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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Lagom, and the way my Homestay taught me the worth of simply sufficient – DISCOVER STUDY ABROAD


For Gabby (she/her), Colby School, her time in Stockholm got here with cultural shifts and a brand new tempo of life. On this weblog, she displays on how her understanding of the Swedish idea of lagom and the way her Homestay hosts embodied the idea.

 “Lagom” is a Swedish phrase that carries deep cultural worth, there are traces of its influences woven all through Swedish life; and even a large number of books revealed that promise to elucidate it as the important thing to an ideal life. Regardless of its fairly grand affect, it (considerably sarcastically) interprets vaguely to “simply sufficient.” The time period can also be defined as “not an excessive amount of, not too little”, “simply the correct amount,” or “the Goldilocks quantity”.

When arriving in Sweden, this was a cultural distinction that I seen instantly — it’s a lifestyle that clearly permeates, however within the subtlest of how. Whereas I discovered myself reflecting on what this time period means all through the semester, one occasion stands out as being a very highly effective illustration — a morning run with my host mother once we took a weekend journey to the mountains up north. 

It was a gradual morning. We awakened simply because the gray sky started to glow — a picture I’ve grown accustomed to associating with, say, 5 within the morning. However, since we have been so late within the 12 months and thus far north, it was, in truth, nearer to eight:00 a.m. Waking up with the dawn may’ve appeared daunting, however the crisp fall morning air was refreshing and the timber appeared to welcome you outdoors to hitch them.

We had arrived the evening earlier than, the cloudy sky stopping the celebrities from illuminating the surroundings. Though I used to be hesitant to go for a run this morning, — the climate was somewhat bit on the chillier facet of being “simply the appropriate” temperature to go for a run — I used to be excited to hitch my host mother on an journey. We began the run by going up the hill a bit, getting probably the most difficult half achieved. The joys of seeing the village down under from the place we arrived was sufficient to push me to the highest of the primary hill, and the view from above was beautiful, value each step it took to get to the highest.

This primary a part of the run didn’t completely observe the thought of lagom. If it have been actually a lagom run, it’s attainable we might not have taken the hilly route and as an alternative might need gone for a flat path alongside a monitor. But, as my host mom has identified, it’s tough to do all the pieces completely lagom. As a result of, with out the peaks and lows of life, you gained’t expertise the wonders on the prime. I ruminated on the thought I had imagined — lagom is utilized in parallel with the Goldilocks. Simply the correct amount, which I all the time equated with describing the proper situation. However that’s possibly not the case in any respect.

As soon as we took a second to absorb the view, letting the delicate wind cool us down and catching our breath, we headed down towards the middle of the city. Passing completely different highlights and taking a second to study in regards to the completely different elements of the city. It was unbelievable to actually be within the second and spend time with my host mother. We noticed the river up shut, nestled into the valley we had descended upon. We took a minute to enter the native church. And eventually, obtained to see the completely different actions the city had sponsored and arrange for the children to play in throughout their fall break.

It was lagom the way it all match completely right into a lower than an hour run — a lot seamlessly included. Right here, I might describe the run size as lagom; we didn’t push ourselves to increase the run and get bread as my host mother typically does. What we did was simply sufficient. By this time, the solar had totally risen, and we now walked again up the hill house.

All through this seemingly easy morning, there’s a throughline that ties lagom to a different essential facet of Swedish life: sustainability. Beginning with the thought of when taking a tour of the city, we went on a run as an alternative of driving round — right here, we saved vitality whereas rejuvenating ourselves by taking the time to get outdoors and train. When my host mother usually runs to the bakery within the morning, this achieves the identical aim. It creates a mentality the place you are able to do two issues without delay, and by doing so, you enhance the standard of life by doing simply sufficient of each.

In comparison with being within the U.S., in Sweden, there’s a a lot higher deal with sustainability and taking good care of the setting so that individuals can proceed to take pleasure in being outdoors and nature’s magnificence. One other approach that I expertise this every day is thru types of transport and the setup of cities and cities. The general public transport system all through Sweden is extremely well-connected and spans throughout the nation. I used this to get again house from my weekend within the mountains; merely taking an in a single day practice. By way of the setup of cities, there was a motion within the ’60s and ’70s the place the nation believed that every one individuals ought to have the ability to entry what they wanted, so cities have been centralized — this restricted touring from place to position and the necessity to waste time and gasoline by driving all over the place. 

All of those easy but intentional adjustments make the nation extra sustainable as a complete and permit the individuals to haven’t too little, not an excessive amount of. The idea of connecting to nature on this approach could be very lagom, and I sit up for taking this concept again to the States. I’m now going to be much more aware about how I journey lengthy distances, in addition to how typically I drive to get locations the place a pleasant stroll or run may very well be a greater substitute as an alternative. I’m so grateful for sharing this expertise with my host mother and studying extra in regards to the idea of lagom and its significance. Whereas no life might be fully lagom, I discover myself incorporating the thought into my life — simply sufficient.

Learn extra about embracing Swedish ideas:
>> Learn how to Go Inexperienced in Stockholm
>> Scandinavian Ideas for Balanced Residing


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