Monday, August 31, 2009

1 x kitchen duty

was 1 week of perpetual cleaning. i've never cleaned so hard in my life. there was the corridor, living room and kitchen floor to be swept on alternate days, the dishes to be dried and stacked daily, the nightly check of the kitchen before i slept, taking the trash 1938291km to the huge waste receptacles, depositing the recycling in the correct bins and i'd to mop the floor at the end of it all!

i cleaned and cleaned until my fingers peeled and cracked. in fact, i even scrubbed the stoves for good measure (yay me!) and finally i handed over the dubious honour to my iranian corridor mate who's on the warpath of everybody who so much as leaves something lying on the counter for more than 5minutes. maybe she'll be more militant than i was. maybe the place would be spotlessly, sparkling clean. maybe she won't lift a finger. i don't know. neither do i care, really. i'm done with kitchen duty for the next three months and now i just need to clean my room.


clean clean clean i feel like cinder-bloomin'-rella.

p/s i'm also a little sad that my corridor squatter has moved out. with his wireless router. who's going to let me leech free internet and teach me (repeatedly) how to chop chicken now? :( plus he was on cleaning duty the week before me (because as a squatter that was his due) and he was always sweeping so happily i actually thought it'd be fun.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

good morning sunshine

and this is the last thing i saw before i went to sleep :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

i like skype

because i can talk to my preciousssss who's getting more manja by the day and will have moved permanently into my room before long. i miss him sooooo much. and i think skype actually confuses him because he works himself into such a tizzy trying to find me. as if i'd be hiding under the bench press, but that's where he always looks first :(

life in monochrome

photo credits to jeanne

friday evenings

there's something about fridays. the nakedlawyers first celebrated fridays with our friday night lonely hearts club back in freshman year. freshman year's a year i'm always nostalgic about because it was such a blast. not that the subsequent years have been bad (far from!) but there's a certain heady charm about the liberation of freshman year. bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, we were up for any adventure and adventure we did! and in the quick span of a year, we aged beyond recognition and as we grew more refined, clinking glasses till they cracked was no longer socially acceptable (ok, maybe it never was), and we mellowed some.

so having at least some basis of comparison, friday evenings here are so different. i did my laundry yesterday and as i was walking home from the laundry room, i passed the ground floor rooms of my building. strolling past the open windows and surreptitiously peeking into my neighbours' rooms was like sampling slices of other people's lives. there was the girl in the corner room leaning out of her window with a cigarette, trying not to set-off the smoke detector in her room. there was a couple mid-argument in the next room, an asian boy on his electric guitar in the third. then i passed the kitchen, someone was making dinner, someone else was eating dinner and yet another someone was taking out the trash. it felt like both a cross-section and microcosm of life at the same time.

back on my floor, it seemed like nobody had friday night plans. which translated to everyone and their mother in the kitchen. and we all cook according to our colour and country. the french boy made a vegetable stir fry with zuchinni and tomatoes, the indian gents had curry and rice, the japanese girl was making miso soup, the chinese boy had the most delectable looking three-layer pork in dark sauce, the other french boy was eating pilaf and i made stir-fried pork in oyster sauce with onions and garlic. everyone's away from home but cooking the food we'd grown up on. and it's nice, really, to feel so disconnected and connected at the same time. it's at times like this that i realise the human condition is homogenous. and it was a friday night! so we sat around our tiny dining table, guffawing at the simpsons and family guy. maybe banal american humour transcends all race and language barriers. that's a true sign of globalisation and american cultural hegemony, don't you think?

oh and i'm some kind of oddity here because of my mini crock pot and habitual overnight marination. A-san, my japanese corridormate asked, "you is prepare second dinner, no?" when she saw me chopping the chicken and massaging the meat in the ziplock bag after eating my humongous dinner. and then, possibly thinking that i was still hungry, she gave me some miso soup :)

life is good.

these boots were made for walking

but these shoes weren't made for dancing. a sign, perhaps, that it's time to hang up my dancing shoes and call it a day?

