(Dont think I am counting the days everyday, there is a bar on the bottom of this blog that keeps the count of how long I have been away from Canada, I use it as a handy reference from time to time :p)
dang, yeah I have passed the halfway point of my year here and I am starting my second semester this week. I thought I would add a "reflection" of what has happened throughout the year here.
I have to admit, Tammy was right that I couldnt possibly become an "expert" in swedish sign language by January (now)... but I don't feel as nervous or lost when talking to the deaf swedes anymore because I understand them 99% of the time now and I guess I have gotten alot better with the sign language however there is still a big need for improvement in that area (especially with my lip movements) :p
The school here, don't get me wrong, I think this town -- Jönköping -- is one of the most beautiful town I have ever seen in my life, the school campus and design is amazing but I do not really like their system. There is no consistency with the assignments, deadline dates, teaching session/workshop/lecture/labs or whatever... I have different school schedule every week forcing me to juggle my times with Stockholm/Work and Jönköping/School even more. And, whenever I get my assignments, I always feel that the assignments requirements are so vague which makes it hard for me to get started when I don't know which direction I should take to complete the assignment. I don't know if it is Sweden's general system or just Jönköping Högskolan itself.
If you fail a test, or an assignment, you are allowed to re-take the exams or re-do the assignments, I am totally against that idea because to me, I feel like that my motivation for studying or working on the assignments has been greatly depelted because I always know that there will be another "go" at it if I fail the exam. And one of my courses had a paper, programming assignment that was due AFTER the final exam. It's those things that makes me confused with the normal pattern of how a semester's schedule flow should be like.
Despite those negative things, I am still learning alot just like I would be if I was in Ryerson right now. I think it's just that when I came here, I was fully expecting the culture, lifestyle and social change but I guess I did not fully grasp the possiblity that the educational system would also require some adapting.
I thought it would be fun for me to make a list of things that I would miss and would NOT miss from Sweden and Canada. Since it is something that everybody usually asks me so here goes...
What I miss from Canada...
- Cheap gasoline.
- Conventional transportation with my personal car.
- English captions on tv.
- NHL, MLB, NFL, and even NBA on the tv.
- My pets, (I do not think I have even touched a single animal since I came here eh)
- Abundance of access of ATM machines.
- The couch in my living room at home (the furniture here are too ikea-ish)
- Stores open until 9pm or 10pm.
- Nestea Iced Tea (the powder mix)
- Playing ball hockey, baseball, basketball or volleyball
- Pepperoni Pizza (here, they have just salami, it doesnt taste the same)
- Rush hour traffic.
- Driving at least 1-3 hours everyday
- Working and School 16 hours everyday
- Fast Food restaurants/Junk Food (I probably eat fast food just once in 1-2 months now and my junk food intake have been cut in half when compared to canada)
- ASL (yup just because I know I probably would be using it for rest of my life)
What I will miss from Sweden when I return in the summer
- the vibrant deaf community
- the sense of closeness within the deaf culture (I dont see much of that at my home)
- 3G video mobile phones
- the constant learning of new words/signs
- tap water (no difference from spring water bottles)
- great public transportation especially the subway system (however there are times where a car would be useful)
- great bike/walking paths (not sidewalks)
- their "white" sauce
- early darkness during the winter season
- expensive gas
- lack of ATM machines or when they only have 500kr bills available (about 80 dollars)
- almost all sporting events on tv are NOT captioned
- their tv/dvd/vcr system, I never have learned how to work with them, seems like that their tv has some kind of "Sleep mode", gonna have to teach myself soon :)
Also, another question I have been seeing lately.... "when will you be home?"... Myself, I am not even sure, but I know I will have to decide for sure by mid-april because that is when I have to pick the return date for the flight home.
So far, I have several options that would impact my decision on when to return;
Option 1) End of the May - I have been in contact with Toronto CIBC bank headquarters, it seems like that I have a good opportunity to work there however there is one problem. They require all summer students to start working for them on the first week of may which is impossible for me because the second semester here does not end until first week of June. I am able to take the final exam at Ryerson so the earliest I can be in Canada would be in third or fourth week of May that is if CIBC is willing to be more flexible for me (hopefully)
Option 2) Mid-August - The current job I have right now pays very well, I am planning to talk with my boss to see if he would like me to continue working until mid-August if my "option #1) doesn't work out. But one problem, my Student Visa expires at the end of June, so I would also have to apply for an extension to my student visa and then return to Canada in mid-august to get ready for my LAST year at ryerson :D
Option 3) Last Week of June or First week of July - If I dont work at CIBC and I cannot get my visa extension or cannot work at Omnitor in the summer then I guess I don't have much of choice but to return back home and hopefully I find some nice coop employment for few months otherwise I will be back to my old routine working with BRAD... I must be back with BRAD before mid-august before my 1-year Leave of Absence expires otherwise I would have to re-apply for the job all over again which is somehting I want to avoid doing.
so as you can see, my return date to Canada has a buffer zone of almost 4 months so I can't really give you a definite answer right now but you all will find out in a good time, I am sure most of you would be eager to see me in person to see if I look the same or if I have became too swedishized :p (right Megan? :p)
As for my immediate future, I am trying to find a time where I can go to Italy for a long weekend or something to visit Tara before my Dad, Andrew and Valerie visits me and Sweden. Yup, I said dad is visiting me, for those who don't understand how significant this is, my dad is a 50 year old man who has never flown in a plane before, I'm hoping that it will be a safe trip for him, not like those american lunatics that I see on news too often jumping off the plane screaming :) Anyway, they will visit me from March 10-19, I think i might have an exam that week but it was the only time they could come so.... If I fail the exam, theres always that re-exam (I still dont like that concept though).
I guess thats it for now, but, I know how much you guys dislike reading blogs without some kind of pictures so I was nice enough to find a picture :)
This picture is of me and my 4 other roommates from last semester, from left to right (Kingsley (Ghana), Peter (Slovakia), Alister (Australia), Kingsley (Ghana), Brandon (Canada) )
Yup, I said Kingsley twice, they both are cousins and have same name, the one on the left didnt have any apartment available so he lived with us until few weeks ago when he found another apartment and moved out. Peter and Alister went to school for just one semester and they have moved out.
I have two new roommates now, Frank... from Ghana also, Kingsley had him move in taking Peter's room... and second roommate Zoltan from Hungary.
anyway... thats all for now... more to come later