First struggles on my Erasmus exchange

So, what happened after the initial welcome week full of parties and getting to know new people? Did I go after my priorities or did I procrastinate? What stories do I have for sharing? Let’s find out. I’ll let you look under the hood

It’s actually really cold in here

            Even though this was to be expected, it still surprised me severely. For the first two weeks I heavily underestimated the weather and it backfired rapidly. I was used to almost never be cold back in Prague, only wearing one of my jumpers during spring and autumn at every occasion – even night-time.

This I quickly learned wouldn’t work up here. I got a little cold and had to overdress from then on. I got really confused by the temperature, because it was too cold to wear my usual spring clothes, but on the other hand it was not cold enough to go for my winter super-hot jacket. I didn’t really figure out, up until later, it was mostly the wind, that made the outside temperature so annoying and unbearable. So, I now stick to jumper, fleece jacket and windproof jacket on top and it seems to be working for now.

I keep telling people that I have no idea what I might do in the ACTUAL winter, since I am so cold even by now. I might just freeze in the street during the months of December and January… We shall see…

Oh… And I forgot my gloves at home. That gets really frustrating since while biking your hands get really cold unbelievably fast. Gonna have to fix some of those from one of the second-hand shops all around town other people visited already.

How do I get my bike exactly? Please help!

            The other struggle I had was getting a proper bike in here. I knew it was a big thing before moving in, but nobody really guides you by the hand to actually get it. The second-hand bike shops tend to be really crowded, overpriced and at the beginning of the school year all the good bikes are gone.

            I googled for a while and found this guy, who repairs lost or damaged bikes in Umea in his free time and sells them for repair costs. I was thinking about this concern before since I had this feeling, that there are more bikes in Umea than people. Does anyone ever check the bikes, that are lost or forgotten? Or are they just left in the streets forever? So, I gave one of his bikes a try. It was pretty nice bike, but not really what I wanted back then. I was looking for something similar to Rekola back in Prague in terms of the style. It broke down after a while and I returned it to the seller and had to search for a new piece.

            I decided to try out Facebook marketplace. It has its own struggles, but I managed to grab a really bad bike for a bargain. After a lot of tries, messages and rejections from Swedes. It works like okay, sometimes the chain just falls and has no gears. The hilly parts of Umea make you hate the bike, but I keep telling myself this is only temporary, and I will eventually fix myself a proper bike for the long term. Or maybe a mountain bike to go for some trips around Umea. Unfortunately, for now I prefer to have some room for groceries in my budget. I feel cheaper than ever.

The apartment is… Underwhelming?

            The first moment I saw the apartment I was shocked. Negatively. I didn’t really like it since I was imagining how awesome it might be when I actually move in. But then I heard other people’s stories about their rooms having missing beds and few centimetres of dust all along and I humbled myself down. It is not really luxurious, but after some work I might make it a little nicer.

            At that point I decided to buy a proper bed. IKEA? Nah, too expensive. I went to Facebook marketplace again a searched for a big bed. I quickly found out, that beds are in lesser demand than bikes and managed to get a 140 cm bed for 1000 SEK in Alidhem really fast. Great! I have a proper bed! I only had to sleep in the crappy piece for one night. Problem solved.

            The same day I heard back from the second person I contacted regarding their bed listed for 2900 SEK. It was a huge helicopter landing spot for two people with luxurious wooden frame and several layers of high-quality mattresses. I underbid for 2000 SEK previously as I didn’t want to spend so much money on a bed. Surprisingly he went for it. But I needed him to deliver the bed to my place with car, so we settled on the cost of 2500 SEK including delivery and all the mattresses.

            Since there was a party the first day and I hadn’t had any tools nor linens, I just slept on a plain mattress that night. The next day I made a trip to IKEA with my Swiss friend Urs and shopped for some missing essentials, kitchenware, linens for both beds and curtains to be used as togas at the party that day. On the way back I dropped the IKEA bag like twenty times, but I made it back to my place in the end. Finally, I had made my room a little nicer.

Eating Out in Umea

            Before I moved to the North, I promised myself I will cook most of my meals. I got to prepare more meals than I used to previously as I was eating out all the time back in Prague. But even though I still somehow managed to eat out for a quite few times here already.

