Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Stockholm, Sverige (That's what they call Sweden here apparently)

Right now I am sitting in my room (in Sweden) warm, dry, clean, well-fed, wearing clean clothes, with all my belongings neatly put away.

This, however, has not been the case for the majority of my time here.

I left America by way of American Airlines at 8:50 am on Sunday morning. I checked one of my suitcases and brought my backpack and my smaller suitcase onto the plane. Since I am poor I was sitting in the back and they made me board the plane in the last group. By the time I got to my seat all the luggage racks were full and I couldn't find room for my suitcase anywhere. I pretty much forced a flight attendant to help me look through the whole plane for some room which made me very popular with the other passengers. There was no room anywhere at all so they told me I could check it and pick it up in Stockholm, no charge, and proceeded to take it away.

I arrived in London at 10 pm (they're 6 hours ahead) and checked into a weird Japanese podlike hotel room that the girl I was traveling with (Laura) and I had book until 4 am. Since I didn't have my carry on suitcase, the shower was pointless and I couldn't change clothes. Instead I just sent emails. I also discovered that when my phone is out of the country it thinks it is midnight at all times so I couldn't use it as an alarm clock like I was counting on. I therefore had to rely on Laura to wake me up. Since I don't trust people this meant that I woke up about every 20 minutes for the two hours I was actually trying to sleep, panicking that we had overslept. We didn't.

I lost another hour getting into Stockholm and arrived there at 10:30 am Sunday. I then wait at the baggae claim for 10 minutes watching the same bags go around over and over as i realize mine is definitely not going to appear. The nice lady at the baggage desk informs me that they left both of my bags in London but they can deliver it to me later tonight. Fuck you Sweden. Later, as I walked out of customs, staring at the map I printed off of the KTH website, I was accosted by two guys in onsies. It turns out they were sent from KTH to direct people arriving that day. I assume they decided to wear the onsies to show us just how fun college can be!

Fast forward. I'm in my room with nothing but my computer, a useless power cord (because my converters were in my luggage) and my wallet. The room is weird and old but I have my own (tiny and very strange) bathroom so I can't complain. Down the hallway is the kitchen. I don't get the kitchen at all. There are a bunch of cabinets with locks, pans, extremely dirty stoves and microwaves, and a bunch of refrigerators full of crap. Is one of those cabinets mine? Are the pots, dishes, and silverware communal? Is any of the food communal? All these questions. I decide I won't use it until I've done a lot of observing.

Laura and I decide to go to IKEA. I tries to print out directions but somehow fucked up and we had to ask someone at the T-centralen (the central merto station in Stockholm) for directions. Luckily every single person here speaks English as well as Swedish. This also make me feel horrible about myself. As it turns out, there isn't an IKEA in Stockholm, you have to go out to the suburbs. What. How does the capital of Sweden not have an IKEA? Ridiculous. Anyway, IKEA was ridiculous and huge and confusing. I also have little grasp on the value of the currency here (Kronor). I technically know the conversion but I still spend my money like it's pretend money. Whatever.

When I got back I had an email informing me that they probably couldn't deliver my suitcase because I didn't have a phone number for them to call. Then another email saying that they canceled the delivery because I did not respond to the first email in time. At this point I want to cry. I convince Laura to lend me a converter since my computer is almost dead and then I decide to should take a taxi there immediately to pick it up myself.

To do this I had to stop a couple random people in my building complex and ask to use their phone. The agreed but told me calling a cab would be a horrible idea because of how expensive it would be. After deliberating I decided I would just take mass transit in the morning. The people I stopped then invited me to have dinner with them. Best thing to happen to me so far. Even though I was gross and tired, I spent my first night with a group of really nice people form all over the world and had my first real meal in over a day. They made me put on my ipod to see what I listened to and one Australian guy actually knew who Sleigh Bells were. Hipsters!

Today was better. I got lost on my way to my registration meeting and was a half an hour late, but the lady was very nice and explained everything again. I made it to the airport and got my bags. One had gotten ripped so they gave me a brand new bag on the spot. I unpacked everything and discovered that the previous resident had left a lot of stuff like an umbrella, cleaning supplies, bags, toilet paper, hangers, and like 30 tea lights. I even have a weird magic device that lets me make calls to the US and you can call me (217-960-1125). However, calling me is probably dumb since I won't be in my room much and it's not garunteed that I will even have it plugged in.

Tomorrow I hope to set up a local phone, man up and buy some groceries, and make it to all my meetings on time. Optimism.

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