my bag and landing you’d think my harrowing journey and this blog post as well would be over but you’d be wrong. i learned that the hard way. with my luggage in tow, off i went to purchase my train ticket. yep, on top of all that, i had to take a 3.5-hour train ride to Karlskrona. luckily though, as i was purchasing my ticket, my train was approaching the platform so i had to run a good mile to catch my train or purchase another one. i was able to make it just in time though and my aunt, uncle and cousin was waiting for me in karlskrona. i arrived after about 37 hours of travel time and i had the best time of it. all things considered i had very little to complain about and i’m just as happy as can be all that’s over and i can finally lie down.
So alls well that ends well. at the end of that harrowing journey, i got myself a birkin bag, so all that was worth it! more worth it than the time i had to take 400plus stair steps in Poland, but hey, that’s another story.
and this ends my long journey to Sweden, and this long blogpost as well. i hope you didn’t fall asleep through all that, and i’ll try to update you with my life as a foreign student, if only i can find the time with all the schoolwork and travelingi do these days… XD