I've been working for four weeks since I came back to the home of IKEA. And my initial prediction was correct.
When I could choose to stay at Cornell as a transfer and pay the skyrocketing tuition fee (37 grand per year, USD), or going back to Sweden to finish my degree, I chose the latter. Staying meant responsibility. I couldn't go through with all the pressure of seeking financial support outside my family and standing totally on my own. One year stateside didn't give me that much confidence. Coming back to Sweden was more or less a compromise, a realistic decision. However, just like I was afraid of, so far, this country doesn't offer me as much as America.
I remember the first week I went to work. I knew some people there since 2008. Immediately I felt that talking to my colleagues wasn't that easy. When I started working for David B. Wilson, the first day I went to his lab I got to know everybody. People approached me to ask me what I was doing, where I came from, etc. This time, nobody did that. Whenever I tried to approach people, the responses I got weren't that positive either. I guess the reason I felt this way was because I just came back from the American culture. If I didn't leave Sweden on exchange, I'd consider their behavior perfectly normal. These days when most of my coworkers are on vacation, almost all the offices are empty. To be honest, some days I don't get a lot of chance to talk to people. Instead, I'm focusing on the little project I'm doing.
With this experience, I don't really picture myself being a corporate guy in Sweden. I'd rather spend my days in an American college. For the past weeks, I've worked til quite late. Since I get paid for every hour I stay in my office, I don't mind working some extra hours. After all, my mission here is to make as much money as I can, to offset the expenses I had from traveling. The cost is, sometimes the days get boring. I go out to work in the morning, I come back. In the evening there is not much time to do anything but eating, reading, chatting and sleeping. This means I only get to hang out with my friends on weekends. There are not many places to go to. Before leaving for Uppsala, I never went out in Linköping. If somebody asked me where to hang out then I can't answer. To cut it short, this month of my life has entered some kind of phase where "change" is a luxury.
Before I had a discussion with my Cornell friends on horoscope and personality. I turned out to be a typical Sagittarius. I set up numerous targets in my life, aiming at them one by one; I flow with or become the wind of change. What's happening to me right now, I can't stand it. There's gotta be a way out.
So today, after my work, I stopped by at Campushallen, or the university gym. I purchased an monthly membership that allowed me access to all venues. Tonight I'm pumping some iron! Suddenly, I recalled a quote I read in a book: "since you can't change everything around you, work within the circles of things you can change; with time, your circle will expand and cover the things you couldn't do anything about earlier". Next time you hear someone complaining there's nothing he can do about his life, call his bluff. You can always work out in the gym and stay fit, even if all else fails.