Walpurgis celebration in Sweden, a short guide

There is a picture stuck in my head since I was in Stockholm with my family years ago. I was a child then, but still something which really got me were all these teenagers going around with boxes of beer. It was Walpurgis that day!

Drink, drink, drink. Have fun. Sleep less or nothing. Hungover the day after.

This would be the start and the end of my post, if I were a Swede. Unfortunately, or luckily, I am from a place best known for pizza, pasta, ice-cream, and amazing history.

Ok, sorry for these extra stereotyped pictures, but this is what I have been actually learning since a while. There are two big days in Sweden that need to be celebrated properly during the year, where celebration and properly stand for getting drunk, do not remember anything the day after and hungover. One of them is Walpurgis (known as “Valborgsafton” in Swedish, that means “Walpurgis’ evening, ‘cause you know, Swedes like to celebrate the day before, especially to be ready to be hungover the day after), and the other one is Midsummer (Midsommarafton, here as well, you drink all the day, stay awake all the night, and naturally are hungover the day after, a point that I really do not get!). Even though you did not get a so optimist view of it so far, I really like how most of the celebrations still relate to some Pagan celebrations, thus related to seasons and nature. 1st of May stands here for the first day of Spring, guess what, I cannot blame them for their will (and need) to celebrate. Most of the times you will likely not have a Spring feeling at all, since it could be still pretty cold, but the light is already lighting the days much longer than the dear old winter you just got through.

Midsummer (the night between Friday and Saturday after the 21st of June) is instead the start of the summer and the celebration of the longest day of the year. Here in Värmland we do not have the midnight sun, but still, there is almost just 1 hour of pitch dark in that night.

As said, traditional of the two days is the bad weather, as it is for example in Italy with the day after Easter.

What is actually usual to do in the weekend of Walpurgis is to stay with people, enjoy the long days (preferably the warm), drink, eat, sing a lot, and gather around the fire. I was at campus just some hours ago and saw the students already drunk at 6, always smile when I see these scenes! Very particular is the champagne breakfast which you can have both on Saturday and Sunday (the 30th of April and the 1st of May).

My weekend is gonna look pretty Swedish I think, since my desire is actually that of experiencing Valborg as much as it gets. Tonight I am gonna get as much sleep as I can, since starting from tomorrow morning, I will have around 40 hours awaken. I am skipping some of the singings with the choir in the morning, but I will start singing with them in the big square in Karlstad (Stora Torget) at 15, sound checking at 14.15. I will borrow a studentmössa (the hat Swedish high-school students wear at the end of their last year of school to run out of the school and take pictures – it looks as a sailor hat!) from a girl I know from some courses at uni, and will sing a lot of traditional Spring songs, of course in Swedish. For this, tomorrow I will try to do my best and learn all the words by heart.

Later, we will sing at the bishop’s house. I think I will also go to the city park to gather around the bonfire for a while, since there will not be any in the square and I really want to experience that, and the man choir is gonna sing with another choir. Later, we will go to a kind of cottage (“stuga”!?) where we will start our party (“sittning”) with both the man and woman choir. We get food, dance, sing and have fun, trying to make the others awake until the day after. The challenge is to stay awake until 15 – forgot to say that, at 15 the day before we will put the hat on our heads, supposed not to take it off but 24 hours later!). I will go home at 9 a.m. because at 10 I have to stay at Bunkern to work for the Hungover Sunday, which is the most incredible thing you could do at the pub (because you need to slice 10 kg of bacon and fry it!). No people seemed to be available to work there on Sunday (guess what!?) so I took the shift ‘cause it sounded as a great and funny experience!

Now I will get my 10 hours of sleep (hope I do not wake up because of the light, which among my friends seems to be a common problem!) and will see you soon. Need to take a pic of my face every 12 hours I will be awake tomorrow! 😉

Let this weekend start!

Will that be as funny/ridiculous as the week just passed?

At least, I finally experienced one of those days that more than a few Swedes told me about. Rain, clouds, sun, snow and hail in one day. Feel like an experienced girl now!

It is not that I am tired because I have been doing so many things this week. It is actually even worse. I have studied while sitting in the library which got warmer hour after hour because the sun was shining for all the last days. Since Monday, first day in Karlstad after the trip to Poland, I always woke up very early – around 6.30 (even if I wanted to sleep more, that would have been impossible because the light and the no presence of appropriate curtains, do not actually help with that!)

Studied a lot on Monday and sat in the sun for a while. Had choir in the evening until 21. Fall asleep at 22. Very, very tired.

