Sweden Day 2

Clouds race across the sky today, the sun flickering between them like a candle flame, and when I put on my shorts I spend a long moment considering pulling my jeans out of my backpack instead. The rash is thankfully gone again. Maybe I’m allergic to something in the lake water, or there’s just something there I’m not used to yet – I might experiment again with just an arm or a leg to see what happens. I’m somewhat bummed out by the idea that it could be an allergy – I’m quite proud of my immune system, which usually works great, and would feel let down by consistent overreactions here. Also, it would keep me from swimming, although that might not be much of a problem if the temperatures stay at or even below room temperature.

D asks over breakfast if I really need internet today, or if it can wait a few days.
“Mmmmmmmmmmmmh, well, it would be nice”, I reply after some hesitation, which translates to “I really don’t want to inconvenience you and ‘need’ is a matter of definition but please give me internet access”.
D interprets it correctly, so we drive to Skövde to get the matter sorted out. (Or rather, D drives and I fall asleep in the passenger seat as usual. Something about moving cars always gets me.)

A few scattered raindrops welcome us as we get out of the car, and the air has definitely gotten cooler. Most of the other people around are wearing long pants and long sleeves and sometimes even jackets. I feel like a very touristy sore thumb with goosebumps all over and regret my choice of pants. (And also intensely embarrassed on D’s behalf, because he cheerfully crosses streets at red lights and occasionally spits on the ground, which is extremely gross.)
I distract myself by watching the seagulls and jackdaws Sweden appears to have in place of pigeons. Especially the jackdaws – some of M’s love for corvids has rubbed off on me, and their pale blue eyes really are mesmerizing. I miss a great picture opportunity when we pass some jackdaws fighting over a piece of bread and regret it just a second too late.

We blunder into the shop we got the stick from, embarrass ourselves (particularly me) further by not realizing we have to draw a number to get service (which, to be fair, is a bit over the top – including us, there are exactly three customers in the shop) and having trouble even doing so (everything is very high-tech and also exclusively in Swedish).
Then we stand around for a while, trying to decipher the advertisements, repeatedly watching a trailer for last year’s season of Game of Thrones (probably out on DVD now or something), and trying not to ogle the very cute service guy with the sleeve tattoo (okay, that might just be me).

Eventually a new service guy appears from behind a door and calls us forward. (Not as cute as guy 1, but actually still cute.) D stammers his heavily accented way through explaining our problem in English while my tongue staunchly refuses to work in the presence of strangers, even though my English is better.
The credit left on the SIM card turns out to have expired (not entirely unsurprising), and refilling it is a challenge all by itself – the shop doesn’t take cash, neither D nor I have a credit card, and none of the company’s accepted money transfer systems are international. Our service guy is very accommodating, though, and eventually manages to provide us with 6 GB.

We trudge back through the rain, which has gotten pretty heavy in the meantime, use the opportunity to buy some more groceries at a cheaper store than the one closer to the house, and then I fall back asleep for the drive home, where I spend about seven hours catching up on missed browsing and chatting and kick out R.

It’s easy. I just type up what I wrote on my phone and hit send before I can think better of it, and then I switch tabs and pretend it never happened.

R writes back just a few minutes later, thanking me because she had expected to have to leave by August and asks not to talk about the topic anymore. I physically sag with relief, and then we talk about it a little more anyway, just enough to agree she can move out sooner if she finds something sooner.

Unexpectedly, S is the one shocked by the news: they’ve spent the past day and night doing their best to comfort R in the face of the rejection and are understandably unhappy about me torpedoing their efforts. I point out that she was never going to react well to getting kicked out and that I can’t exactly wait for both S and me to be gone for a few days to do it, and then tell S truthfully that I had to do it quickly to be able to do it at all.

By the time I am all caught up on everything and done chatting, I feel non-specifically miserable. I’m simultaneously restless and exhausted, and I haven’t showered or washed my hair in four days due to travelling and the lack of hot water here. My body smells neutral enough, washed by lakewater (and to some extent with cold water afterwards in a semi-successful attempt to get rid of any irritants remaining on my skin), but my hair is so gross my scalp itches. I’ll have to do something about it soon. (D, who takes cold showers and has hair short enough his scalp probably never gets itchy, has suggested heating some water on the stove. It’s a good suggestion, but has too many new steps for my stupid brain to implement.)

For tonight, though, I’m all out of the ability to do anything more than feeling bad and missing my shower back home. (Who would ever have thought I’d miss our hellishly unreliable water heater that takes ages to get the water at a bearable temperature and then randomly switches off a minute in? Not me!) Time to go to bed.


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