Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jag pratar inte Svenska. Fika, fika, fika!!

Part two of my Swedish adventures. Although I really haven’t picked up on any Swedish, ‘fika’ is all I really need. So I arrived chez Astrid on Tuesday night, over three years later and she is still my ray of sunshine! She lives in a nice student residence with an awesome view all the way Malmö and the bridge to Copenhagen. That night we just watched part of a movie and went to bed.
The next day she had to go register for classes so I got caught up with some e-mails. University was just starting for people so I got to experience a bit of the ‘orientation’. Swedes are absolutely crazy, in the best way possible of course. The first couple of weeks are fairly light so they have tons of activities and things going on, especially for the ‘nollning’ (the zeroes – the new students that haven’t yet written an exam). Often each program has a different colour of overalls that they wear and run around the city singing their section’s song or competing to paint the phone booth on a tiny island in the middle of a little lake their colour among other things. There are tons of oddly themed parties and dinners hosted by each ‘nation’ (student association groups, hard to explain), program mentor group, residence or just privately. It’s a very welcoming atmosphere and everyone is just so friendly. I meet so many people and I wasn’t even going to be studying there! Plus they all speak English and were so considerate to speak English around me so I wasn’t completely lost all the time.
Wednesday I went for sushi for lunch with Astrid then after she got back from class we got food for a BBQ : grilled veggies and haloumi cheese (delicious!!) with cheesecake for dessert, so an almost cheese party except the movies we watched after weren’t really cheesy…
Thursday I relaxed in the morning while Astrid had class again but then for lunch and all afternoon (except for a long walk downtown to get food) we laid around reading, chatting and eating in the botanical garden park. It was so lovely out, fabulous!! That evening we went out dancing for a bit but it was hard to get me in anyway since I don’t belong to a nation so we spent more time waiting in line and it was so hot.
Friday Astrid and I biked around the city, it is such a nice place. Basically built around the university which has buildings all over and the student life since about half the population are students. Bikes everywhere! We went to see the quiet neighbourhood where Astrid grew up: it was like walking into a children’s show. There was the school, the park and the corner store all connected by bike paths (almost no roads) and then different coloured ‘pods’ of houses facing onto an open space in the middle with benches, trees, a sandbox, forts and kid’s toys everywhere! So neat! Then back through the town stopping for ‘fika’ at a cute coffee shop. I really like how if you get tea, you choose from a variety of loose teas and make it yourself. That night her nation hosted a party so we went out dancing again. Another thing I like: In lots of restaurants and clubs they have pitchers of water and glasses on trays so you can serve yourself whenever.
Saturday everyone got up and made a huge, delicious brunch! I ate way too much. And in the middle I had to run down to the station to meet Sofia dos who came out for the weekend with us. We each grabbed an overnight bag and took the bus to Astrid’s parents place on the sea out in the countryside. Paradise! In the afternoon we went for a walk around the village (really just a tiny bakery and farmer that sells his extra veggies) and a long ways down the gorgeous fine white sand beach. Astrid and her mom made us amazing ‘moules-frites’ for dinner so I got what I missed out on while I was in France. That night we set up a sheet for a screen and watched a movie on the projector!
Sunday was possibly the best day of my trip so far: Her neighbour offered to let us borrow his nice convertible to cruise around so we took it up to an ancient fortress where we snuck in behind the Erasmus students we ran into. It was all original with arrow slits and holes for pouring burning oil on invaders! Muahaha… From there we continued to a quaint coffee shop in the middle of nowhere for another ‘fika’ on the veranda. Then off to wander a cute town with a nice shopping street but it was Sunday and everything was closed and quiet. Finally on to a seafood shop for the last of our sushi supplies and to hike up to a Swedish Stonehenge – the Sunship. Ancient stones arranged in the shape of an eye, or a ship, that accurately predicted where the sun would rise and set each day, very cool. Plus some really windy sea cliffs! That evening we made amazing sushi, I just keep getting better and now I have a secret sauce =). On our way back to catch the bus her dad let us up an old lighthouse with a stunning view of the sunset…. Ahhh…
Yesterday morning it was bright ‘n early to catch the train to Göteborg with Sofia. After dropping off my burden of stuff and grabbing a bite to eat we set out on foot to explore the city, the second biggest in Sweden. We did lan amazing race thing where you had to find certain buildings and get numbers, we’ll see if we win anything but I don’t think we got all the right answers… Good way to see a city though! It was so misty so we paused for another ‘fika’ before I got the real Göteborg experience walking back up in the rain and the crazy wind! Last night I organised everything for the trip back today and we watched another movie.
Today I am going for lunch with Sofia between her classes and then down to get the bus to the airport to fly to London to get and another bus to central London and yet another bus back Alicia’s. All in the day of a traveller’s life…
Tomorrow I am organising everything for Thursday’s big trip and meeting up with some friends and then it’s so long Europe!!

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