Now I can finally post, before everything goes to hell tomorrow. We have just got word that our thirty-three boxes that we sent from Japan via container will be arriving tomorrow. Unfortunately, we just also got word that the delivery service that we are paying for will only deliver to the apartment building’s front door. No further. Which means that I will be carrying thirty-three not-light boxes up four flights of stairs by myself. Yuki will be in class all day, of course.
The work doesn’t really faze me at all. If I could spend all day doing it at my own pace, it would be nothing but a good excuse to exercise. But I know I will feel rushed and harried, because if any of the occupants of the ten other apartments (it’s a small building) arrive home or go out, I will be mortally embarrassed to have blocked the entire teeny tiny foyer with my 1.5 cubic meters of possessions. I’m cursing the bloody delivery service because, if you ask me, that’s no service at all. I’m also afraid that they’re going to have to leave things standing out on the pavement, because I really don’t think there’s enough space in that little foyer, and one of the neighbors normally parks her baby stroller there as well. Then I’ll have to rush, be embarrassed, and worry about my things being stolen. So tomorrow is going to be nuts and then I’ll be unpacking boxes for days on end, so this is my last chance for a while to update things.
Sweden continues to full of surprises, some good and some not so good (like the shoddy shipping company). It is always the best thing about living in different countries, though, I think: to explore all the funny little surprises of things that you never once thought anyone would make or do, which are completely normal to the people who use or do them. For example, these little ice cube bags. It took me a moment to figure out what they were for, but looking at the little pictures on the back of the box cleared it up immediately. They are plastic bags for making ice cubes. Each bag is a big flat rectangle, which has been stamped to make little individual squares. You pour water in the top and it runs through tiny holes between each of the squares to fill the whole bag. Then you freeze the whole lot and when you need your ice cubes, just pop open the bag and break them apart. Now to me, ice-cube trays have been around for a long time, so who would think of making little disposable bags to do the same work? I don’t know, but someone obviously has. And no, I did not buy these little curiosities — they were left by the previous tenant.
In fact, I’m not up to buying much of anything. Because we bought far too much at first. We were feeling fairly confident in our financial situation, as we went out and bought what seemed like just the necessary things at IKEA and at electronics store, but we soon after discovered that the exchange rate had changed and not in our favor. Now we are buying only the cheapest foods, but even those are tremendous. We got a big pack of six chicken breasts, trying to save in bulk, and they still cost 110 kroner, or about 16 dollars — and that was the cheapest chicken in the store. That’s quite dear for plain old chicken breasts. We’re going to be eating a lot less meat — we split one chicken breast or pork chop or whatever between the two of us for dinners — and are going to try supplementing with other protein sources. The eggs are a bit more affordable, but only a bit. Thought we might be able to eat tofu, but it’s 40 kroner (6-7 dollars) for one little block, which is not even a whole chou (the standard measurement for tofu). I’m looking into making our own tofu, but I need to price soy beans and soy milk at the store to see if it’s feasible. It couldn’t be worse than the hard, chewy stuffy that they are selling as tofu.So we’re going to be a bit more frugal than planned, from here on out, and bit more desperate for me to start finding some work. But it’ll wait until at least next week, as I have unpack all of our thirty-three boxes and organize everything first. Yuki is utterly swamped with school, so he’ll be no help. He has class from 10 to 5 most days and 8 to 5 a couple of days each week, and once he gets home he is stuck reading textbooks and articles. I can hardly ask him to go through boxes, when I’m the one with all the free time. So once that is over with, I’ll get back on the job hunt — and hopefully into some Swedish lessons.
Until then, keep your fingers crossed for me. Our streak of bad luck has been exhausting — injuries, illnesses, slights from friends, no bonus for Yuki (the withholding of which is technically illegal), having to pay his municipal taxes even though we don’t live in Japan any longer, our visa applications going missing at Migrationsverket, our last minute dash to get visas in LA two days before flying out of the country, flights being delayed, canceled, and full of poor service, missing important meetings with friends and family that may never come again, the exchange rate going south, being confounded at every turn… it’s too much to think about at times. We used to joke that we used up all of our good luck for Yuki to get into grad school, but it doesn’t really feel like a joke anymore. So please, please let our bad luck finally be exhausted and let us find a way to live and work in this country for the next two years.