Saturday, July 5, 2014

First Work Week and Gamla Stan (Old Town)

I started work this week and am already using a good variety of the training they gave us. I've done a bit of everything including systems administration, communications, and tipping fiber connections on a new network cable run. Tipping fiber isn't something that comes up often, but I was lucky enough to get to do it again in my first work week. I've already been in some other things they didn't teach us, but overall I would have to say the initial training at FSI was well matched for starting work as a newbie. Probably only my classmates are interested in these work bits, so let's get to some fun parts of living in Sweden.

We hear Swedish spoken everywhere but most people speak English (and often with a British accent) when I start speaking as a simple monolingual American. I've learned to respond to "hej" (pronounced like hey) with "hello" so they immediately know I'm clueless. The first time I responded with "hey" they went into some long sentence they had to repeat in English for me. "Hello" is now my shorthand way of saying I'm a simpleton barely capable of speaking one language. I feel like a simpleton because Swedes are bilingual (at a minimum) and immigrants speak their own language, English, and fluent Swedish (an immigration requirement with government provided training). Newer immigrants speak passable English as a third language so sometimes we have a hard time communicating with them. There isn't much incentive for us to learn Swedish since English is so common but apparently Swedish works better with some of the immigrants.

The U.S. Independence Day isn't a holiday here (obviously) so we took our holiday to play tourist for the first time. We spent the day in Gamla Stan (old town of Stockholm). This is where the city was founded in 1252 long before our young country was born. Most of the current buildings date back to 1700s-1800s so we were seeing something similar in age to the United States on our country's birthday so there's a loose tie-in there.

We started with the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace:
(click on pics to enlarge and a few videos thrown in)

We ate burgers at Texas Longhorn Steakhouse. I was disappointed they didn't have the dinner menu available for a better taste of home. :-(

We explored some of the area and shops but I forgot to take a picture of the main shopping street. It's similar to the previous one I posted near T-Centralen:

Saint George and the Dragon


front of royal palace

 narrowest alley in Gamla Stan

We also visited the Royal Armory museum at the Royal Palace:

Most of one floor was devoted to Game of Thrones and the parallels to Swedish royalty but I didn't think of taking any pictures. What's really nice about all of this is that it isn't very far away. We can go back anytime we want while living here and see all of the various things we skipped yesterday. If we were just tourists then we'd have to cram it all into a day or a weekend.

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