Reunion of 2009

My second semester as a student in Göteborg I signed up to be a Student Buddy, which meant that I was involved in the welcoming of international students who did their semester abroad at Handels in Göteborg. In hindsight I can easily say that it was one of my best decisions so far!

During this first semester as a Student Buddy I became part of a tight group of seven people who hung out a lot from january until the end of the summer when the last person left Göteborg. This group was increased by some international students who had been on their exchange in Göteborg during the autumn semester in 2004, before I started my Student Buddy career, and who were friends with the people I had gotten to know. So, besides me the group consists of a girl from Canada, another from Italy, a third from Austria, a fourth from Germany and a fifth from Finland as well as three german and two potuguese men.

Ever since we met in 2005 we have made it a tradition to meet up somewhere in Europe for a week or a weekend to reminisce about old times and to make new memories. Despite the years passing we have always been at least 8 people making it to the reunions. The first year we met in Paris, the second year in Portugal, the third year in Athens and this fourth reunion took all of us but 2 to Freistadt, Austria where we got to witness the wedding of one of the members of our reunion group.

I arrived in Linz in the afternoon of midsummer’s eve, the 19th of june. Luckily one of the germans also flew to Linz so we met up for a coffee at the train station before continuing the journey to Freistadt together. Thanks to a very helpful nun we managed to get off at the right station despite the fact that the names of the stations were not called out, something I found utterly bizarre..

It was a rainy day in Freistadt but nevertheless the mood was great! On arrival at the inn I saw that the italian girl and her boyfriend had already arrived and I hadn’t seen her since the reunion in Portugal two years ago so after checking in we had a Freistadt beer with her and her boyfriend while awaiting the arrival of the others. Next to arrive was one of the portuguese and his girlfriend, whom I had never met before but heard a lot of good things about and was curious to get to know. They also joined us for beers and when hearing that the last bunch, who were arriving together, were delayed until eleven o’clock due to some train issues, the six of us decided to go out for dinner.

All but two of us ordered a schnitzel dish where we got to try three different types of the traditional schnitzel. It was really tasty! By the time the rest of the group arrived we had already managed to consume about 2 litres of beer per person and conversations ran very smoothly! We all stayed at the restaurant until just after midnight, being the birthday of one of the germans on the 20th we had to celebrate the beginning of his day with a schnaps before returning to the inn. The schnaps was really awful though and I would have happily returned to the inn and my awaiting bed without it!

At the day of the wedding most of the morning was spent preparing for the wedding ceremony. We all dressed up from head to toe, was so nice to see the guys looking all fancy. Even the cars were pimped with bow’s before we drove to the church which was located in a small village outside Freistadt. We took our positions in the procession, put on our little bunch of herb on our chests to signal whether or not we were married and then started the walk behind the bride and groom to the church where I spent 90 minutes watching a priest speaking a language of which I did not get much more than the word liebe. I think it was his most frequently used word though so I didn’t do too bad.

After the ceremony we were all handed a balloon and a note each on which we were to write down a wish for the wedding couple which was to be tied to the balloon and released into the sky. It was pretty impressive to see all those red heart shaped balloons fly off into the sky. Will be fun to see how many of these wishes that are actually returned to the bride and groom though, considering they got married in the middle of nowhere I can imagine that a big part of them will just end up in the forest where no man will ever find them.

After the release of the balloons we got to congratulate the newly weds before returning to Freistadt where we had a guided tour around the old parts of the city to attend. This tour would probably have been very interesting, had I understood german. As the guide didn’t speak english I had to rely on a friend to translate for me which caused a lot of the information to be lost along the way. It was a nice walk though!

Once done with the tour we rushed back to the inn and finished pimping our wedding gift before rushing on to the location at which the dinner and party was to be held. It was a beautiful setting with white lillies and chandeliers. Dinner tasted great and so did the cake. Personally I preferred the cake’s coating of white chocolate! Yummie!

A lot of wine was consumed during the hours spent at the wedding party and the dance floor got its fair share of dancers during the course of the evening. I sure did my part and I had such a great time in the process! At about one o’clock us youngsters moved on to Freistadts biggest club (I would call it a bar) where the party was continued until the early morning. Quite a memorable evening I must say!

Sunday morning I was so close to missing out on breakfast due to waking up a bit late. I rushed in just minutes before ten though. Luckily I wasn’t the last one to arrive and we all got our breakfasts without any comments about the time.. After breakfast we packed up, got divided into cars, said our goodbyes and left in different directions. 7 of us spent a day in Linz before flying back to our different destinations, completely exhausted after yet another action packed reunion.

