It was Sunday afternoon, around 2pm, and after spending twenty minutes wrestling with four keys, three doors and a touch-sensor-key-pad-lock-thing (the technical term, of course) I was finally able to open my new front door. I did so without a moment’s hesitation and, if I remember correctly, a little dance of excitement followed. Anybody who knows me will know that dancing is not something that comes naturally, so I think that says everything. It was clean and beautiful and big. I hopped about, flinging open doors and discovering walk in wardrobes, en suites, sofas, heated window benches.
As there was nobody around, I eagerly scrambled around in my suitcase for my laptop in order to share my excitement with, failing all else, the world. I was so enthusiastic in this endeavour that as I pulled my charger from the case, I somehow managed to snap one of the plug pins off in the process. Had it been a cartoon sketch, there would have been a loud ‘duh’ sound shortly followed by a light bulb image appearing as I frantically attempted some dodgy electrical work involving the broken charger and an adaptor. Perhaps needless to say, this did not work, and I was left with a broken adaptor too. Wonderful.
Things have, however, looked up from there. That evening, I met four girls living in my building and we ate pizza. That in itself was an experience as when Suzanne asked for pizza and chips, she received this:
The next day was, no word of a lie, about on par with all my Christmasses coming at once as I got to fulfil a lifelong dream and go to Ikea in its homeland. There isn’t really much to tell of this experience of this except: it was great. Great. And I stole all of the little pencils, which is standard procedure. Later that evening, we went to visit somebody in another block of halls, which ended slightly terrifyingly. We knew that the trams ran all night but had not yet discovered at this point that they stop before you reach our accommodation. As everybody got off the tram, we sat looking dazed for a while before a Swedish woman pointed to the bus which apparently took up the journey from there. We boarded this bus and had gone a few stops before it occurred to us that the bus obviously was not following the tram track and therefore would not go to the same stop. A bit more panic followed before we decided to just get off the bus and walk back. We had gone a little way on the bus by this point though and as we began walking the deserted streets on the outskirts of Gothenburg, it struck us that we had no idea where to go or how long it would take. It was 1am at this point and we had to be up again at 7.30am; a long night looked to be ahead of us.
We had been going for a little while when we looked to the right and noticed that we were walking alongside a graveyard. Being the erratic and ridiculous girls that we are, at this discovery we immediately began a full speed sprint, arms flailing and screaming. In fact, this was the best thing that could have happened as an approaching bus thought that we were running for it and stopped to let us on. Hallelujah. When we finally got back, I rushed into my room and double locked the door, continuing along the path of illogical fear.
Other events of the past week have included a welcome reception with the mayor, during which we took full advantage of the free wine and drank her out of house and home, an accidental visit to a death metal club, a tram stop called Elisedal, a very hungover bus tour, being shunned for wearing shorts and lots of Fika (coffee and cinnamon buns, basically). Hervee, a Belgian friend who lives in my flat, also introduced me to the utter joy that is a tequila slammer with orange and cinnamon in place of salt and lime, which is something I thoroughly recommend.
Despite having only been here a week, it’s safe to say that Gothenburg feels like home already. From my very earliest memories, I’ve been saying to anybody who will listen that I want to live everywhere, absolutely everywhere, and for the first time I’ve moved away and am living in a very certain somewhere. As I prize myself from my bed each morning and stagger to the kettle (and by kettle, I am really referring to a small saucepan of water on the hob), it all feels so normal that it’s hard to believe that I’ve finally done it and left and that this morning cup of tea is happening somewhere non-English speaking and non-Tetley drinking. But it is, and thank God for that.