4. Moose hunt, musical audtion and a new exchange student? (English translation)
During the past 2 weeks I’ve experienced such amazing things! I think the highlight of these weeks was that I could join Rein during the moose hunt. We had to wake up at 4:00 in the morning to be at location at 5:15, so I went to bed at 20:30 and that’s really exceptional for me. In the morning it was incredibly cold, the sun didn’t come up yet, there was a night frost and we had to sit still for a few hours. Luckily it became a few degrees warmer when the sun came up and then it was light enough to take beautiful pictures of the surroundings. My host father mostly hunts in a group of 20 hunters. In an area, enclosed by roads and a river, hunting dogs try to find moose and chase them to one of the hunters in a hunting tower to shoot it. All the hunters know where everybody is and where the dogs are, because they use walkie-talkies. This kind of hunt can take 3-5 hours and you need to sit still and enjoy the nature around you while you try to wake up. Later in the morning we tried to hunt moose in another area while we walked, we walked in a slow pace so I had a lot of time to take some pictures of the nature. We didn’t shoot or see any moose, but earlier that week they shot a moose, so we had to chop the meat into pieces and raffle off these pieces amongst all the hunters. I thought it was really interesting to see the inside, the muscles and bones, of this big animal and I took some pictures of it, but I thought they were a bit too morbid to post on here…… I learned a lot on this day about how hunting works and which (safety)rules there are. I thought it’s remarkable that I was the only girl/woman in the group, I expected that there would be more women, but maybe the women hunt in another group than this group. There are not so many moose left in this area, the nature preservers actually want all the moose to be gone. The moose damage the trees and then the wood is worth less money. In the 6 weeks I’ve been here I haven’t seen a single moose, but I’ve seen dozens of moose when I was on vacation in Sweden for just 2 or 3 weeks.
We went to a classical concert in Piteå with school, it’s a bigger city more to the south, one hour drive away. The musical pieces were played by a big orchestra and one piece also included a solo cellist. Agnes, one of my friends from school, has been playing the cello for years and she was very impressed by this cellist, so she must be really good! During the break we could speak to the cellist and she thought it was nice to hear that we were from the estet program and that we all like to make music. We also had a dance performance at our school (with a Dutch choreographer, my classmates hoped that I would talk Dutch with him but I didn’t). They told stories about people who fled to Sweden because of certain wars, accompanied by (partly improvised) dances. I thought this project was so interesting that I even watched the documentary they made about this performance. The stories were told in Swedish, but I understood some things even faster than some classmates even though I didn’t fully understand the Swedish. It was mainly because of the dances, dance doesn’t have a language, it’s universal, so everybody can understand that.
I tried two (for me new) kinds of dances with my host mother: line dancing and belly dancing. The line dancing group contains of about 20 women mainly of the age 45-70 and almost nobody with the same age as I have. We were only with four in the belly dancing group and there the ages were really different. The big difference between these two kinds of dance is that line dancing is all about performing a lot of moves in a short period of time and belly dancing is all about moving in the most beautiful way possible. I thought they were both not necessarily easy, but for me remembering a lot of moves is easier than moving my body in ways I never did before or in ways that I’m not used to (yet) and then trying to look beautiful. We also started swimming/diving with the whole family. The orientering season is over soon and there is no snow yet to go skiing or do cross country skiing, so that means we’re going to the pool every Sunday. I do so many sports here and so many times a week, it’s so much more than I’m used to from when I lived in The Netherlands, but I actually like it to explore new sports and to spend time with my host family.
Last week I did an audition for our school musical ‘Rock of Ages’. We had to sing two songs from the musical, ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ and ‘Harden My Heart’, some notes were really high for me so sometimes a sang a bit off key. We also had to recite a poem/tell a story/perform a monologue, we could choose ourselves what we wanted to do with this part of the audition. I choose to recite a poem, yes completely in Swedish, I chose for that myself so that the teachers could hear me talk in Swedish and hear that my pronunciation isn’t the worst. The poem I recited was ‘Strövtåg i hembygden’, but most Swedes don’t know it as a poem but as a song. I mainly learned the lines and practiced the pronunciation by listening to the song a lot of times, for me that’s an easy way to learn something. The audition could have gone better, but I’m quite content with it. There were 23 people auditioning and 17 roles, so hopefully I did good enough to get a role.
