Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sweden: The Land of 100,000 Lakes

SAS version of Diet Coke

I have spent the past week attempting to learn some Swedish and will continue to attempt to learn more in the coming months that I am living in Stockholm. I am not sure how successful I will be - not only does the language have a difficult pronunciation (like English, several different pronunciations for the same letter with rules dictating which pronunciation to use), but part of the language is getting the correct intonation and emphasis with the syllables. That is the part that most foreigners really have difficulty with. I flew out Monday afternoon and had an “overnight flight” to Copenhagen. I lost 7 hours of time and in the course of a 7.5 hour flight, have now reached Tuesday morning. I slept a couple hours, albeit uncomfortably, on the plane to Copenhagen. The flight was not full and I had my row all to myself but unfortunately ended up in the row where the dividers between the seats did not lift up. I am sure I will end up with a good night’s sleep tonight in Stockholm! 
Royal Palace
Royal Palace
The Copenhagen airport is huge and seems like a giant shopping mall. There are designated smoking areas (this is one area where I think I will definitely prefer the USA) outside of the main terminals. There are hardwood floors throughout the terminal. I have not heard anyone speaking English, although when I ordered my coffee in English from the Copenhagen airport Starbucks, English was readily spoken back to me. Definitely some new determination to improve my Swedish while I am here. I have about an hour and a half before my flight to Stockholm. Should arrive around 10:30 local time and then will make my way to my new home until 20 December - J├Ągargatan 20, room 1:025. I’ll be sure to finish catching up after I locate my room, drop off my things, pay my rent, get my student ID card...it’s going to be a busy day. 

I don't know, but it looks cool









...So as expected, my grand plans didn't quite work out for my first day in Stockholm. I ended up taking a taxi from Arlanda Airport to my dorm because I had a ton of stuff and could not seem to figure out how to get to the express train into downtown Stockholm. It worked out for the best. I think I was able to get here sooner because of it. I got my key and unpacked then took a much needed shower. By then it was already 2:00 in the afternoon and I was definitely ready to go to sleep. But since I need to adjust to this time zone, I made myself stay awake and started running my errands. I managed to find my way to T-Central station where I was able to get a 30-day unlimited rail/bus pass then headed toward the Karolinska Institutet (where I am an exchange student for these couple of months in Sweden). Unfortunately the office where I pay rent closed at 3:00 and it was 4:30 by the time I got there. So I took my time in returning home and made a stop in Gamla Stan, the old city of Stockholm. This is definitely the tourist and shopping area and is also where the royal palace is located. Despite my tiredness, I was still able to very much appreciate the scene around me. I am looking forward to exploring this area further over the next few months.

Streets of Gamla Stan
Sweden is a lot like Minnesota - lots of lakes, lots of green space, lots of trees and farms, and the Scandinavian population would fit in any small Minnesota town. However, it is strange being in a place where I can't read any of the signs or even try to pronounce the words written on them and everyone around me is speaking in a different language. It is somewhat isolating although I know that most people here can communicate pretty effectively in English. So tonight I am going to bed early so I can finish running my errands tomorrow. Thursday I leave for a week vacation in Paris before starting my first international rotation!

Looking like I slept on a plane...

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