A lot has happened since my last post, as is often the case with life. I mean, it has been more than a month. A few days after my last entry, Helena and I made a short trip to Norrtälje to see her grandmother. We had a nice visit and the town was very quaint and charming. Unfortunately, that night Mazzy had to be taken to the vet in Uppsala where it was determined that she had a serious kidney problem that was not treatable and she had to be put to sleep. So, yeah… that sucked.
My SFI classes weren’t to start for about two weeks, so I mostly spent my days working on my CV and applying for jobs. However, I wasn’t really expecting much response since most employers want you to be fluent in Swedish. I did eventually make my way over to the Arbetsförmedlingen (Swedish unemployment agency) office to register and see how much they could help me. From what I’ve heard from other people, they don’t really do much… but I guess we’ll see. I have another meeting with them next week.
I went to my first SFI class on the 14th of April. When you’re new to the course, you go through this little processing step on your first day. Basically they’re just confirming you’re supposed to be there and what level you’re to be placed in. The whole thing should have taken 30 minutes, tops. It took over 2 hours. I was in this small room with maybe 8 other people, and almost all of them were at the beginner level, meaning that they understood little-to-no Swedish. But the woman processing us spoke to us in normal, everyday Swedish. I was only a little confused… I can’t imagine how the other people felt. Most of them were just sitting there with blank faces like, “I have no idea what you’re saying right now.” Eventually, I was escorted to my new class room.
It was there that I learned that I have four different teachers. A woman who comes in on Mondays and Tuesdays, a guy who comes in on Wednesdays, a second woman who comes in on Thursdays, and then a third woman on Fridays. Yeah, that’s not confusing. My first week also started at an odd time as school was closed that Friday as well as the following Monday (for the Easter weekend), so, what with vacations and such, I literally had a different teacher every day during my first two weeks.
Despite the chaos, it hasn’t been that bad actually. It only took me a day or two to feel fairly comfortable and I really do try to take advantage of the chance to practice my Swedish with other people. It’s also a quite humbling experience to be in an environment where you speak, and are spoken to, at the level of a child. Yesterday we had to sit and listen as our teacher read us a short story and it just made me chuckle inside. Luckily for me it hasn’t been a difficult thing to get past, but I can imagine that it could be very frustrating for others. All in all, it’s good practice, I’m learning things, meeting new people, and it gives me something to do during the day other than stressing about finding a job.
During the long Easter weekend, Helena and I went to Bergen, Norway. I had wanted to visit ever since I saw it in a movie and it was awsesome. The geography in Norway is fantastic. Lots of green trees, mountains, and water… Here’s a link to some pics I posted on Flickr. Norway is also crazy expensive… more so than Sweden, so be prepared if you are thinking about taking a trip there. I was paying $15-17 for 0.4 liter beer. Made me want to cry.
I think that’s it for now. I will post more when I have more.