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One year and counting…

13 January, 2008; 17:54 Leave a comment Go to comments

Today marks the four-year anniversary of my first arrival in Stockholm. Between the first stay of a bit more than six months, and this stay that’s been about six months (once you deduct the 3 weeks I was just gone for the holidays), I’ve basically been in Stockholm for a total of one year. So just to make things easy on myself, for accounting purposes, I’m marking this day as the day I had lived here for one year.

Now for nostalgia’s sake, here’s a look back at the travelogue post from that day of my arrival in Stockholm the first time around…

Hej hej! Hälsningar från Sverige!

THE FLIGHT
“Imagine if it snowed sugar
It would look like snow,
but a lot more people
would be eating out”
This is what Scandinavian Airlines prints on their sugar packets, nothing else. Not “sugar”, not “tear down the dotted line”. Alaska Airlines, in contrast, puts a slip of paper with a bible verse in their meals.
THE ARRIVAL
When the taxi dropped me off at the apartment building, I found there was a missing step in the instructions I was given to get into my apartment: there was no mention of the keypad at the front door, let alone a code. I peered inside to look for anyone lurking around that could let me in, but it was all quiet. It was completely dark outside now (it was about 4:30pm). I looked back and saw that my taxi was gone, and this was far too quiet of a street for me to have much luck calling one. What I needed to do was either find out the code (probably by calling Iisakki in Finland, who rented me the place) or stay one night somewhere else in case I didn’t get a hold of him. I’d need a public phone or, if that didn’t work out, a hotel or hostel. Well, thanks to Becky’s legwork last summer, I already knew there was a hostel AND hotel on Långholmen, a small island only a couple blocks away, and it was sure to have a public phone.
Now, a couple of you saw the bags I brought, but for the rest of you, I had a wardrobe suitcase, a gym bag, a medium backpackers suitcase, and a computer bag. They all have shoulder straps and handles, so it seemed perfectly reasonable for me to be able to carry them all myself with my two shoulders and two arms (in fact I already did a bit of that at the airport and train station when changing cash and buying a phone card and transit card). So I started down my street, which led straight across the little bridge to Långholmen. Here’s the bridge (but remember it was dark when I was first here) and my path in yellow…

Långholmen Bridge
Originally uploaded by joelpf
[Note: the photo at right was taken at about 3:30pm]

After crossing the bridge and following some of the signs to the hotel, I started to really appreciate the life of a mule, until I realized that most mules don’t have to deal with ICE! Yes, half of the roads and all of the walking paths are covered in ice, so I had to stick to the roads. As I went I realized that I was in one of those situations where if you saw me trudging along with my four bags, you’d certainly wonder how that poor sop could possibly have ended up in this predicament, but being in the predicament myself I had no choice to literally walk that road, and at the time I tried to ignore what it must have looked like. Following the signs led me to the far end of the yellow building at the far left in the photo above.
Without asking any details, the front desk at the Långholmen Hotel let me store my bags in their left luggage room while I phoned Iisakki, got his tentative “I THINK it’s 9175, but I can’t exactly remember”, and walked back down to the apartment building with just one of my bags. Inevitably, just as I got to the door, someone was there to let me in! I tried the code anyway – just to be sure – and it worked, so to quickly wrap up this story, I got into my apartment, dropped off the one bag, walked back to Långholmen, picked up my 3 other bags, and used a taxi (called by the friendly front desk) to take the load back to my new home. Then I slept.

That’s all for now. For the next several days I’ll mostly be trying to figure out all the mundane parts of living in Stockholm – where’s the laundry room, do I need a Swedish bank account, how do I light the oven,…

Ah, good times. My amazement four years ago about how dark it was at 3:30 p.m. has been put in perspective by the last month here. When I left for the holidays, it was nearly the winter solstice, and the sun was setting around 3:00 p.m. Upon returning last week, I have to say that the sun is setting noticeably later, though not by much. Enough, though, that now I realize that I really did miss out on the darkest days, the first time around.
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Categories: daily life
  1. galavantista
    22 January, 2008; 11:34 at 11:34

    joel. i’m not sure about the darkness, but i think it might be affecting your MATHS…

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