The first funny thing of the week was that after have grabbed a free cup of coffee from the Student centre stand in the welcome centre at university, I dropped half of the cup just 30 seconds later. I burned my hand and could not do anything else than run to the bathroom and wash my hands. I sat at my place and wondered whether I should have gone back with some tissues to clean and dry the floor, but that would have probably been the most embarrassing thing ever, so I just stayed at my place. On Wednesday I decided to take a break and go to university just to sit outside, reading a little and enjoy the sun. I did that and “sunbathed” for 4 hours, having a coffee at the end with the Italian girl. I actually got brown! And I will never sto telling you that I love the Swedish spring coming after a depressing winter, I would say that is almost worth to experience the sad, cloudy, cold and dark months, to then reborn with the 5° still, sunny and warm days! And the Swedes! They are amazing when the Sum comes back, wearing shorts and tops, sunglasses and taking photos of this strange alien called Sun, and warm! There is a song called “Sommartider” by Gyllene Tider, which completely express the feeling of this lovely folk, saying “Time for summer, I feel that something is happening”. I definitely laugh a lot every time I hear that, just think about the difference between Italy and Sweden when it comes to seasons, since in Rome spring usually starts almost right after Christmas, with leaves sprouting in February!

By the way, after almost have burnt myself, and got a headache (moreover, I sweated as well!) I went home, and prepared to go to the place of a girl in my choir voice, where we should meet to practice. This sounds as a very tough thing, since it usually lasts for a three hours – and I still think that it is everytime I go to such a practice days – but it is actually not a practice accompanied by a fika, but usually the opposite, a fika time accompanied by singing songs! We met at 18, started to fika at 19, chatting, eating and laughing a lot (my Swedish in this period is pretty much better, is maybe the Sun positive influence!?) so I got all the jokes and every single word of the conversations in three hours! and started to sing some minutes before 20! Went home at 21.30….was in my bed at 22!

Wait a minute! I have to go to buy some onions, and send the contract back to Finland for my job at the restaurant in July!

I just found out that I never used the tag “fika” in my blog! This is kind of creepy! Have to solve this. And just to talk about something different, let’s go back to the evening with the girls of the choir. Following the Swedish habits, if you are going to host people at your home making food, you usually ask for something to bring (so that it does not too expensive for the host, and everyone actually will be able to eat what they really like). Fika “theme” of last Wednesday was biscuits and cheese (very typical here in Sweden), so everyone could bring a type of cheese and some chocolate for a dessert with banana, berries and melted chocolate she made at the end of the practice! We sang a lot, drank tea and ate good food. Definitely a cozy and enjoyable night! In the voice everyone gets to know each other pretty good. I for example got to know Veronica who lives close to me and with which we often drink coffee and go out. Went back home with the bus together with some of the girls.

Oh! I forgot to tell you about Tuesday morning, definitely one of the most awkward and hilarious times I have ever had since I am here!

Two persons should have come to my place to see the apartment (since I told the agency that I will leave the apartment in June, and those who are in line contacted me to have a look). So, I told the two persons to come at 10 in the morning last Tuesday. One of them came in time and gave a fast look. The other one told me he would be late half a hour. 45 minutes later I wrote him that I should soon go to university and asked how long it would take for him to come. He said me he just had a few minutes left, but then he started to call me because he did not find the place. We turned into English since he seemed to have a little problems (I told him there were not any problem since I was also not a native speaker of Swedish!) and we tried to find out where he was. We exchanged maps (where I was and where he was) but nothing. At the end I told him that I had to go and sent instead some pictures of the apartment. When I arrived at university, he called me to say that what had been wrong was that we were actually in different cities! And there was the same dress in Göteborg as well as in Karlstad! And the wrong person to which he sent the message some weeks ago (or is me) actually had to show the apartment to some people! Funny thing ever I think. Do not think this will ever happen to me!

Thursday was time for another cup of coffee to fall from my hands. In the middle of the university cafeteria, at 13 where everyone was there. Thankfully I was not in Italy, where nobody could have hold their laughs, but the Swedes are always very kind and did not seem to laugh.

Want to know about more funny things?

Yesterday, as soon as I got out from H&M I slipped on a flyer, and I fell in a more hilarious way than Mr.Bean would have done. Embarrassing happenings.

By the way, I am now making dinner (to be more precise, I am just warming some corn-maid-chickpeas salad in the microwave) and will get soon ready to go out tonight 🙂 It is still so bright in the sky so that time flies without noticing about it!

Tomorrow is time for the male choir and the female choir to sing at campus! Looking forward to that 🙂

Have a nice evening, see you soon!

Of Sundays and unreal Springs

I don’t like Sundays. Never did in a very special way. But you know, I come from Italy and I am used to the big traditional Sunday lunches. Best if prepared by the “Italian grandma” who should almost be considered as important as a UNESCO cultural heritage since she is known all around the world, really! So, Sundays always kept being something special to me since I was born. The all thing you do from the start of the weekend is to relax after the week or meeting friends, and then of course, think about the Sunday lunch! If you will be at your grandma’s place then she will start to prepare at 9 in the morning, make food for at least the double of the real number of guests, trying to fill you as much as she can (the goal is to finish all the food on the table, which as I said, is more than the double you would be able to eat!).

