Wednesday, August 22, 2012

So it's harder than you think

Ok so this mail carrying is harder than you think.  It's not all sunshine and loveliness being outside in the day frolicking around with butterflies.  Don't get me wrong, I still really enjoy the job, but it's tough on you!  Running up and down 3 flights of stairs in every single entryway (and trust me, there are hundreds of entryways on a daily route) really kills you!  If you're not used to running up and down stairs every day for several hours on end.  I think I'll purchase some knee braces because they're definitely taking some beatings, and rebelling at me for it.

Yesterday I was given, apparently, what is known as "slaktrundan" which I didn't know until I returned from it.  Slaktrundan, translated, is The Slaughter Round.  Each of us has a different round each day, of course.  Apparently I got the short stick yesterday.  No, what really makes a round difficult is not having done it before.  You have your map to go by and you have to figure out where to go on top of figuring out how certain buildings work.  It's amazing how seemingly stupid some buildings were built.

Two buildings in the very beginning of my route yesterday were built, I must say, in the stupidest way possible.  There is an elevator, but it only lets you off on the 2nd, 5th and 8th floors of the building, though it has 11 floors.  Then off the elevator is a main hall with maybe 4 apartment doors.  Then there are 2 stairwells that go off of the main corridor, the right side and the left side.  Off the stairwells are 2 apartment doors on each floor.  How stupid can that be? So you have to run up and down the stairs on both sides of the building.  It's an unnecessary extra amount of work and time for us mail folks.  I spoke to a girl around my age yesterday in the building who clearly lives there, and she was totally in agreement with me about how stupid the building was.  She suggested there should just be mailboxes down in the lobby.  You know, where the resident can open it with their own little key.  It would save us a ton of time and frustration.

But once you know a route, you can zoom through it much more easily and quickly.  Currently I have one favorite route, simply because I've done it twice and now it's just easy as pie to do.  It also has no "springtrappor" or "run stairs".  You know, the buildings that have only 3 floors and you have to run up and down them to deliver the mail through the door slots.  My favorite round just has some highrises where you take the elevator to the top then run down all the stairs to deliver the mail.  Then it has a ton of row buildings, but they all have boxes on the ground floor so it's just go in, shoot the mail in the right boxes, go out and repeat.

Enough of that.  Today I have the day off, as yesterday morning I was feeling dizzy/slightly feverish when sorting mail.  Then, when out on my round, I only finished 3 of the 5 boxes of mail I needed to deliver and I was just completely worn.  I'm not sure why I felt so poorly even from stepping out of bed yesterday, but I did, and it reflected in my performance on the round.  Not to mention it was the slaughter round.  I feel bad having not finished it, but I did my best.  I guess I should really start doing some strength-training at home so I can build up muscles even more so that I can have even more stamina!  It's only been 2.5 weeks though so I know I'm still adjusting.

It's almost September, can you believe it?  Where has 2012 gone.  A lot of changes have happened since the year started.  It's almost strange to think about our previous home in Skövde.  It's where I spent well over a year living and yet it seems like we've always lived here in our Gothenburg apartment.  Life in Gothenburg is utterly different from how life was in Skövde. There, I never worked, and studied.  Here, I've taken a distance course but it was never studying daily at school like I did in Skövde.  I also have worked here, a lot, you could say, at least in comparison with in Skövde.  I worked with J a ton from March through to June or so.  Then I had that week-long stint as a personal assistant, and here I am as a freshly made mail carrier.  My, how life can change so quickly!  Began the year in Skövde, moved shortly thereafter to Gothenburg, and have worked 3 different jobs since, while acquiring Swedish B certification.  I wonder how much more will happen before the year ends?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Who knew that I would love being a mail carrier?

Still loving the new job!  The variation of tasks, the exercise, new and friendly people, as well as friendly people who talk to you as you deliver their mail.  For me it's completely enjoyable!  Today was my first day going out on a round on my own.  This week there was a much larger amount of mail.  Last week when I went out with the girl who was training me, we had maybe 3 boxes of mail and then that was split between us.  So I was only doing 1.5 boxes of mail last week.  Today I had 4 full boxes of mail to deliver all on my own!  It took me a lovely 3 hours and 45 minutes to do, but I got it done!  Needless to say, I am beat today.

I love this new feeling of being physically exhausted at the ends of the days.  I haven't felt like that in a long time (thanks to not being so active, for shame, I know I know).  It's just so wonderful!  I know it may sound a bit weird to enjoy being tired but compare it to that happy tired feeling after a good workout.  So overall, no complaints about the job, I enjoy the variety, and I even almost look forward to going in whenever I do.  That's not supposed to normally happen when you go to work, right? ;-)

Not much else is new in Gbg.  This past weekend a couple of childhood friends of J's were in town attending a music festival, so we got together all Saturday afternoon since the show they wanted to see wasn't until the evening.  It was nice meeting a new face and seeing another face I hadn't seen in a year or so.  The four of us enjoyed an afternoon sitting out, eating lunch, and drinking a couple of beers at Halta Lotta's.  It's apparently become our favorite go to little pub.  It's the nicest one in our area and has good prices.  The weather was just beautiful this weekend, probably around 70F and sunny as could be.  Sitting outside enjoying good company was the ideal way to enjoy the good weather.

