Friday, 24 February 2012

The futures bright..........

This week has been a busy week for me. Tuesday I had a interview for a job selling education courses to students who seek extra tuition to help pass their exams. I thought the interview went ok. There were a couple of questions I maybe could have done better on and I probably shouldn't have called the guy a 'hard ass' after my mock telephone conversation but I'm positive none the less!

Wednesday I met with the job centre to discuss my career prospects. They had to assign me an interpreter so I wasn't too optimistic but as the meeting went on I realised that there were in fact a lot of prospects for me which was reassuring! I kind of got the impression I was somewhat of a 'perfect' client given my experience and the fact that every piece of advice they gave me I am already doing anyway!!

Thursday I met a guy called Kenneth from The Swedish Football Academy about a possible part time coaching role. With football being my first love this would be something of a treat for me. We had a good chat about my experience and ambitions, and about football in general. Its looks like a good company to be involved with and I could definitely see a future in it for me. He had slight concern over my knowledge of Swedish due to the fact I would be working with youngsters however he didn't think it would be too much of a problem seeing as children learn English here from a young age plus Im learning Swedish myself. His main concern was my experience. Obviously with us just talking it was difficult for him to gauge my abilities as a coach so he is going to invite me along to few sessions to see how I do. If all goes well they will offer me a part time contract so I best start reading up on some new coaching techniques to impress!

As I right this I am heading north on a coach to Arlanda Airport for my trip to Budapest. It will be good to see the boys again, just like old times! If my stag party was anything to go by this could be one messy weekend............literally! I will provide a full de-brief on my return........

Monday, 20 February 2012

Over too quickly!

Aicha had decided to meet up with Josephine Friday night so I took the opportunity to go out myself...............Friday night drinking with Tom is fast becoming part of my weekly routine! Drinking in Sweden is not the cheapest of activities so rather than just go on a bender we decided to go bowling instead. It turns out that bowling in Stockholm becomes cheaper the more of you there are as you pay for the lane rather than per person. Tom, feeling guilty over the amount I paid the previous week for his whiskey, covered the cost of the lane so it was cool!

After three close frames (and four pints) I emerged victorious. I'd forgotten how much fun bowling can be and suggested we should come again with the girls. Next time though I may have to stretch beforehand as I woke up Saturday morning nursing a hangover and several pulled muscles! After bowling we headed to a rock bar called KGB. This place was a bit on the scary side. We actually thought everyone in there was really part of some communist movement! It wasn't until we asked someone that we realised it was a fancy dress party!

On Sunday afternoon Aicha and I went back to Jensens Beef House for our free dinner. The gift certificate we were given was for three meals. As there was only two of us we asked if we could have just two meals and use the third on another occasion but they said the voucher could only be used once. We therefore had two options............order two meals and disregard the third or order three meals for two. So what did we do????? ..............lets just say our jeans were much tighter on the way out!!

After dinner we met Micke in The Dubliners to watch Liverpool Vs Brighton in the 5th round of the FA Cup. This was a real test of loyalty as Brighton is my home town. Whilst I couldn't change my love for Liverpool and wanted them to win, I wanted Brighton to do well also. My prediction to my friends was that it would be a tense tight affair with few goals.............famous last words! Liverpool ran out 6-1 winners but I was proud of how far Brighton had got in the competition and of the supporters who had travelled up there. They sang their hearts out and deserved a better result. I made a point of not overly celebrating when we scored..........a bit like a footballer does when he scores against an old team!

So that was my weekend in a nutshell. Over too quickly as usual! Plan for this week is too apply for more jobs and prep for job interviews. I just hope next weekend doesn't go as quickly..............roll on Budapest!!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Stampedes, Jobs and Shoot-em-ups!

This week has been quite interesting. Whilst out in town on Monday I ran into an army of screaming girls who turned out to be One Direction fans. Before I actually saw them I could hear the screams from a few streets away so I headed in that direction to find out what was happening. Outside of this hotel there must have been about 200 girls going wild for these guys then all of a sudden they broke through the cordoned tape and began chasing them down the road! It was a proper stampede...........I was lucky to get out alive! Those types of fanatics scare the shit of me as they will do anything to get a glimpse of their heroes. Girls were literally barging each other out the way to get a look. Even as I left the area there were more girls heading towards the hotel.

When I mentioned this story on Facebook I expected a few comments on how it was such a coincidence that I happened to be outside the hotel where One Direction were holding a press release, and as expected I got them! The truth is I was actually walking around town looking for bar work and just happened to get caught up in it. It was lucky that I was as I got a good picture of the hotel at dusk afterwards! If truth be told I'm more of a Take That fan anyway...........ahem

Things looked up on Tuesday as I got two call-backs for jobs that I had applied for. One was a full-time job selling corporate hospitality for sports events and another was part-time selling education courses. It turns out that the sports event job wasn't suitable for me but they did want to talk to me about selling sponsorship packages for conferences............turns out that wasn't suitable either! I do have an interview Tuesday though for the other job. Its part-time which is what I'm looking for as it will fit in around my studies. Whilst college doesn't begin for another two weeks I have been studying in my spare time. Aicha suggested maybe reading some Swedish children’s books which I did................I recommend 'Robban och alla de andra polarna'’s a belter!

