The U curve: view from the very bottom.

4/25/2007 04:48:00 am

Let's start this out with thanks to everyone who left me messages on Facebook and sent me emails and cards and stuff for my birthday, it meant a lot. Thanks also to the people who forgot, that meant a lot too.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but well, Sweden yeah, really pissing me off at the moment. Before I go on, let me just ammend that statement so you don't get all preachy and this-was-your-idea at me: it's still fun and all that, and I wouldn't change anything, but at this point in time, I'm just a little bit over it.

Where to start? Yesterday was my 21st birthday, and I spent about four hours in a lab, which in itself wouldn't be so bad except that it was my birthday and the weather was nice and I do not know where Swedes get their reputation for being efficient from.

Picture the scene if you can (which you probably can't because it involves science stuff -that means you mum- but try anyway, it's more of a conceptual thing): there are 20 groups, and each must load 3 PCR lanes. That is the sum and total of the day's task. It takes almost 2 hours. As the MasterCard ad says, "Time spent waiting: priceless".
Then we have 45 minutes while the PCR runs, which is spent as a group in the cafeteria drinking bad coffee and going over some poorly explained concept from the lectures in preparation for our Friday exam. No problem there.

We need some bacteria samples to re-run a few tests, but the demonstrator doesn't know where they are and promises to have them at the end of the break. I say 're-run' there because the tests that we did on Thursday didn't work since the demonstrator left dead bacteria on the side bench and didn't tell us that it was dead, meaning the two hours the Kristen and I spent on Thursday preparing broth cultures and dilutions were a total waste of time. Oops, totally sorry says demonstrator, her bad. That's all well and good, but can you give me back my two hours biatch?

Alas, when we return to the lab, there are no bacteria waiting for us, and we spend another hour faffing around trying to get some, and then the demonstrators spend some more time trying to decide if the test they want us to run will work, and basically by then all I want to do is go home and have a nap. Oh, and don't even get me started about the nasty Swedish girls in our lab. Look bitch, I don't care that you're blonde and speak Swedish fluently, you aren't better than me and you aren't smarter than me, so enough with the attidtude. And seriously, would it kill you to smile? Apparently.

They said that the bottom of the U-curve would come, and we all thought that somehow we'd be just having such a great time that we'd be immune. But unfortunately that isn't the case, and more unfortunately, it's come down on all of us at the same time. Maybe it's just because Uppsala is kinda small, maybe it's because the stock in the clothes stores seems to only change every four months, or maybe it's that all the research about this U-curve-mathingojingo is right, but as my friend Ron put in when he rang me to say happy birthday yesterday, "Sweden's just not really doing it for me right now. I'm not really feeling it." It's very difficult to explain, because it's not that we want to go home, or be doing anything else, it's just that Sweden is...wearing us down. There's only so long you can go before it starts to get to you.

But then as an upside, I saw a pheasant in a tree yesterday; when we were talking about pheasants on the weekend (as you do) Lauren misunderstood and said, "I saw one of those on a leash the other day," and as I tried to imagine how exactly the owner got the bird on the leash she finished by saying, "it had a big bushy tail," then the penny dropped and I realised she meant ferret.

There are good times and bad in this country, and some time I'll try to explain the Easter candy sale at ICA to put it all in perspective. It's 9.20pm now and just on dusk, Valborg is this weekend and I'm going to drink like it's my 21st birthday, and right now I think the only way I can cope with life in Sweden is to take a nap.

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2 comments on this post

  1. nice to see that a pheasant will make you feel better! if it makes you feel better the weather in Sydney is quite shit at the moment...

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  2. Well, the more I think about it, the more I think that maybe they were just very big pigeons. I mean, I know there are pheasants in the trees at Flogsta, but I've also seen some pretty big pigeons...

    I took a photo of them so I'll have to take a closer look and rethink it.

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