I was happy to be back in my own bed late sunday night, but I am already looking forward to the next reunion, be it in Finland, Sweden or Ireland. And this time I hope that the two missing people of the group will be able to join us for the fifth reunion of “One Two Sheep”.

The swedish medical system at its best…

Before my move to Stockholm earlier this year I went to get a prescription renewed at the doctor. Once there I decided to ask him for an allergy test as well as I have been planning to have one done for some years now without managing to actually get my ass over to the hospital. I have experienced allergic reactions since I was thirteen and it has always been during a specific period of time each summer, however, I have never gotten it black on white exactly what causes these allergic reactions, something I figured it was time to find out.

To my utmost surprise I got to go to the lab right away and have the test carried out and I left just minutes after with the information that my results would be in within a week or two. I was surprised at how smooth it had all gone! However, weeks became months and the doctor was never heard from again. In May I started a new job as a controller at a healthcare company in Stockholm that, amongst other things, test for allergies and so it happened that I was offered to have one done during a visit to one of our labs. I got my result just hours after handing over my blood test and it showed an allergy to grass.

After this day I decided to make a new attempt of getting in touch with my doctor back home in order to find out whether or not the test that I took in january showed the same result as the one taken in May. After some calls I finally got to speak to a human being, a nurse at the local health care centre. She sounded very surprised when I told her about not having heard back about my test taken in January and so she promised to inform the doctor in charge. Just days later the letter arrived at my door.

When reading the paper sent to me by the doctor I was stunned! Had it not been for the fact that I have spent the passed few weeks going through the different analysis carried out by our lab instruments the information on the piece of paper that reached me today might as well have been written in greek! And I must say that the hand written comment left by the doctor did not make it any better. Jotted down in barely readable text stood the words “The tests show an oversensitivity, in other words: you are allergic! Regards, XX”. I mean, come on, THAT is no news! I already knew I was allergic, I didn’t need a blood test to figure that out. The question was WHAT I was allergic to, and that was not something this doctor pointed out, or even attempted to find out with his test. What a joke!

So, first thing tomorrow: calling up the doctor asking him what the h**l his letter was all about!

Ny vadslagning.

Igår var jag på en fest hos en vän. Det plockades fram en chokladkaka och när den första biten väl passerat munnen ner i magen så var jag såld. Fler bitar gjorde den första följe inom kort. Till följd av detta fällde jag kommentaren “Jag är ändå betydligt bättre på att kontrollera godisätandet nu när vadslagningen med Sandra är över, nu äter jag liksom mer kontrollerat”. Detta fick Alex att tänka till: “Men Marica, om du nu är så mycket mer disciplinerad när det är tävling så har jag ett nytt vad för dig”. När han berättade vad vadet gick ut på blev jag tveksam, men efter noga överläggande med mig själv kom jag fram till att det hela skulle vara en win win situation för mig själv. Om jag höll vadet skulle jag dels återfå en del av min stolthet, gå vidare OCH få en middag på valfri restaurang MED tillhörande efterrätt! Så, jag accepterade Alex vad och i fyra veckor framåt har jag viss begränsning inom vissa områden, vilka inte kommer att avslöjas förrän dess att vadet är i hamn. Ser fram emot resultatet måste jag säga! Jag har varit väldigt rastlös senaste veckorna men nu när vadet är igång så känns det som att jag har blivit så mycket lugnare.

Det förra vadet med Sandra handlade ju om godisätning och det gick ju bra. Jag cashade in en och annan trisslott samtidigt som jag begränsade mitt egna godisätande vilket i sin tur var positivt för Göteborgsvarvsuppladdningen och sommarens bröllopsdeltagande. Så, nu är vi på banan igen.

Kram o hej

October in June

Looking out my window it is hard to imagine it being the middle of june. It’s gray, windy and rainy which makes it more natural to think that it’s in the middle of october rather than the weekend before midsummer. The only good thing about the weather is that my allergy is kept at a distance.

I was expecting to have a friend here for the weekend but she cancelled on me last minute so after weeks of various visits I suddenly found myself stranded. Being new in a city the security net for situations like this is not that well developed. Especially not when the weekend alone coincides with my cousin having her grand mother here, Alex having his parents visiting and Linus working on his final thesis.

However, friday night I had dinner with my cousin and her grand mother at a restaurant called Italiano, situated at Nybrogatan. We had dinner there at my cousin’s birthday too and I remembered the food to be very tasty but I have to say that I was a bit disappointed this time. It was pretty tasteless really. The chocolate cake I had for dessert was NOT tasteless though, it was yummie! Got back home pretty early and had time to do the laundry before going to bed. What kind of a friday night is that for a single girl in a big city..!?

