Last weekend


Last weekend I spent with my sister in Kristianstad. On Friday I left home and travelled for four hours by bus and trains to get there. Had a really nice time there. On the way back read about thirty pages of Albert Camus’ The Stranger. Got home on Sunday evening, exhausted but relaxed.

Have bought tickets to go visit Dave in Scotland. I hope they let me into the country after they see my fat stupid ugly face. We’ll see.

The green ona bila

In forest born the elochka
In forest she’s alive.
In winter, summer stroynaya
The green ona bila.
Metelj her tell the pesenka
Sleep elochka bai-bai.
Moroz to snow ukutival,
To look ne zamerzai.
Trusishka rabbit serenjkiy
Pod elochkoy the jump.
Sometimes the wolf, the angry wolf
Riscoyu probegal.

Chu, snow on forest chastomu
Pod polozom zip-zap.
Loshadka mohnonogaya
Too quickly, quickly run.
Vezet loshadka drovenki,
A v drovnyah angry man.
He killing our elochka
Pod samiy koreshok.
And now she is the beautiful
On party k nam to go.
And many many radosti
To children prinesla.

About getting attached

The study week is over. The second week in Sweden has almost passed. And the feeling still stays. The weird feeling of this willingness to stay here mixing with the longing for home. I guess I’m afraid of both – of staying here till the end, which could result in my alienation from home – and of longing for home, which would hinder me from experiencing everything I have before me here.

Image:AtriumThis is what I mean: I think that if I let myself get used to this place too much (I don’t know where the border lies), I might as well not want to come back home! But since I have to come back to Latvia, it would be all the more difficult when I’m actually back. If, on the other hand, I try to keep a distance in my relationship with this land – if I try to not get attached to it too much by remembering my homeland every moment and every day of my stay here in Sweden, I might as well not want to be here at all!, because I would miss out on things I would be enjoying here otherwise.Past week was regular. Except for several things. One was that a reminder on my telephone went off during the big morning meeting during our rector’s request to not use cell phones in the school premises (classrooms and canteen). Everyone laughed, I looked like a ripen tomato. Talk about coincidences!

Another thing was that on Thursday we had guest lecture type of thing, given by a former police lady who talked about alcohol and drugs – how to use the former and grow the latter 😉 (or was I too drunk or stoned to remember what she was talking about?) 😛

My sister who lives in Sweden has sent me the tickets so I’ll visit her next weekend. I’m excited to finally get to see her. But tonight (late on January 20) I read that because of the heavy snowfall many trains and planes in Sweden and Denmark were cancelled. So whether or not I will travel down to the south of Sweden at the end of the next week is kind of unclear.

Two things I’ve learned this week: I can cook and I need more sleep.

Feet on the radiator

So I’m sitting by the window at midnight, my bare feet touching the radiator under the window. Romantic? Yeah, whatever. The first study week has drawn to an end. It’s been both exciting and boring, fulfilling and draining, encouraging and discouraging all at the same time.

On Tuesday, after talking like the whole Monday and Tuesday mostly in Swedish, the last class i had was English. I just can’t reproduce the weirdness of a feeling i had. Serious. I’ve never experienced anything like that – after being able to think in English and then, boom! I can’t find any suitable words. By the end of the class everything was back to normal, but I will never forget that afternoon! Ever.

Image:My RoomOn Wednesday… umm… no, I will better write about what happened on Thursday and Friday. Thursday was a normal school day. I had the hardest class since I started studying here, called “samhälskunskap”, which I think is translated as sociology. Maybe not. Anyway, it’s about society and how things are working in there. At least that’s the impression that I got. It was a double class of that. During the first one I did not understand at least 40 per cent of what the teacher, or rather the students, were saying – because of the teacher’s dialect, the speed with which everyone was talking and the topic we’re going to be discussing the whole semester (I’m not just a non-expert in sociology, I’m not even a beginner!).

Then (on Thursday) I had a Bible class, led by the school priest. There were just several of us. We read a story of the first miracle performed by Jesus – when He turned water into wine. After we’d read the story and meditated on it we had to try to imagine ourselves as one of the characters in the story and share with each other what we’ve come to. It was interesting, since I’d never done anything like that before and there were several things I’d never thought about when reading that passage in John’s gospel.

Friday was a day of almost no lunch for me, ’cause “there wasn’t just enough rice”. Ah, whatever. I ate a little chicken and knäckebröd and was full of that jazz for the following couple of hours. You think not having a proper lunch is extreme? 😉 Listen to this. Sofia, Kristina and I decided that Friday night should be spent more interestingly than just sitting around at home and so we got a lift from our Swedish/English teacher to Skövde, where the girls would shop and I would just hang around the town with them (I needed a little break). Anyway, when we were only about 5 km close to Skövde, the steam started coming out from under the hood and the temperature of the thermometer on the front panel rose like hell. So we stopped. Outside was as cold as in a worst freezer you can imagine. Or at least so it seemed.

Omitting the details of the whole thing taking two guys stopping by our car (one of them stopping twice) to help us, a couple of stressed girls and even more stressed teacher and my frozen knees and toes, I must say everything went pretty good. Now, not even knowing much about stylistic devices, it’s possible to come up with an idea that it was all pretty ironic, isn’t it. And by the way, next time you want to save money, think how much time you can lose doing that. Oh, and one more thing I learned today – there’s more to cars than color. Maybe my knowledge of cars will start with this revelation? Who knows?