Wednesday I met with a recruitment company do discuss other possible English speaking job opportunities............of which there was none currently through them! It wasn't a wasted journey though, William who I met there was a good guy. Rather than just be another online applicant with a CV, its good to put a face to the name so hopefully he should remember me if something comes up.

In the evening me and Aicha went to the cinema to see 'Safe House'. Definitely one to see! Non-stop action all the way through. Shoot outs, car chases, fist fights, more was awesome! Right up my street. I've yet to see a Denzel Washington film that sucked.............long may that continue!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

How much??

Friday was another busy day. The afternoon was spent travelling around the city visiting various bars looking for work. Unfortunately the places I went to were not currently looking for anyone new but I left them my CV just in case something came up. Once I had done the rounds the plan was then to hook up with Tom for a few beers in the evening. We met up in a bar called 'Oliver Twist' in Slussen which was quite a lively place, and memorable because the swedish barman had a geordie accent!!

We then hit a few of the other pubs in the area before making a decision to visit the Ice Bar. They have one of these in London and I have never been so I thought we should check it out. It wasn't the biggest or the most lively of places I've been to but it was pretty cool (excuse the pun!). Entry was about £20 which included a free cocktail which are served in glasses made of ice. The cocktails were really nice but there just wasn't enough of it for me!! We also got chatting to a guy from Hong Kong who was visiting Stockholm on business. He did give us his real name which I could not pronounce so he just said we should call him 'Dave'!

After the Ice bar we ventured to a nearby pub. There we decided to order a couple of whiskies. Now I don't have a great deal of knowledge when it comes to whiskey and this became even more apparent when I ordered two large (6cl) Johnnie Walker Blue label whiskies...........

I didn't realise that this particular whiskey can sell for up to £250 a bottle in the UK so you can imagine my surprise when I got the bill! I won't disclose how much I paid for the 2 whiskies but to give you an idea it was more than I had spent the entire night up to that point! I have to say that the whiskey was amazing but I felt like taking it home and framing it rather than drink it!

Saturday was spent back in the pub. I met Micke at The Dubliners around midday to watch the Liverpool match. Having endured a hefty session the previous night, I couldn't face drinking that early so I stuck to diet pepsi, plus I was due to meet Aicha later for dinner with friends and I didn't want to turn up half cut! The rugby followed the football so I decided to stay and watch that as well........dinner wasn't until 7pm so I had some time to kill! Aicha arrived at the pub around 5:30pm and was impressed by my alcohol free afternoon. By this time my hangover had passed so I felt ready to sink a few beers............four in fact before I left!

We met our friend Calle and headed to Jensens Beef House for dinner. Now I'm not one to complain but the service there was bad. We had to wait over an hour for our main course and at one point they forgot our drinks! The food itself was good but the experience wasn't. Whilst I'm not one to complain............I know a woman who can!! Aicha managed to get £30 off the bill, a free lunch voucher for the three of us and a gift certifcate for the amount that we ordered!.............thats my girl!

We told them not to worry about the drinks and that we would find a pub instead. Five or six pints later it was time to go home. Apart from the football result it was a really enjoyable day, made even more enjoyable this morning when I realised I still had money left over in my back pocket..................something which couldn't be said about Friday night!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Winter Wonderland!

Its been snowing again this week. Whilst when it snows back home and then melts within a few days, here it remains for months! The temperature is between minus 5 and 10 most days so until things warm up a bit the snow is here to stay. You do get used to it but the novelty is beginning to wear thin! Whilst I love the snow, the cold is a different thing entirely. You can buy gloves, hats, termals but the one thing you can't cover fully is your face...........unless you buy a ski-mask and look like a bank robber! The one thing that I do love about it is that Sweden looks beautiful in the snow..............that and the fact that the country doesn't come to a stand still when the heavens open!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Happy Birthday Mustapha!!

Friday marked a milestone as my father-in-law Mustapha celebrated his 60th birthday. The traditional swedish 'happy birthday' was sung when the cake came out after dinner but I didn't know the words so I did what anyone else caught in this position would do, I just mumbled some words in an attempted to look like I did! I then took to the internet to try and decipher what was being said. Whilst back home we say 'happy birthday to you' etc, the swedish version translates to 'Yes, may you live, Yes, may you live, Yes, may you live for a hundred years'. This is said twice over then followed by 3 cheers of 'hurrah!' ........without the 'hip hip' bit! My aim was to learn this as we were to repeat the birthday celebrations on Saturday with a big family meal.

