All kinds of preparation
The train made a small, yet clearly noticeable noise. It seemed to follow a certain rhythm when leaving Maastricht behind. Year two of university had ended. As of today the results are published and I feel relieved that I have passed all my courses (!!!) and can start preparing for Sweden as well as enjoying my free time. Similar to a flock of birds, my friends and I spread out again by means of train, car, boat and/or plane in order to get home. Yet, the train I was on did not take me home. Don’t worry; this was not an accident :-). A couple of friends and I decided to usher the weeks of freedom with a trip to Amsterdam. Despite not being planned thoroughly, the trip ended up very cultural: we went to the museum of contemporary art, attended a performance of Keaton Henson in collaboration with the Royal Concert Hall Orchestra (how mesmerising it was!) and had very cultural picnics in the park.
As my own hometown is not too far from Maastricht, I also dropped by to meet some of my friends who were still in town. Being back in Maastricht felt a bit odd – I transported most of my items and clothes back home already so my apartment was quite empty – but simultaneously it was very nice waking up without thinking: ‘When do I have class today?’ or ‘What must I get done?’ So I had for instance lots of lunches and went to the cinema to watch Jurassic World (as one does when one has spare time).
However, realising that a) the main purpose of this blog is to document my preparations for coming to Stockholm and b) writing about food and films isn’t exactly ‘preparation,’ I decided that it was a good time to brush up my Swedish again. With language partner Robin gone and no university obligations left, I have time as well as responsibility on my side now. The main tool I use for keeping up my Swedish is by doing exercises on Duolingo. This is a free platform – sure you’ll recognise the green house owl – which is designed for grasping grammar and extending vocabulary. Of all websites and applications I have used over the past years, this one works best. Its structure is made up out of different categories such as Animals, Communication and Medical. You learn by translating sentences and practicing pronunciation, too. Sometimes, this can lead to very funny translations or obvious truths:
Also, since I love reading, I decided to start the original Swedish version of one of my favourite books: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. Although my Swedish is not good enough yet to understand every single word without any trouble, I do notice that I am making progress. When my eyes go over each page, for instance, the sentences seem to flow in a kind of rhythm. Small, yet clearly noticeable ;-)