Saturday. Tomorrow.. Need… Sleep!.. Now!!!

English and Swedish

On Sunday I got up late. It was the first full day in Sweden. At about 1pm, after breakfast (what am I telling you – I got up late!), Kristina, Lisa (a girl studying in the TRAC, i.e. tourism program) and I went downtown to the lake and a supermarket to get some food. Then when we came back we had our lunch at 4pm together with Frederick, a guy I am going to be in one group studying English and Swedish together. By the time evening creeped in, there were more people that came to the school. In the evening several of us watched a movie.

Image:KapellMonday was very exciting. The first day I got to meet several teachers, vice-rector of the school, etc. I think I am getting used to the school. Now I can actually remember where things are situated and so on.

OK, so at 8.00 we had breakfast. After breakfast, together with several other new students I had a meeting with the vice-rector, when he explained stuff around the school and such things. Then we had a little break and then we came in for the test in Swedish and English so it’s easier for them people there to figure out which group to put us in. (Btw, tonight I found out that in English I’m in the highest fourth group and in Swedish I’m in the highest third group, how bad-a** is that?) then came the lunch. Yeah, baby, yeah! I was so hungry I could have eaten everyone around, well, maybe not everyone…

After lunch I went to a lecture called “bokcirkel” where we talked about books. Basically it’s for those who read things and then discuss them. Pretty neat: peeps there talk as fast as Michael Schumacher driving, but it’s a good practice for me. Then I decided that it was time to go to Andreas, a guy responsible for the computers at the school, and get the monitor he promised I would be able to borrow. It was a matter of 10 minutes and the monitor was standing in my room! Then I had a class of Swedish as a foreign language. There were only six of us – a guy from Afghanistan, a girl from Iraq, a girl from Tanzania – all three of them living in Sweden now, and me and Kristina. The teacher was really nice and I think I will enjoy the class.

Tuesday will be the first full day of school. I’m excited to go to a class of Swedish language, two classes on religion and a class of English.

What? Pictures? Oh yes! They are coming soon.

The third train

So I left my dear homeland yesterday and this was the first full day in Sweden. And since I went to bed late last night, I got up at 10am this morning. But I will start from the beginning.

Yesterday when I was leaving the airport I had a strange feeling. I knew that I had to be sad that I was leaving, but I wasn’t, which, I think, can be explained by the fact that I was just exhausted mostly mentally by the fact that I was to leave everything that I was used to behind for five months. But the very fact that I had several people come and see me off at the airport reminded me that it’s going to be five months… FIVE MONTHS… that I’m going to be away from home and family and friends…

Image:KatrupWhen I got over that I was already high in the sky, my knees firmly sticking into the seat right in front of me. Because I had pre-supposed that we would be in the air much longer, I thought the flight was short. According to the ticket information, I had about 3h in Copenhagen before my train to Malmö. So I put my luggage on this cart and just wandered around the airport for 2h. Then I decided to go ask for a map of Malmö railway station at the ticket office, so I know where to go, because I would only have 15min in Malmö to change trains. After reminding me not to turn my back on the luggage, the lady told me that I could actually take any train going from Copen to Malmö regardless of what my ticket says. Feeling glad after finding out such news I rushed towards the next train and got into Malmö, having at least 45min on me to figure out which track my next train would depart from. Ironically, the train was to leave from the same platform my Copen train arrived at.

I went to a store called Pressbyrån to get a telephone card. When I entered the store and saw that they also have food there, I forgot about the card and (since I was starving) got myself a plastic bowl of salad, a sandwich and a bottle of water for at least four or five times as much as I would pay in Riga. Consuming the contents of the bowl, I was standing by the counter, watching different people. What surprised me was that the station looked more like a little market place with people not selling and buying, but wandering aimlessly. Somehow I got little homesick already…

The second train I was on (from Malmö till Nässjö) was a speedy X-2000 making at least 200km/h. I got a seat at a table by the aisle. It was more than a 2h ride and by the end of it Ifelt dizzy, partly because of the speed, partly because I was getting ill, partly because I was stressed that we might not be on time, before my third train. See, the gap between my second train arriving and third train departing was just 12min. But again, it was the same platform the third train was leaving to go from Nässjö till Skövde. It was scheduled to leave at 19:18, but it left 15min later, because of another train failing to come on time. Needless to say the seats in the Swedish trains are very comfortable, but it was in the third train that i felt UNcomfortable. No, we were on time alright, but I felt I was getting sick, my headache present and homesickness creeping up. I just held on to a keychain from home and felt lost and alone.

When I got to Skövde it was already very dark. The bus which I already had a ticket for took me to Hjo, where at 10pm I was met by Christina (a very pleasant lady working at school) who took me to school to drop off my stuff. I got myself couple of hamburgers and a coke and got introduced to Kristina, a girl from Daugavpils, who stayed for the second semester at school. We talked about school, Swedes, Latvia and studies into the night in Latvian, Russian, English and Swedish. We decided that the first time we meet we could afford speaking all four languages. Kristina was not the only one I met that evening. I got introduced to several Swedes, as well, which I thought nice and friendly.

Anyway, it was pleasant to actually get into my bed in my room. I think I might even have gotten a little excited about what is going to be happening with me for the next five months…