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Sending off my passport 2006 July 26

Posted by @jennyjenjen in Helpful Hints, Language, Pre-Departure.

Today I sent off my passport to the Consulate General of Sweden in Los Angeles. The instructions for getting this taken care of are not provided very well; I didn’t know that I needed to enclose a $17 money order for the cost of sending it back, nor did I know if I needed anything else enclosed (that is, until I called them to make sure I had everything straight). Just to be safe, I also printed a copy of my confirmation email from migrationsverket.se to go along with my money order, passport, and two passport-sized pictures.

I had been really worried about my visa application because the decision e-mail I received went into my bulk e-mail and was poorly translated in the first place. I had thought that Migrationsverket said they would not translate a decision at all, but apparently the decision was translated into English. The poor translation said that my application had been “proceeded” – which I first thought said “processed” – instead of “granted” or “allowed,” which is the proper translation of the word they use in their Swedish decision (att bevilja). It kind of irritated me. I also didn’t realize how quickly a response would come; it was most certainly less than six weeks.

I’m worried that they will be picky about the picture, but it looks pretty good according to these standards set forth by Migrationsverket. It’s important to get it all done in just one try, not playing hit-or-miss with sending it back a few times (and wasting that $17 every time).

I’m nervous with my passport in someone else’s hands. Let’s hope it gets back soon.


Countdown: one month! 2006 July 17

Posted by @jennyjenjen in Pre-Departure.

One month from today, I will be on a plane to Stockholm after having stopped off in Manchester and Chicago en route. Now that there’s only a month left, and although I’m really excited, I’m more in a panic than anything else. I have so much to get done!

My biggest concerns right now include:

  • Clothes. Yes, clothes. I need to pick the right clothes to bring and have enough money for good clothes once winter hits.
  • Money. The biggest concen. Yeah, I’m on scholarship, but I had to pay some bills and I planned on trying to have a little more money, but that isn’t going to happen. Sometimes it’s hard to get hours at work, and paying for gas is totally killing my pocketbook.
  • Moving. I have so many things to get rid of. And moving back up to Greeley is going to be a pain, especially when I have so little space in my old room at my parents’ place.
  • Homesickness. I am definitely going to be homesick. I’m excited to go, but since I have an elderly grandfather and a great family here in Colorado, I’m nervous to leave them. I’m also going to miss my family in Chicago, though not seeing them for a year is not as rough; I usually see them a few times a year. Oh, and let’s not forget: I have a dog who will miss me more than you will believe.
  • Language. I have to study a LOT for my placement exam, and I’ve hardly started! I’m also nervous about having to speak Swedish every day and all the time.

There are other concerns, but I just have so much on my mind right now that it’s hard to really pin down what’s worrying me. Like I said, though, I’m excited. This will be incredible. And this month will go by in a hurry, that’s for sure.

Oh Zizou, why did you do it? 2006 July 12

Posted by @jennyjenjen in Miscellaneous, Off-topic.

Everyone’s talking about it. Even the people who know nothing about football (err, soccer, for some of you out there). Everyone wants to know why the man who is a hero to so many football fans in the world lost his temper and exchanged years of glory for mere seconds of rage.

Zinédine Zidane’s infamous headbutt has been making headlines all over the world, gathering attention from everyone from local sports anchors to political pundits and self-entitled soccer moms across the world. The general opinion, especially from those who never knew who Zizou was before the headbutt, is that Zidane is a moron and cost his team the World Cup. Perhaps he lost the title that would have solidified his career in the football world, but the man is no moron.

For those who have followed his career, he’s been known for his temper and has done such things before. In the 1998 World Cup, he stomped the Saudi captain in the back. In 2000, he also head-butted a Hamburg player during a Championships League match. Zidane’s temper, especially in reaction to verbal assault, is almost as well-known as his incredible work ethic and, ironically, his tendancy to remain quiet and calm.

But calling the man a moron is ignoring the great career he has forged throughout the years.

As the hero of the French team in 1998 at the World Cup, which was held on the team’s home soil, Zidane skyrocketed to fame with his amazing performance and two goals scored in the final. Zizou then racked up many more honors in the European Champions League, along with honors in the Italian and Spanish leagues, but most importantly winning FIFA’s World Player of the Year honor three times. His story of climbing up from the tough streets of Marseille as a French-Algerian teenager and becoming one of the world’s best footballers is not only admirable, but it has become stuff of legend.


Housing in Uppsala 2006 July 9

Posted by @jennyjenjen in Helpful Hints, Pre-Departure.

I finally found out where I’m going to be living in Uppsala!

I hadn’t heard from anyone at all, and I thought I was supposed to hear something at least before July ended, so I decided to email the international student coordinator and ask when we will receive our housing assignments. He emailed me back promptly, saying I should’ve gotten a notice two weeks ago, and he said that I am going to be living in Flogsta.


There are a couple thousands students in Flogsta, but mostly Swedish students, so I’ve heard. I’ve also heard that it’s just a fun place to live in general, plus I am intent on making my Swedish immersion part of all aspects of my stay; it would be harder if I lived with a lot of people who would be prone to speaking English before Swedish, and I definitely want to be speaking as much Swedish as possible.

What I’ve heard from those who have been exchange students in Uppsala is that they either enjoyed living in Flogsta or they wish they’d lived in Flogsta as they had not been assigned there. It sounds like a pretty good place.

One thing about Flogsta that is pretty interesting is the Flogstaskrik (Flogsta scream). Apparently, when Uppsala was Christianized in the 12th century, there were a few misunderstandings as to how a prayer is offered and from that arose a tradition of screaming at the top of one’s lungs at 10pm every night. Now it’s seen as a way to relieve stress or agony before an exam. I’ve got quite the lungs, so I’m sure I’ll be participating plenty.

Something else I’m looking forward to is the everyday walk to school. I’ve missed walking to class since I’ve lived far off campus the last two years of my education at CU. According to the map, I’ll be walking through a park on the way to class every day.