Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A greek fossil in Sweden

“I'm too old for this shit”

I remember watching Danny Glover trying to convince Mel Gibson that they are too old to be gun wielding Rambo cops anymore in Lethal Weapon. I laughed at that line when I was a kid. I am turning 26 years old in 10 days, something that does not make me old as a human, but I feel like that sometimes during class. It is unthinkable for me sometimes to tackle subjects such as hydrochemistry or data analysis and statistics after 4 years of absence. So here I was today sitting in my PC in class, talking to myself nonstop and probably irritating Paulo a lot. How was I supposed to complete an assignment with a completely strange program? Chinese should be easier.

But I am known for my stubbornness and never give up attitude so after a LOT of questions directed to the teacher, who was trying to keep herself busy in her laptop, looking guilty like she was playing candy crush saga I cracked the code. I finished the exercise. I even helped others and since you can’t beat a classic, Marie stole half my code.

The lab was at 8:15 in the morning. But I slept at 5 am and I when I opened my eyes anxiety crept in.

“What’s the time?”

Holly molly it was 7:55. The next bus left at 8:07. I jumped off the bed like a rocket, like a cat being thrown into water and got dressed. At least I managed to wear the same pair of shoes. Yay. Hell I did not even brush my teeth, I felt like my breath was as foul as a komodo dragon’s. But I wore my hat and scarf, put on my ridiculously cheap and horrid looking Logitech headset, fired up Eminem’s “Without Me” and raced to the bus stop ignoring everything. Towards the final 150 meters I ran out of breath and I tried to look as cool as possible while my heart was about to burst as if I was sprinting 200 meters for the gold medal. I enter the bus and sit on my usual spot. After relaxing a bit I look around and come to a conclusion. There seem to be rules/musts when you enter a bus in Sweden.

  1. Greet the driver with a fake smile
  2. Find the most quiet and remote place to sit
  3. Never talk to anyone
  4. Sit by yourself
  5. If the seat next to you is empty put a bag or anything you have so nobody sits
  6. Use your smartphone like a social zombie
  7. Think about fika
  8. Keep quiet (shhhhh!)
  9. Avoid physical contact like it is a deadly virus
  10. Never look anyone in the eye

I make it to the Geocentrum fast as it is already 8:27 and I am late. I resist the urge to buy 8 bullars and enter the computer room. You know the story from there. But why did I get up early? How did I spend the previous day? How was Halloween?

It is difficult to explain but the Uppsala hangover is over and the honeymoon period as well. I got tired of the relentless partying, the plastic friends, the master program is firing up on all cylinders, I went through a period of fierce passion and now finally I have someone to rely on even if she lives in a country nearby.

I spent 9 wonderful days in Finland. And what did I do? I was in a warm home environment, with a dog, food, a person I really like, going out in restaurants, watching movies, hitting more quiet pubs. It is wonderful and I want to build my life along the lines of this. I am already planning to visit northern Finland for Christmas. It will be phenomenal.

Regarding Halloween I didn’t really bother. I went to a small house party where people were married, newlyweds or in long term relationships. It was ok and I thank them for inviting me. I also took my friend Maria out in the O’Connor’s pub downtown. They still had their Halloween decorations up and we drank expensive cider and beer. Apparently Maria looks like a Spanish woman which means she is hot and has a terrible accent because the bartender talk to her in Spanish. Rico suave. Also she thought cider would be hot for some reason like a tea or chocolate. Too much time in the laboratory!
Which reminds me of this: I casually walk in my bathroom today and I see a shampoo of some sorts that the landlord that rents me the house uses. It looks like a strange liquid. She is old and I am guessing it could be formaldehyde so she preserves herself from decaying :D

That looks so weird.

Other than that I have the new courses starting this week. Hydrochemistry seems to be the toughest, as I want to gouge my eyes out with a pitchfork and feed them to the rabid dogs of hell. But I will manage I am sure, I started studying extensively the basics and I am getting there thanks to Dr Fus in iTunes U and the Ohio State University. The other is Data Analysis and Statistics. The lecture was more understandable. Also today we had the lab and I was completely unfamiliar with MatLab and that complicated things. However with some team effort, a lot of questions and perseverance I managed to complete the exercise first. Wow!  The last course is Presentation and Publication, a course directed to guess what: present PowerPoint and write essays. I had 5 topics in mind. And I had to team up with Ingrid because she was left alone for some reason.

My topics of choice were:
  • Nuclear Power 
  •  Cancer and Nutrition 
  •  Depression in adults and kids 
  •  Social Zombies
  • Does technology make us more stupid?
The last two sounded really interesting. Imagine your life without your precious smartphone or internet for a week. You would go insane and you would probably have problems finding easy solutions to some things. Depression is another interesting and common theme here in Scandinavia. Cancer was my thesis and a very large one actually. So I thought:

Hey you have conducted an informational interview with a Nuclear Engineer! You have the knowledge and the passion!”

So I picked that topic and spent over 10 hours to build the interview and research. I added some humor and made some interesting additions in order to keep the audience interested. Great!

You can read my informational interview with Sandie Will and Sara Dolatshahi in my other posts.

The last part of my adventures involves my language learning progress. I try to practice Russian as much as I can, but I am definitely not in the level I want to be. My Swedish skills are as good as the Greek economy – nonexistent.  I don’t have time or energy to go to class so I dropped the course and I am self learning for now. I started learning Finnish now too. I really like this girl and I would love to be able to communicate in such a hard language with her. minä rakastan sinua :*

I will now go back to studying chemistry, watch a bit of Champions League and go to sleep. I have a career fair to attend tomorrow in Uppsala and I will try to network a bit and maybe schedule some informational interviews. My friend Sokratis Papastathopoulos actually scored yesterday for Dortmund and he was voted MVP. Good job there old pal.

See you soon people! Winter is coming! Keep the comments coming! In the left column you can find the most popular posts! Thank you for the love, 12500 views in such a short time is amazing. Share my content if you like it and suggestions are welcome (I get no profit nor there are any adverts in my site).

Goodnight Sweden!

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