So, yesterday was a little different Sunday than the ones I experience when in Sweden, but quite similar to the ones I am used to in Italy. I actually missed the Sunday lunches quite much, and I decided with the other two Italian students who came this semester to arrange a tipical one. After a long time we opted for a “fettuccine ai funghi” which took almost one hour and a half to be prepared. In the campus kitchen there was a Dutch girl…who would have been best to ask making pancakes to? We got simple pancakes, pancakes with Nutella and pancakes with cheese! Crazy lunch that lasted until 5 in the afternoon.

By the way, arrived at home at 6 in the evening I started to be excited for the new starting week. I have a Swedish book to read due tomorrow and I find it very difficult. Also I will have a little concert with the choir at university today before choir rehealsals, which will then last until 21. So today I prepared both snacks, lunch and dinner to bring to university. Among lessons, work at the pub, and the book to read I look forward to fill this week as much as I can…also it is just 16 days left until I will go back to Italy to celebrate Easter with my family and spend time with them, so that is also why I want to do as many things as I want in these last days.

Spring seemed to be on its way for some days ago. Then it started to snow. And snow. And be very white, fortunately not that cold though. But I took a look at the weather forecasts and it looks like Spring will actually come in the right period. Next week it should be sunny and over 0°.

Saturday and Sunday it will be time for me to visit my host family in Uddeholm to say goodbye before I go to Italy. And guess what? It will be the last part of the competition Melodifestivalen, for which all Swedes are crazy and that selects the winner that will go to the Eurovisions. And guess another thing? It looks like it will be sunny and 5° warm in Uddeholm!

On Thursday there will be open house at Karlstad university and I will probably meet some of the students and teachers I know from my exchange year in Uddeholm.

I’ll see you soon!

Have a great start of the week!

Sunday

Good morning and good Sunday! Of course it has been too much time since I wrote the last time. I always want to write, maybe I start a few drafts on the blog and then leave them with no future. You probably saw the last update…I do not blame you if you wondered “where does this come from!?” because I did not write anything to explain it! In the course of Business English we were told to write some comments about an article explaining the refugees crisis. We will have to comment on three others’ comments and receive feedback from them.

The problem here is that I forget most of the things I do during the week, even though most of the days I actually go to bed very tired and knowing that I did a lot of things!

Last Sunday I finished a take home exam for the course Cultural Heritage which was in my opinion way too long. Ten days to write 5 pages and I completely lost sense of the time, I was not stressed at all, therefore not motivated to finish it! I ended up writing it at the last minute, on a cold Sunday in the library, pretty sick because of my cold (that still does not leave me in peace!).

On Wednesday I worked at Bunkern…there is not many people coming there during this semester, because it looks like the new erasmus students actually want to study a little more than the last ones, and probably do not like to go out that much!

All the week studying, especially reading a Swedish book in “easy Swedish” that I will have to resume with a course mate for Thursday. 200 pages total and I am still at one third of it!

I usually go to the library very often, and I like it so much!

Today’s lunch will have an Italian taste. The two Italians and me decided to arrange a little traditional Italian Sunday lunch and yesterday we went and bought some mushrooms and tagliatelle (I feel so happy when I find Italian brands here!)

It is snowing! There have been two very nice, warm and sunny weeks for a week ago, but now at least until Tuesday we will have cold (well just around 0°, but we got used easily to the warm!) and snow. And if it snow much, it means that the snowplow will wake me up around 7 in the morning!

Another news of the week is that on Monday we had a meeting with the choir to decide who should be part of the board for this semester, and with the other girl with which I am in the “producer group for the Spring concert” we decided to be part of the sponsor group. So, I am not going to help as much as the others because I will probably not call in Swedish to convince people to give us money, but I will try to come up with some ideas and so on…

Tomorrow we will have a short concert at a café at university for the “Women Day” on 8th March (but as you maybe know, in Sweden everything is celebrated a day before.

As you probably read in the previous updates, I am applying again for studying in Malmö, southern Sweden, a bachelor program starting in August. Last year I did not get in because I could not get rid of the high-school diploma from my Italian school in time for the deadline. So, the response from university admissions Sweden should have come the 21st March (I could have celebrated it in Italy because I will be there 23rd March-4th April) but it will come two weeks later, exactly the day I will be traveling back to Sweden! This because they noticed they had too many applications and would not make it in time otherwise.

On Friday I received at home the paper version of my take home exam for the course Globalization and Culture, which had been corrected and marked very precisely by the teacher! I really like this Swedish way of doing it!

As a “morning bird” as many call me, I try to wake up at 7 everyday, so that I can use my day as best as I can…Today I did the same but rolled in the bed for half an hour. Now I am at the library updating the post, trying to read the Swedish book, and do the reflection about some posts for the English course. I checked the weather forecast some minutes ago and I have big news! Until the week I will go back to Italy it will be very sunny!

