My trip to Stockholm was quite the unexpected journey. I took the night train the day before my meeting and spent 8h half sleeping and half awake until I arrived at the station 4h before I was to have my meeting at the embassy. Even though I come from the third largest city in Sweden I still felt out of place in the morning pulse of Stockholm central station, but I took my time, had breakfast at Starbucks and figured everything out. The embassy advise you to only bring the important papers and documents for the meeting and that was why I decided to lock everything else in a locker at the station and only bring the absolute necessary like bus tickets and documents to the meeting. I took the bus so that I would be there 40 minutes before my meeting and I’m glad for it. The embassy was fenced in so me and the rest of the visitors waited in a line 10m away from the guard building by the fence for about 30 minutes while we one by one was allowed to go through the security check. It contains showing them your passport, belongings and the soles of your shoes. Then you remove your jacket and are allowed inside to go through the airport-like checkpoint. Guess if I was pleased when the guard, very pleased, said: “Well, that’s perfect.” when I showed him my nearly empty bag through the window…
When inside of the main building I waited for my turn to give them my papers and just 5min later I had my interview through a glass window with a woman that asked me about five questions about my year to come. An example is: What are the names of your host children? They also took my fingerprints, signed my DS-2019 and took my passport for the visa.
The whole spectacle took about 75min and was a very simple process when I was prepared and I got my passport back only 5 days later! Unfortunately the weather in Stockholm was horrible with a lot of rain so I spent most of my time in a few shops and at the station meeting quite a few of interesting people. My travel companion, that’s what I call him at least, I met at the station before my departure in Malmö and his Swedish was unfortunately really bad. I helped the man to find his place on the train and later, after my meeting I ran into him again in Stockholm and helped him again. Those of you who are Swedish know my problem when I say: personal space disturbance. He did not get the message when I had my headphones in and read my Game of Thrones-book. For the others out there, us Swedes are quite cut off from each other and rarely speak to strangers. We like our own space to be stranger free. Sad but true.
I had one favourite individual though. I sat, reading the information about my job I was supposed to start the next week, when a guy not much older than me asked in English if the other seat was free. For a few minutes we were quiet and he played some game on his phone, until he suddenly started talking to me. He had been in Lithuania for two years and was now on a journey with his family through Europe. He said he was on his way to Copenhagen and later I learnt that the guy speaking perfect English was in fact from the USA. From Ohio to be exact, the state next to Colorado. Me, the girl who is so curious about anything American, was so stunned and unfortunately our encounter ended just a few moments later and we said goodbye without introducing each other. But that little meeting made the rest of my 8h on the station sweep by, because i had just experienced my first taste on the American friendliness!
If you have any questions about my embassy visit or about the visa application, just leave a comment!