A Few More Days in Jokkmokk

Posted on February 1st, 2015 by

Hello everybody I am excited to be updating you all on what is happening in the Arctic Circle.  My name is Patrick Day and I am from Branford, Connecticut.  I am a Sophomore, Environmental Studies Major.  I was really excited when I found out that there was a Semester trip to Sweden.  So the first thing I did was tell my friend Zach about it and we signed up.  One of the things that got me interested the most in the trip was that we are traveling around the whole time and that it was based mostly on Environmental Studies.  Well anyways that’s a little bit about me and now I will tell you about our wonderful adventure we have been having in Jokkmokk!

On Thursday morning we prepared ourselves to head over to the school where we met with a really great guy named Lars-Anders.  The day before he asked us what we would like to hear about the most, so we told him we wanted to hear more about environmental problems and the mining in Kiruna.  The mine in Kiruna is the oldest and the deepest in the world.  It has been operational for over 100 years.  So as they dig deeper and deeper in the mine, cracks start to form on the Earth’s surface.  The cracks are starting to grow more and more so they have started moving the City of Kiruna further and further back.  The government here is paying for the whole operation of moving the city because they own the mine as well.  It was a really interesting talk and we all learned so much from it.  After that we walked to Viddernas Hus which is a local cafe.  There we ate traditional reindeer soup and quiche.  The food was unbelievable and Greta the woman who runs the cafe spoke to us about traditional Sámi food and we really learned a lot.  The atmosphere of the place was very inviting and you really got the feel that everything there was locally home grown and a traditional place for Sámi to go and eat.  That was the last thing that we did on Thursday and we spent the rest of the day playing out in the snow, going for walks through the woods, and of course finishing the day off right with a game of King of the Hill on the snow mountain in front of our hostel.



When Friday came around we had to be at the local library at 9:00 am where we learned about the Sámi library and we got to spend time looking at all of the books in there and the different archives.  While we were looking through the archives we found one from 1957 about Bemidji, Minnesota.  That was really cool to see an article about Minnesota in a Sámi library in Jokkmokk.  We also found a few magazines that had two really great speakers that we have had the pleasure of talking with so far on the cover of each one.  One of the people was Anna-Lill Ledman who we spoke with while we were at the University in Umeå.  The other was Lars-Anders who is a very influential part of Sámi politics and who we got to spend a few days with traveling through Laponia and speaking with.  Later that day we heard from a wonderful speaker named Sandra Márjá West, who is a Sámi woman from Norway.  She is a 24 year old who goes to school at the Sámi school in Jokkmokk, where she is learning leather sewing handicrafts.  She has been part of the Sámi Parliament since 2013 and had one more year.  She was teaching us a lot about what it was like to grow up in Norway as a Sámi.  The assimilation there was really bad when she was growing up and no one there was identifying themselves as Sámi.  We learned a lot that day, which was really awesome.  Friday was also Paget Pengelly’s birthday so we made a wonderful dinner and also had a really great cake that came from Konditori, which is one of the local bakeries.  We got to spend the night also celebrating her birthday with some of the local Sámi students and that was really great.

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Saturday was not a very eventful day sadly.  We all just hung out at our hostel and some of us went out for walks for a couple of hours.  Sunday was a completely different story though.  Zach, Paget, Alexa, and I rented cross country skis from one of the hotels and we went out for a few hours exploring around the lake.  It was really great because it was my first time being out on cross country skis and we all really enjoyed it.  After we got back from skiing a few of us made it over to the sauna to warm up and we spent some time quietly reading in one of the rooms in the big house.  After that at 4:00 we went to a church service ata very small church and after that they led a procession to a historical sight where they had a yoiking concert.  Then while I was writing this blog Kjersten Moody arrived so we went to go spend some time with her.  We are all really glad that she is here for about a week.

One of the best things that I think we have done yet was going out to see the Northern Lights at one of the Northern Lakes where there were no lights to obstruct the view.  We spent a few hours out there looking at the lights dance through the sky and also taking pictures.  Some of our pictures turned out really well and we are all so excited that we got to go out and see them.  It was one of the greatest things that I have ever seen.


All of us students are getting ready for the Winter Market and the Climate Change Conference.  I hope all of you have enjoyed this post and having a wonderful winter!  Have a great day!




  1. Roland says:

    Thank you for sharing, Patrick I’m reliving my own winter days in Jokkmokk vicariously and wishing I were there. It would be so much more fun and real than watching the Patriots and the Seahawks running after a ball for three hours.

    It sounds like you are not refraining from doing things, trying new things out. Good! You’ve even tried cross-country skiing. Double-good!! In a few weeks you’ll be in Dalarna and skiing will be on everybody’s mind. “VM i Falun” and “Vasaloppet” will be four words that you’ll hear a lot.

    (incidentally, I traveled through Branford last summer when visiting my son and family in Stratford, 15 minutes south of New Haven) Hälsa Kjerstin!

  2. Carolyn O. says:

    I’m thrilled that you got to see northern lights! I remember some goals a few of you had for this trip — somebody wanted to see reindeer, somebody wanted to see northern lights. Hurray that these things are happening.