The House of Up

Trip Start Jan 07, 2010
Trip End Jul 19, 2010

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Flag of Sweden  , Skåne,
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Well, I think everything has fallen into a definite routine. There is both good and bad to this, but it is particularly bad for my blog because I have nothing hugely exciting to write about. It is definitely time to shake things up a bit. So this Sunday some friends and I finalized our plans to go to Kiruna, a tiny little town in the very North of Sweden, way up past the Arctic Circle!! We are now all booked and set to go. I'm really looking forward to our expedition, it is going to be so exciting, particular with all that we have planned!! And just to be mean, I'm not going to reveal any of the plan as that would spoil the surprise, so you are going to have to sit tight, hold on to your socks, and find out in a couple of weeks.

On Monday night, we had our weekly corridor dinner. Lots of people seem to be away this week, so it was a relatively small gathering, the Californian, the three Singaporeans and myself. The food was awesome though: laksa, soup and Shepard's pie, and the world's best chocolate cake for dessert. They thought that I made the cake (sarcasm always seems to get lost a lot around here).. I would've thought that the paper pan it was in gave it away.. but no. I found it in the freezer in the supermarket and the picture looked good, and since I'm a go-by-the-picture kind of girl these days, I bought it and stuck it in the oven for a while. Swedes make this cake called chokladkaka, and yes I know that means chocolate cake, but its different from other chocolate cake here. A chokladkaka is not just any cake.. it is flat and quite thick with an inside that is molten and all gooey and delicious. Especially when warm.

Tuesday and Thursday were like little replicas of each other, they could easily be interchanged for the other without me noticing. Déjà vu really. Class, class, class... moving on.

I went for a swim on Wednesday! Yes, I know that sounds crazy in a Swedish winter but I am feeling sluggish and sleepy without exercise. I walk everywhere here, which amounts to a fair amount each day, but it just isn't the same. So I joined the local indoor pool, which turns out to be within eye shot of my apartment. Walking home after my swim was absolutely freezing. Even though I dried my hair under the whiz-bang-hair-dyer-things, I was still cold. Lucky its not too far I guess. Maybe if I bike there it won't be so cold because I'll be outside for less time? But then perhaps I'll be more cold because I'll be moving faster in the wind. Oh well. It'll work out. This evening, I headed into town to meet some Amanda, Georgia Anna et al. for dinner at the crazy Thai fusion place Amanda and I went to last week. The food was entirely different the second time around but still really good.

I went for another swim on Friday. During the course of my swim, my suspicions were confirmed. Swedes just aren't great at swimming. They sort of paddle back and forth holding their heads above the water. I am by no means a great swimmer and yet was overtaking them all. Before long I had a lane to myself because I moved faster than the rest of them, and yet I move so slow!! Just before I finished my swim, what looked liked a swim team arrived. They jumped in for a couple of laps but were by no means strong swimmers, which is weird for a swim team, right? Turns out they are the diving team, which makes a lot more sense, considering the pool is mega deep with mega high diving boards. So Swedes dive but don't swim. After going home and warming up, I headed out with some of my corridor friends to VG's where another stand-up comedy night was happening. We met up with the French Canadians (Québécoise) at the club and had a fun night, mostly because the American (from last time) set his cheat sheet on fire and didn't notice for ages even though we were yelling it at him, and also because our favourite Canadian was back. This time he didn't have a PowerPoint presentation but still came out armed with bits and pieces for his set. He lined six twisties along the table and explained that he lost a "life" (aka twistie) for dud jokes. He was going really well until we picked up a yellow plastic bag and explained that this was a bag that hung in his apartment and into which he dropped funny things that he finds during his day. The first couple of thing he pulled out were entirely strange so he lost a couple of twisties lives for that. But after a clever joke at the expense of one of the Québécoise he earned a twistie back. After the comedy club finished, we headed back to the French Canadians' apartment where we played a heap of card games. Sometimes it was tricky to explain the rules of various games to each other across in another language.. I guess playing cards isn't something that you learn in French class!! I taught them Cheat (only because I am awesomely good at it.. hehe) and they taught me Neuf, which I think is the same as Hearts. Then when it was time for me to go home I realized that it would be difficult as I was at the furtherest point from my apartment that being in Lund allows. Actually, when we walked to the apartment we passed a sign that said "Welcome to Lund", so in fact the Frenchies live just outside Lund. Eventually, I managed to call a cab, but trying to explain where I wanted to be picked up from was especially hard, particularly when I couldn't pronounce the stupid street name, and couldn't spell it to them clearly (because the letters are pronounced so differently). At last my cab came and a lovely woman drove me home. She was very quiet until she asked me where I was from and upon my reply, she didn't stop talking or asking questions the whole way home! Her son had just gone to Australia and had called a couple of hours before to say that he had finally landed in Sydney. She wanted to know about everything from safety to sharks to jellyfish to things to do, and whether it was easy for backpackers to find work!! She was so lovely, and had she not been driving I think she would've been taking notes to pass onto her son.

