Archive for March, 2012

I’ve been in Göteborg all of 6 hours when Engin takes me to the Skatteverket to register. This is the central tax office that will issue my personummer (like an SSN). This is also the single office that will track my addresses and pretty much anything else except finding work, during my stay here in Sweden. So much more simple than having to go to different offices at home. All regions are connected to this one office, so unlike in the USA, you don’t have to start all over when you move to a new state. Or even a new county within your own state for that matter.

Finally, I get to use the resident card I received last July. I will receive the number in about two weeks, as well as information for attending free language courses. I will need this number to do pretty much anything, so I have to wait to open my bank account. I really want to do that ASAP so I can stop paying exchange rate fees to convert my US dollars.

Keying Up
Not quite like getting the keys to a new car, but I feel a sense of awesome as Engin bestows upon me my own set of keys. An interesting mix of modern technology and retro design. The building entry uses a microchipped tag that looks like a guitar pick. You hold it up the panel to unlock it. The apartment door uses a skeleton key for the top lock, and a regular key for the bottom lock. No explanation for this; it’s just the way it is. Then there’s the key for the laundry.

Laundry is free to do, but you have to sign up for a day/time. It’s an interesting system of lock & key that fit into a slotted board installed on the wall. This is definitely an improvement over the his old place where you had to go to an outbuilding to do laundry. This one at least is in the basement. And you have to use the laundry key in the elevator to get to this floor. They also provide a small storage space here for each tenant. Nice touch.

Advertisements

Through Expat Eyes

Posted: 2012/03/30 in Uncategorized

The plane touches down in Göteborg. I gather my luggage and head out of the terminal. I see Engin waiting to greet me. My feet touch the soil of the outer edges of the city. I am now living life through expat eyes.  The bus has only a few people on it. It takes about 30 minutes to reach Centralstationen, where we transfer to the local tram that takes us directly our new home. I say “our” new home because Engin has just moved in the previous week himself.

My first spring arrival, I am surprised how sunny and warm it is. Mind you, warm in this case is about 7-degrees Celsius. Considering the last time I was here it was about minus 17, this is a heatwave!

I know from prior experience and watching House Hunters International that European accommodations are quite a bit smaller than what Americans are used to, so I plan on not complaining and instead on figuring out how to adapt. Toss in an extra roommate and two dogs, less than 800 sq ft of space, and I see I will be doing lots of adapting.

Not the ideal arrangement but right now, I am too tired from the trip to think about any of it. I immediately introduce myself to the sofa and we spend a couple hours getting to know each other.