You have probably attended an event of some sort and experienced someone starting a speech with the regrettable opening phrase: “I am not a speaker”. Even if it is true, it still displays a lack of security and confidence as well as a bad display of humility. However, how much I try I currently seem to be unable to not start in a similar fashion: I am not a writer. Especially not a blogger.
I do usually write for the business student magazine back in the city where I study; Umeå, Sweden. This however, feels totally different and foreign. Again, I am not a writer.
Nice to meet you by the way, my name is Lukas. I am that swedish exchange student you have never heard of so you probably have no other way of relating to me except that I study here at Mannheim for a semester through Erasmus. So this 24 year old swede has got some awkward explaining to do.
Well, first of all. Obviously I have now started a blog, directed towards all of you readers (especially fellow exchange students) who happen to either be somewhat interested in what an exchange student observes while abroad, how cultures clash and about life in the interesting city of Mannheim.
“Interesting” being the key word. Note that I did not write “Beautiful” or “Wonderful”, for if I did you would probably perceive me as dishonest and not serious. Although, it is my opinion that Mannheim gets a lot of undeserved negative attention. In my experience the city much more charming than anticipated. It reminds me somewhat of my own city in that I am able to bicycle through it in 30 minutes, however compared to Umeå, Mannheim is much more densely packed. While Umeå gives more of a feeling of a village mixed with a city, Mannheim has that more murky and mystic city feel when you go walk the long streets of quadrate.
Sure, some of the streets in Mannheim there are streets that are….”not so nice”? But Mannheim has the interesting characteristic of being wonderful in one spot and unappealing in another. I find that very interesting, it says something about the city, its self-proclaimed diversity which is displayed in the varied types of buildings you can find on one street as well as the people in it. The one thing Mannheim lacks diversity in is the street food though, but I am just happy to be in a place where you can actually find a decent kebab around the corner. An impossibility in Umeå, I love the city, but you can not get a good pizza, kebab or falafel for a decent prize to safe your poor student life! I suppose everything has a trade off.
The biggest and most obvious trade off is the difference in weather. For while now is quite the charming colorful autumn here in Mannheim, in Umeå it has already started snowing a substantive amount. Already in September the degrees started to fall below zero. For me who loves the autumn I am very pleased to be here in Mannheim, but my nordic heart is somewhat missing the snow. At least my hardened skin seldom freezes while my friends and fellow students are already shaking when getting out at night.
So November seems to be a fantastic month here in Mannheim from my perspective. And I now in November, after a long start up phase of trying to figure out where to start and how to structure it up, I am starting this blog. I am quite happy and impressed by the fact that the people at Uni(Ma)Gazin were willing to take me in and let me be a part of their weekly meetings and launch this side-project. Hopefully I will do them justice, I guess that will be for you to decide…
Before I finish this up I would like to share one of my greatest interests: Music. These past months I have been listening to a wonderful piece of HipHop music from a Chicago rapper named: Noname. She creates very soft, soulful and blissful music with a genuine deep message. I highly recommend it for anyone interested.
Until next time. Yours truly
Lukas Norlund Sivermark
Text und Bilder: Lukas Norlund Sivermark