Saturday, September 24, 2016

"I'm so tired, my mind is on the blink"

 C. and I had a lovely fika, in a part of town where I can not avoid my addiction to pocket monsters, but she did not begrudge me my twenty minutes of distraction.  We then went to the Dansmuseet museum.  I was attracted by the paper costumes but I have to say the permanent collection was interesting, and I wish I had gone sooner.

If I don't write a bit about the last two weeks, I am sure I will only recall a blur.  I went back to government Swedish classes.  I am attending via a different "school" or I suppose a better word might be "contractor" but they all fall under the heading (and supposedly direction) of 'Swedish for Immigrants" aka SFI (said, S, F, Eeee).
I do not know anyone who has successfully navigated their way through this system, well I do not know of anyone personally, but I have heard rumors.

I would vent here, but I do not need too, because a perk of being 'in town' each day, (honestly as the sun rises)- is that class finishes early and I usually have a 'fika' date.  This does mean, that I am perpetually tired (up too early, and unable to fit in actual exercise).  But I have had a nice time visiting with, and seeing friends.  If I was a little less tired I might work up some guilt about eating a cinnamon roll, each school day. Also, I love them.  
Signing up to SFI was inspired by my 'emergency' dental appointment...that was followed by a two week wait for another appointment, which was a bit of a debacle due to my lack of Swedish-so I spent the 5 hours (along with some excellent company- my dear friend S. who oddly likes this type of errand)- and in the end there seemed to be no correlation between time spent there and my placement in the actual school.  I spent 9 days to get into my actual 'test score' level.  I picked the school based on the available schedule of 9 am -until 12:30 Monday-Thursday, but when I got to the school, the times are 8:15 am until 11:45 Monday through Friday.  Sigh.  But I am not giving up yet.
I could write about the culture clashes, the group dynamics that always seem to be some cliche mix that is ready for prime-time T.V., and the fact that the school is on the ugliest street, in the ugliest building I have ever seen since coming to Stockholm.
Here is a random tunnel I felt the need to explore.
If I hadn't gotten lost I wouldn't have seen it...and if I hadn't walked through it, I wouldn't have known where it I am taking this as a stick with SFI a bit longer.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Skogskyrkogården aka The Forest Cemetery - "Today me, Tomorrow you".

I walk in this cemetery often, I always seem to discover a new aspect to appreciate.  Some might say this is because I have no sense of direction, so I can retread a path and think I am somewhere new.  I choose to believe that I am adding layers of understanding.
This walk however, I had enough time and battery to listen to the guided walk that was put up in 2015 I believe.  I listened to the first two in Swedish to see if I could understand anything, but as soon as they sped up (conversationally) I couldn't follow along.  I did okay with the introduction.
This cemetery is actually only the second largest in Sweden with over 100,000 graves, and they hold about 2,000 funerals each year.  
I was happy that my impressions of this place were actually what was intended by the architects; Gunnar Asplund (who also did the lovely city museum) and Sigurd Lewerentz.

I thought that the cemetery was unique to any I had been too, and I credited Sweden for this fact- the cemetery feels modern but there were aspects (like skull and crossbones) that I had only seen in ancient sites- 
The feeling of a 'circle of life', of drawing you in, and then releasing you back into the world.  All of this was intended, and the idea being radical at the time in the Western world.
I am always too busy to go on the tour, but now I know that visitors are not allowed in any of the chapels (which would be my only reason to go along) unless one is attending a funeral.  This is indeed a high price to pay.

The above is the Resurrection Chapel, the second Chapel built after (my favorite) the Woodland Chapel.
Surprisingly the controversy on this one is that Lewerentz wanted to build North to South. The city insisted on East to West (apparently this is a Christian tradition - strange as this cemetery strives to be non-denominational in its architecture)
A compromise was struck, the chapel is East to West and the Portico is North to South.

I also learned that the wall surrounding the cemetery is 3.4 kilometres, taking 10 years to complete.  The pine trees were there originally, as this cemetery was once all part of a larger forest that was on the edge of 'Stockholm city'.
The great wars and economy delayed the completion, by decades.
The trees are maintained, by care and re-planting of seedlings from the trees standing now. The trees are between 150 and 200 years old.