Saturday was walking day. Did some exploring on Söder Mälarstrand and walked down to Medborgarplatsen before heading back home to watch a movie. In the evening I went out for dinner with Linus who had taken some time off from his thesis with the words “I have to eat either way so might as well do it together”. After dinner I met up with Alex at a friend of his for a relaxed house warming party. Got home around 2.30 after a very nice evening!

Today I started with breakfast in bed in front of the tv and with my lap top in my knee. After a couple of hours in that position I put on my running gear and did 10k in pouring rain. Coming back from that I had a shower and then curled up in bed watching a movie, and I think that’s about all I will do for the rest of this rainy day too. Kind of nice actually.

Family visits

Three weekends in a row I’ve had my family come visit. First out was my mum and her boyfriend. They had a day of sightseeing in Stockholm while I was at work and then we had one day together at Skansen, a famous park here in the city. The weather wasn’t exactly at its best but we did at least manage to avoid the rain. There was a food market at Sergels these days with food from all over the world and I was happy to speak french with some sales men. Having my mum and her boyfriend here meant having access to a car that could fit a sofa in the back so one night me and Jan went out and purchased one for me and it made such a difference! Suddenly it felt more like an apartment and not just a student dorm.

The weekend following the visit of my mum it was time for my youngest brother and his wife to spend some days in Stockholm. They could not have picked a better weekend to come, the sun was shining and it was around 25 degrees at least! So nice! We spent all saturday strolling in the city and in the evening I had a party at my place which turned out quite the success. Sunday was about as relaxed as saturday had been and then they returned back to the west coast.

Last weekend my dad and his wife were here with me and that also turned out a very cosy weekend, even if it was once again a little bit too cold and grey. We went to IKEA both friday night and saturday morning and got stuff for my apartment which my dad then spent some time putting together saturday evening. During the day we had lunch in the city with my cousin before walking through the old city having ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s. Bought thai food here outside my house and ate in front of the tv watching the qualification game for the world cup between Denmark and Sweden. Unfortunately it was a game we lost. I must say that it was pretty fun to walk around the city centre of the swedish capital on our national holiday seeing more Danes than Swedes!

21 km pure pleasure….

….or not!

I had spent weeks preparing for the Gothenburg half marathon and then suddenly the 16th of May was here and I didn’t feel ready at all. It wasn’t until I was at the starting area, saw all the people that had gathered and heard the pop music flowing out of the speakers that I started feeling excited about the challenge that I was to face during the coming two hours.

When it was time for me to start my run I was running with a strange feeling of contentment. I enjoyed every step, every minute of the way! This year I had learned my lesson from last year so I was wearing a watch to keep track of time and through this I soon realised that I was running way too fast in order to be able to keep up the speed throughout the 21km! But still, I enjoyed feeling so energetic! I managed to calm down a bit and had an average of 5.50min/km for the first 15km, but then I hit the famous wall! I was so happy to see that I reached 15km in 1.24 as that meant I had a chance of finishing in less than two hours, but I had to see myself conquered!

The last six kilometers were something of the worst I have experienced, the joy of running was completely gone! I ran on the streets surrounding my old University’s buildings cursing to myself but I didn’t give up! It was a completely exhausted Marica that saw the watch stop at 2.02.10 as she passed the finish line. 2.02 meant an improvement of 15 minutes from the year before, not many people manages that! Next year I hope to make it in less than 2 hours even if I can’t exactly expect the same kind of improvement. I love the race though, it’s good fun and I hope to be able to keep it up for a couple of years more. Maybe you should consider running it to? Apparently it is the worlds largest half marathon with approximately 60000 runners.

Over and out.

Graduation and first day at work.

My life as a university student is now, since the 9th of May, officially over. It has been four extremely eventful years during which I have made friends for life and gathered memories to last a life time as well as stories to tell my grand children when that day arrives.

I had not expected for the ceremony to feel all that special considering that it’s been a year since I left Handels, but I must say that I surprised myself by feeling quite excited. The day I longed for while sitting at KTB studying for exams was finally here! It’s been quite a journey and the graduation ceremony marked the end of an era for me.

Today, monday the 11th of May, a new era has begun. I am no longer a student but a full time employee, working as a controller for a health care company and I am super excited to see what the future has to bring.

Ps. Happy birthday Cissi! Ds.

I HAVE A JOB!!!!!!!

I had a second interview thursday last week for a position as a controller at a healthcare company and sunday evening they called me up telling me I had got the job!! So exciting!! My introduction starts in a week or two and I can’t wait! I know it will be a huge challenge but I am definitely ready for it!

