Ok, yes, I know, it's been a while. A long while. Excuses: I've been studying, sleeping and pretending to have a life. You know that the sleeping part is the most true part. Anyway. What I've actually been doing these past "few" weeks is embracing my Swedishness, a lot! "Oh really?", you might be wondering (or not, I mean, I can't read your mind or anything), "How so?" Well, I'll tell ya! Starting with...the school trips!
#3 - Travelling "abroad"
So, apparently, embracing your Swedishness means you also have to embrace your Nordicness. Crazy, huh? (Not really, it's just how we do things up here) At least, if you are to become a Swedish teacher in Sweden, you have to embrace your Nordicness, or at least your Scandinavianness. (As an aside, let's once and for all clear up this whole "what's the difference between Scandinavia and the Nordic countries" thingy: Scandinavia is Sweden, Norway and Denmark, while the Nordic countries consist of Sweden, Norway, Finland (also Åland), Iceland and Denmark (with the Faroe Islands and Greenland). If interested, you can read more about it here. Got it? Ok good, moving on.)
Anyway, as I was saying, if you are to become a Swedish teacher, which I am to become, you need to study Norwegian and Danish too. It's because of this whole Scandinavian thing of being good neighbours and loving each other instead of all the hating that we normally wallow in. The basic idea behind it all is that we need to feel some sense of community up here in the cold, dark north, and to do that, we need to be able to understand each other. Fine idea, I guess, sounds good (except for the part about understanding Danish, that's fucking impossible).
So included in our Norwegian and Danish studies were two trips, one to Schæffergården north of Copenhagen, or København as the Danes say (pronounced Kööbenhaun), and one to Voksenåsen, just outside Oslo (in Norwegian it's pronounced Oschlo). I signed up for both trips, because hey, they were cheap and it's always fun to travel, even if we Swedes don't really consider Norway and Denmark "abroad" (hence, the title for this installment). Since most costs for the trips were paid by scholarships, we only had to pay 500 SEK per trip and student. That is what we like to call "najs prajs". Anyway, on with the show. (Next post will be about the trip to Denmark. Read it. Now.) (Or, previous post, whatever, this blog does not like me today.)
October 17 I woke up bluuuaaaaarrrgghhhh-early to go from Borås to my school in Gothenburg. The bus toward Denmark was supposed to leave at 7.30 am or some ungodly time like that. I don't think a single person on that bus was very cheerful that morning. I know I wasn't. But the fact that our bus looked like a space ship on the inside was a big plus. Anyway, I slept most of the busride. Until we came to Helsingborg to take the ferry over to Helsingør (that's in Denmark). The bus driver told us to get the fuck off his bus during the trip over Öresund.
Bye bye Sweden!
I still haven't eaten my chocolate lady bug, it's too cute!
The first lecture we had about Danish politics, in Danish...my head hurt a lot after this.
At least Adam and Anton look somewhat...fine...
Basically the only thing we could do for fun was to go for a walk. So we did.
This is the place where we stayed, Schæffergården.
Apparently Danes are all about the beech tree. Whatever.
I went for a walk by myself one day and stumbled across a park called Bernstorff Slotshave. There I found a small castle and a statue of some king or the other.
I also found an old regiment, complete with their own fairy tale tower!
And a nice parkway. I like trees. They're green and leafy and stuff. Nice.
And a pond in autumnal colours. Complete with ducks, woho!
This is a picture of our everyday lunchtime buffet. I kid you not. Every. Day. This. For lunch. And this was only the salad portion of the lunch. The warm food had its own table, as did the dessert.
Sara (one of the Finnish students who were there with us) enjoyed the shrimp. I actually never even bothered to eat any. Too much of a hassle, plus, I eat shrimp at home every now and then, so, you know, whatever. That's just how Swedes roll.
A big-ass oak i Dyrehave (animal garden in English), plus lots of students from various different countries. Sweden, Finland and Latvia, represent!
In Dyrehave deer just prance around wherever they feel like.
Apparently we thought that was both scary and amazing....
