Wednesday, January 12, 2011

To the land of swedish berries!!

So I just decided to rekindle my old blog rather than create a new here goes my 5 month adventure in Sweden/Svergie. This may be a long one.

I arrived two days ago and really meant to start blogging in Iceland, on a layover, but the layover was much shorter than expected as I had to go through passport control. I had enough time to snag a blow dryer with the right voltage and plug but not much more. My flights weren't bad as I manged to sleep for a lot of both of my long ones (Seattle to Iceland - 7 hours and Iceland to Copenhagen - 2.5 hours).

Once in Copenhagen, after collecting my bags and mistakenly telling a man I spoke Danish, I was off on the train to Malmo. This may seem like a simple task, but unfortunately, everything in Denmark is in Danish. Luckily, I found another Canadian girl and her mom that were heading to Lund, which is past Malmo. I rode the train with them (while they fed me delicious snacks) for about 20 minutes.

I arrived in Malmo Central Station weighed down with a large suitcase, a hiking backpack, a carry-on and was met by students called 'fadders'. These students are part of a club called Interact that help with exchange students. They brought me up from the train for my first glimpse of Malmo - very much at sea level with a mix of old building and industrial. Also very windy!

I then arrived at a building at the university that houses the library. It all looks verrryyy much like Ikea. Suspicious, I know. I signed my rental agreement, got heaps of information, my Swedish course book (scary), and a duvet and pillow. We then were driven to our accomodation...a cute little brick building that has been renovated. Pictures to come soon.

I started to upack, but decided to take a trip with Katreace (a girl from Aus) to the grocery store and to look for a pay phone. We went to a shop called Willy's which is quite big and apparently cheap which is good in Scandanavia. It was also probably the most overwhelming shopping experience ever. Not only was this store huge is also had about 400 types of milk a self-weigh and label produce system and a set-up like no other shop I've seen. Barring those factors, we got some essentials for breakfast and snacking and moved along. After our trip (where we discovered that half of the side walk is for cycling and half for walking) I unpacked my room and got settled. Katharina lent me some sheets kindly and I had my first sleep in Sweden.

My jet lag hasn't been terrible but I have woken up a few times a night. The next day a group of us walked to school in stead of paying 18 kr which is about 3 dollars. We got to explore the city and experience a bit of cold. We arrived a few moments late (which the Swedes don't generally appreciate) but got an introduction to the school. The rest of the day consisted of our first Swedish class (Jag heter Emily. Jag talar bara engelska och lite svenska), a dairy tasting (Sweden has a lot of types of cheese, milk and even yogurt milk - think YOP but common and without weird commercials) and a trip to IKEA! I had never been so excited. It also seemed to be cheaper and hotdogs were 5 kr which is less than a dollars Canadian. Yum.

Today we had our second Swedish lesson as well as an introduction to the computer systems at Malmo University (or Hogskola, in Swedish). There systems (computers, library cards, etc.) are similar to that at SFU except you also get a card to access all the buildings 24 hours a day. It's called a multi-card, but I like to call it a magic-card.

Our day ended with a trip to the mall, Entre, to buy a cell phone, which thankfully, I just figured out how to swtich to English and some more groceries, which was much easier this time. We then had a huge group meal with 12 people consisting of those from Australia, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, and me, the lone Canadian. It was delicious and quite precious as how often is it that you eat with 12 people?! Very cute.

So far it's been great. I am buying a bike soon to fit in with the crowd and hopefully will not die as I'm not used to road bikes.

To sum up my first few days:

1. Swedish people are very stylish. Like I want to be them stylish. Hipster to the extreme-stylish.
2. Everyone stands in line-ups. They are better at queuing than we are. Most shops and even the school has a take-a-number system.
3. Cheese is way less expensive here. 1 kilo of swiss for 3 dollars? Yes please.
4. All swedes have a personal number which allows them to get gym memberships, wireless internet, etc. Us exchange students can't get them, sigh.
5. Aussie slang starts creeping into your vocabulary very easily. I now say heaps and shop (instead of store).

That is all for now.


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