Does your job make you do a happy dance?

As I sat at my home desk today doing some background work I had promised to people, I checked on my main work that had been runing overnight. SUCESS! something I had been struggling with recently finally worked! (actually 3 somethings) As I did what my brother calls my “chair happy dance”, I thought does your job make you do a happy dance? At a time other than when you get your paycheck?

*Happy DANCE*

*Happy DANCE*

If your job doesn’t make you do a happy dance then why not?


Poker Night

No this is not really a post about playing poker. It is not even a post about playing poker with your colleges and how this can increase your report and make you part of the group. Or even about how to be the only woman at poker night. Instead it is about how I am becoming my mother.

When I was a kid my family always had meet up locations everywhere we went. “OK so if you get lost come to the fountain at the front of Disney World.” I went on trips with other families and they didn’t do this. Logically it makes sense. I mean we didn’t have cell phones (no not even my parents had them when I was really young) and it gave you somewhere to look if you got lost.

Often when we were late to get picked up or standing in the wrong spot my mom would tell us how not knowing where we were and not knowing where to meet people was her biggest fear. I honestly didn’t get it. What was the big deal if I was at the end of the school drive through rather than the beginning?

Yesterday night was poker night. Since some of the guys from work think that it would be wrong to gamble on campus they hold poker night at their apartment. I was coming directly from home instead of from work. when I got to their apartment (which I had never been to before) I knocked, with no answer I tried calling one of the people there whos number I had. No answer. After looking at the email on my phone which said they were going to go and pick up the sushi first I took a bus to the sushi place (10min bus–40min walk) and no dice. Next I tried calling a friend who wasn’t there but would have someone else’s phone number. Honestly I think I would have skipped the whole thing at this point except that I had to take the city bus back to by the apartment to get my bus home. So 50min late I finally arrived and did have a good time but man…


Bowling Take 2

This week for our Thursday social  we went bowling to use our 1 hr free coupons.

While I still think bowling is really boring I did have quite a lot of fun. We had 3 lanes and were all able to bowl 2 complete games. We even ended up using extra coupons and continuing to bowl for a 2nd hour. After bowling we ended up going out to dinner at a Spanish/Mexican food place around the corner. Now I ate Mexican food a total of 5 times when I lived in Chicago (5 years…not counting food I made myself). Once was for a work lunch, and the other two times were to try a few places. However the Mexican food there was neither TexMex nor the type of spicy meat sauces I like from Mexico…it was mostly lightly spiced dry meat in tacos etc. Now none of the food I tried was truly terrible but neither was it really what I wanted and since Mexican is cheap to make at home I stopped eating it at restaurants. This restaurant wasn’t traditional Mexican food or Spanish food but it was well spiced and the meat was cooked well.

We had a fun, really nerdy discussion about the type of video games we all like to play and grew up playing. As the friend of one of the guys’ girl friends said at the bowling alley (they didn’t come to dinner) it was like we were in the episode of The Big Bang Theory. I don’t think she thought this was a compliment.

As we ordered in the resturant the waitress kept responding in Swedish when anyone spoke in english (some of the guys from other european contries dont speak Swedish). So I decided to order in Swedish…I am supposed to be practicing right? The guys were all ordering beers and I asked the waitress “vilken typ av tequila ha du?” to which the waitress looked at me like I was crazy. When I repeated in English “what type of tequila do you have?” she still looked at me like I was crazy. Well apparently most people order liquor off the menu without knowing the brand, all the places we have gone have said: vodka, tequila, ….. The waitress didn’t know what types they had and had to pull out all the bottles and show me. Obviously,since I don’t drink a lot of beer, I will have to get used to the crazy looks as I continue to ask “vilken typ av tequila ha du?” “vilken typ av vodka ha du?” “vilken typ av whiskey ha du?” …

yes my name is Swedish…now can I ask in English please

Today when I got to work my building card didn’t work. I went to the main chemistry office to ask them what to do since this is where I got my card to start with. When I got there they told me that I needed to talk to my department administrator but I couldn’t get to her since I need my card to get to our offices. After figuring this out and the crazy explanation that the permanent card wasn’t here yet because the office that makes them is closed till Jan 18 for the holidays. However this post is really about my name, while I have never loved my name and have always been envious of those that can make nicknames out of their name I do love the story that my parents wanted to name me Alisa but my Swedish farmor had problems saying it so they changed it to Lisa. However, this means that my name is very Swedish.

I like that my name is Swedish sounding, in fact when I was calling the immigration board to get my visa it was so nice to have people pronounce my last name correctly, not just the baby American way I tell people in the US to say it: “it is like the boys names Fred and Dean smashed together”. When Swedish people say Fredin it sounds lyrical.