I really like the library, even though sometimes it is very cold in here! But it is very good to concentrate for whatever you have to do and not to feel alone or bored at home, “netflixing” or doing “stupid” things.

I will see you soon! (Waiting for thewriterinspiration!)

Warm, fog, and smelted snow

My brain did not have anything better to do than waking up at 4,31 this morning. Sounds  like a sleep disturb but I guess it is because I am pretty excited to start my two new courses at university today and tomorrow. Business English and Cultural Heritage. The second one is a very short one lasting for 5 weeks with three books and two articles to read. Everyday I get always more interested in the issue of cultural studies…so I was going around the library yesterday and got lost in a lot of books regarding this field. I ended up borrowing “Communication between cultures” by Samovar, Porter, McDaniel and Roy…already started to read a bit and it is very interesting and well written. It gives insights into the biggest world religions, and since I wanted to attend the course World religions which were than cancelled, I am interested to read about it at least! I actually have a lot of books on my bedside table…”The brother Ashkenazi” by Singer, in Italian, “The first forty-nine stories” by Hemingway, in English, and another book I borrowed at the library, called “When a Jew celebrates” by Gersh.

Yesterday I sang with the choir in welcome ceremony for new incoming students at the university of Karlstad. Before that, I went to Jula, one of those shops selling everything, looking for the lime-green pants the hosts for international students use to wear…the color is not the best existing, but it is very nice to have something in common, and it is also a way to be recognized, maybe in case of need of help. As a host, I am the only one who still did not find them or at least did not manage to find them in time!

After that I sang a couple of songs with the choir in the Aula Magna, went home and had lunch….in the early afternoon I went to campus to have a fika with my host group where we started to get to know each other a little better. Then back to university for choir rehearsals until 21. I went home, had dinner, fixed some things for the courses I will start, then read a little and slept! I was completely with no energy

On Sunday I took a walk with some students to the lake Astern…we lost the way and it took nearly two and a half hours to get there and go back, but the lake was fantastic, even if the weather not exactly the same. After that…another pika at campus with some new students and then back home.

Friday was busy as well, because in the afternoon I worked at the pub Bunkern, the first time after Christmas break, and since around 200 international students had the place booked for them, and I worked in the kitchen preparing meals, I can say it was pretty tiring! But I really enjoyed it, and learnt that international students love hamburgers! We got like 20 orders in less than 15 minutes, 15 were burgers, and the kitchen is a small place, and we work there just in two!

Today is gonna be fun as well! As a result of the very warm temperatures we are experiencing after going through around -15° in the last two weeks, the air is very humid and all the snow is smelting since Sunday. We have a few degrees above 0 and I saw people wearing t-shirts some days ago. By the way, as I said it has been foggy for many days now, after we had the typical cold and sunny winter days back in the two last weeks. But! I am so excited because it should be sunny today, so I am going to take a walk when it gets light, that means in like two hours. I will also buy some ingredients for making little butter puff pastry pizzas for my German friend Sofia, who is living tomorrow and is having a goodbye international dinner at campus tonight. I will make the pizzas and  after that I will go to university and start to study for the course of Cultural Heritage starting tomorrow…Then I will have lunch with Veronica, a friend I met at the choir. Then studying again, lesson between 17 and 20, (Business English which I really look  forward since the course in English for international students really gave me much!). I will go to campus for the goodbye dinner and back home again. Almost same routine tomorrow, with another goodbye international dinner!

I would like to point out something about the Swedish universities. At the start I hesitated a little about the thing of having just one or two courses at a time, thus having what seemed to be a lot of free time besides. But now I understand it is not like this, because short courses really give you much to do, and they are more worth to attend because you concentrate on one thing at a time!

News of the week…I stopped to drink coffee! I noticed it was making me too excited about many things and I was overthinking about others, as well as I was overwhelmed by simple thoughts. So, I  can say that I went through the long Swedish winter pretty well this year, and I am ready to get the best of the days which are always more getting longer 😀

I got to know that we will have a concert with the choir one day before the Women day, so it will be the 7th March. You should know that in Sweden every festivity is celebrated a day before, so you say Julafton (Christmas’evening) and you celebrate on the 24th and so on with the others….so it was decided to have this little concert which will be the premier of the biggest Women concert we will have on the 29th May! In the middle of February instead, we will have a kick off with the all choir, a two days away in a ex-military building some km from here to have fun and train a lot of songs.

I hope the snow will finish to smelt pretty soon because it is very slippery on the ground right know, since kilos of snow are smelting pretty slowly right now.

 

I think I forgot to tell you about being host for the international students! Well! It is a lot of things to do, especially in the two introduction weeks. It is about picking up students at the different places the arrive, go with them to campus helping them with the first things they could need. I picked up students from Hong Kong and Germany, and one of those day was -26° as perceived temperature! I thought I would die, but I bravely survived with pride! 😛

I will now go…I think I will also sleep for a while. I will see you soon!

