Alex's Alliterative Adventures

Thoughts on Programming, Life, and Travel

Archive for August, 2006

One man’s delinquency

So apparently one of the courses I’m taking while on exchange is going to be taught in Swedish.  The prof recommends that exchange students just don’t come to lectures. On top of the prof personally telling me to not bother going to class, ever, I also get a chance to immerse myself in real, practical Swedish conversations and pick up as much as I can, provided I don’t sleep in. What a great country.

In other news, one of the Swedish banks will actually give me money! They are civilized over here!

 

edit: I’ve made some changes to the site. Most noteably, I’ve added Amir’s site to the links sidebar on the right. Oh, yeah, I added a links sidebar on the right. Anyways, Amir’s site has a bunch of pictures from Lund that I’m too broke to take right now. Give ‘er a read.

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Why msn is so popular

So I signed on msn just now, only to be greeted by a pleasant surprise.  Someone I haven’t spoken to in years has set his msn name to “Walk in the rain and no one will see you cryin…”

I love emo kids.  They’re more fun than gak.

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Maliciousness, thy name is Every University Ever

After waiting in line for over hours, I recently learned that my course schedule is not only overloaded, but some of the courses have new places in time, and who knows, possibly space. I was under the impression that I came over here because I had been accepted as a Lund student, but apparently I need to collect signatures from 5 professors, some of whom may not be on campus, before I’m actually enrolled as a student here. I have a feeling that the next task I’ll be ordered to complete will require human sacrifice, probably involving virgins. Lots of virgins. With extra virgin.

On a lighter note, I got a group tour of the city from a Lund student today. We were shown cheap shops, cheap pubs, free libraries, and the sort of things that every student should know about (read: party central). I’m continually impressed by how beautiful European architecture is. I heard 4 separate people mention that they felt they were in the world of Harry Potter while walking through the streets.  Women bike passed you in dresses that rest atop their ancient comfort bikes, their tires clattering on the cobbled roads. The man who owns my new favourite pizza place spends the last part of the working day sitting out side his store with a beer, a cigarette, a newspaper. He shares his stories with anyone who’s willing to listen and fills the bellies of any who are hungry and asks mere pocket change in return. People leave their bikes unlocked and cars stop for pedestrians. It’s as close to utopia as I’ve ever seen.

And yet when I heard a lead about a potential job opening mere minutes from campus, my intrigue and relief instantly turned to uncertainty. 8 months away? What about home?  Or those I left behind?

What’s going to happen?

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Svenska 101

A quick lesson in Swedish.  If you ever need to greet someone in Swedish or find yourself desperately trying to impress a hot Swedish chick who’s said hello, keep this typical greeting in mind:

Greeting: Hej! Hur är laget?

Response: Under kontroll.

 

Best.  Language.  Ever.

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The Swedish Countryside

I spent Friday evening at the Malmo festival, or Malmöfestivalen, which was a lot of fun. I purchased what might be the most delicious concoction I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating:

Delicious

That would be battered pineapple and ice cream, in the same dish. The Swedes are a truly noble people. The serrated fork caught me by surprise, but it worked much better than the Knork.

The Malmo Festival is Malmo’s annual music festival. One of the big attractions was a giant sing along on the main stage. Hundreds, maybe thousands of people were standing around eating, drinking, and singing such classics as My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean, and what may have been Baa Baa Black Sheep. I decided to pass on the singing, since the Swedish lyrics escape me.

We ended the evening with ridiculously expensive, watery beer at the rock and roll stage. A Swedish pop/rock group, Joddla Med Siv, had the crowd worked up into an energetic frenzy. Energetic frenzies work differently in Sweden, though. Everyone was clapping along to the music and giving each other plenty of space. There was no moshing, no crowd surfing, and no continuous threat of being crushed to death. I… I didn’t know what to do.

Joddla Med Siv

I do, however, need to buy a better camera.

After heading home and getting 4 hours of sleep, I jumped on a bus with a bunch of other exchange students to check out the country side. It was pretty boring, but it was mildly picture worthy. We visited Ales stenar (the Ales stones) in Kåseberga and Gilimmingehus, which I dub the World’s Smallest Castle. If I remember correctly, no one knows what the stones are for, and the Castle belonged to some dude who got rich buy taxing the hell out of people, so he needed a castle to protect him from everyone who hated him.

Ales Stenar Glimmingehus. SO not a castle. A tiny friend

The night ended with a welcome party for exchange students. It was surprisingly empty given the fact that tickets were sold out, and the beer was watery, but it was cheap(er)! Only $5 a glass! I might have to go straight-edge while I’m here, anything else will be too expensive.

God damn it, I need a better camera.

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Denmark

I just got back from the first day of a week-long music festival, so I’m a bit exhausted. I’ll be mostly out of commission tomorrow, but I’ll write something more substantial on sunday. In mean time, I’ll tide you over with a few pictures from the land of Tasty Danishes. Click on each picture for a bigger version.

“Slut” actually means “end”. I can only presume that “spurt” means “spurt”.

Apparently the Danes have a different idea of what’s appropriate to plaster your store windows with. Either that, or they speak a foreign language, or something.

These parking clocks are extremely common in Copenhagen.

Danish cars have a small clock sticker in the windshield. It’s used to display the time at which the car was parked, which in turn is used to enforce parking laws. Shut up, I found it interesting.

I have no idea what was going on here.

Those danes, they’re crazy.

On my second day in Denmark (August 15th), I decided to walk through the local shopping area. While I was there, a random parade broke out. It may have been due to my presence, I’ll never really know for sure.

I’m about to pass out on my keyboard, I’ll be more active in a few days.

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More updates to come

The camera bowed down to me, as I am lord and master over all things electronic. I think they know I have the power to break them.

I spent a wonderful evening drinking coffee among french, polish, and spanish company. The brother of my french neighbour has spent the last two years touring Mexico and Germany. He now speaks 4 languages fluently, and he can vaguely communicate in at least one more. I think I’m going to like it here.

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Sir Colin the Great

Colin has just sent me one of the best things I’ve seen in quite some time.

Thank you, Colin.

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Jag heter Alex

Sweden can now officially be declared a civilized country. It may be slow, it may be mildly crappy, but I have internet in my room. It’s like the real world has come back to life again.

The part of this morning that I was awake for was spent in my first Swedish language class. Sweden and English share a lot of roots. For example, ombudsman and smorgasbord are both more or less swedish words. I won’t be fluent by the end of the orientation process, but I’m already able to communicate more than I could with grunting and pointing angrily.

As could be expected, everyone I’ve met so far is extremely friendly and is trying to figure out how to have the best time possible during their time abroad. The camera still isn’t looking too good, but once I get something up and running the photos will be spammed.

More tomorrow once I’m more settled in.

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D-day

I’ve arrived in Sweden, more or less alive.  I’m currently posting from a terminal in a Swedish 7-11, so a more thorough post will have to come later.

A little something for you all to think about before my next post: I’m living in an abandoned mental asylum. Lund screens their exchange students well.

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