If anyone had told me I would be sitting outside in Norrland in September, in a t-shirt and flip-flops, writing up a blog post, I wouldn’t have believed it. But yes, that’s exactly where I am right now. My day’s work is done, the sun is shining, not a single cloud in the sky and something that feels like 17 degrees – could be much worse 🙂 I’ve been very lucky with the weather all the time I have been in Sweden, I know that! And I like that it doesn’t seem to change even now 🙂
After one week here I can say that my original feeling about this place was right. It’s big, well-kept and generally nice! The family is very friendly and make me feel like I’m more of a friend than a worker, I even got to join them for fredagsmys last week. I will explain what that is in a different post, but it was great 🙂 The two dogs have been accepting me from the first day and now that they worked out that I like cheese sandwiches, they come to the kitchen when they see me there – they do like cheese too 😉 Morran is a dachshund, 8 years and pretty calm unless she wants a chew stick, then she goes crazy 🙂 Runo is a flat-coated retriever and also very calm, he likes to lick things though and when you tie your shoes, your face is usually level with his… 😉
During the week, there was one day when the two of them had to stay in because there were some Russians with dogs staying here. They had been to a big dog show in Oslo and had stopped on the way there because the bus driver needed a break, so they did the same on the way back. 9 people, 11 dogs, from a small Schnauzer up to a Maremma shepherd they were all shapes and sizes. There were 3 Australian Shepherds too, gorgeous as usual – but with absolutely no tails and docked ears 😦 As I have learned in the meantime (thanks Hilary!), this is actually breed standard – but to me it just looked wrong! Those of you who know Ginny: can you imagine her without her tail? Exactly…
My work here has been mainly putting out first sheep manure and then straw on newly prepared vegetable beds. There is a lot of vegetables here already, pumpkins, beans, peas, broccoli, tomatoes, all sorts of root veggies, aubergines and so on… but as the family is a mix of vegan, vegetarian and sometimes meat eaters, it’s great to have such a variety of fresh foods! They also like spicy food, there’s nothing to complain there 🙂
The village is by far the biggest I have stayed in so far, it has several bus stops and a quite big supermarket. On Saturday, I got a lift to the city of Umeå and looked around there for a little while until I got the bus back. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t very good that day and I didn’t take a single photo there. On Sunday I took a long walk, first into the forest and then into the village.
Also, I got to follow Susanne to a meeting of a women’s organisation that she’s a member of, soroptimists international. They met in a Chinese restaurant, so first it was food from the buffet, then a guest speaking about how it is to have your own gallery in a place like Umeå and finally they went through some club agenda. It was very interesting and also a good chance for me to use my Swedish 🙂 I am in fact only speaking Swedish here now and it works quite well!
Two more weeks I have here and I plan to enjoy them to the max 🙂 Then it’s down to Stockholm again, I need some serious shopping I think and of course the high heels class! Thanks to AirBnB, I have now also a host in Hong Kong that seems nice (and has a beagle) and one in Auckland (in Cox’s Bay of all places!). After 3 days in Auckland, I will fly down to Christchurch and meet a friend of a friend who has offered I can stay with her until my tour starts on the 11th October. After that we’ll see! The tour has a schedule, but as it’s a hop-on, hop-off concept, that is likely to change as I have a month more time than the plan 😉 It’ll be South Island first, then North Island, ending in Wellington. Depending on the timing, I might try Samoa or the Fijis or something if I find a good offer 🙂 You jealous yet? 😛