Just January has been happening. The holidays are over and everyone goes back to the daily grind. So it has been for J and I.
My vikariat (sub) position started this Monday. It's nice to know that until March 1st I'm working every day, full time. It also gives you a slightly different mindset because you're scheduled for certain times. As a timvikarie (hourly sub) you generally come in at a certain time and finish when you're finished with the day's work. This week I work from 7am to 3:30pm, so it's kind of nice having that end time to aim for regarding picking up the pace and trying to keep myself a bit faster when out on my routes. It's also become a good, dare I say fun, challenge to really try and improve my times for how long it takes me to do the routes. Even if there is a lot of mail or very little, the times don't vary too much since you still have the entire route to do. It's just that you might have to run inside of Long Street 16B and deliver one letter on the third floor instead of several pieces of mail to each apartment on each floor.
A good piece of news, and I can't recall how much I've mentioned it in the past on here, or if at all (and I don't feel like looking up my old posts), is that I've lost a nice amount of weight since beginning this mail delivery gig! As I don't want to go around blabbing about actual numbers, I will just say that so far I have lost 8kg, which is about 17 pounds! I'm back down to a weight that I haven't been since my late teens. No, that isn't all that long ago but still! It's quite a handful of years. =) So hooray, I've been patting myself on the back for that accomplishment.
Something else that I have to look forward to other than working a lot, making money, and improving my overall health and condition...I'm going to visit the US in March! The day after my sub position ends I'm going to be flying back home for the first 2 weeks of March. Yaaay!! I'm quite excited as I've been wanting to go home for several months now, but just haven't been able to make that call. The initial problem is, and always is, money. It's not cheap to hop across the pond (I take 3 flights, and this time it ended up costing about 5500kr, which isn't too bad compared to summer prices). The second and larger problem this time around is that my residence permit expired in mid-October. I reapplied for a permanent residence permit in mid-late September, and I still have not been given a decision. It's recommended that you don't leave Sweden while they are processing your new permit because you can have trouble coming back into the country on your return trip. Last week I simply got tired of waiting to hear from Migrationsverket (Immigration) and decided to buy a ticket as I had the money and have been wanting to go home for a while. The last time I was home was for Christmas 2011, so it's about time! The good news is that I received a letter and small questionnaire in the mail last week from Migrationsverket saying that if we (J and I) just fill out the questions, sign and return the form, they can make a decision based on that. Basically it was saying they didn't want/see/feel the need to interview us in order to make a decision on whether I get to stay here permanently or not. Seeing as how J and I are now married, I don't think there will be a problem! My fingers are crossed that sometime in the next couple of weeks I will finally receive a decision and my new residence permit card.