Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Högskolan, Körkort & Stockholm

Things have been picking up these past couple of weeks. Last week I went to an all day meeting on Tuesday at Högskolan i Skövde here in town. In American English that would equate to Skövde College. There is a program there called Korta Vägen for immigrants who have had at least 3 years of higher education, aka university/college studies. It's basically to utilize this immigrant population and get them as capable and efficient in Swedish so they can go into the work force in their chosen fields. I'm still waiting on a letter this week from Arbetsförmedlingen saying that I've got a green light to go ahead and study in the program. They said that most people are allowed to do so. I would be so happy and excited to start a new school program other than SFI. I think Korta Vägen is a much better way to reach where I'm wanting to go here. Besides, I already plan to take the final D test for SFI on September 15th anyway, and hopefully I'll be able to get my SFI bonus. Would be nice to make some money and move on to a better course for my needs/goals!

Tomorrow I take the plunge into acquiring my Swedish driver's license (or körkort). J scheduled me to take Riskutbildning 1, the first part of a two part course. Whenever anyone sits for the theory and practical driving test in Sweden, both parts of Riskutbildning must have been taken/completed. Riskutbildning 1 is like a lecture or seminar for 3 hours where they inform you of the risks of driving while tired, taking drugs, drinking alcohol, etc. I have a large fear I'll flash back to 8 years ago, at exactly this time of year when I was in driver's education when I was almost 16. I really hope it doesn't feel like a waste of my time (although I'm almost positive that is exactly how I'll feel). I just find it silly that they allow Americans to drive for an entire year on their American license once they arrive in Sweden, but suddenly after a year *poof* your driving capabilities are apparently unacceptable and you must do the entire Swedish driver's license process. I understand learning certain things here, like the different right of way laws and most definitely the different signs, I just wish there was a more efficient way than completely redoing everything over again. Hopefully I'll only need to take a couple of actual driving lessons to get tips on what they look for during the actual practical driving test. I believe I'm going to buy the driving theory book in English just to brush up on everything. You may think I'm going a bit overboard, but many Swedes and most Americans seem to fail at least once when it comes to the practical driving test. Swedes are (by American standards) ridiculously strict when it comes to the theory and driving tests. People have failed in the past from "not driving ecologically enough."

Riskutbildning 2 is something we never did in driver's education - they take you out on a track that is purposefully slippery, filled with water, etc. The teacher makes you drive and forces you into slides and different things to make you aware of what poor driving conditions can cause your car to do, and they teach you how to handle them. I believe that part will be much more interesting and useful (maybe even fun) because we never did anything like that in the U.S. (although I've had enough of my fair share of scary driving incidents).

The weather has been chilly and mostly cloudy and rainy lately. I think that combined with the sun setting much earlier than before has caused a bit of a wave of sadness in me. August in Ohio is the hottest month of the year, and decidedly sunny from what I recall. This year in Sweden it's been around 15C on average (which is 59F) and very cloudy and rainy throughout most of August. It's also dark already around 8:30 or 9 at the latest if it's sunny, and it's just so noticeable after the sun setting at 11!

The other weekend we went to Stockholm and it was a bunch of fun, although far too short. We left early Saturday morning and came back Sunday afternoon. It's tiring when you decide to take the car all that way instead of the train. I drove all the way to Stockholm, and we had to make a detour in Jönköping since we were picking up a friend there on the way. So those were five hours of rainy and foggy driving, not to mention the last hurrah of driving within Stockholm itself. I understand everyone's complaint now about Stockholm drivers. The visit was more of a social visit than going there to see Stockholm, so I actually didn't snap any pictures. We pretty much visited our friends at their apartment in the Midsommarkransen/Hagersten area and then went and enjoyed a pub or two later in the evening. On Sunday we trekked down into Gamla Stan so I could purchase a couple of books at a bookstore there. We did have some delicious Indian food while in Gamla Stan, though. It was my first time ever having Indian food. I don't know if I could eat it often, but I really enjoyed it.

So that's basically what my goings and doings have consisted of lately! Nothing too exciting or special, but I felt I was beginning to slack again so I had to toss you some sort of bone to hopefully keep you interested. ;-)

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