Where am I? Of foggy (is)lands, boat names and new dialects.

Monday, 27th June 2016

Try to imagine my face when, finally arrived on the island of Åland, in the harbor of Mariehamn, I was welcomed by a tall, thin, super kind and nice woman – I had been talking to her with e-mail in the last weeks – who met me in a very warm way and gave me a very warm hug. The trip has been a long one yesterday. I left the campus in Karlstad after having breakfast with some friends and at 8,45 my bus was leaving to the bus station. I then took the first bus to Stockholm, and here the adventure starts. A police car was in front of us and someone from the inside told the bus driver to stop. Thee “old uncle” as it was later called by the woman driving the bus, gave her a alcohol test and told her that the destination on the screen should not be blinking. Well, for such a stupid thing we waited for 20 minutes, and the bus company had to call the train company to ask if the train from Örebro which many where going to take, could stop and wait for the bus passengers. Well, when the woman who was driving the bus told us what had just happened, she was very anxious about the consequences and a bit angry…so at the end she got a warm applaude! Rain, warmth and heavy luggages when I changed the bus. Arrived in Stockholm I was very tired after some hours of sitting in the bus. I had lunch in the station, went around a lot, took a coffee, had videochat and calls, reda and wrote on my blog, spoke with someone at the very end. I then took the bus to the harbor which would take a hour to be reached. The funniest thing is that the boat is called Rosella! Super foggy had been already in Sweden, but on the way to the harbor and all the way to the island it was impossible to see anything, so you can really imagine how boring the journey was!

On the bus to the harbor the driver was also very funny, he took the microphone and said something like “well welcome onboard, just say that I would have really liked not to be working in the Midsummer weekend but this is life…well, let’s drive on this (“rondella” in Italian, can’t find the word since I don’t have internet) just once otherwise they get angry!

Differently from what I was expecting, nobody here speaks Swedish with a very strong accent (or is, actually, a dialect) and I actually missed the thing that they are not at all bilingual in the Åland island, but the first language is Swedish, and when they grow up they start with studying English and then Swedish. Berit is the name of the woman who came and pick me up, and since I will stay here for a month and I have already lived with a host-family for a long time, I definitely feel part of the family – as long as they tell me I can do so, and she did! Since we were going to pick up one of her children to another harbor at 1.00 a.m. (Finland is a hour more than Sweden) she drove me everywhere in the island to show me things a bit, even though unfortunately it was incredibly foggy, which was a nice experience anyway. Brit told me a lot about everything, including the thing that one-hundred-fifty folk dancers from Sweden will come in this week for the Nordic Fold Dance festival, and that she is managing a lot of things related to that. Moreover, they will eat on Thursday at Smakbyn, the restaurant where I will start to work today.

When we went and pick up the daughter at the harbor in the other side of the island, it was not at all cold but very very foggy – around 14°! I can just say that Berit is Finnish from the strong “r” she has sometimes, but the eldest daughter sounds completely Swedish!

It took a hour to go home after the harbor, so we were at home at 2.00 local time. The house is very nice and big! They have vegetables and fruits cultivation and the house is just in front of a forest and close to the water. The son works in a bike shop and we will have to try to find a bike for myself, since I am very short compared to the people here! So, this is gonna be funny as well! Berit showed me the house and when I went upstairs some animal skins where just hanged close to my bed! But I was so tired I got asleep very fast!
Berit’s husband I have heard works in the forest! and that really makes me feel of stories about trolls and fairies in the north, I know that’s stupid, but it just does!

I am totally surprised about how many things I have to tell after less then 5 hours awake here in Åland.

Funny thing? Meeting people from the Åland is making me feel very Swedish! And I guess many thinks that I am a Swede with Italian background!

Another funny one? The word “tatti” – my surname – means a kind of mushroom in Finnish!

They just asked me if I wanted to put something in the laundry starting now, that’s not really Italian is not it? I mean putting your clothes in almost strangers laundries, but as said, here in Scandinavia people really welcome you as a part of the family almost right away, then it stands to you to accept the invitation or not! So, I really got used to this and I like it!

Well, I got breakfast with porridge, strawberries, apple mousse and smashed raspberries! I will have a little lunch later, but first I will need to study the menu of the restaurant and got used with the different ways of preparing the table for new guests. If there will not be any new work shifts for me in this week, I will start to work on the 1st of July which is this coming Friday, and for the following three days, including serving at a wedding on Saturday the 2nd!

I will see you soon, and sorry to my family and friends if I cannot answer but I do not have internet, maybe I will not buy it either, since it is just for a month! Maybe I will just use a bit from the house’ internet to publish my posts 🙂

See you soon and have a nice start of the week!

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