Finally I got my laptop for school, a MacBook Air!!! I really like the keyboard, typing is so nice on it. I still have to get used to the fact that everything is in Swedish on this computer, of course I can change the language to Dutch, but I didn’t come across any big problems so far with the Swedish, so that’s why I’m keeping it Swedish.
Last Saturday I went to Luleå together with Therese, Hugo and Hannes, this city is bigger than Boden and has a lot more nice shops and restaurants. I bought new shoes for fall and winter, because now it’s freezing at night and in the morning and it’s starting to get too cold of All Stars…… In the afternoon we had fika in a cute restaurant called ‘Friends fika and food’ and at the end of the afternoon we had dinner at ‘Pinchos’, a restaurant where you can order all these small dishes and try a bit of everything and where you can share the food with the others. When we got home I baked chocolate muffins, they were really good. Last week I baked a ‘boterkoek’ (literally: buttercake, a Dutch cake that contains a lot of butter) for the whole family and Hugo said it was the best thing he ate in a while, it was a great success.
In The Netherlands I didn’t help out that much around the house, but here I hang up the laundry, set the table or clear out the dishwasher almost every day. If I don’t separate the waste correctly, because in The Netherlands it’s the same for the biggest part, but there are small differences that are still very important, I always feel guilty and try not to make the same mistake again. I keep my room really organized, the people that have seen my room in The Netherlands probably won’t believe me, because my room was always a mess. I’m wondering if I will keep this behaviour for ever or only for this year or maybe even just for the first few months here (I’m hoping for the first, but I worry it’s the last…).
Yesterday I was introduced to a new exchange student. It’s a girl from Thailand and she’s in the first year of estet. Today I can hopefully talk to her and ask her the questions I want to ask her. I think it’s fun to have contact with other exchange students, because they really understand what it’s like to be an exchange student. Some things you cannot fully understand if you’re not going through the same of have gone through it before, I think being an exchange student is one of those things. I notice that the teachers that have been on an exchange theirselves of have lived abroad, have a foreign partner or have (had) an exchange student at home, understand better what I need and how I feel than some other teachers.
And now a list of random facts I couldn’t fit into my story:
- In our school and a lot of other schools in Sweden you’re not allowed to wear strong perfumes and bring nuts or products that contain nuts to school, this all has to do with allergies and I didn’t come across this in The Netherlands before.
- The gymnasium students in Sweden get about 1000 crowns (about 100 euros) each month if they attend school and some students didn’t even realised that it’s not like that all over the world and that Sweden is about the only country that has this system…..
- Here they have special knives for butter, it’s called ‘smörkniv’ (literally ‘butter knife’) I’ve never seen it before in my life and here they are everywhere.
- Here you sort out all the cutlery, your plate and glass yourself in the cafeteria when you’re done eating, this is also very unusual in The Netherlands, mostly we place our tray with all the crockery on a conveyor belt or in a rack.
- In our estet corridor at school we have a few couches where everybody always sits (or sleeps) during the breaks and during free periods. We also have a kitchen that the students can use as well, it’s not unusual if students have self made French toast, make waffles, take dinner to school, have breakfast at school or take coffee or tea to class, that’s why everybody in estet has their own mug.
- The lessons here take about (I say about, because it’s not correct all the time) 80 minutes, that’s longer than I’m used to and sometimes a class can feel like it has no end. But it’s nice that we have less subjects in one day.
- A lot of teachers here teach in different subjects, for example our Swedish teacher is also our English teacher and our teacher for ‘estetisk kommunikation’ (a subject I can barely explain…), in The Netherlands you don’t often see these big differences between the different subject one teacher can teach.
I try to keep my blogs short so I don’t have to spend so much time on writing them and so that I don’t have to stay up that late when I’m writing (I’m home around half past 5 almost every day from school), but every time the story gets way longer than I wanted it to be and so it takes a lot of time. But I will continue to write my blogs with all the love in the world for you (and myself)!
Lots of love, Roos