Kungsträdgården, the “King’s Garden.”
S:ta Clara kyrka (St. Clara’s church), in the middle of Stockholm.
A kardamummabulle, the cardamom-spiced version of Sweden’s famous cinnamon buns. 

Today, I found myself overwhelmed with gratitude as I left the second of the two project meetings I had today. I’m not sure what I’m so grateful for – the fact that both meetings went so well, or the kindness and openness of strangers, or the amazing opportunity of the Watson overall. Probably a healthy mix of everything.

S:t Jacobs kyrka at the end of the garden.
Across the water is the Riksdagshuset, or the Parliament House.
I’m pretty sure this is the back side of Riksdagshuset.

I forget how amazing this all is sometimes, like this morning as I struggled for a place on the elevator on my way out of the subway and into the pouring rain. But then I remember that I wasn’t going to work, but that I was going to a meeting I set up all by myself and that turned out to be super interesting, and also, I’m in Sweden!

A quiet street in Gamla Stan, the old town.
“St. George and the Dragon.”
My new friend in Gamla Stan.

Throughout the Watson application process, there were many times when I thought I wasn’t right for a Watson Fellow. I thought I’d be better suited to life at a tech company, or that I was too much of a homebody…but then I’d think of those high school days when I Googled flights to Perth because it was the furthest place away and I’d know it was right. And I don’t think, anymore, that we should always do what were “better suited” to do.

This is the Stockholms stadsbibliotek, the main library in the city.
This is inside the library’s rotunda. I wish I could show you all sides at once – it’s wonderful to be in there and spin around to look at all the books!
Walking through the large park on the island of Djurgården.

Last fall, I expressed my worries to one of the Swarthmore professors who interviewed me during the internal selection process. I didn’t think I had been doing well. He told me that it should be okay because the Watson Foundation looks for people that have the ability to grow. (In other words, “You’re right that you’re far from perfect. But that’s a good thing.”). So I suppose it’s important to question yourself a bit. There’s so much to learn and so many ways to grow. It’s certainly a humbling experience to work like crazy in the U.S. to get this fellowship and then realize that most of the world has never heard of it, as you try to explain what you’re doing to each new person that you meet.

Someone’s fancy summer home on Djurgården.
Leaving Djurgården.

Wanderlust level of the day: happily satisfied and still in wonder.


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