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Finding a bicycle 2006 August 29

Posted by @jennyjenjen in Helpful Hints, Language, Swedish Lessons, Transportation.
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On my second day here, a German exchange student named Kerstin arrived. The next day we were sitting watching television when we decided to go look for a bicycle; Uppsala is a pretty pedestrian-friendly city, and a bicycle is a must-have for any student (or really, anyone at all) in Uppsala. It was a Saturday, and there would be flea markets and the shops would still be open, so we ventured to town on the bus and got off in the city center.

After picking up some newspapers at Pressbyrån and then finding a place to get some coffee, we sat down and looked through newspaper advertisements for anything about used bicycles. We found a neat place called Saluhallen, which I’ve visited quite a few times since my arrival. It isn’t the cheapest place in the world, but it’s not bad, either.

Saluhallen
Saluhallen in Uppsala

We called one man who we later figured out lived way too far north for it to be anything less than a hassle to visit, but that was all that was good in the newspaper advertisements. We were beginning to get a little frustrated when we picked up a free newspaper that was sitting at the table, Uppsala Tidningen (which turns out not to be that bad of a newspaper; it reminds me of the Colorado Daily, but better). It was then that we discovered two advertisements for damcyklar (women’s bicycles) and herrcyklar (men’s bicycles), both with the same number; so, we figured we’d check it out.

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Arrival in Sweden and the First Few Days 2006 August 29

Posted by @jennyjenjen in Helpful Hints, Language, Transportation, Travel.
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After three flights and more than a day and a half without sleep, I arrived at Arlanda Airport just north of Stockholm at about 2:00 pm. I had no problems with getting my luggage, although to fly from Manchester to Arlanda I had to check my carry-on that I had with me from Denver to Chicago and Chicago to Manchester. My luggage came out near the beginning, so I was all ready to go right away. After freshening up in the restroom quickly, I headed out to catch the bus to Uppsala. I actually missed the first one that was there (and the driver wasn’t going to stop for me, oh well), but waiting an extra 15-20 minutes was no hassle after having traveled over 14 hours.

Right off the bat, I was speaking plenty of Swedish. On the bus ride to Uppsala, I met one of the people who was coordinating the international student activities, a student who was an exchange student himself in the States. He told me how to get to the offices I needed to get to once I arrived, but it ended up being unnecessary as I needed to hail a taxi to help me with all the bags I had once I got there (later, I found that one of my friends coming to Uppsala had brought more than I had, and what I had was virtually nothing compared to his luggage!).

After getting to the international office I quickly found out that it was closed. (Ugh! The hours discussed in the booklet were for the following week, and since I’d arrived early, didn’t apply to me.) I left my luggage with a receptionist next door and headed to the Studentstaden office to get my key. If I were to do it over again, I probably would have been better at reading my acceptance packet (there are so many different resources for telling one how to get along when you arrive, but the best instructions to follow are the ones that come in the acceptance packet!). I should have left my luggage at Västgöta Nation while I went to Dragarbrunnsgatan 42 (the Studentstaden office) to get my key, then check into the international office.

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Settled in Uppsala 2006 August 21

Posted by @jennyjenjen in Home vs. Sweden, I miss..., Travel.
15 comments

I’ve finally arrived in Uppsala, and have plenty to tell!

However, my Internet is not yet enabled and I am checking mail from a computer in the student union. I will hopefully be hooked up soon and will have time to write posts. For now, I can give you a teaser about what I am to write:

  • Getting Lost in Uppsala 101
  • I love flying!
  • Haggling in Swedish for a bicycle
  • Strange customs, strange coincedences (or is it really that strange?)

Uppsala is very beautiful and the weather is quite nice, so I am enjoying it while it lasts. I don’t miss home too much quite yet. Besides my family, friends, and dog, I do miss flexible store hours, being able to drive if I need to, cheap bus fare, my extensive wardrobe and Illegal Pete’s. While I’m on the topic of Illegal Pete’s, I also miss Jamba Juice, Half Fast, and Hapa Happy Hour. I don’t miss pollution, lots and lots of cars, the Bush administration, and driving everywhere (it has its pros and cons, you see). Strangely enough, I don’t really miss English; there is plenty of English spoken here, and when I can’t manage in English, I manage in Swedish pretty well (you’ll see when I tell about getting my bicycle).

Now, off to town!

Takeoff: tomorrow! 2006 August 15

Posted by @jennyjenjen in Pre-Departure, Travel.
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I’m nearly completely packed and ready to go as I spend my last night in the States.

I’m getting kind of nervous. I’ll see my elderly grandfather and my aunt before I leave tomorrow. Both of my parents and my brother are seeing me off at the airport. I’m trying to accept the fact that I might not see my grandfather again. On a lighter note, I’m also trying to accept the fact that I may not see my car again, either; my brother will be driving my car when he gets his license, and although he’ll only have it for three or four months, that’s plenty of time to total it.

Some of my uncles and aunts have called today, and I am thinking that a few more will call tomorrow but I will have already gone. That’s okay; I visited everyone in the spring, and have everyone’s email addresses. I’ll be able to keep in touch.

I had a handful of going-away festivities, including a dinner with a lot of friends and a gathering at my parents’ house. It made me realize that I’d really made a new life in Boulder, because I had such a small list, and thus a small turnout, of invitees for the gathering at my parents’ place.

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Update: no carry-on! 2006 August 11

Posted by @jennyjenjen in Helpful Hints, Pre-Departure, Travel.
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Today I called my local STA Travel branch to inquire about whether or not the travel restrictions apply to me, since I am flying through the UK to get to Sweden.

My travel agent gave me a number for British Midland Airways and a code to call so they could look up my flight plans and tell me what kind of restrictions I’ll face. I was holding out a little hope that because I am not flying into the US that I wouldn’t have to put all my belongings in a plastic bag, but the operator confirmed my more pessimistic thoughts and told me that I should follow the strictest standards to avoid any problems.

However, my two pieces of luggage can exceed 50 lbs each without cost (now the limit is 70 lbs, like it used to be), and I can have a third piece not to outweigh 14 lbs. But I’m not sure if that will work on my flight within the United States with United Airlines, so I’ll have to call them, too.

What a difference a week can make!

Terror threats and my flight 2006 August 11

Posted by @jennyjenjen in Pre-Departure, Travel.
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Unless something changes (for the better) in the next five days, my plans for the flight to Sweden are going to be changed dramatically as the latest terrorist threats have prompted a large-scale change in security measures going through the UK.

The problem is that I stop in Manchester before I get to Sweden.

A few television analysts are acting like these new methods of security are going to last for at least a few days, but you never know whether or not these analysts are just milking the love of exaggeration or they’re serious about how intense this is.

One thing I can’t get over is how over-baked this coverage is. Serious issue? Yes. Have people actually died? No. Danger of some kind of terrorist attack happening? Certainly, like always. Yet this issue is being completely over-baked and is taking away too much time from the crisis in Lebanon. It’s incredibly how many times the news media have interviewed six or seven people who say the exact same thing: no liquids. No lotions, no gels. I don’t know how many times it should be repeated in a ten-minute span, but apparently the media have decided that it needs to be repeated a lot.

I’m a little irritated about having to re-pack and plan differently, but it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. It just adds a little to the stress factor. I’m not too optimistic that this will be cleared up by the time I fly, but that’s what I’m hoping.