Wednesday, January 21, 2009

In Sweden

As promised, I have clearly stayed very up to date with this blog. I spent time snowboarding in Mammoth, and then I had to deal with the Great Passport Debacle of 2009, when, much to my chagrin, I learned that between UPS and the Swedish Consulate in New York, my passport could not be kept track of. So I had to spend a nice chunk of change on a new passport and money on the gas to drive to Wilshire Blvd. twice and back.

After receiving my new passport and Swedish residence permit, I (to disregard the few days in between) flew to Sweden. The plane ride to London from LAX was filled with sleep (unfortunately, the last good night of sleep I've had, if you can call it that, but I'll get there), and I watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall on my iPod. I should mention that at first, I sat in the wrong seat – a very embarassing experience. After a two hour layover at Heathrow, I embarked on a 767 to Stockholm. Two and half hours later, I landed in Sweden, my place of residence for the next 5 months. After lugging my bags about a mile through Arlanda Airport to the train station, I boarded the train for Uppsala, where the university is. Upon arriving, I was very hungry, so walked into town until I found the ever-reliable golden arch which symbolizes, if I'm not mistaken, the world's fattest corporation (and the world's fattness in general, i suppose). Mind you, this is because nothing else was open.

I am situated in my own room with the following amenities – bathroom, desk, bed (which is strangely elevated above the desk – I have subsequently moved the mattress onto the floor), toaster oven, stove top, microwave, refrigerator/freezer, etc...

The first night was rather difficult – I can't remember the last time I was alone and without a phone or internet connection, but morning came and I started to make friends (I think) and such. I'm about a 15-20 minute walk from the city center, Stora Torget in Swedish. I walked to the International Office (at first, I thought it was closed because the handle on the door, which normally indicates that you need to pull it open, obviously means that I had to push it) and picked up many things, most importantly, my SIM card. Then I headed to Claus Ohlsson, an electronics store, to pick up my nostalgic Nokia phone (yes, it has snake on it).

There is much more to recount, and I'll do so eventually, but I suppose I should talk a bit about my sleeping problem, which is the reason I am even typing this right now. Never have I ever had so much trouble sleeping in my life. Ask anyone: sleeping is something I have always done a lot of and I have always really enjoyed. But here, in Uppsala, for whatever reason, sleeping hours have been few and far between. I think it is a combination of the alienation produced by culture shock and the jet lag. In terms of the former, I'm having some feelings of dread, right now, about staying here for 5 months; it seems like an eternity I don't want to deal with. Right now, if I was any less of a man (which everyone knows I'm not), I would choose to come home. It's good to know that this is apparently normal and that these concerns will subside as the days pass. For now, though, sleep is a precious commodity. I have gotten a total of about 8 hours of sleep the last three nights. I'm still on the California schedule, I think.

I'll talk about the Arse and BC and the more fun stuff to read tomorrow morning, when inevitably, I wake up at 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 am.

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