Expat Magazine

'As Big As Your Head'

By Elisecd @elise_cd

On the whole, this week has mostly been characterised by how completely uncharacteristic of me it has been.  For one, I have attended all of my classes at university, which is an enormous step up from the 10% attendance rate I was probably averaging in Plymouth, and I’ve even done all the prep work for them.  (Although, ironically, at points when I have been procrastinating, I have been doing so by reading Sense and Sensibility, after somehow struggling through an essay about sensibility without reading it last year.)  Most importantly though, and it makes me feel slightly ill to admit this, I think I might have even enjoyed them.  In our general university introduction sessions, we were warned that there was no spoon feeding here, and it’s certainly true.  It was a slight shock to the system initially but for the first time since my disastrous dalliance with A Level Maths, I’m not sitting in class thinking that I probably could have done this in primary school, and it turns out that’s a good feeling.  Who knew?  I also had my first Master’s class in Speculative Fiction which was even more difficult, but again, I seemed to enjoy it even more.  My only issue is that all the other students are, unsurprisingly, big sci fi fans and as somebody who has never even watched Star Wars, I have absolutely no frame of reference for what they’re talking about most of the time.  I never thought the day would come when it required a weekend watching sci fi movies to bring me up to speed for a class.Along this same module student vein, I have also not been out since last Friday – eight days guys, eight whole fricking days – and on Thursday I even chose my night class instead of the Erasmus kick off party.  The fact that it apparently ended up being a bit of a flop and nobody went is a moot point, I chose literary theory before I knew any of that.  Last year, I regularly managed to talk myself out of 9am classes in case they interrupted a night out, so this is particularly out of character.  Also, after a whole week of 7am starts  (something that hasn’t happened since I was sixteen, excluding the two months of fifty hour working weeks this spring) I remembered what a joyous experience the Saturday morning lie in is.  It’s almost worth all this effort just to recapture the sense of weekend magic.  And I stand by that point even though this morning’s lie in ended at 9.20am so that I could go for a group gym session at 10am.  Yes, you heard right: I went to the gym at 10am on a Saturday morning, and I spent every single second there thinking about my ridiculously exciting paisley jeans that are a bit of a squeeze to do up right now.The main reason for this sudden tightness in the clothing department is probably something to do with my participation in the consumption of a ridiculously large cinnamon bun this afternoon.  The specific sizing of it is, as I’ve told anybody who’ll listen since I discovered them on Thursday, ‘as big as your head’.   We found this obesity drug in Haga, a cute little street of cafes and antique shops and, for some reason, Moomin memorabilia, that I may or may not have mentioned before.  We did go some way to rectifying the sugar feast by walking up a ‘mountain’ (ahem… small, albeit steep, hill) to a tower/castle type thing.  It was nice with some amazing views of Gothenburg but it was also a bit of a suicide mission given the gale force winds that followed us up there.  We didn’t make it up the tower either as some kind of event was occurring, or at least I assume there was, otherwise people were just very inappropriately dressed for a walk up a hill on a windy day.In my last post I mentioned the Kindle and the Language Assistant volunteering, and then never got around to saying anything more about them, so here we go.  I’ll start with the Kindle and get the bad news out of the way.  I have been completely anti-ebook, anti-Kindle, anti-Kobo since they were first introduced a few years ago.  I have been very vocal about my objections and have sworn not to get one, ever, point blank, period.  Then I came to Sweden.  Sigh.  Most Amazon sellers won’t ship here, the international bookshops are ludicrously overpriced and I had a strong feeling that I couldn’t get away with just buying one book from each module’s reading list this term (and even if I could, this strange new academic motivation seems to tell me that I don’t want to get away with it).  The only option seemed to be a Kindle, aka the tool of the devil, the death of literature.  The day it arrived, I sat staring at it for a long time before opening the box.  When I opened it, I was decidedly underwhelmed.  To be honest, I don’t have much to say on the matter (which makes this whole paragraph a bit redundant, sorry); it’s okay, it’s adequate, it does the job, but it’s not a book and I can’t get excited about it like I can a book and I won’t ever choose its sleek case over a tatty old paperback.   And that’s that.I have many more positive things to say about the volunteering however.  ABF Vux caters mostly to teaching English to native Swedes and both English and Swedish to asylum seekers.  I’ll admit that I was a bit wary about participating, as it’s just not my sort of thing.  At all.  However, I was completely wrong.  It was straight forward and interesting and I really enjoyed the session.  If nothing else, you get a lunch voucher after each class and a certificate at the end of term, however I have a feeling you’ll get a lot more out of it than that, although I’m aware how hideously cheesy that sounds.  It was fun though, let’s leave it at that, and I also have yet another group of people to add to the ‘people who laugh at my British accent’ list.  Between you and me, this list is getting pretty long.Tonight, I am going out for the first time in eight days (I’m not sure if I mentioned it or not, but I haven’t been out for eight days… eight days) with the people who laugh at my accent more than anybody else.  We had high hopes of making sangria then remembered that Sweden is a ridiculous country and you can’t buy alcohol after 3pm on a Saturday, so we’re just having to make do with plain ol’ wine instead.  Nonetheless, I am exciting to finally wear something other than a jumper and to unleash some ludicrous dancing.  No doubt you’ll hear from me tomorrow, dying in bed and having undone all the good work of the past week.  Peaks and troughs.(I’ve noticed that seem to sound pretty anti-Sweden in these posts, which couldn’t be further from the truth, it’s just sometimes a bit difficult to be enthusiastic about a country that makes you pay £4 for tampons, that doesn’t let you watch 4OD and where you have to decide on pre-drinks at lunchtime.)

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