 

What was it you say about Sweds? Cold people?

Yesterday afternoon I had the most touching moment of all the period I experienced in Sweden. During the day we sang in the library of the university in order to get money for the “Musikhjälpen 2015” that this year have the slogan “Nobody is supposed to emigrate because of climate change”. It was very cosy and relaxing to sing for students “trying” to study in the library.

Then I got to lesson and the others went to the city hall to sing for refugees (I would have really liked to do it as well, but I needed to be present at lesson!). But I went to sing Luciatåg at the retirement home in Kronoparken near university. It was my last Lucia celebration with the Söt Likör and then we got a little fika of course!

Then we moved to university where we had our last meeting with the choir, having fika, singing some song and doing a group quiz about musical things. The touching moment came when a girl of our voice (I am in the A1, the next lowest voice) shared with everyone that she would leave the choir after some years of partecipation. You know those persons who inevitably end up helping and welcoming you without you doing anything for that to happen? I really feel more closeness to those people when I am abroad ‘cause they are the same people who understand when you do not understand something in Swedish, without either saying anything or asking, they just see you and understand you by once! So this voicemate was very important for me, and while she was listening to us singing the song she wished us to sing and she started to get moved, I inevitably did the same. It was a very sad but at the same time very very important moment for me! after the song we all went to hug her and it was a moment full of feeling and warmness really!

A German boy and a German girl (she is one of my friends) will also leave before Christmas and they also said some words to thank you the choir and wished a song…the three songs were actually these ones, if you are curious to listen to them 🙂 This, this and this 😀

You want to know my favourite song ever sang in the unviersity choir? It is this one 🙂 Well, I get moved nearly every time I sing it in the choir!

Other touching songs we sang in this period were this one and this ^^

Well, I really could experience at 360° how Sweds are not at all cold, but it just needs more time to get to know them, they are just wonderfully simple and warmly warm.

Since I am an international student I had the chance to subscribe for a Swedish contact family, and I really did not feel to have big chances because I already speak Swedish and know the city, but I actually got an email some hours ago by my future contact family! It is a man and his wife who lived in Trento (Italy) for a year, and moved back to Karlstad for a week ago. I got invited to a Swedish Christmas aperitive tomorrow night, and I hope to make it work because the last days (omg tomorrow it is already wednesday!) are very fulled up with things to do (and saying goodbye to international students is one of them!).

I am pretty excited to enjoy the pretty unusual 15-6° in Rome since Saturday, but I am really messed up right know (the 12 pages to write for Globalization and Culture were moved to next Monday, but still I would like to be done with it before Friday!), and two days more here in Karlstad would not be that bad actually!

I will see you soon, probably once in Rome

Stay tuned 😀

Of goodbyes, Lucia celebrations and Swedish compliments

I was looking forward to go back and stay over during Christmas…then people started to leave Karlstad after their exchange programs, everyday I sent to and received messages from students to meet one last time before them “leaving soon”, then Lucia celebrations took me much time in the last week and I did not have time to say goodbye, and then a new course started, hundreds pages to read and write…and next Tuesday is the last “party”…I will probably leave it much earlier than I use to, goodbyes are so bad. Especially when you are pretty sure you will not see some people more, or maybe you will have to wait many years before having the chance to.

I am in a bad mood…yesterday though, I had the staff party at the student pub…pizza and a little “julbord” was managed by some students and we really had fun. They left in the morning but I got home at 2.00 ‘cause I really needed to sleep. The cold has arrived and last night on the bike I faced the “nice” -6° and the iced ground…pain near you heart, almost crying eyes, your scarf getting wet and frozen in some minutes…

I am messing up. A lot of things to do before I go back to Italy for the Christmas break. Last Monday I started a new course called Globalization and Culture which is a very short, fast and deep one.

I should actually shut up and cheer, next semester is going to be very exciting and full of things to do (I will tell you about it in some post), but people are more important than yourself, especially when they start to be part of your weeks giving you advices and staying at your side in the toughest moments. The more I stay abroad the tougher it gets when it comes to say goodbye, even though it sounds as it should be the other way. I get deeply used to stay abroad, make it by “my own” but I also learn to build relationship with other, especially foreigners, and this sometimes can make you very sad.

Many students who are leaving are selling or giving away things they do not have place for in the luggage, or that hey just would not need once back in their countries…so I got for free a book in English called “About a boy”…I guess it will be the first book of the year 2016…

I guess it is of common knowledge that Swedish people cannot “flirt”, or at least, said by an Italian, they cannot “court”…I am not talking bad about them, because it is just not in their culture, but sometimes it is just funny. So, two days ago at Bunkern I was talking about this with a Swedish and an Australian friend and the Swedish friend had the wonderful idea to joke about it, trying to “court me the Italian way”…the result was very very funny! One of the things he did was to touch my shoulders, while another one was to tell me few compliments (which is really not that common in Sweden, or at least for what I experienced in fourteen months). And a real Swedish compliment I got was “oh my God you are so funny, you produce so much noise from your mouth for so few things you have to say!!!”.