The plan originally was for the family to go out to a restaurant but it was decided that we were to order food in through a catering company. Lebonese food was chosen and there was plenty of it! There was eight of us eating and we ordered food for ten however it could have easily have fed twenty! We had skewers, potato wedges, chicken dishes, fish name it..........all accompanied by a selection of dips such as Tzatziki and Houmous!

Suffice to say that there was loads left over and with me having smashed into every dish, four Kopparbergs and a glass of champagne, I was pretty stuffed afterwards! I did however manage to sing the swedish happy birthday properly when the second birthday cake came out which I was quite pleased with!

Sunday it was all about football. I had missed football training last week with the Tudor Arms as we was house-hunting so I was keen to get back playing took me over an hour to get there mind! This time the warm up didn't kill me as it did the first time round, mainly because I have been running a lot recently. Again we were split into teams but this time I played in goal for the whole duration. My team went on to win the tournament and I did not concede a single goal, which I felt very pleased with!

Having travelled home and had more lebonese food for dinner, it was time to Skype the folks back in Brighton. It was here I made a great discovery. I had called during the Chelsea Man Utd game which my brothers were watching. I could not get the game here so I asked them to spin the laptop round so I could watch the game with them whilst still being able to chat. It was quality!! It felt like I was there in the room with them, and able to get involved in all the jokes and the banter! My sister did find it a bit weird at first though as she had no idea I was connected on Skype when she walked into the room and just thought my brother was talking to himself!!

This is definately the way forward for me. Its Liverpool Vs Tottenham tonight..............Pistol Pete make sure you are logged in!!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

On the job front..........

This week we have been back on the property hunt. I was due to go football training on Sunday but our afternoon was booked with viewings so I had to miss it. The places we saw were not great, nor was the late lunch that followed which made me think my time would have been better spent chasing a ball around!

That evening I spoke with my family back home via Skype. Always good to catch up with everyone although there were a couple of absentees from the usual who was working at the pub and another who had been drinking at the pub and was somewhat incoherent!! Hopefully we can catch up next time!

We saw another apartment Monday evening which was a good size but needed a bit of work doing. It was right by a tube station which was ideal but we didn’t feel it was right for us. You tend to have an instinct when you know something is right for you and we have not felt like that since we saw the apartment in Kista which has since been sold. Definitely the best we’ve seen for a while though! We are booked in to see a few more this week which we hope might suit us.

Apart from looking for somewhere to live, my focus has been to look for work. Myself and Aicha have called many of the local construction firms about apprenticeships in carpentry and most have said that they are not currently taking on new apprentices however they may look to do so after Easter. In the meantime I have enrolled at SFI to learn Swedish, which begins on 27th Feb. Whilst the plan is to try and find some part time work whilst at college, I have been looking at some office based jobs and have sent off quite a few applications for business analyst positions, just in case the apprenticeship does not become available.

Whilst I haven’t yet started college, my Swedish is coming along quite well. I knew a fair bit before I moved and in the 3 weeks since I’ve been here I can understand a lot more. I am a long way off being fluent but I’m sure I will get there!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Fun with Tom & Josephine

Friday was day of ups and downs. We had been invited to Tom and Josephine's for dinner in the evening so my plan during the day was to continue the job hunt online in the morning then head off into town in the afternoon to drop off some CV's before I met Aicha after work.

The morning did not go to plan as I was still suffering from Wednesday night but I felt better after lunch so I headed out into town. The plan was to hit a few of the English pubs in Old Town to inquire about work then head over to southern Stockholm to see a carpentry firm about an apprenticeship. Unfortunately the places I was due to visit were closed so I spent the whole afternoon wandering around Stockholm for nothing!

Things got better in the evening though once we were at Tom and Josephine’s place. We had a great evening there. Nice wine, great food, great company! We ended up staying the night as we were up late playing proper old skool music and missed the last train!! Here are a few snippets from the evening.......

On Saturday I was due to go out and watch the Liverpool Vs Man Utd game at The Dubliners but my friend Micke couldn’t make it so decided to stream it online at home. The feed I got was really good and I was able to watch the first 85 minutes trouble free. With the game poised a 1-1 my Internet feed crashed and I missed the last 5 minutes. Sods law then showed his face as Dirk Kuyt scored for Liverpool with 2 minutes to go thus depriving me of that feeling of ecstasy when your team scores in the dying minutes..........’going mental’ I believe its commonly known as!

Saturday night was spent in front of the TV. Most of the American shows we have back home are shown here so we spent the evening watch things like CSI and Law and Dancing on Ice or Big Brother though! They have 10 terrestrial channels here and show quite a lot of movies at weekends, although they don’t seem to care too much about what time movies with adult content are shown. Just the other morning I was flicking though the channels and stumbled across a movie where Kate Winslet was being given the once over!

Some of the television programmes shown in the evening can be quite extreme also. I began watching a documentary about the sex industry in Amsterdam and what was shown left little to the imagination! Not sure if they would get away with showing that back home...........good show though! ;)