RECENT NUCLEAR DISCOVERY: While browsing the SLU student webpage I discovered that Alnarp, (therefore the SLU campus I study at) is located within the twelve-kilometer danger zone around the nuclear power plant Barsebäck! The webpage also states that “every citizen has the right to get iodine tablets” Oh my! Apparently the first reactor, Barsebäck 1, was closed November 30, 1999, and the second, Barsebäck 2, stopped operating on May 31, 2005. In addition, the last 32 nuclear fuel cells left Barsebäck by ship on December 1, 2006, but I could not find out where they were sent. Interesting indeed!
On an another international adjustment note, in Sweden nobody stands in line – they use Queue numbers! Almost anywhere you go in Sweden you need a queue number; you push the correct button (for example there are different buttons for sending a letter versus returning store items, which are usually denoted by color), and a paper slip comes out with a number. A large number board shows which customer number they are currently serving, so you know when it is your turn – this can be convenient when you are waiting for a long time, so you can ‘guesstimate‘ when to return for service – coffee anyone? There are many places that use this system, such as at shopping centers, post offices, banks, railway ticket offices, the systembolaget (the alcohol stores), and even at public offices such as the police station. Luckily my travel skills have made me an expert observer, and I avoided making a fool out of myself when I went to mail postcards this past week – it would have been another story if I had budged in front of everyone by just walking up to the counter or attempting to stand in line behind the customer being served. In addition, I received two letters this week from my family – I absolutely LOVE getting mail. I have found that the Swedish mail system has been much more efficient and reliable than the Finnish experience I had. The Swedish stamps are more expensive though, at 12 Krona each (about $1.85!). In addition, they use the same priced stamp for letters or postcards here, which is nice if you want to send letters, but it gets expensive sending post cards. On an oddly fun, and interesting note, the world’s most expensive postage stamp is Swedish! A mis-colored, one-of-a-kind printed in 1857 sold for 4.5 million dollars in 1996! It was recently resold this past year in May, but the buyers and selling price remain a mystery. Another new interesting item in my Swedish life is my keychain key card. In order to access my building’s front door, laundry and recycling center I need to use my ‘key card’. It is a blue plastic disk, similar to a keychain. Basically you hold it up to the scanner, it identifies you, and the light turns green, opening the door. I really like this system, but I will be mortified if I ever lose my keys!
This past week the ATLANTIS coordinator from NCSU (Bronson Bullock) visited as well, organizing a ‘tour’ day for the current students at SLU. The ATLANTIS students met in Malmö, and walked to the Malmöhus Castle where they visited several museums on history, natural history, technology and seafaring. They then walked to the Stortorget square to eat a late lunch, and then headed to Rådhuskällaren for a coffee. Unfortunately I had some graduate work to do this weekend, and I had to pass up this fun day with the other ATLANTIS students Priorities. I am pleased to see so much interaction from the ATLANTIS coordinators, as well as visits from professors from the four Universities associated with the ATLANTIS program.
This past week I also ‘lost’ a housemate Unfortunately one of the girls I live, well lived with, had to return to her home country for knee surgery and recovery therapy. We decided to have a good-bye dinner of homemade sushi and prawns! If there is one food that I love, it is sushi! Speaking of LOVE…This Monday is Valentine’s Day (February 14th)! As most countries around the world do not celebrate Valentine’s Day, I decided to introduce my classmates to this sugar-filled, flowery, and sometimes depressing holiday. To make sure everyone had a Valentine, I am hosting an Anti-Valentine’s Day evening with a Zombie theme – I have a dark sense of humor. I thought it would be a fun way to get everyone together to eat sugar cookies and chocolates, while watching some classic American love comedies: ‘He’s Just Not That Into You” and “The Wedding Singer“. I am baking scrumptious ‘broken heart’ sugar cookies using my step-mother’s infamous, tried and true recipe – I am sure everyone will love them! Thanks for the cookie recipe G, and Happy Birthday! (her birthday was February 12th)I might have also bought myself some Valentine’s Day Spring Tulips… Flowers are an easy way for me to brighten my mood and my room. I cannot wait for Spring!
Happy Valentine’s Day!