On Friday I had a very nice and rewarding day. I woke up at 4.00 a.m. because at 6.00 a.m. I had to stay in the Aula Magna at university to gather with the choir before the Lucia celebration at 7,30 a.m.. It was the first time in my life I got up so early, and having lesson after the concert did not help. I got home after class and then got to downtown…because we where going to have a Lucia celebration and a few “Christmas songs” in the Domkyrka… I just found this article telling about us singing in the church, and I am also in the picture, I am so happy for that ^^ Take a look if you want! And here is a video of us singing at Karlstad university on Friday morning 🙂

The Lucia parade (Luciatåg) is a very Swedish traditional event…Saint Lucia originally comes from Italy but it is very Swedish how all the entire thing is represented. The songs are learned in Sweden since kindergarten and tell about this woman dressed in white, with candles on her head, bringing light in the dark and cold days of December. In fact, the 13th December was considered, before the Gregorian calendar was introduced, to be the shortest day of the year (while today it is the 21st). Want to know something more about this very Swedish tradition? Take a look to this interesting and funny video! Are you out for the very origin of Saint Lucy? Then go here instead 😀

By the way, today my host family had lunch/dinner/food at 15,30 with me. We had a great time and now I am writing this post…later on I will watch a movie. I am not ready to start to write all the pages I have due Wednesday, but I will start tomorrow, now I have to relax psychologically!

This morning I was “googling” around, and I found out about the “Vätternrundan”. It is about cycling around the lake Vättern (the second largest in Sweden after Vänern). You can start from the late afternoon of a friday in June, until the morning of the day after…and you are supposed to finish before midnight of that day, or is Saturday…it is 300 km total and the price to partecipate is 1500kr. It is a lot of money, but you get food and a big organization is made around it, 20.000 persons use to take part to it. So, I am kind of cheering myself up thinking about the training I will start once back in Karlstad after the Christmas break. I should aim for an average of 30 kms at the start, mixing pace and duration, studying my diet, and so on, I really look forward to it! And also even though it is going to be pretty cold from January to March (the air cooled down by once since the middle of this week) days will get longer starting from the 21st December, so that I will have always a longer time during the day to manage both studying, training, relaxing, being host and so on…

Now I have to go…cosy night with a film and tomorrow I start a tough fourdaysstudymarathon before landing in Rome 😀

 

Di candele, neve sciolta e calendari doodle

Tempo di buio, l’effetto bradipo inizia a farsi sentire. Qui è tutto una corsa, tra sveglia, corsi, allenamenti, fare la spesa, studiare, andare alle prove di coro e soprattutto impararsi a memoria decine di brani in inglese e svedese, comprare il vestito di Lucia per il concerto che avremo tra qualche settimana in Aula Magna, e anche per quello di Natale fra una settimana. E soprattutto trovare tempo per fare quello che mi piace, ovvero scrivere delle mie avventure qui, leggere (qui proprio non ci riesco) e guardare film, magari per allenare inglese o svedese, e magari italiano!

La neve si è sciolta e non mi dispiace. Vanno benissimo alcuni giorni di biancore per illuminare tutto quanto e rendere tutto più cosy, ma quando è troppo è troppo. Un exchange student che conosco da altri amici l’altro giorno è caduto dalla bici rompendosi tre denti. Era solo scivoloso e neanche c’era la neve, e immagino sia stato un pizzichino poco prudente, ma gli effetti del ghiaccio andando in bici ci sono! E soprattutto, se so che posso arrivare in bici all’uni e all’allenamento in pochi minuti sono molto più motivata ad uscire di casa! Ieri mi sono svegliata con molta nostalgia di casa. Sembra assurdo perché torno fra un mese a Roma, ma in ogni caso andando all’università incontrando qualche amica (e poi anche solo “vedere” gente è “socializzare”) e ritirando il modem di internet, mi ha davvero tirato su il morale! Videochat con mia sorella di sera e poi sono crollata a dormire!

Manca come scritto prima davvero poco al mio ritorno a Roma e sono davvero fomentata, ma sempre molto sorpresa quando mi rendo conto che questo autunno/inverno buio svedese non mi ha fatta andare in letargo come era successo quando ero stata exchange student in Svezia. Comunque, oggi allenamento e poi mi precipito nella chiesa dove faremo le prove per il concerto di Natale del 4 dicembre. Alla fine credo parteciperò solo al concerto di Natale ed al “treno di Lucia” che ci sarà in aula magna la seconda settimana di dicembre, giusto per avere un assaggio di com´è cantare nel treno di Lucia in Svezia. Altrimenti ci sarebbero cinque concerti in più da cantare e proprio non ce la faccio!

