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Düsseldorf's big fun fair

Düsseldorf’s big fun fair

Update: Okay, so I wrote this and right after, the internet collapsed completely again. Even the cable internet. I think I have to move. 

It is thanks to my brilliant colleague that I can write these lines to you today. When I described the wireless situation in my attic sauna to her (literally sitting in the stair case), she suggested buying a cable to connect to the world. I should have come up with that idea myself, I mean, I’ve lived with cable internet for three years in Sweden. 

Anyway, now I can at least reply to your emails and messages. It still takes 12 minutes (not kidding) to upload a photo and it is entirely impossible to stream my latest TV discoveryFrikänd (gå in och kolla på den, så bra! Ligger upp på SVTplay tills 4:e augusti.)

So how am I doing, several of you have asked me in those so far unanswered messages. I am doing quite okay, with amazingly many social things, some loss of household control (eating out and not doing laundry until it is absolutely neccessary) and the terrifying absence of my calendar. I lost it somewhere and everything is in there. So now I only know that I have a doctor’s appointment some time this week but I don’t know when. Which gives me even more time to socialize because now I always have time.

Yesterday, Joraine and Simon from Gothenburg paid me a visit and we walked what the tourist office suggested as the city walk. It is a very funny feeling for me to be as uninformed as the people visiting me. Usually, Helen 1 A Tours offers a thoroughly researched guided tour, but so far I have not managed to educate myself on Düsseldorf so I content myself with more than once correcting my friends who refer to the town as a part of the Ruhr area. No, no, it is the Rhineland and as far as I have understood it is crucial to make that distinction. I am still learning all the ways of the locals and sometimes it is very different from the North.

I would show you all the nice photos we took on our walk, but alas! it would take all night to upload them. Tomorrow is an important day at work because my predecessor comes in to teach me all I have to know about arranging the national events. That’ll be exciting, so I’ll shut down this little laptop now, good night!


I swear I know Swedish

At the Swedish Christmas market, I learned how to calculate really fast. When people paid 3,75 Euro with a 100-euro-bill.

At the Swedish Christmas market, I learned how to calculate really fast. When people paid 3,75 Euro with a 100-euro-bill.

Five years ago, I remember taking a look at the TISUS sample test. I only read through the first page and thought: Well, this is hopeless, I would never ever pass this. I cannot even talk two minutes about bostadsbrist let alone 20. When I moved to Stockholm first and ended up feeling so much more comfortable in English, I decided: Well, maybe you can only learn and master one language at a fluent, high level. When I was placed into the lower level group at Stockholm University’s Swedish courses after the placement test, I thought: Well, maybe I am actually bad at this. 

But today I got the results of the TISUS test I took a couple of weeks ago and I am thrilled to report that I passed! I officially know Swedish. (On a university level.) What a relief. This is living proof that you can learn anything that your brain finds relevant (let’s not go into the reasons why my brain finds a language spoken by almost no one relevant). It even instills hope in me for my Farsi language acquisition. One fine day. Maybe.

Today was an eventful day at work including a long meeting with our new Swedish client. It is a big shame I can’t talk about it, I wish I could tell you, but I guess you just have to ask me in person. In the evening, I strolled around town waiting for my friend Marita to arrive at the central station so that we could cultivate our transit friendship. Marita was – jetset alert – flying from Italy via Hamburg to Stockholm (a few days later though) and of course I want to meet her at the central station for a fika. Even if we only had 30 minutes, it was a pleasure. You can almost pretend to live in the same city and happen to be bump into each other at the station.

Oh, look, I "happened" to find one of my best friends in the station's bakery!

Oh, look, I “happened” to find one of my best friends in the station’s bakery!

And tomorrow is the big day when three of my friends, Tabea, Christian and Michelle, are coming from North and South to visit me! Not very like me, I am still rather unprepared but I took a day off so I hope to be able to get a Christmas tree. Yes, you heard right…!



(Headline: My friend Emily, a native English speaker, sometimes accidently writes incorrect English to me. She usually follows up directly with “I swear, I know English!”)

And this is what I came home to, after a day that lasted from 6:50 to 21:15. It is Ingrid's last night as my housewife, eh, housemate which is really sad but it was a very lovely last evening.

And this is what I came home to, after a day that lasted from 6:50 to 21:15. It is Ingrid’s last night as my housewife, eh, housemate which is really sad but it was a very lovely last evening. Please note that I polished my brass candle holders, something that might become my new hobby. The effect is tremendous! Such rewarding work!

Strong independent woman

helenyrkanLouise came over for a short visit the day after I moved. I was determined to put up the fixtures for my curtains and we went all the way to the Baumarkt like real Heimwerker after we found that the fixtures my parents had given me were too small for my windows. After the odyssey there and back we decided we were strong independent women who dare to drill (even though I am really scared to drill on Sundays, weekdays between 13-15 and after 19 because THE NOISE. You never know when they will ring the doorbell again and scream at you because you exist). The strong independent women had to conclude however that in the moving chaos we were completely unable to find the crucial part of the drilling machine. Basically, I will have to unpack everything first now to be able to find that black box again.Speaking of unpacking, it drives me mad. I spent almost a day decluttering all the boxes in the living room. You can be proud of me, I have parted from a lot of very sentimental things, more than two very large garbage bags have gone, I have given away more than two boxes and there is more to follow in the other rooms.

Decluttering all the papers from Swedish beginners class

Decluttering all the papers from Swedish beginners class

Unfortunately the impulse to let go of everything usually only lasts a short while for me after carrying up all my belongings. That is the point where I always feel that “no way on earth do I have to have all this” and “I feel crushed by the mounting boxes”. This time, it has gotten so far that I have said to several witnesses that I should only own one or two pieces of signature furniture and otherwise move through life without beds and tables and shoe racks and chairs and mirrors. Let me just make this clear, I really do not think I own more than other people. It is just that they move less often so that it does not show as much. They also have entire rooms at their parents still while I now assemble everything on my own 46 square metres. But whatever – I need to go back to the boxes before the declutter impulse goes away…