Thursday, January 22, 2009


I have a feeling this will be the first of many posts entitled "Beer." In any case, I have been here for almost a week now and have had quite a bit of beer to drink.

So what have I been up to? Well, I've done a lot of walking and biking around Uppsala during the day. I've walked through the Stora Torget a bunch of times to walk around all the shops. Some you may recognize? H&M, Subway, McDonald's, Burger King, Levi's. There is also an ICA (the Swedish supermarket) in one of the malls, the Systembolaget (the all-important liquor store), and the Akademibokhandeln (the bookstore) to pick up my textbook and a Swedish translating dictionary.

I began class yesterday – Basic Swedish History. It has a different professor for each of the 7 meetings, which is a bit unfortunate given the first professor's easiness on the eye. Besides the meetings, there is 600+ pages of textbook to read and one term paper due at the end – easy cheese.

I've met people from many countries so far. I've been hanging out with a group that consists of Americans, Swedes, Australians, Germans, and Austrians, but I've met some Dutch, French, and Canadians too. Some of us are going to take a day trip to Stockholm this weekend (it's 40 minutes by train).

Ah, now you want to hear the drinking stories? Well, I'll get back to you on those. But I'll let you know that I drank quite a bit on a "pub crawl" last night and didn't make it back to my room. I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

Uppsala University has a system of nations, a bit like the American Greeks system. There are 13 nations, each named after a region in Sweden. Every student is required to join one. Every nation has a pub, which, more often than not, is open 5 days a week. The nations organize free activities for their members, but any student from another nation can join in for a small fee.

Now, to the good stuff: beer. The beer here has been very good so far, but apparently, I have been drinking shoddy beer. Such is the difference in quality between American and European beer. One nation I went to last night had the most different types of beer I have ever seen. It was orgasmic. They had 5 different types of Samuel Adams, 6 different types of Sierra Nevada, and they had Anchor Steam on tap. Unbelievable. I had little time to spend there, so I tried the local beer – Slottskällan – and it was fantastic.

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