Gli svedesi ed i  calendari doodle: in Italia non si usano, o almeno non mi era mai successo di usarli. I calendari doodle per chi non lo sapesse sono semplicemente dei modi facili facili di decidere un appuntamento o un evento in modo democratico, ovvero secondo il metodo de “la maggioranza vince”. Finora son stata invitata a quattro “sondaggi”. Due per decidere i turni al pub degli studenti, novembre e dicembre, uno per decidere quando riunirsi con la voce del mio coro a casa di qualcuno per studiare meglio i brani, ed uno per decidere quando fare il meeting iniziale per diventare host nel prossimo semestre. Questo dimostra davvero quanto in Svezia nessuno voglia sentirsi maggiore di nessuno, si decide insieme, e soprattutto si fanno le cose “ordinatamente”. E niente su carta soprattutto! Un altro esempio di questa libertà e possibilità di partecipare alle decisioni, e zero gerarchia, sta nel fatto che nel coro dell’università si organizzano spesso gruppi, composti da noi coriste stesse, per svolgere alcuni incarichi come l’organizzazione di concerti importanti, oppure il gruppo che si occupa dei social media ecc.. Tutti questi consigli vengono decisi ad inizio anno, ed alcuni meno importanti a metà anno, durante “meeting” informali e formali simili a questo. Un pochetto straziante vero? 😛 Comunque, a maggio canteremo un concerto tutto nostro che avrà come tema centrale quello delle donne. I brani scelti saranno solo quelli scritti o cantati da donne…e per organizzare il concerto c’era bisogno di un “producente grup” ovvero un gruppo producenti, e ho deciso di farne parte! Quindi…il prossimo semestre sarà pieno di cose da fare, come lo è stato dopotutto anche questo! Spero di riuscire a trovare tempo per rilassarmi, anche perché se non si ha mai tempo per fare quello che piace non ci si rende neanche conto che il tempo esiste! E la procrastinazione qui è diventata attività quotidiana! Comunque…il mio obiettivo di stare allenata e quindi non troppo stanca durante la diminuzione delle giornate sta riuscendo alla grande, e questo mi basta per essere un po’ soddisfatta.

Ricapitolando…il prossimo semestre canterò nel coro, sarò producente di un concerto fighissimo, continuerò ad allenarmi, frequenterò circa quattro corsi (tra una settimana mi diranno a quali sono stata accettata), probabilmente riceverò il personal number svedese, ovvero il codice fiscale che qui serve per ogni singola cosa, probabilmente andrò a trovare mia sorella che si è trasferita in Portogallo da qualche settimana, e sarò host per i nuovi studenti internazionali che arriveranno a gennaio. Emozionata? È dire poco!

Ieri ho visto in aula magna con un’amica un concerto di un cantante svedese abbastanza famoso che si chiama Danny Saucedo, che ha partecipato sia al Melodifestivalen che all’Eurovision Song Contest. È stata una specie di concerto chiacchierata con un altro musicista chiamato Nils Landgren. Davvero interessante. Dopo aver visto il principe Daniel due volte e la principessa Victoria una volta, mi rendo conto sempre di più quanto sia bello stare in questa università.

Ora vi saluto! A presto!

Fate un salto su questi link se volete sentirmi parlare di come vanno le cose qui in Svezia 🙂

E qui…se siete curiosi della situazione politica relativa alle immigrazioni.

 

Incontri svedesi e vitamina D

Ho passato ore sul mio blog e nei discorsi a scrivere e disprezzare la conoscenza/coscienza alimentare che gli svedesi hanno del cibo, ed il basso rispetto che hanno verso il cibo dato che prendo sempre molto cibo nel piatto e poi lo buttano. Nonostante questo, inizio a trovare coincidenze sulle abitudini alimentari, e con questo intendo non come mangiano ma cosa. Latte sempre e ovunque. Carne, salmone e cereali. Mi sto preparando per l’inverno svedese. Per lo spaventoso buio che ci aspetta e al quale sono più che preparata ora (o almeno credo…si lo sono dai!) mi sto informando sui vari alimenti che effettivamente sono fonte di vitamina d e tra questi ci sono salmone, uova, latte, burro e cereali. Insomma tutte cose che nella dieta nordica sono più che comuni (uno svedese medio beve tre bicchieri di latte al giorno!), e io cerco di mangiare come loro alla ricerca della famosa vitamina d! Tra le tante cose…ho appena finito di preparare una decina di contenitori con cibo che ho surgelato e riscalderò all’università.

