As I'm sure many of you know, it took me quite awhile to finally FINALLY make it to Sweden and my town of Jonkoping. Thanks to a lovely and vicious thunderstorm in Philly, we missed our flight from Chicago to Copenhagen and were stranded for an entire day in Chicago. Lucky for me, Chicago is an excellent place to be stranded--Aunt Maureen kindly picked us up at 12:30 in the morning and let us stay with her! We spent the next day booking flights, touring Naperville, and even making a quick stop at Costco before heading on our way to Europe! It was a wonderful layover :) Somehow, for all our troubles, we made it into Economy Extra for our seating, so needless to say, it was a pretty comfortable flight to Copenhagen, with hot towels and all! Sadly, one of my bags did not make it on the same flight. Luckily, I packed strategically and split some of my clothes---at least the important things--between the two suitcases. So, I was not totally out of luck.
On our train ride from Copenhagen to Jonkoping (about a 3 hour trip), when I wasn't dozing off, I got my first glimpses of the country of Sweden. Here's what I discovered: To the naked eye, nothing appeared all that different, on the surface, from driving through the countryside or small towns in the US. Except for the multitude of electric wind mills (some even in the middle of the water between Copenhagen and the southern most Sweden town), the view was fairly similar. There were farms and animals, gas stations, graffiti along the tracks...the works. One thing I also noticed is that when you cannot understand what people are saying, you read into their more subtle cues and body language much more. When you do that, the subject of their conversation becomes quite obvious. You can see the couples saying goodbye on the train, the baby asking for more food, the kids watching a movie and explaining it to one another, and the old lady yelling at her husband to get off the train :) Those kinds of situations are the same everywhere!
For now, I am just trying to get settled in. I live in a place called Tenhult (pronounced Tea-en-halt), which is about 15 or so minutes (by train) outside of the main city of Jonkoping. My roommates name is Zygianta (Zoo Gin tuh) and she is from Lithuania. She is very nice and like most everybody here, she speaks English very well, though with quite an accent. Thus far, I am trying to get acclimated with the city and have already been lost a number of times! Swedish people are very nice, but do not necessarily come off that way. If you ask for help or engage them in conversation, they are happy to chat with you. However, I have found that they do not start up the conversations and do not smile and say hello when walking by as we (or at least I do) do in the US. I have so many more things to write about, but for sake of length and time, will cut my ramblings off here! Last minute things...the IKEA stores here are even bigger than the ones at home (and yes, they gladly accept gift cards to pay for my towels and bedding--thank you Beaver's :)!
And if you all were wondering, they do sell peanut butter here.. but it is from Skippy (yuck!) and the jars are entirely too small! Miss everybody lots!