            In the first week I was several times to Max, the Swedish burger store with my friends after a day out. (100 SEK) I really liked the burgers! That was great. The first week I also went to this pizza/pasta restaurant near the Umea Energi Arena. (100 SEK) We were recommended that place from the local coaches. Apparently, Czech teams used to eat there during their stays in here. I liked that place a lot. Obviously, I also haven’t missed the local open-up-until-very-late fast-food in Alidhem centre called Baloo. (90 SEK) The place was introduced to us the second day and it ended up being the go-to-spot after any late-night event. Much closer than Max. Actually, less than a few minutes walk from my place.

I also tested this Indian lunch place on campus, where you can get all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for a very fair price of 75 SEK. It tastes really great and the choices were different both days I visited. I plan to come back time to time as I like it probably the best on campus. We also tested the famous Fantastisk Grill on campus with a friend recently and it was not bad. Very fast food like, but okay for the price. (60 SEK)

The first week we were brought to the city centre for a lunch at the buffet style food court in Utopia shopping mall, where there are 3 types of restaurants with all-you-can-eat plates. (90 SEK) All three looked good and the food was quite enjoyable. I decided to go back once with a friend of mine and test the other sushi and oriental place. (120 SEK) I enjoyed both stays, but these unlimited options really make me overeat a lot. I can’t really leave all the delicious yummy looking food there…

Do you even cook, mate?

            Yes, yes, I know. I was talking about cooking more and then I jerked off for like four paragraphs about eating out all the time. That were all the occasions, when I ate out to be honest. I was cooking a lot otherwise. I started easy with some pasta with tuna. Then did a few other meals in quite large quantities and managed to eat in all somehow. Tried some new and old recipes. Mostly spent my budget on groceries in September.

            I got used to eating a large breakfast, making myself some bacon eggs in the first two weeks. I’m over that specific breakfast by now and looking for some long-term solution. Lately been just getting up so late, I could just go for yesterday’s leftovers and call it a lunch. Need to really get into the habit of cooking regularly so as to feel like an actual adult, hehe…

            There were quite a few hangouts with my German friend group to cook a dinner together at somebody’s place and play some card games afterwards. That was a great chill time and contrast to the party-heavy Swedish group I am going out with most of the time.

First Innebandy match in Sweden: Rookies vs Faddrar

            The first time after long weeks of inactivity in terms of sports I was supposed to join a floorball match of freshman challenging the older students. The registration was 12:15 and I managed to send the google doc 12:18. I was convinced I made it on time and started teasing my Faddar in our group about the match. Later I didn’t get the e-mail with the invitations to the game and surprised contacted the organiser of the game, where the problem was.

Actually, I did not make it on time since 16 people already joined in front of me. I was sad, that I can’t play my favourite sport in such a great setting and begged for at least a substitute spot. I almost gave up, but a few hours before the match I was contacted if I am still interested. Of course, I was. And started looking forward to the game.

            The actual match was quite intense with in my guess like 200 people spectating the game. Both rookies and faddrar had very loud audience and the game had an amazing atmosphere. Apparently, the faddrar haven’t lost that game against rookies yet. I had this feeling that was about to change. During the warmup I realised I substituted for a defender, so had to play that position in the game. I was not too happy, but it ended up working really well.

            In the game I realised I didn’t forget all the skills I previously had and could concentrate really well on the match. Since I was playing defender, I had a lot of possession and that felt great. We made some nice plays with a friend, who I met previously on a party talking for some time about floorball. The first half he scored twice from my passes and we went on with a 2:0 lead.

            The second half the faddrar managed to score twice and equalise the match. It was getting very tough at that time. We than broke the match to our side close to the end and scored three more goals. Then I just remember teasing the attackers from my position of a defender for the last few minutes and controlling the ball for gigs. We won and it felt great being part of it. I greeted the friends who came to the match and heard from the organiser, that he would not sub me in, if he knew I was so good. Oooooh, sweet! <3

            Later during the following parties people would mention and remember me from the game and this felt really good. That moment I realised I really love the sport and should focus on finding a team here, joining some quality Innebandy friends and learn a thing or two from the Swedes. But about that next time…

Thanks for reading, love you all <3