As you definitely know, I am currently participating in a student exchange programme between the Stockholm School of Economics and Riga and Kalmar University in Sweden. Just wanted to remind you of my existence and share the experience of being in this wonderful (excuse my subjectivity) place and having an opportunity to study in a different country. Arrived here three weeks or so ago and was shocked immediately since the dorms were lacking a lamp - and by this I mean not only a lightbulb, which would be understandable - but the lamp in the full sense of the word, no wires or anything! Luckily, my broad-hearted neighbours offered assistance, which eliminated the necessity of having to read by candle-light. Which would have been oh so romantic :)
Before that though, struggled across Stockholm with a horseload of luggage, which mostly consisted of the best food in the world (Latvian-produced, that is). I had my serious doubts on the sufficiency of my scholarship to cover the food expense. However, now I can definitely tell that everything is perfect - there is cheaper food, and, what is more comforting, there are ways of eating less! Just a matter of personal discipline. In Sweden, there are nice products as well, for instance, fantastically delicious bread. Dansk Rågbröd is the name of the game :) the very best! Also worth trying are different kinds of yoghurt, which I will not emphasise - Latvia is itself famous for all range of dairy. Swedish cuisine per se is surprisingly fattening though, with greasy sauces, potatoes, meat balls (köttbullar), and the like. All sausage I noticed here is bright pink, which absolutely terrifies me. My favourite rice porridge is a delicacy eaten once a year on Christmas - price is correspondingly high. Too good I took some packs from Latvia...
I am staying in a quiet area of Kalmar, a town of population around 60,000 people. A very cosy place on the coast of the Baltic Sea, separated from the island of Öland by Kalmarsund stream. A small port, mainly for fishing boats (as I have understood). There is a medieval castle on a small island nearby, accessible by a bridge. The old town is lovely, with a few cosy streets, and the main square (Stortorget). There is Domkyrkan, like in Riga! This place overall reminds me of Ventspils, same breath of the sea, same old castle, same small houses, same cosiness. I might be biased though :)
Takes me some 40 minutes to walk to the main school building (Baltic Business School) from the dorms. The dormitories are a separate topic! They are divided in so-called corridors, where eight people share a common kitchen. Showers are shared by two people - I however share with two, since Sofie and Björn (my neighbours) live together. Which is good fun. Dorms people decided that I should learn Swedish (all of them are Swedes except Katri, my Estonian coursemate from SSE Riga), so I am getting full lessons every day! All come from different regions of Sweden, of which I am struggling to understand the southeners the most. Crazy accents, a bit like Danes, even. Good fun being together. They are very nice, compassionate neighbours, although you do not think of Swedes this way. Always ready to help. Cooked me dinner twice now, sad that a skinny Latvian girl should not live on rice! So sweet!
Overall, I am very happy so far. Going to Latvia on Sunday Feb 8th, for my impending bachelor Thesis defence on Feb 13th. I know it will go great. Will see my dad also, who is back from the sea only a few days ago.
The only downside of being here is not having an English-speaking church to attend. I am really looking forward to seeing my church folks in Riga.
Will write more at some point, thank you for taking time to read this chirping :)