Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Trying to Settle

I've been in Sweden for exactly three weeks now and I still am not settled. I found an apartment at Studenthuset Gripen, a student apartment building in Rosengård, an area on the outskirts of Malmö that is still renowned for past gang violence and its large immigrant population. Whenever I tell Swedish people where I live, I typically get a look of surprise, followed by questions as to whether I know about the area's reputation. Despite that, Rosengård is fine. It's very quiet. In fact, it's too quiet. I'm very lonely here.

My Rotary disbursement still hasn't arrived yet, and it's frustrating me. I moved into my apartment the Sunday before last with borrowed items from charitable Swedish friends. I'm really lucky I have them! They let me borrow a foam mattress, bedding, a lamp, a pot, and a fork. A Swedish classmate of mine also brought me a chair, bowl, spoon, and knife so that I don't have to eat out of the pot I cook my food in! I've been using the chair as a table because I don't have a table. I can't wait until my money arrives so that I can have furniture.
I successfully set up a Swedish bank account when I first arrived at school which was difficult because I don't have a personnummer, which is like a Social Security Number. In Sweden, you can't do anything without it.  When I went to the bank to activate the card, I was able to do so but was unable to get online banking because I don't have a personnummer.  I don't understand why this is- I already have an account!  So if I ever need to pay a bill, I can't pay it online as Swedish citizens do, but I have to personally go to the bank, pay the bill, and also pay a fee for paying it at the bank and not online.  Now that I have a bank account, my money can be wired to me.  I was to receive my money last week, but because of a glitch on Rotary's part, the wire was left unapproved and never went out at all.  I waited an entire week for nothing to happen.  Rotary International tried again to send out my wire on Friday, so it should arrive sometime this week.  Last night I ate the last of the groceries I bought for myself a week ago.  I bought the really cheap, simple food, because I don't have a lot of personal funds and because I only have a pot to cook with.  I'm so very tired of eating saimin/ramen noodles, macaroni and cheese, and penne pasta with red sauce.  Luckily, my host counselor, Dr. Glantz, is going to pick me up today so I can get groceries!!

Because I'm feeling lonely and because the location of my apartment is so far away from school (it's a 30 minute bus ride) and the rest of the city, I'm trying to move out of here into a closer place.  The apartment I'm in now is completely unfurnished, which would mean I would not only need a bed and a desk, I would have to buy all my kitchen utensils as well.  So since I have very few belongings here anyway, I'm trying to move into a room in someone's apartment in the city.  Perhaps I could find a furnished room, but at least I wouldn't have to spend my scholarship money on pots and pans.  Also, the rent for these apartments are only about $50-120 more expensive than living here, where I'd have to buy my own things and also be more dependent on riding the bus. If I live in the city, I can walk to many things.  I've looked at a few apartments and I'll be seeing one more today and another tomorrow.  I really hope the apartment I'll see on Wednesday works out for me...it's the perfect location.  It's right near Möllevångstorget, which is one of the squares in the city.

Lastly, this evening I'll be going to the Swedish Language, Culture, and Society class.  It was full and the student administrator for the class told me I should just try next semester.  I emailed him again, asking that if any students drop the class and there are openings if I could be admitted.  I received no response, so I'll be going to the class anyway.  I'm determined to learn Swedish and have as much competency in this language as I can before I leave.  Hopefully it will work out for me.

UPDATE: I just got an email from Rotary in the US where my money is coming from. I just found out the problem. They mistook a 6 for a 0 in my account's IBAN number, so of course my money wasn't coming to me!!! How very frustrating. But at least now (hopefully) it's on the way.

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