Yesterday J's parents stopped over and took us out to lunch.  They were in town for a birthday party and of course to visit J's sister's family as well.  It was a nice weekend with some visitors from out of town.  It's always nice to see familiar faces!

I have an eye appointment this coming Friday with the optician.  Last year I went to a friend of ours in Tibro, since he's an optician, but now we live too far away for it to be convenient.  So I'll be trying a completely new place here in Gothenburg.  Every year my eyesight gets just a bit worse to where I need to get a new prescription for my contact lenses.  I may even get new glasses...but it feels like I just got new glasses because I got my current ones just last July.  I usually wait two years to get new glasses because it just feels like money going down the drain since I get a new prescription yearly.  I can really notice the difference though with my current prescription, how my glasses don't help me as much as they used to.  I have a coupon for a nice chunk off of 6 months of contacts, so maybe I'll break down and get the glasses along with the contacts.  Contacts are first priority, though.

I don't really have much else to say!  I just had to exclaim a bit more about how pleased I am with the new job!  I was afraid of another fiasco like my previous job, but happily it's been completely the opposite.  My biggest fear has always been language in Sweden, I just hate when I can't understand my surroundings.  Even though now I've passed Swedish B, I still had a bit of insecurity about not being understood by Swedes.  Things have, however, gone swimmingly!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I apologize for not updating yesterday, as it was my first day at my new job.  I was just so utterly exhausted yesterday after I got home from work I could barely do anything other than lie on the couch and watch the Olympics.  I also was incredibly stiff/sore, which I am today, as well.  When you're not used to riding a bike laden with mail and running up and down stairs for several hours in a day, you feel it in your body!  Not to mention being on your feet for 8 hours a day.  It's been a few years since I had such a job, and I can tell that those years have come and gone!

That being said, so far I am really enjoying the job!  I love that you work along with people and yet on your own, and I love being out and about for a few hours a day very clearly getting good exercise.  You also know you're performing a service for people that is somewhat crucial (less nowadays than before) to society!  Who doesn't love getting a piece of mail?  (Well besides a bill or something else possibly negative...but hey you wouldn't know the good side of life without the bad).

I've also learned the ropes pretty quickly (dealing out post is much more complicated than you'd think!) and feel comfortable in the job which is just of utmost importance to me now after my last experience.  I guess I've dodged having an uncomfortable job up until recently - I suppose I've been pretty lucky.

J is in the kitchen currently making a rhubarb crumble pie which I am excited about!  We've only had one rhubarb pie so far this summer and I think that was way back in May.  We're about due for another delicious rhubarb treat!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

No more school!

Yesterday I downloaded, answered, and turned in my examinationsuppgift, or examination task, directly translated.  It was the final test for the Swedish B class I've been taking all summer.  This morning I had a meeting with a teacher and gave a little 5 minute speech, and we also discussed my overall grade.  She was a substitute, as my real teacher is on vacation, so this is the third teacher I've had in my little 10 week course.  In any case, she was super nice, around my age, and had even studied in Wisconsin and visited Iowa, so she was familiar with the Midwest and knew where Ohio was.  It was nice meeting her!  What's better is that overall in the course she gave me a VG - väl godkänt, or "well passed," you could call it.

The grading system goes like this: IG (icke godkänt, or fail), G (godkänt, pass), VG (val godkänt, well passed), and MVG (mycket väl godkänt, very well passed).  I always joke to J that Sweden has a Harry Potter system of grading since it seems like they just put some random letters to grade you.  But once you learn what they mean it makes more sense.  So I'd say in the American system I probably got a "B" for an overall course grade, so I'll take it.  Also, if I'm not mistaken I think they're introducing a new grading system next year or so.  Perhaps I'll report back on that matter.

I'm just glad to be done with school!  The course seemed like an annoying buzzing fly all summer since it is indeed summer and the entire country just about shuts down for the season.  Every other week I had assignments due so there was just enough lull time to almost forget I was actually partaking in a Swedish class.  But I did give it substantial effort, and it paid off.  Luckily nothing was too difficult for me at all, which I take as a good sign.  The teacher earlier today was extremely impressed (not that I picked up on it, but she actually told me) with the fact that I've lived here not even two years, have really only been studying Swedish for 1.5 years, and yet I've mastered the language so quickly.  I always tell people who are impressed that when you move to a new country and have nothing else to do (as you're not really job-worthy) and you have the will, you can learn the language pretty quickly.  Plus, I like languages, so that's really helped me, too.

I have now until Monday as a mini-vacation.  On Monday I start my new job.  How time flies!  I can't believe today is August 1st already.  In just two weeks or so J and I will have lived in Gothenburg for 6 months - half a year!  Sometimes it seems much longer that we've been here, and sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday we moved in with killer ice on the sloping hill of our street.

I've been really wanting to go chanterelle mushroom picking lately.  Maybe I'll just venture into a nearby wooded area by myself today and see if there are any to pluck up.  Last year my friend M and I went on an adventure near Skövde and it was a blast.  I wonder if as much fun can be had mushroom hunting by yourself?