Wow, I didn’t realise that my last post was a week and a half ago! Maybe I’m adapting into vacation mode around here too much… the office is so empty that sometimes you feel like you need to check that the people who are in the office are still breathing. And now I’m joining the vacation craze for real! My parents are arriving today, so I have the next week off work to spend in a stuga on the West Coast, relax, walk, drink coffee and do absolutely nothing work related whatsoever. Aaah…
The last week and a half has been great, successful in some aspects (bank account), not successful in others (place to live) but always interesting.
On the good things, I have a bank account now! For all newcomers to this country, don’t bother with Swedbank and go to SEB instead. After one more “you need a Swedish ID” instance when I tried to pick up my letter with the bank pin code from the post office, I walked into one of their branches close to despair and told the sympathetic bank clerk my sob story about IDs, post offices and passports. Answer: “No problem, we’ll set up your account here then!”… 5 minutes later I had a salary account, a savings account and a Visa card in the post. That bank clerk is officially my hero!
On the less good aspects, I have been trying to find a new apartment for weeks now and I have no idea how anyone actually ever finds one of these things. It’s probably the quiet summer period so less people put property online, but I have applied to about a million sublets and the number of replies I received is three. The first one was a tiny house in someone’s backyard in Lindome (the fact that it has an outside space was slightly marred by the fact that the outside space was behind a huge grey garage), the second one a ridiculously overpriced apartment, and the third one a flat in Kålltorp that I’m going to see today (fingers crossed – third time lucky?). The owner said that she received 200 responses to the ad. Unbelievable. I think the only long term option will be to buy, but in the meantime I need somewhere to live – under a bridge it might be getting a bit cold at night come end of August…
Other than the insane housing situation though and my pre-account banking frustrations I can’t describe how much I love it here. I guess I am still in the honeymoon period so I’m not exactly rational, but I find new things I love about the place every day. Last weekend I went to the botanical gardens and walked around there and the neighbouring forest for the whole afternoon. The nature was so intact, I couldn’t believe I was actually in the middle of a city.
I also went out for beers and billiards with my workmates for the first time last week, which ended up being a hilarious evening. My Swedish is coming along slowly. I can’t always say what I want (and by far not always correctly) and I can’t always understand everyone, but I’ve stopped being so uptight about it. If I stutter or have to switch to English for a few sentences (I try to avoid that though) then so be it… I’m still a fairly quiet person (because keeping up with banter and saying things quickly is still a bit of a challenge), but I’ve only been here for three weeks so it will pick up eventually. I’ve started to think in a weird mixture of Swedish, German and English now, which ultimately means that I keep looking for words in any of these languages!
Yesterday I did my first fredagsfika (Friday’s communal work break with coffee and cake). I volunteered to do it before realising that I did not actually have a clue how to organise it. Cue me standing in the kitchen stressed out and wondering if people would just show up or whether I would actually have to go round and drag everyone to eat my lovingly purchased wienerbröds! After I stopped stressing though, and after people mercifully showed up despite me not sending out an invitation, it all went smoothly. So, one more step completed in journey as a trainee Swede!