Saturday, 10 September 2016

Four days to go

Four days to go 10.09.16

Duolingo is going to struggle without wifi. I wont even be able to do my twenty minute session a day. Bang go the igits i was earning for regular practice!

Amazingly, although german cash machines refused me money, Swedish banks are happy to give it me, still krone though now Swedish krone not Danish, its interesting how many countries do not use the euro. I can tell im going to get myself into a muddle between which krone is which. 

Its going to be a noisy night or a stiffling one. Window open or closed? Ear plugs time.

My host is a designer, says she makes jewellery, ive not seen her work but have been warned off using the hand made mugs in the kitchen. My washing has now gone in communal machines in a basement but only after i made a fuss. Stacks of machines finished but full still and apparently we cant take other peoples things out and need to book a slot. Well we have taken them out now! No washing powder but some african 'washing nuts' i think its just a bit like putting a bag of marbles in to agitate the clothes. If left to my own devices i would have damp soaped sections but never mind, ill see what washing nuts and 40 degrees can do!

So perhaps without internet ill get my two books read here. Itll be fine when i go out, the tourist office said they have wifi and i guess most coffee places will too, ill have to start drinking more coffee. Actually, if i knew how to read my phone data it would tell me how much ive used of this months allowance whereas ive no idea at the moment. I suspect ill last until about this evening and then ill go, sod it and switch it on how ever much i use.

Poor communication she gets from me for starters. Out on the street there was a number 12 and number 16c, nothing in between but many houses behind gates in a courtyard and and no instructions on how to find 16a. Her responses to queries have been tardy, sometimes ignored. Having arrived, i cant open the window or work out how to lock the door, when i ask, she says yes its an old building. Its good to forewarn people of quirks or be sure to tell them in the first five minutes.  My room is much nicer and much bigger than i expected though and beautifully clean. Im unsure how much access i have in the house as the living room is also her workroom and without internet theres no way to read her ad find out. 

She will surprise me for breakfast she said. She certainly will. She tells me there are many different sorts of tea (but no coffee), no milk, rye bread, cheese or muesli so i said dont worry i had 2 pieces of rye bread left over and brought them. She then offered me jam. I dont really do jam. Luckily i have a scraping of the black olive tapenade and an apple left, that was my breakfast this morning, itll do for tomorrow as well. All i really needed was a pint of milk for my coffee, ill go find some in the morning.

Really really hoping the tourist office will be open tomorrow and that bus maps and routes are clear. Off to get my washing. Phew. Made it back, but complicated .... across a courtyard into which door? I was pleased i had turned to check where we had come from, when we went down to put it on, else id have been lost, in both directions, there must be 12-20 identical doors onto the courtyard. Im not to drape wet washing over her furniture, it might swell, she says but has given me some hangars.

I wake wondering what on earth i am doing, why i am not living quietly and easily at home. twice this week friends have made comments about me 'having a whale of a time' or 'having a great time' it doesnt feel like that, does my writing make is sound like that? i dont think its felt like that at all. Im having a soul searching, questioning time but its hard hard work. its educative to learn how places operate, how other people live, but much is like one long stint of hard mental if not physical work. 

I wonder what i will say when I return and people say did you have a wonderful time, for i think theres little thats wonderful about it, but what does wonderful actually mean? Yes, i have had moments of tranquility, moments of understanding, moments of contentment, but weeks of questioning, hours of searching, hours of not knowing, hours of not understanding. Laughter? Nope. Fun? Ill have to drag around but dont think so, fun sounds light and frivolous. there have been bits ive enjoyed, feelings of contentment and self satisfaction, appreciation of having no committments, friendship? Nope. Coincidences? no. I was just thinking the other day how unusual it is not to see someone or meet someone who knows someone. Travel for any period usually shows how small the world is but on this journey ive met no one with connections to anyone i know, probably because so few people have strayed across my path.

I need new habits. I couldnt resist connecting last night to check the profile of my accomodation and while there, checked my mail and a whizz through fb. Yikes 10% of my monthly allowance gone in a flash and the day when Alex was swimming i know i used a lot. I must be disciplined.

Well, thats one breakfast gone, just four more to go. Thats often how i think about my time and wish i might just give myself the freedom to catch the next flight home, except i have no home. 

My malaise is more around my immediate surroundings and lack of understanding boundaries. No sign of my host although i heard her a bit earlier, so i eat my rye bread, tapenade and apple in her kitchen trying to find plates and cutlery, abandoning the water i boiled in a saucepan forgetting theres no milk. I want to open windows but dare not do so. 

I go to wash my plate and theres only a filthy old sponge, my last place gave one of those too, what does it cost to fish out a fresh new sponge? The tea towel and cloth for wiping the table are dirty, not quite grim, but i washed my plate and knife under a running tap then gave the table crumbs a quick wipe with the tea towel. 

My shower was equally difficult. A bit like a shower on a boat, so compact you are on top of the toilet and this with a head spurting wildly out the sides but no water centrally. I soaked myself just trying to turn it on and then rushed to pick up the mat from the floor and make sure my towel was safe before trying to turn it on again. The water scraper doesnt work on the tiled floor so its all rather difficult and inevitably the loo roll got a few splashes. I suspect she has a shower at her workshop. She certainly didnt use this one before she left.

I guess i just need to try to make myself at home on her kitchen table, it is clear i am not permitted in the living room, fair enough, its just good for hosts to be clear about boundaries rather than leave guests guessing. I think its going to be a long five days. 

Time to discover the joys of a swedish tourist office who, although seemed very very helpful when i had my online chat the other day, dont actually have such a helpful website. When i looked in last night using hotspot to check opening hours for today i couldn't find any and looking for an address i struggled, although a map of Malmo shows tourist info near the station. Best I trek all the way back over there then and see what i find.