(or should i just use superglue?)

quote of the day

"you need to stop sounding like you're having sex when you chop chicken."

noted, without thanks.

the laundry chronicles

can't believe it's that time of the week again.

i had an almost-encounter in the laundry room!

this woman unloaded my laundry from the machine! HOW DARE SHE! it wasn't even her turn! SHE'S ONE OF THOSE LEGENDARY WASHING MACHINE HIJACKERS!!! i was so annoyed! what if i'd wanted to put in another load after my first load was done?!

after somewhat disgruntled-ly moving my laundry to the sole remaining dryer (the other, by the way, was also hijacked by some other inconsiderate poop) i left the laundry room in abject fear that the woman would subsequently hijack my dryer before my laundry was dry. because, she'd already hijacked the machine, what's to stop her from going the whole hog? so i returned to my room determined to make my presence felt in the laundry room and guard my dryer. however, better sense personified prevailed and when i went to pick up my dry laundry, everything was just as i'd left it. and the woman's laundry was waiting patiently in the laundry trolley for my dryer.


but i still dislike communal laundry.

home improvement


i go away for 2 weeks

and my precious weighing scale goes to the dogs.


pub crawl

what better way to celebrate the first day back to school, than with a good ol' pub crawl with friends new and old? our first lecture was a brief (thankfully) but what tickled me even more than our professor's valiant attempt to pronounce the international mishmash of names accurately was her declaration that, henceforth, 9am classes would begin at 915 instead. i'm loving stocks already! post-lecture, we hung around campus and scored some free hotdogs! 2 x free hotdogs = lunch :) and it was great getting to know an eclectic mix of exchange students. the current friends nucleus is 1 x greek boy, 1 x greek girl, 1 x french girl, 2 x german boys, 3 x italian girls and 2 x italian boys. hope i didn't miss anyone out! so it's hardly a nucleus if you count the 11+ people involved. but as with exchange it's all wonderfully relaxed and hang if you wanna hang, needn't hang if you want time out. fun bunch! pleased as punch :)

the non-smoking german boys! yay to non-smoking friends who laugh at me and my little smoke dance.

and we stumbled upon the most enterprising swede (based in berlin but back in stockholm for the summer because he just bought a house here!) who, i'm guessing, is paying off his housing loan by selling freshly mixed mojitos to alcohol-hungry exchange students in-between pubs on their first pub crawl. so right there in front of us he got to work mixing and we* ended up with mojitos with bits of grass instead of mint leaves. ooops! but how awesome! mojitos in the middle of the campus lawn. from an unauthorised bar-tender. only in stocks!

*and ma, when i say 'we', i mean 'my friends'. i didn't risk my gastro-intestinal tract and liver, don't worry.

when we were at the law students' house (yes, we do have our personal bar, bragbrag) a group of sailor boys mounted the stairs and started serenading us acapella. they sure knew their stuff! amazing skill.
oh and apparently pub crawl is a weekly affair here! HAHA.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


i've decided that i'm not going anywhere near cigarettes anymore. it's only been a few days and while i love the swedish laws that prohibits smoking indoors, people (i.e. my friends) just move outside to smoke. it got a bit tiring to continuousy stand upwind and it morphed into some kind of ridiculous smoke-averse dance that i've decided, from now on, i'm just not going to go near smokers.

smokers are the most inconsiderate bunch and just as they're entitled to slowly killing themselves and every living thing nearby, i'm equally entitled to clean air, indoors. it's sad right? last i checked, 'indoors' were smaller than 'outdoors'. i wish there were enclosed smoking boxes for them to slowly asphyxiate themselves and their fellow smokes.

end of story.

p/s but i love the smokers on the south america trip because they're considerate and i never smelt their smoke. not once. why can't everyone be like them?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

smorgasbord and mingle!

(from the most recent email regarding the party at 5pm)

pretty clear instructions from the faculty, eh? :)

the girlies

belated photo of new friends.

trois messieurs fran├žais

meet my french corridor-mate, C, and his two charming friends.