I spent the weekend in Gothenburg. Caught a ride with my cousin down there after the interview and managed to see quite a few friends as well as part of the family during the few days I was there. Had a really good time and the weather was so nice!

Coming back to Stockholm I had a friend visiting who is currently staying in Madrid, hadn’t seen her since january so it was good having her here for a bit. When she had left I passed by some stores on my way home and got a sweater and a pair of shoes, kind of like a “congratulation to your new job”-present from me to me.

In the evening I watched a movie with a new Stockholm-acquaintance. The movie was french and called Ne le dis à personne (Don’t tell anyone), I realised when reading the cover that I had already read the book and that lowered my expectations quite a bit, and that was probably for the best because I wasn’t too impressed by the movie.

White canvas shoes – check!

There is no sign of spring more right at this point than a pair of white canvas shoes. They are on every girl’s feet, and from tomorrow on they will also be on mine! I have been searching for THE perfect pair for a couple of weeks now and had almost given up hope when finally they turned up! At H&M of all places! Happy, happy, happy!

Something that makes me less happy at the moment is the smell that has started to pour out of my shower cabin. I cleaned the filter last week, a yuckie assignment I might add, and for no good it seems! Should call my dad and check what I can do to end the smelliness!

Today has been a very efficient day. I woke up early, cleaned the apartment, rearranged the kitchen shelves, met up with a friend for lunch, visited the unemployment agency (totally useless..), took a walk into town to check out potential bride’s maid’s dresses, found myself a pair of shoes at H&M, returned home to have a snack, went for a run, had a shower, watched some tv and now here I am.

Oh, I forgot to mention one of the most important events of the day: I got a call from a company at which I had an interview last week and they told me I was welcome back for a second round later this week! It is now down to me and one other applicant! It is the third time that I find myself in this situation, I wonder if the saying “third time’s the charm” applies to job searching as well!? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

Reunion in Italy!

Buying the trip to Modena was kind of a spur of the moment thing. I didn’t think I would have the time, nor afford it. But, as I didn’t manage to get a job before the trip and with Ryan Air selling return tickets for 30 euros I lacked excuses not to go and therefore found myself getting up at 4 in the morning on thursday the 16th of april to catch a flight to the airport in Bergamo, Italy.

Me and my friend Karolin arrived in Bergamo around eleven thirty and were picked up by Karolin’s friend Riccardo who showed us around Bergamo for an hour or so before driving us to his place in Pavia where we had lunch before continuing the drive to Modena where the Erasmus reunion would take place.

We met up with our Italian friends just after Luca’s graduation ceremony and joined him and his friends to an irish pub where we had some beers and pizza while waiting for René to arrive from Germany and Wojtek to arrive from Poland. Once they did me and Karolin went home with our host for the weekend to get changed before this evenings night out.

Announcing we were “swedece” we got in for free at the pub and the fun could start. However, I got way too tired after some hours of dancing and my feet hurt sooo bad so I didn’t enjoy the evening quite as much as the others but still, it was good seeing the Erasmus friends again! We stuck it out until the place closed at four and then finally got some sleep after having been awake for more or less 24 hours, no wonder I was tired!

Friday we kind of slept in and then rushed into the city to attend the graduation ceremony of a friend of our friends. It was all in Italian so we didn’t exactly get much. After a little “aperitivo” me, Karolin, René and Wojtek went to the main square and enjoyed a glass of sparkling in the sun – vacation is great! The guys left us after an hour or so and then we went ice cream hunting. Found this gelateria where they served ice cream in a brioche bread, something I just had to try! Was yummie!

In the evening we went to Luca’s place where we were served an italian dinner. Also very delicious. Some kind of bread eaten with cheese and ham, I had a lot of them before it was time for us to go to the club of the night: Jamusic, where there was a kind of open bar. Note to self: if deciding that the bartender is the most intriguing person in the room, make sure to keep an eye on balance control! It is to be considered a warning sign when the bartender remembers what kind of drink one wants and has it ready for you when reaching the bar… Need I say I had a lot more fun this evening than the evening before?!

Saturday morning we got up early and Alessandro, my host, dropped me off at the train station where I caught a train to Milan. Spent an hour circling the central station before looking at at a map and starting my stroll towards the city centre. Had some nice breaks in different parks before reaching the Palace and the Cathedral, which I found a lot more fascinating on the outside than on the inside.

Finished my Milan visit with a panini at a random bar together with friends of Karolin before rushing off to catch the airport bus. Got back to my apartment around 2 in the morning after some crazy hectic days.