After spending Monday morning working on more essay, I decided to spend the afternoon in Malmö. I had some shopping that I wanted to do and just needed a change of atmosphere. My friend was supposed to come but I think he didn't wake up in time!! When I got off the train, I took the wrong exit and came out on the wrong side of the station. Instead of turning around I decided to use my amazing sense of direction (ha!!) to find my way from there. I'm glad I did because I made a monumental discovery. I found the house from Up!! There, right in the middle of a busy construction site, was a perfectly cute little yellow house with a red roof. Ok, its not identical but the similarities are too precious to be picky. I had a good poke about Malmö, it was much more easy to navigate than last time. Perhaps its just a function of being accustomed to Sweden now. By the time I started to get weary from walking, the snow began to fall again so it seemed like a fine time to head home again. When I got home I discovered nothing exceedingly edible in my fridge so I ended up having pizza down at the local pizza/Thai/kebab fusion with a friend from my building. Upon returning to my apartment I found that Nick was finally back from Svalbard, where he had just upped and left for last week sometime. He seemed to have had a good time, but when I asked what he did his response was "well, since I didn't have a car license or a gun license.. not a lot". The town he went to wasn't exactly a tourist hot spot (well, where in Svalbard is?!) and you cannot leave the town without a rifle due to polar bears, which are apparently a genuine threat to personal safety. Nick ventured outside the town once, saw very large bear prints and returned to the safety of the town quick sticks! Heh heh... just imagine.

As usual, I had my normal Tuesday classes today - Medieval Life & Death followed by a break then Swedish. I have issues motivating myself to go to the medieval class, but its almost over in a couple of weeks so I think I can hang in there. But I make sure I take something else to do during the class should it become too much to bear. Today's distraction was a sudoku... it didn't last me long enough. I am still really enjoying my Swedish class though. I found out this week there is a possibility to continue on to the second level when this class finishes in March. I would really like to take it and learn some more. Today's Swedish class was in the computer lab, where we could use online programs to self-teach or revise particular aspects of the course. There were some really weird exercises, particularly the vocab exercises... everything from organs to tree types to hospital equipment (i.e. potties and sick pans)!! Quite bizarre.

This week our corridor dinner was set for Tuesday. Last night I went around with Nick and stuck post-its on the doors of people in our corridor that we haven't met yet, inviting them to come and bring food that starts with the letter 'c'. Our weekly dinners now have themes and today's was the letter 'c'. Haha that sounds like something off Sesame Street. Dinner went really well. It was super rowdy and there was tonnes of weird and wonderful foods starting with 'c', for example curry, chilli con carne and corn salsa, chicken (Malaysian lemongrass style, I think), carbonara, cucumber & yoghurt dip with pita bread, cidar, creamy peach pudding, and cookies and cream ice cream!! There was also an Iranian spinach dish that started with a 'c'... I think the best moment of the night was when Nick laughed (which is really loud and sounds like a big bird of some sort), and the Iranian girl (who was new to the party) looked at him in horror and said "so its you that I can hear laughing at 3 in the morning and I always wish that you would shut up!!". The horrifying bit is that she lives on the next level up from us and can still hear Nick despite our building's amazing soundproofing qualities. Everything about Nick is loud.. he can't help it but he was pretty embarrassed nonetheless.

Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday. How is it Wednesday already?! The days go so fast here, it is actually freaking me out!! Today I tried to get another of my paper's written for class. It wasn't that exciting but was one of those things that I just had to get done. But tonight I went down to the local arena to watch a handball match with whole bunch of friends. I'd never seen handball before and thought it was something along the lines of the game we played in junior school, bouncing a ball back and forth across a chalk line.. hand tennis I guess. I was seriously misinformed! Handball is a very fast and surprising rough game that could be described as a handball-soccer hybrid of sorts. It is played indoor (obviously, for a sport played in Sweden's winter) and the two teams have to pass a mini basketball back and forth, trying to get it into the opposition goal (like a small soccer goal). The players were super fast and jumped and spun to get the ball through the opposition and into the net. They also seemed to faceplant a lot when scoring. I don't know why, but whenever they leaped in the air to score they ended up face first on the floor. And the goalie would do little manic star jumps to cover the goal, then he would fall over a lot too before jumping up into his crazy star jumps again. I'll admit it was pretty entertaining to watch!! Although.. rough!! There were two moments in the game where I really didn't think that the felled player was going to get up again. The first guy went down really hard and was in such genuine distress. I thought he'd easily fractured his tailbone or worse, his pelvis. He had to be carried off. Then while the medic was trying to treat him, one of the goalies fell and whacked his head with a very resounding thud. I think it stunned him because he didn't get back up for a while. I think they need two medics at this thing, one is clearly not enough. He was ok though after a bit.

So, the match was between Lund (the local team) and Malmö, and since there is great competition
between these neighbouring towns it was a very energetic match. We were going for Lund, the underdogs. Unfortunately we seemed to be seated in the Malmö section. The "gentleman" (and I use this term with serious sarcasm) seated in front of us brought along a drum. Now when I say drum I don't mean some tiny little tin box. I mean a serious drum out of a drum kit. He was barracking for Malmö and everytime Lund had the ball he would whack it like there was no tomorrow in this annoying beat that increased in tempo the longer Lund had the ball or closer they were to the goal. The drumming was made worse by the fact that this man was a giant and thus hit the drum with alarming force and that the drumming reverberated and echoed around the gym, making it all the louder. It was supposed to psych Lund out but only succeeded in damaging my calm. It was so seriously annoying. I wasn't alone in feeling like snatching his stupid little drum sticks and beating him over the head and seeing how he liked it!! Somehow we refrained. Instead we took satisfaction from cheering all the louder when Lund scored (which was a lot). By half time the score was 18-9 with Lund in the lead. I hoped that this score would make the "gentleman" realise that his tactic was not working. Alas, this was not the case. Towards the end of the game, the score was very very close. In the last 5 minutes there were always just 1 or 2 points separating the two teams. The Swedes around us got angry and started jumping up and down and yelling angrily at Lund when they scored or when Malmö missed. I have never witnessed an angry Swede before and now know why the Vikings were so scary!! Eeek!! Anyhoot, Lund won, which made us all happy. The angry Swedes were calm the instant the game was over and packed up and went home. I think it wasn't the drumming itself that annoyed me but the bad attitude of trying to distract the opposing team. If the drumming had actually been successful and Malmö had won, would it be a true victory if the other team was disadvantaged so? I wouldn't think so. Its not so much winning as the other team losing. Overall, I had fun, it was a really good game and very fast paced. I am hoping to go to an ice hockey game next.. they sound fun too!!
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Aunty p on

Thanks heaps for so any brilliantly written bloggs Hannah. Sorry I haven't replied to many of them. Guess wot? Simon's gonna have a baby (heehee)
Anyhoot, the handball sounds like a good watch - ia lot of head thwacking - may go on u-tube and see if i can find any. I love that you wanted to grab that big man's little sticks and beat his head for taking up all the soundwave room.
Am looking forward to hearing about your Arctic circle exploits. Be careful not to fall into middle earth. Loving it! pxxx

adamsjacson on

This site is nice.thanks so much for all the information. This is a very informative post. I congratulate you for your honesty because it doesn't happen often. Its really interesting to see this site.


Street Fights

Olivia B. on

Thanx so much for this entertaining blog which has helped me get through work, its 10 am Saturday morning and i have been at work for nearly 2 and a half hours....hence why i need something to keep me awake! Good girl for going swimming, (even if it is to laugh at the hopeless swedes haha). You should have hit "the giant with the drum" in the head, that would have been hilarious. Im sooo glad Lund won, and im glad that shut him up in the end hahaha! The dinner starting with the letter "C" was a heaps cool idea, i didnt realise so many foods started with C, its pretty annoying now b/c everytime i hear about a food starting with "C" ile think, oh, yep and that starts with "C". Hahah! But good idea! What i laughed at the most was Nick going to that place Svelbad?? (close enough) and there u cant go anywhere if u dont hav a gun licence b/c of the polar bears...that is hilarious, polar bears are so cute but apparently they are quite vicious, and about 10 times bigger and 50 times heavier than us! I hope ur classes get more interesting, im looking forward to see more blogs, and hopefully hear about the Northen lights (or a funny story on why u missed them...but hopefuly u didnt)....Keep me posted and keep having an awesome time!! xx

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