Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Be Back Soon

Posted: 2012/07/12 in Uncategorized

Hey fans, friends & family!

The blog went dark for the last several months while I set up shop in the Czech Republic. I’ll be posting again soon. Thanks for inquiries.

See you soon!

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I suppose if I were working, my first holiday in Sweden would have more impact as I would get to enjoy a luxuriously long weekend away from the office. It is Easter weekend and that means most offices and businesses are closed from Friday through Monday.

I find it funny that America, which likes to think of itself as this big Christian nation with Christian values barely even gives Easter a nod beyond chocolate bunnies and marshmallow peeps. Yet here, and throughout most of Europe, they quietly observe the occasion with a number of days off. I will venture out later to see if this affects my ability to buy groceries, and more importantly, wine!

Today the weather is more typical of what I’m used to experiencing; gray, cold and blustery. I was thrilled to get the several days of sunshine when I arrived, and was surprised when it happened day after day. It became increasingly windy with each day though, so by now it seems appropriate that it should revert back to its norm. I am a resident now and the city no longer needs to impress me.

Today, I rode the tram by myself from The Centrum to home and back! Simple but fulfilling accomplishment. I’d ridden down with Engin but while he was in class I rode back with Helmutt to get some things I’d forgotten. All of 12 minutes each way. No driving. No parking. No problem. Love it!

Somewhere in the middle of my day I heard the bee-boo, bee-boo sound of that distinctly European emergency siren. It touched a nerve, as if playing my favorite old song. I had the feeling that I was home… finally.

Dem Bones

Posted: 2012/04/02 in Uncategorized

Day four in Göteborg and I’m embarrassed to admit, my body is already feeling the effects of all that walking. Just a bit of stiffness here, a disjointed knee there. Of course this will be a good thing in the long term, but right now it’s just a crude reminder of exactly how lazy I’ve been this past year.

I also find that trying to be cute or fashionable is not necessarily recommended. Aside from all of the walking, many of the streets are cobblestone-ish, making high heels a treacherous proposition. It’s nice to be in a city where not having a car is common and no one looks at you like you have violated some rule of society for not having one.

I’m sure on colder days I won’t find this so wonderful but I appreciate the free workout.

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.

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.