they're majorly interesting people :) C grew up in a hamlet in france, left for high school in a bigger down, did a year of medicine in poitiers (the same year S was there!) and then left to focus on biochemistry because medicine wasn't for him. he's driven by a desire to make medicines and remedy / prevent genetic illnesses because his sister has one and he grew up wanting to help her. A, the dimpled guy in the middle, is C's good friend from france. his father is the chef of a huge restaurant and he grew up in the kitchen, watching and learning. so he's the resident french chef here and makes the most amazing meals. plus he knows all about asian culture! which's pretty impressive, considering he's never been to asia. he could tell me about the endangered species-threatening eating habits of the chinese, harakiri, and he definitely knows more about asia than i know about france. and on the right's also C, he's the responsible one. who spent a year in tokyo (OMG) and speaks perfect japanese now. he's also done a fair bit of traveling and i found out from him that tokyo-hawaii is dirt cheap. so i just might do that the next time i head north east from singers :) but they're lovely guys and it was a good evening. we've an interesting barter trade going on, they teach me french, i teach them english. so in now time, we'll all be effectively bi/trilingual. won't that be nice :)

and everybody at the party was dressed up. the freshies have to wear this ridiculous costume fro the first fortnight and the colour depends on your faculty. these guys were somewhat lucky to be in black because i saw some neons. but they were super weird these guys were standing around all bearded and wouldn't let C take a photo with them! and when i took one anyway (hehe0 they grunted and marched off. so odd!

photos from the pre-party on the rooftop terrace :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

home improvement

it's a little too soon after settling down to work myself into another tizzy but the home improvement bug bit hard on pilgrimage #2 yesterday. before i knew it, i'd bought enough lights to illuminate the sahara. i realise i've extremely screwed priorities because i'd gladly subsist on plain pasta if my room could look like it just casually stepped of the room runway. which, unfortunately, is what seems to be happening right now. i used to think food mattered, and it does, but not as much as aesthetics. that, combined with my culinary sloth, is a lethal combination.

so here's to more tortellini :)

back with photos when the pad's fixed up.

nothing to do with sweden

except my inability and extreme longing to cuddle these precious little bundles.

viva la vida

(some) photo credits to C

one word: stupendous.

(thank you very much, john!)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

the laundry post

(laundry shirt!)

no exchange blog is complete without a laundry post! and whilst i was trying to spare you the mundane details of my pseudo-independence, laundry is an amazing achievement.

i very excitedly gathered my pathetic load of laundry and brought it to the laundry room (5minutes from my building). why oh why do i not have a machine in my building. WHY. (thanks j for the laundry bags) you must understand that the excitement stems from anticipation because i tried very hard to book a laundry slot a few days ago but alas, they were all full! so the earliest available slot i could find was saturday 2pm. when most normal people are out in the sun enjoying their weekend. bummer. but i was determined to do my laundry and i eagerly wrote my name down. after waiting a few days and feeling the excitement of virgin laundry attempt build up, i attempted to increase my laundry load because, apparently, two semi-clean shirts do not a load make. and then i'd the brainwave of washing my new bedding from ikea! suddenly, instant load! tada! my laundry trip was now justified.

upon finding my machines (9 and 10 from 2pm-4pm) i discovered, to my horror, that someone else's laundry was still in it!!! which set of this whole train of events because i had no clue what to do with abandoned laundry. the machines had dirty surfaces so i couldn't just dump the damp laundry on my machine and get along with it. after much deliberation, i decided to help the irresponsible one and put his laundry in the corresponding dryer i.e. dryer 9. which i did, cringing all the way because it was boy's knickers and OHMYWORD SO GROSS SO GROSS SO GROSS and i very very delicately made sure i touched only the extremest edges and i wish i'd gloves because it's just so very disgusting but i did it and now some stupid person is going to have nice dry clothes. i have to admit this move was motivated more by paranoia than altruism because i didn't want to anger the irresponsible one who would then, presumably, irresponsibly proceed to pee into my laundry. which would be even more unpleasant than temporal contact with his unmentionables. and i very nicely left a note on my machine to direct aforementioned irresponsible neighbour to his laundry. lest he pee in my laundry in bewilderment at his missing load.

so there.

oh and i came back to my room after starting the washing cycle and saw my spanking new ikea bedsheet still half-sitting pretty on my bed. vaguely remember trying to remove it from the mattress then i must've gotten distracted by something and left without taking it with me. DARN! so now i'm going to continue sleeping on new, slightly plastic-y smelling sheets until the next laundry day.

the laundry chronicles! will update once i've my laundry back nice, dry and hopefully free of random person's pee. and also after i've stopped compulsively washing my hands with the strongest antiseptic i can find.

in other news, guess who scored tickets to coldplay tonight??? live! in stockholm! guess guess guess! -almost passes out in glee-