Oggi durante la lezione di comunicazione interculturale ho avuto un fortissimo mal di testa. Sarà il clima molto incerto, il freddo che arriva, l’umidità di prima mattina, la stanchezza o il pranzo troppo pesante…in ogni caso una delle ragazze cinesi nel mio corso decide di mettermi le dita sulle tempie spingendo come se mi volesse infilare la bacchetta di Silente nella testa…spinge le dita e fa un dolore cane…poi mi chiede: “ti senti meglio ora!?”. Io completamente scioccata rispondo con un tono felicissimo della serie “È un rimedio tradizionale cinese vero!!!?” e lei tutta contenta risponde “si! Puoi farlo anche te a casa se vuoi!”. Insomma, il dolore ovviamente si è assentato per qualche minuto perché mi aveva praticamente fracassato la testa ma…be intercultural!

Ma ora passiamo al tema più importante di questo post. Avevo sentito gente dire che le riunioni di lavoro svedesi possono durare ore ed essere estremi per chi non è abituato, ma anche per gli svedesi anche se con meno controindicazioni psicologiche. Vi racconterò la cosa…facendo parte del coro femminile dell’università, ieri c´è stato un incontro di metà anno per votare alcuni membri del consiglio (dato che siamo una delle tante associazioni universitarie studentesche), il presidente, ed approvare un piano contro la discriminazione dei membri nel coro. Insomma, iniziato alle 5 di pomeriggio e finito alle 10 di sera. Shock culturale again! Arrivati alla questione del piano di discriminazione una ragazza interviene parlando senza interruzione, dicendo che per lei non era un buon piano. Nessuno si azzarda ad intervenire, interrompere, dire che sta parlando troppo ecc…ma tutti abbiamo capito dalla prima parola che la ragazza ha detto che la questione si sarebbe prolungata a lungo…ok ma quanto a lungo? Due ore tra discussioni (perché poi piano piano le timide svedesi hanno iniziato ad alzare le mani senza sosta e dire la loro, perché dopo tutto è un paese democratico) e decisione di votare il piano. La votazione sembra una cosa facile e veloce non è vero? Non in Svezia…si deve decidere come votare e soprattutto farlo, prendere la decisione! Questo ha preso circa una mezz’ora tra le due ore che in Italia si sarebbero evitate. Sono arrivata a casa sconvolta, anche perché durante la riunione nessuno si azzardava a dimostrare un minimo di sconforto, o almeno non all’italiana…mentre io ero l’unica che sbuffava di nascosto, o faceva facce strane…e io sono abbastanza abituata all calma svedese ed alle differenze culturali, quindi immaginate come è stato stressante l’incontro di ieri!!! Inizio a pensare che gli svedesi fanno riunioni solo per fare fika! E alla fine…dato che anche la presidente che voleva assolutamente lasciare l’incarico ieri doveva assolutamente essere sostituita…e ovviamente nessuno voleva prendersi quest’incarico…si sono aggiunte altre attese interminabili (gente che chiamava gente per chiedere se volevano prendersi l’incarico etc…); se una ragazza non si fosse fatta avanti credo che la possibilità di rimanere fino alle 8.00 di mattina sarebbe stata forte!

Ma la cosa divertente di ieri è stata il rituale di iniziazione dei nuovi membri del coro. Il coro si chiama Söt Likör (liquore dolce) e quindi noi ragazze nuove ci siamo dovute mettere in piedi in mezzo a tutti i tavoli messi ad u con un bicchierino di Baileys in mano, ci siamo presentate dicendo un ricordo che abbiamo legato alla musica. Le “vecchie” hanno cantato la canzone del coro e alla fine abbiamo bevuto il liquore…davvero divertente devo dire!

Sabato prossimo sono stata invitata ad una cena cucinata dalle ragazze cinesi al campus. Sabato avrò ricevuto dalla mia famiglia ospitante una bicicletta che non usano più, o meglio che non hanno mai usato e che gli è stata regalata dalla vicina quasi novantenne…insomma, una bici degli anni ’70! In ogni caso la bici rende le cose molto più facili, veloci e divertenti, soprattutto quando fa buio alle 16.00 e devo studiare all’università fino a tardi…

Ho l’esame di comunicazione interculturale tra 22 giorni, mi trasferisco tra 8.

Continuo a ripeterlo, consigli per affrontare il buio inverno? Avere una routine, mangiare salutare, giusto e poco, fare sport, uscire quando c´è luce e soprattutto quando c´è il sole! Credo che sto ripetendo questi consigli per me stessa…come un karma…

Vi ricordate il progetto delle Nazioni Unite diretto da EmpowerWomen di cui vi avevo parlato nel post precedente ? Mi hanno mandato una mail con scritto che venerdì ci sarà la prima conferenza online per dare via al progetto e che posso partecipare al primo mese di selezione. Non so quanta gente è arrivata a questo punto ma sono comunque molto soddisfatta! Domani, dato che faccio parte del coro, trascorrerò metà giornata fuori dall’aula magna insieme alle altre coriste per fare pubblicità alla nostra associazione…

Ora inizio a prepararmi per andare a dormire…a presto!