Like I said, apparently deer are amazing... Maybe they don't have a lot of deer in Latvia? I don't know... I wasn't impressed.
Me: Adam, give me sexy!
Adam: I can only do indifferent.
Our last day, we went to Copenhagen to do some sightseeing.
We took a boat ride. It was cold. And I'm Swedish. Screw you Denmark.
The opera house
Den lille havfrue - The little mermaid
Adam is extremely entertained.
Den sorte Diamant - The black Diamond, an extension of the Royal Danish Library.
The last fun thing I did in Copenhagen was to ride the underground. There are no drivers, so you can sit right at the front and watch as you speed through the tunnels. It was pretty awesome, kind of like riding a roller coaster.
Long story short, despite my preconceptions of Denmark and previous visits there, I really enjoyed the trip and I am definitely going back to Copenhagen. Especially since I am now fluent in Danish! Hrm...
Time for another installment of "How to embrace your Swedishness". This time we will embrace the horror, the fascination, the enjoyment, the nightmare that is a trip to Gekås, or more commonly known as Ullared. Because, truly, it is all of these things. Horrific. Fun. Interesting. But most of all, cheap. Yay for inexpensive shopping! All proper Swedes love this. Getting all the crap you need (and a lot of crap that you really don't need) for less money than in the average store. So how do you "do" a shopping trip to Ullared? Don't worry, I will tell you.
#2 - Ullared shopping
First of all, you never go alone. For various reasons. One being that it isn't really fun shopping alone. Bring a/several friend/s, your parent/s, your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/whatever. I promise, it will be more fun if you have someone with you that will listen to you complaining about all the idiots jostling around, getting in your way. Another reason is that it could be quite dangerous to go alone. Especially if you are not used to Ullared shopping. Beware. And don't go alone.
Secondly, go by car. There are a lot of bus travels going to Ullared for the sole mission of shopping, but blaaah, who wants that? You WILL buy more than you think. Therefore it is nice to have a car when it's time to go home.
Thirdly, wear comfortable shoes. The place is big and no matter how hard you try, you won't get out of there until at least a few hours have passed. Also, take off your coat and whatever outdoorsy clothing you have on. Because you will get warm, you will get frustrated and you will get sweaty. Just a heads-up.
Other things to think about:
Even though shopping lists are good, you won't really need one, because you will go through the entire store and look at almost EVERYTHING. And they sell almost EVERYTHING. And it costs almost NOTHING. So don't worry if you forget your list, you'll still come home with lots of crap.
Don't worry about food or toilets. They have toilets, cafés and a restaurant á la IKEA (for those of you that have ever eaten at IKEA, you know what I'm talking about), which basically means they have something for everyone, and it's reasonably priced. Plus, you get free fill-ups on your drink! ^^
Expect to be unexpectedly surprised about the amount of people, and the amount of frustration you will start feeling after a while. It's just the way it works. Happens to all of us.
If going with your friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife, be sure that your relationship is strong. Because it will be tested. Severely. Please remember that the situation isn't exactly your everyday situation, and keep in mind that the things you might say/hear aren't necessarily true, but stem from a deep-seated frustration with aforementioned idiots jostling around. Just keep that in mind, and don't let a bad temper ruin your experience (or relationship).
So, armed with this knowledge, I let you out into the forest (because yes, this is Sweden, and yes, Ullared is in the middle of the forest) and wish you happy, cheap shopping!
These are some of the things I bought yesterday. A neon yellow thermos (because who doesn't need that?!), True Blood season 2 (again, who doesn't need that?!), Young Victoria (because I enjoy movies, and even more so, I enjoy cheap movies), super glue (because my MacBook is stupid), pink glittery nail polish (again, who doesn't need that?!), Moomin plasters/band aids (again, etc.), glittery hair barrettes, a Nutrilett Hunger Control drink (I just have to try it), and, to counter the hunger control drink, some Swedish candy ^^
Apart from this I also bought shampoo, tooth paste, cotton pads, and other boring things, because that is what you do at Ullared. Buy cheap crap.