Friday, August 21, 2009

little commie

wasted a perfectly lovely day queueing to join the students' union. union membership is compulsory and i cannot comprehend why i have to pay good money before i'm allowed to take my exam. shouldn't that be regulated by the university??? why subject me, innocent and unaware exchange student, to the horror that is union membership? ok maybe i'm exaggerating a little but i come from a place where unions are frowned upon and strictly regulated if they're even allowed. yes, i'm not in singers anymore and if i wanted to stay out of a union i should never have come to stocks. but the idea of forcing every hapless kid on exchange or otherwise and extorting sgd96 from them is daylight robbery. this would only be a beneficial relationship (for me) if i happen to get into some medical mishap and require rescuing. which is highly unlikely. plus it might not even be covered, ironically.

but my main grouse is that the instruction was to register between 9am-1pm. as with most other things in stocks, there's a machine dispensing queue numbers. i get there at 1030 and take queue number 294. they were serving number 70. if you do the math, assuming they began at 9, it took them 90minutes to see 70 people. there were 224 more before it reached my turn. if the union registration people worked at a constant rate, it'd take more than three hours till it was my turn (this has all the makings of a bad problem sum)

and. it. did.

so i did what i do best (hog the nearest comfortable seat and stone) which happened to be in the bookshop. found a cushioned armchair and got ready for the long haul. which would've been relatively uneventful if the union hadn't decided that lunch was sacred and some overgrown hippy woman announced that they'd stop work prompty at one (!!!) regardless of whether there were still people with queue numbers in the queue. this was after they switched off the ticket machine at noon, mind you. which's extremely unfair to people who came after because they were supposed to stay open till one and that's presumably refers to the silly queue ticket machine too, doesn't it?

but thankfully our protests got through and overgrown hippy was convinced to let those with queue numbers up to 300 register and the rest had to go by next monday. which worked for me because my number was 294 but not for the other 200-odd people with numbers >300. and then overgrown hippy started yelling at us and telling us that we were holding up the union workers who now had to work overtime because it was already 1330 and they hadn't had lunch yet. so, it's my fault for following their instructions to the T and patiently waiting over 3h to register as a member of a union that i wouldn't ordinarily want to be part of. thanks.

not a positive start to my little commie existence and definitely unimpressed by this union that cannot work through lunch.

on the plus side though, i did meet some cool greeks while waiting my turn. and two pakistanis. and one japanese girl. so it wasn't a complete waste of time because we managed to communicate and commiserate and register our similar displeasure.
in other news, i came back to this lovely little surprise on my landing and it stank to high heavens :(

Thursday, August 20, 2009

don't make me go viking on you

another glorious summer day with amazingly blue skies :) went for the guided tour the university organised as part of orientation and then returned to the cheap grocer's for oil and salt. i need to stop making a daily pilgrimage there! enjoyed the tour, learnt much about sweden and swedish history. the guide was all decked up in her national costume that she stitched by hand over two winters siting in her cab while waiting for passengers.

showed the girls boutique eden (thanks W and C!) and they too went on a bubble bath rampage. ate what remained of my crock pot breakfast for dinner, washed the pot then put in tomorrow's breakfast! it's complete rice grains from the asian grocer, carrot, onion and dried scallop :) and i can smell it already. yummers! i live for my hot breakfasts.

met the rest of the corridor in the kitchen tonight and it was nice getting to know everyone. two iranians, one legit indian, one indian squatter, both from near hyderabad, one swede, one prc, one french, one turk, me and six other unknown corridor-mates (12 to a corridor). we got a kitchen kitty going and the swede, K, who's been here for 3 (!!!) years was appointed the 'dor daddy. so he's the 'responsible one' in charge of stocking up on bin bags and dishwashing liquid. he also has the biggest biceps from his holiday job as a construction worker. talk about dual purpose!

and B, the squatter who taught me how to chop chicken last night, also very kindly shared his mate's wireless key! so byebye patchy wireless and helloooooo friendly neighbour :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

look ma, no hands!

woke up to this glorious bubbling surprise

and when i opened it, it looked about done (maybe a little over, even!)

so i stirred it up and voila! nice, hot, comforting breakfast :)

(the only problem is that i think i filled it too much so some of the soup overflowed into the pot and left its charred remains. so that explains the occasional sputter and sizzle i heard in my sleep. lesson learnt!)

am off to drink my soup now and then make my virgin visit to the laundry room.

edit: frozen chicken is officially tasteless.