Ok, ok, the title of this one is a really bad joke. But give me a break, I’ve had a really busy week and weekend. If I get an event for Wednesday, I’ll have had a full week of nightly events! So I should start at the beginning and take you through it all.
It all started last week Thursday when I went line dancing with Pauline and some of her friends. That was a lot of fun. I went to Skogis and we talked for a while before a girl from Canada taught us some line dances. Those were fun, but I still prefer my folk dancing class. I spent about two and a half hours at Skogis, and I only left because I had class early in the morning on Friday.
Friday I had planned to get a lot of my work for my final done. So since I had to find the building that my class was in I left an hour and a half early so I could get some studying in before the class. It’s a little hard that my class keeps changing buildings, but it keeps the class interesting because you never know what the classroom will look like. So I got to my building at 8:30 and spent the next hour and a half studying before class. On Friday we had a really interesting class because it was a presentation from two teachers from South Africa. It was really cool to see the differences in the education programs between South Africa, Sweden and the United States. Class really flew by. Then Lisa invited me to see a band that was performing in the social sciences building’s cafeteria place. There is an event called Umea Open going on right now so I am told that there are a lot of musical performances going on at the moment. We had lunch while listening to a rock band. Then we went to the library and got some more studying done. I had to leave early because I had plans to see the Bookthief with Pauline and some of her friends. The Swedish theaters are really interesting. All the tickets are bought from a machine and you have to pick your seats. Even concessions is different, just look at this candy picker! But the biggest difference is that the entrance is at the front of the building, but the when you exit the theater you come out the back! The Booktheif was really good though, I loved seeing it. The Swedish commercials at the beginning of the movie were hard to make out what they were selling though. But it was fun to laugh at our lack of knowledge.
Saturday I had to be up early again for the zoo trip to Lycksele. That was so much fun! Again I was Pauline and some of her friends who I’m becoming better acquainted with all the time now. There was Sarah, and Kathi from Germany and Teagan from Australia in addition to me and Pauline. I even saw Ben, Johanas, and Jessica in the larger group and talked with them now and then. Seeing the animals was really cool. There were only animals from Sweden there, and it wasn’t so much a zoo as a breeding program that allowed visitors in. My favorite animals were the wolverines, seals, muskox, and foxes. I was really excited to see the seals and wolverines especially. I got some really great pictures. I also took some videos, but sadly my camera and computer don’t like each other at the moment in regards to videos and I can’t seem to get them to play. There were two things that really made the zoo trip tons of fun. The first one was that we were the only people in the zoo. The zoo is closed in the winter and spring unless there is a large group of people like we were. In the summer is is open all the time and people can come and go. The other thing that really made the zoo enjoyable, for me at least, was that I kept falling! I slipped on snow and fell on butt once, slid but kept my balance at least a half dozen times, did an elongated leg stretch to keep from falling once, and when we were on the bridge over the seal enclosure I even managed to fall sideways while standing still when the snow I was standing on suddenly gave out. It was an adventure just to see when and where I would stumble, fall, or trip next!
Sunday I went to the church in Alidhem for the first time! It took me much less time to find the building than I had expected, I blame the maps here. So I took some pictures of the building. It took me a moment or two to find the doors because they blended in really well to the walls. But my combination of early arrival and walking around taking pictures and trying to find the doors led me to meeting the pastor at the church. So that was kinda cool. The service was translated into English via a guy speaking into a microphone and me having a receiver in my ear. It was an interesting service, though at times the combination of Swedish and English led to some confusion on my part. It was hard to follow when my brain wanted to split my focus between the two languages. I did turn down the translation during songs and tried to speak…er…sing Swedish at those points. I don’t think I did very well. I wasn’t expecting the service to last an hour and a half since it started at 11, so I had to skip the churches fika because I had errands I had to run. I had to go and do some shopping so that I could bring a fruit platter to my folk dancing party that night. Next time I’m going to try and stay and get to know some of the people in the church. The dance party was fun! It was very disappointingly attended though. It was just the teacher Richard, his colleague Ava, Pauline, Max, two new students from Tanzania, a guy from Portugal, and me. We managed to have lots of fun anyway. We ate dinner first, which was a pasta salad, schnitzel, and a salmon and rice dish. For dessert we had my fruit platter and a cookie cake from Portugal. Then we danced for three hours! We went over almost all of the dances we learned, and we had fun when Max tried to teach everyone the Jive, and later Pauline and me the slower version of the waltz. That especially was fun because we had a song from the Lion King playing at the time and then suddenly Pauline and Max were waltzing to it! We also had lots of fun dancing the Czech Polka. I really like that one. After the dancing Pauline, Max, and I decided to go to Lake Nydala and try to see the Northern Lights. Since Max and I live in Alidhem but Pauline lives in Mariehem, Max and I stopped by our building to quickly change and put our food away. Then we walked the 45min or so to the lake. It cleared up the longer as we walked to the Lake but as we were waiting on the bridge we saw clouds moving in. Since none us really knew what the forecast of the lights were that night, and we weren’t seeing any at the moment, we went to Pauline’s building in Mairehem to look at the forecast. This was about a 15-30 min walk I think. As we were walking to Mairehem it started snowing! So we looked at the forecast even though we knew we couldn’t see the lights now, and then Max and I walked the hour or so back to Alidhem. It was nearly midnight before we got back! I was so tired on that walk back, but slipping on a patch of ice and nearly falling woke me back up really quick.
Monday I was simply exhausted. I finished up my readings for my classes final, and went through the events on facebook that I had been invited to or were suggested to me. I’m thinking of going to a play in April about Pompeii, I joined an expedition to an Elk farm, and consented to several other activities. Tonight and Thursday I have events with my buddy group. Tonight is waffle making and Thursday is dinner at Skogis and partying at Lokal. Anyway I spent a lot of time reading and relaxing on Monday before I went to the last dance class of the year. That was really disappointing. For a half hour it was just Pauline and I. Richard even had a meeting for that same amount of time. He showed us how to use the boombox and told us to have fun. We practiced all of the basic steps we learned, tried to do American Promanade together since the leading part is very similar to the part we normally danced and waited for some other people to show up. Twenty minutes in the two new students from Tanzania arrived. We tried Oh Susannah! but it doesn’t work very well with just two couples. It was lots of fun to laugh at our attempts though. Then we did the four person schottis, this was the point when Richard came back. A little later Max came and our group for the evening was complete. I was really disappointed more people didn’t show up because changing partners is more fun when there are more people. But at the same time it wasn’t bad at all. We did the family waltz three times which I really liked. And since I was still so tired from all that happened that weekend and especially from my long walk the night before the dance we did do were a little slower and had less turns. It was lots of fun even though not many people showed up. Pauline and I decided that those who ditched us for both the party and the last class who show up to my Midwestern Friday Night Fish Fry next week are going to be put on dish cleaning duty as repayment.
All in all it’s been a super busy week. Tomorrow I start my new class and I find out which school I am going to student teach in and where that school is. I’m hoping that it’s in Alidhem. Friday Pauline is setting up a movie night so I get to see if I can remember how to walk to Mariehem. I think that I can…it’s just a matter of choosing which of the two paths that I know of that I want to take. I also have to make sure I can find all of the ingredients for my fish fry night, and find time to catch up with Carolina. Whew, I feel tired just thinking about everything I still have coming up. And next week I head into schools so I will have less time than I have been used to! Well, I’d better get to class. Wish me luck on my final! Goodbye for now.