While I have been practicing and can talk in Swedish to the grocery store clerks, I don’t speak Swedish well enough to sign any important paperwork in Swedish. Everywhere I go:  the  immigration board, the tax office, the bank, the main chemistry office….after asking if we can speak in English when I hand over my ID they say “oh but you have a very Swedish name”. Yes my father is Swedish, my name is very typically Swedish…could I make major life discussions in English please….

GOAL: be able to sign bank papers in Swedish without clarifying first. Obviously not legalese but something…cashing a check maybe.

“Ugly Americans”

The time old tradition for any American headed abroad is to be reminded to not be an ugly American. So what is an ugly American?

It is being too self centered.

When you travel people are tired, people are whinny and people/tourists are not always polite.  There are three simple steps to not being an ugly American:

1. Take a deep breath, the world is not out to get you.

No Americans the world doesn’t revolve around you. Yes everyone in tourist areas speaks English but just assuming they will is rude. Better to ask “can I speak in English?” If something goes wrong it is just luck not a conspiracy. Take a deep breath and figure out what you can do next, not what you wish had happened.

2. Think before you ask questions, does the person you are asking have time to deal with you.

Today I watched a fellow tourist ask a walking tour guide questions for about 5min and then not even buy a ticket to the tour. While she was asking all these questions, others were waiting to ask questions and the guide was taking tickets from others and giving out change as the woman continued to ask question. Was this tour guide really the best person to ask so many questions to, before you and your group had even decided what you wanted to do…probably not.

3. Travel more. You will be less stressed the more you are used to travel and the more problems you have traveling the easier it will be to take the setbacks in stride.

The more you travel the better you will become at going with the flow. Yes trains are late, buses take time, and you have to read a lot of signs to get to the right underground platform but just like languages cities are very similar. Subway systems work the same all around the world. The more often you travel the more you will know to look for the signs to certain types of trains, attractions or construction.

See if you can spot them. And try to avoid joining their ranks.

Apartment Hunting…bring out the crazies

Finding an apartment especially with roommates can be dicey no matter where you are but searching for an apartment in a country you don’t live in that speaks a language you only sort of speak is even harder. I started a few months before I actually had my visa looking for roommates on some roommate finder website… I began by writing emails mostly in Swedish and saying that my Swedish is not so good so I would like to speak English at the beginning. I did 3 Skype interviews before getting busy and frustrated and therefore stopped looking.

1st interview: went pretty well, good price, nice looking apartment, the girl was friendly…then she said “oh right, you aren’t allergic to cats are you”…umm no…”good, cause I have 8” !!!! 8 cats in two bedroom apartment is TOO many!

2nd interview: nice girl…but she had those clear plastic covers on all her furniture, ah la The Nanny…

3rd interview: the guy was sleazy and hit on me the whole time, no thank you!

So now I am living in Sweden with my aunt and uncle and looking for an apartment. Some of the sites you need to pay to be able to contact anyone…often I send a ton of emails and get no responses. I decided to send a message in English this time saying that I did want to practice my Swedish but that right now I can’t talk about important concepts in Swedish…I finally finally, after multiple websites and about 20 emails got 2 responses. One apartment quiet close to the bus station and one further away.

I went to visit the apartment close to the bus station and I really liked it. I had an urge to just take it but I had scheduled to look at another apartment 2 days later. The roommate and I got along quite well and there was great common space though the bedrooms were smallish and the kitchen could have been better. When I got home that night and told my aunt and uncle about it, it turns out that this building was the building their first apartment after they got married was in! small world! I showed them where the other apartment was located and they offered to drive me to visit it that Saturday.

We arrived about 10min early to the 2nd apartment and I went in. Now online this listing was from two people who I assumed were the roommates. When I began emailing them I found out there were a couple which worried me a little. When I arrived at the apartment I called to be let in and found out that actually this is their old apartment and they rent out 2 rooms in it so they have no clue who my roommate would be…also their was nothing in the kitchen and very minimal furniture so I would have to buy a lot of things to make it work…something I was trying to avoid by finding a roommate. However, the building was purchased apartments (condos we would call them in Chicago) so they had a great laundry, gym, and sauna facility. When I was leaving the building I saw a young woman walking up the stairs of the set of apartments next to the ones I had just come out of. Her hands were full and she had just gotten off her bike, after walking past her I did a double take and looked back. It was my cousin’s Canadian ex-girlfriend….She had moved to Sweden to live with my cousin a long time ago and when the broke up I knew she had moved into the city. However, since she was Canadian and didn’t really like Sweden I assumed she had eventually gone home. I didn’t say hi but headed back to the car. When I got in my aunt asked if I liked the apartment. “Not really, but the more important question is did you see ____.” They hadn’t seen her but my aunt was sure she had the ex’s address from a christmas card they had sent a few years ago.

the world really is a fun, small place…I don’t have a confirmed apartment yet but I am hoping to avoid the crazies *håller tummarna*

håller tummarna

*håller tummarna*