Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Photo Album: Crayfish Party 15th August

Click the Thumbnails to enlarge

The Spread..........A Close-up..............This one is waving

Just add snaps.................Enjoying the crayfish.....The boys

Tucking in

In the photos: Henrik, Gorel (Henrik's Mother), Gustaf (Henrik's Brother), Me (!), Liv och Ludwig (Gustaf and Kerstin's children).

Only person not shown in the photos is Kerstin, Gustaf's wife. She took the all the photos: thank you Kerstin!

Stay tuned...

I am not ignoring the Swedish general election that has just taken place, but instead fully intend to publish my own update, reporting on my own experience and understanding of the election that has just taken place, from an outside point of view. Stay tuned!

End Radio Silence

At last, I am writing another update for my Blog. When I last posted, I was back in the UK to celebrate my Dad's 65th Birthday. I had a wonderful time at home and really appreciated spending time with my family again. One thing I never mentioned was a small highlight (one of many!) to my visit home. While in Stockholm I was finding myself increasingly frustrated with the lack of reading material. Of course, the newspapers are in Swedish. So are the magazines. To get an english magazine I would have to go to the Central Trainstation to pick up an over-priced out of date english edition. The library had a small selection of english literature, but there wasn't anything I wanted to read. I know beggars can't be choosers but seriously, I had read most of the books there. There were a couple of series I really wanted to start but the first books were all missing (probably already on loan) so I couldn't take out any of those. I re-read some stories, as they had a couple of Terry Pratchett books and I never get tired of those, but on the whole I was disappointed. The washroom in the basement of the appartment block we were living in had a small make-shift library that the residents had thrown together. It consisted mostly of swedish books, but I found a John Grisham book that looked worth a try. By the time I was heading back to England I couldn't wait to stock up on books and max out my luggage weight allowance for the flight home. So imagine my absolute delight when, on arriving home, I find an envelope waiting for me. I opened it up and realised it was a birthday card from my Aunt and Uncle that had been saved for me, rather than sent on to Sweden. Inside was a gift card for Waterstones (UK Book Shop)! I was absolutely psyched, and the gift couldn't have been better timed. I was desperate for new reading material, and couldn't wait to spend it on something exciting. I bought 2 books, one was a fantasy book, the first in a series, by Jonathan Stroud, and the other was a book about the lives of Chinese women by Xinran, a Chinese Journalist. I've read the second, and will start the fantasy novel soon. I also bought a Jodi Picoult book called "Picture Perfect", which I have almost finished, and I borrowed the final book in the Twilight Series from my sister, and finished it in record time. So I am definately making up for lost time with the rate I'm gobbling up literature. And my Mum made the best offer ever, to send me magazines in the post so that I have some light reading material. Of course, it's also important to me to try and learn to read in Swedish, and I try to read an article in the newspaper, or on the TV guide, every day. It may only be 100 words long, but it's important to me to keep trying!

Once I arrived back in Sweden, I moved half way across the country, to Malmo in the South of Sweden, where I am now living and working. Housing and travel has been a bit of an adventure for the last month or so. Let me try to bring you up to date on my current situation, by using the following list:

1) July 21st - August 27th. While living in Stockholm I was staying in Henrik's Mother's appartment in Central Stockholm, and occasionally having short stays at his Uncle's house on Alon, an island in the Archipelago.

2) August 27th - I travelled to England for my Dad's 65th Birthday. Let the good times roll!

3) September 1st - Back to Stockholm. I arrived in the small hours of the morning, so technically the 2nd.

4) September 2nd - Morning flight to Malmo. Staying with friends on a beautiful farm in Horby. I've never stayed in such a wonderful place, with sheep, horses, chickens, cats, a dog and lots of home grown food. I felt truly spoiled! We were waiting for our appartment in town to be available.

5) September 4th - First day of the new job. More on this later.

6) September 6th - Back to England. This time, Birmingham. I was supporting Henrik in a recital he was performing on the 7th. Then we went to my family home, packed lots more of our stuff, spent some quality time with my family again. Henrik met the guinea pig, the parrot and the cats we have at home. We went out for a lovely dinner at the best Fish and Chips Restaurant in town, and of course I had Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas. It was beautiful.

7) September 8th - Fly back to Malmo. This time we are living in a lovely appartment in Lorensborg. The appartment belongs another kind member of the family, and we are staying in this one until our appartment is available. We are waiting for the tenants to move out, they have the place until 30th Sept, as agreed in the contract. The place we are staying in is beautiful, and I'm grateful for the generosity of Henrik's family and friends, that have enabled us to have somewhere to stay while waiting for our appartment. I honestly can't wait to get in to our place though, and start unpacking my new life properly.

So that's everything caught up, in a very brief and basic form. Let me tell you about my new job. I'm working as the singing teacher in an international theatre school, affiliated with one of the inernational schools in Malmo. We effectively run a weekend activity where the children learn songs, dances and drama sketches and perform them at the end of term. It is a wonderful opportunity for me because it enables me to teach in english, and meet a huge ex-pat community. I've also had lots of interest from students for private lessons, which is fantastic as that is what I was doing most in England and I'm really keen to carry on in Sweden. I've also made friends with my colleagues, Mattias (Drama Teacher) and Victoria (Dance). It feels really good for me to be making friends of my own, so that I am not just relying on Henrik's friends for socialising (although they are also lovely people, there's something to be said for being independent!). I've also met a lovely lady called Vanessa, who has a child at the theatre school. She has been helping us out with registers, selling tshirts and looking after the children during their breaktimes. She is a Drama Teacher at one of the Universities in Malmo and has been really helpful and friendly to me. She is actually from England, but married a Swede and now lives with him in Sweden.

I've faced various challenges with my work so far, the most memorable being this past Saturday (18th) where I actually took the dance classes, and another singing teacher covered the singing lessons. Victoria is performing in a national tour at the moment, and she won't be available for every weekend. When she is away, I am the cover-dance teacher. I really enjoyed teaching the routines to the kids and working on the steps with them. It was a great 3 hour work out for me too, as they have so much energy!

Speaking of work-outs, I put on about 7lbs this summer...maybe even more, I couldn't find a reliable working set of scales. I'm supposed to be a UK size 12 on the bottom, 10 on top, but now all my clothes feel tight! There, I've said it. Now I'm accountable to everyone who reads this blog. I'm going to try and get back in shape. I'm not planning any major weight loss, but I need to get fit again, so I will be checking in with you all. I just need a set of weighing scales now! Keep checking for updates on my progress. That will encourage me to work hard!

I think I've caught everything up to date now, and as I'm in a more permanent location for the time being, I will be updating on a more regular basis once again. Thanks for reading!