Greetings from a small Swedish village called Eriskberg, located on a fiord on the coast of the North Sea! Here, in the middle of the forest, you can find Hästekasen farm – the place where I'm going to spend the next six months of my EVS. But let's start this story from the very beginning...
I’ll never forget the view that Scandinavia welcomed me with on Saturday a week ago. When my plane started to descend for the airport in Göteborg and went below the level of the clouds, endless green forests, interspersed with silvery lakes, appeared in front of my eyes. Here and there you could see typical Scandinavian wooden houses, which from that height looked like colorful match boxes.
It's raining. I'm on the local blue bus. The window glass is covered by a web made of rain drops. The same soft web covers the surfaces of the countless surrounding lakes. The landscape gives the impression that it’s overwhelmed by the omnipresent rain. The plants and trees bend under the weight of drops. The wet wind tears lush grasses down under the grey, swollen clouds. In their shadows, the surrounding woods and fields seem to be all colored deep green. This endless green spaces are interspersed by grey groups of rocks. Real raw beauty.
After two hours I get to Hästekasen. There’s a lot of rush on the farm, mainly due to the participants of the free diving course that takes place in a nearby bay. I meet other volunteers who’ll participate in the EVS program: Rhiannon from the United Kingdom, Julia from Catalonia and Simon from France. I spend my first days getting to know nooks of the farm and exploring the surrounding forests, hills and Borgilefjorden fiord. I also help with building a large greenhouse. I like working at heights so I climb up on the metal frame and sit on the metal plank that serves as scaffolding. Then I attach myself to the frame using a lanyard and carabiner. My job is to screw in the screws so that they can bond horizontal and vertical structural elements. This task also allows me to admire my new place from a different, interesting perspective.
The biggest surprise of the first days of this adventure is that the sun never sets and there are no stars. Every day I'm confused when I look at my watch. The clock hands show almost midnight but outside there is astounding pale blue twilight.
And the most important event of the last days – I moved to a place on the edge of the forest, a place known as 'Hobbit's House'. You go inside through the tiny wooden door, exactly like you would in the Shire. Inside, on a small circular surface, there is a suspended bed, a wood-burning stove for the cooler days, and wooden shelves on which I put my books and notebooks. Most of the floor is occupied by wooden logs and a small blue wool rug. It smells like earth, forest and moss inside. The walls were molded from compounds of clay and other natural building materials. There’s also a tiny window and it's said that mice, who seek refuge from the Scandinavian cold, jump through it to get inside during autumn and winter. The wooden roof is overgrown with grass and moss. In this way, the forest has adapted and absorbed this little Hobbit’s House. Check it out for yourself =).