Tag Archives: foolish me

A new beginning


So today was my first day at the new lab. The first day of a new beginning. My first post doc.

As I was walking to the Information Desk this morning my heart was pounding. Why was I there, anyway? What the hell was I thinking, where the hell was my head when I decided to do a post doc, let alone a post doc abroad? Why didn’t anyone stop me?
They should’ve stopped me.
But time was ticking, and at 10:29am I had no choice – Swedes apparently invented punctuality so the last thing I wanted to do was make a bad impression by being late. I introduced myself. Henrik came to fetch me. No way back.

(as if there was any way I could’ve backed out before)

I still don’t know whether I’m up to this, this post doc-thing. It felt so weird, Henrik introducing me to everyone as if I were someone with experience, an added value to the lab. I am not so sure I am. I’m so… green. Inexperienced. So insecure.

So many things need to be done – register at Skåtteverket, file for a personnummer, get a bank account, read articles (by tomorrow!), finish my articles from back home (2 of those, plus 11 structures, …). Meanwhile keep the fridge filled, learn Swedish. Be a good post doc.

Oh hell.

This is never gonna work.

The joys of bike riding


So, I got my bike. And I hate it.

Let me rewind. I’m a cyclist. I have never in my (admittedly short) life owned a car, nor am I planning on purchasing one in the near future. The reasons are simple – apart from my part-time obsession with saving the earth (part-time as in, I consciously don’t buy a car, but I do love my long and hot showers), it is just incredibly expensive: purchase, gas, taxes, maintenance, … . Well I got some traveling to do before I go bankrupt, thank you very much. So, especially since in Lund (as in many student cities) a bike is almost indispensable anyway, it was only natural that I wanted to have a bike here. And this morning, as if God was sending me a signal that He, in fact, exists, there was some sort of… let’s call it a park sale. 1200 crowns (€127) for a second-hand, well-repaired bike. And while I was trying on one black-and-green-and-orange bike (I thought it might be easier to spot, as I tend to forget where exactly I parked it), there he was, smiling at me. A grey, Swedish version of the well known Dutch bike, which immediately felt as if it were made for me. Sold!

And so the trouble began. The handle bar is fairly close to the saddle (if my legs were 5cm longer, I wouldn’t be able to cycle), but it is also bent. This appears to be normal to most people, but on my old bike (which has been in my possession for 15 years, some intervals when it was stolen notwithstanding) the handlebar is straight. And this has some serious implications when, after grocery shopping, you want to hang your full bags on either end of the bar, since in the case of a bent bar, the distance to your feet – more precisely your little toe – is shorter. A lot shorter, even. Them bags were swinging and turning as if they wanted to generate electricity, banging my poor little toes with each failed attempt. The wobbling made steering rather difficult, and in addition to this, my beautiful bike was equipped with a back pedal brake. I am not exactly familiar to those, and as a result found myself almost falling on several occasions – I don’t think correcting with my left foot was the best solution, but it was either that or kissing Swedish soil. And if that weren’t enough, the handle of one of the bags broke, spilling my peaches and potatoes all over the park (admittedly, the bike may not be entirely to blame for this. still.). I made it home though, and immediately added to my to-bring-from-home-list: cycle bags.
We’ll have a long way to go, my new bike and I.

Ok... - I said NOOO! - How did you know it was me? I had disguised myself so well!

But on a totally unrelated but at least more cheerful note: I got a library membership card and brought Astérix comic books home to learn Swedish – jeij!