Wednesday, September 14, 2011

And the wind blows...

The weather has been up and down lately. But we have settled into this routine that is less summer and more fall. In the three weeks that I have been here, summer has quickly dwindled and fall has encroached on its place. The days are getting darker earlier (around 7:30 as opposed to about 8:45 or 9), the clouds seem to be settling in to their permanent positions, and oh, the wind blows. It blows and it howls. It's very fall-like. It's brisk and chilly, the leaves shimmer and the air cuts at your face. Today is a perfect autumn day, and the first time I really realized the bliss of summer is long gone. Summer left quietly, leaving it's footsteps for fall to come and fill in from behind. The days are colder and it rains more frequently. Swedish weather is more indecisive than Oregon's weather, yes, that's right, I know it's hard to believe. I woke up the other morning to a slightly overcast sky which quickly turned into a stormy downpour 2 minutes before I hopped on my bike to ride to class. I ride my bike everyday rain or shine. Although, I did just recently read about the the physics/mathematics behind the reasoning for getting so much more wet when riding a bike or running vs. walking. The verdict: walking keeps you much drier. We already know this from daily observation, but the it was quite fascinating to read the reasoning behind it, and put that thought to rest. I found myself thinking about it as I rode in the the morning, or before I went to bed. Anyhow, today was particularly autumn-y and I decided today was my first real day of fall since I got to Sweden. It has been autumn weather for some time now, on account of the significantly higher number of rainy days to sunny days, and the drop in temperature. One thing is for sure....I can't wait to FINALLY get my bag with fall/winter goodies. (Oh, that's been a riot....getting my bag which has been here for a week already. I think I should finally have it in my hot little hands tomorrow, fingers crossed)
Today I noticed a lot more fall foliage, and I am hoping to see much more in the coming weeks. The weather today is slightly overcast with the sun peaking in ever so often, the wind blows and you can hear the leaves dancing. This is why I decided today was my first day of fall, despite what the equinox tells us. After lab this morning, I decided to carpe diem and read in the botanical gardens across the street from the EBC (Evolutionary Biology Center), as we call it. Rather, the bio area. I packed a sandwich, apple (of which I picked myself, another sign of autumn in Sweden), and a cookie. I found a bench next to the pond where I enjoyed my lunch and some reading time. On my bike ride home, I saw children playing outside all suited up in their new season's clothes and at one particular playground when the sun was shining, I peered in to see a bunch of little glowing heads. All I could do was smile. Just past this playground, I had to slow down my bike on the trail for children crossing, There was a teacher in the front holding a rope that all the children behind had their grip on, they were all suited up in their identical rain suits which look like construction suits complete with reflectors. They looked like little ducklings following their mamma. I think they were about 3 or so, and by the looks of it, they were also headed to the playground. Needless to say, my bike ride home was entertaining and very enjoyable.
Today I am taking the liberty to rest and relax a bit as my week goes on with 4 lab days in a row, today was a short day sandwiched between two very long, very exhausting days in the lab. I haven't ever spent this much time in the lab as we only have 3 hour labs at Willamette for every one class. Sometimes labs can take longer, but usually we are all too busy to spend any more time than required in the lab. Here, it's different, We haven't had lecture since Monday and the rest of the week is primarily lab time. I need to rest to try to get over this mucinex monster that has taken over my body. My nose is stuffy and runny and my cough persists. So, Avery and I are going to enjoy fika and possibly an afternoon in town. We'll see where the wind blows us! ;)

Here are some things I have learned so far in Sweden:

1) ICA supermarket does not and will not accept international packages
2) It is very difficult to do what would be considered very mundane errands in the states....namely, pick up packages! Also, go to the doctor, go to the phone store, have a phone for that matter (you don't have a plan here through verizon for example, you just get a SIM card and fill your phone with minutes, but the DO have plans.....kinda, each plan has different rates and oh it's a joy when you finally figure out that some rates are skyrocketed with one plan vs. another.)
3) Sweden really likes the number system, you've got to take a number for EVERYTHING, I guess it's somewhat efficient, but it also seems like a sad waste of paper. I guess they do have about 300,000 trees per person (this is an actual statistic)

Sorry folks, no pictures today. Weather hasn't been conducive to picture taking. Hopefully soon I can snag a picture of my sweet bike! Happy fall!

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