Friday, March 27, 2009

3 months in....

2 paychecks in to the new job here and they haven't let me go yet. It's a small victory each day. Things are a bit slow, so hopefully this pesky little financial crisis will get itself cleared up and we can all go back to being productive.

Won free tickets to a stand-up comedy show a while back from the English news website here in Sweden. What I didn't know when I got there was that the opener was in Swedish ("headliner" was a Brit). I settled in for what I thought was going to be a loooooong 45 min of staring blankly at a guy doing his damndest to make me laugh. Fortunately my comprehension has picked up a bit since moving here. I laughed at everything I understood, which was about 10%. Unfortunately for the guy, everyone else only laughed at about 20% of his jokes. That means, I'm 50% fluent right??

I've all but quit the free gov't sponsored SFI language program. It's just not structured enough for me. I had 1 good teacher for a while, but even she couldn't compete with the constant flow of new students with varying levels of comprehension. I'm studying at home for a while and I think I'm going to pay to go to a class at the "Peoples University", folkuniversitet. Classes are a modest 2.000 SEK (~USD250) per 10 session class. Hopefully the old economic principle of free ridership (WARNING: that is the first of many in what is likely to be the blog post for how not to use hyperlinks) holds true and classes will be better/more efficient if students are forced to pay.

The only other thing keeping me from attaining fluency are these damn Stieg Larsson books. I have never really been one for crime thrillers, but I'm certifiably addicted, about a year later than everyone else in Sweden. It's like reading the DaVinci code after Tom Hanks went off galavanting after the holy grail on the big screen and EVERYONE already knew the story. It's exactly like that actually. The cinematic interpretation of the first book is in theatres now, with the very talented Mikael Nyqvist playing the Tom Hanks role. In fact, if anyone is looking for good foreign movies, he's got a couple really good ones: As it is in Heaven and everyone's favorite pre-almost-too-disturbing-to-watch Moodysson film, Together about life in a 60's commune in Sweden.

Winter looks to be on the way out, but as I've been warned by many a Swede here, there is really no telling in April and May. We could be in for more snow, which seems pretty unlikely to me, but then again, I've spent the majority of my life in tropical hurts just writing that. I didn't know how good I had it.

Anyways, we had a great Easter break, and I use "break" to the fullest extent of its meaning, boardering on "hiatis". Somehow a Sunday holiday turned into a 5 day weekend. For being a pretty non-religious society, they like to celebrate the religious the most pagan nature worshiping ways of course. Apart from the symbolism of eating lamb, there is really nothing "churchy" about it. We went out to Cecilia's aunt and uncle's summer house about 2 hours outside Stockholm in the archipelago. The spot is amazing, and despite my aforementioned tropical upbringing and the fear of all water colder than body temperature, I managed to hop in the just above freezing (3degC/37degF) water after a litte bastu/sauna. Unfortunately, I wasn't intoxicated to the point of numbness.

Here's some picture of what is hopefully the end of winter and begining of spring, taken over the last month or so...

(Cecilia outside our apartment building here)

(Walking up some old streets on Södermalm, where we would like to live)

(Very suprised to see this since they are all but failing in the US. Maybe the only Tully's in the world serving Nacho's. Unfortunately they found it utterly incomprehensible that "dirty chai" could exist...."but a chai doesn't come with espresso!!" " No, @$%^, buddy, but amazingly enough, if you dump a shot of espresso in an ordinary Chai beverage, you can make a whole new and doubley wonderful beverage". I stomped out in disgust, which Cecilia quickly reprimanded me for. )

(Spring arrived bringing cucumber mint cocktails)

(Cecilia's uncle's house. We stayed in the little house in the foreground....

...with a sweet view of the water)

(Heading out for a run with the Lago's)

(Breakfast on the water)

(Sunset on the water)

(Despite the thin layer of blubber, I am not ready to traverse the arctic waters)

1 comment:

Schraepfer Harvey said...

Tully's, wow. Dirty chai, hilariously delicious. Great post. Beautiful out there, reckon winter's gone for now.