Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Swedish Adventure Part 2: Autumn 2014 + School Life in Uppsala

Ah, autumn has arrived in Sweden.

Forget the warm yellow glow of the sun, the heat of daylight and the still cool air. Autumn has arrived with gusty winds, grey skies and damp pavements.

I thought I would like autumn.

Images of lovely red trees, warm hues of yellow and orange leaves found in photos…they are utterly misleading

Yes, I did manage to enjoy two weeks or three of such lovely scenes, but it is what the Swedes call brittsommar - the last days of summer in what is supposed to be autumn. That's when the air is around 11 degrees celcius in the day while the trees are in hues of brilliant orange. Walking to school and trudging along the pathways make me feel so surreal, as though I were in a beautiful dream.

Adapting to the school system is a little bit challenging, because the professor just leaves it up to you to decide whether or not you wish to be educated. Sure, there's homework, but it's merely project-based. Forget the ridiculous tutorial + class participation + project for every single module in NUS…here, it's just project work. You have time to research, to read up, to engage with your group mates. It's wonderful, when done in a proper way. By that, I mean if you actually took the time to read up.

While I did read up on things, I found the lack of motivation to do so. Maybe it is because I'm a utbytesstudent (Swedish for exchange student) where my grades are not at stake. Several of my friends whom I have met here are studying for their masters and they seem to be struggling under piles of readings and work to do…then again, H doesn't seem to be studying a lot at all but still does fairly well in school here in Sweden.

There's plenty of time for everyone to fika, take a relaxed stroll before doing some semblance of school work.. Ah, quite the life indeed.

You'd have time to run around and do photography, too.

My favourite haunt is becoming the lovely bibilotek (aka library) nearby. Rows of bookshelves arranged in a spacious manner, with modern chairs and tables all around for one to pore over a good read or assignment for the day. Plus there's a cosy little cafe cutely called Kafe Kardemunn (Cafe Cardamom) with modern classical deco and faux fire places (I'd probably pop by and review it when I have the time…).

On a side note, I bought a kånken from Fjällräven here in Sweden. It is far pricier than many online stores in Singapore, but I reckon those stocked there are fake. I never thought I'd buy this bag because of all the ah lians and beings and wannabe hipsters toting it around in Singapore. But I discovered it was Swedish and that there's tons of Swedish people of all ages toting this bag around for decades. Thus, I ended up getting one….hmmm, should review this too.

Anyway, that's all for this post.

I hope everyone (who reads this) is doing well, staying happy and awesome.
Till then.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

NOMNOM Review: Lindt Creation Mint Supreme

Lindt Creation Mint Supreme - 33kr (approx S$6)

Ah, I've always had a soft spot for mint.

Mint ice cream, mint flavoured chocolates, mint tea….I mint it (heheheh puny).

After walking past the chocolates on the shelves in ICA, Hemkörp and other grocery stores, I could not help but get lured into grabbing one of the awfully enticing chocolate bars by Lindt. I'm a die-hard fan of Lindt's dark chocolate with sea salt, and my insane need for it led to several amusing incidents of me exerting all effort in getting it -  it included begging a cousin to bring over some from Australia in the days when it was unavailable, hunting down every single chocolate store known locally, and hoarding supplies when I was in the land Down Under.

Anyway, Lindt's Mint Supreme is rather good. One bite into it reveals the beautiful mix of dark, seductive bittersweet chocolate and a creamy mint filling that tastes vegetal, almost like actual mint leaves. The creamy dark chocolate fills my mouth with such rich texture that it almost feels like I'm slowly being led into some sort of gothic, forbidden romance. Then the mint slides in-between the cocoa, sending a light, refreshing feel to save me from sinking into the abyss…

Pretty chocolate squares :D

Well, this gave me quite the foodgasm, if I could put it that way. A marriage of lovely smooth dark chocolate and melt-in-your mouth mint makes it a delightful treat. However, I am a sucker for the refreshing sensation of mint in chocolates and think that I still needed more mint in this! The mint filling, while refreshing, was a tad too light to balance out the pull of the dark cocoa.

Nonetheless, a lovely little treat during tea time (or fika), I suppose.

Mmm, mint. I think I will now make myself a cup of peppermint tea, or strong black coffee to go along with this...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My Swedish Adventure - Part One

Hello you guys, I am bwaaaack. Or, as they say in Swedish, hej

I am currently on a 4-month exchange in Sweden and will spend my time blogging about it :3
I have since spent around a month here and every day I learn something new/different about the Swedes versus life back in Asia. In this post, it'll be about how I find Sweden :P (I've been asked this question many times by Swedes!)

1. KALLT! (Cold!)

Oh boy the weather is just plain cold compared to Singapore, but I got used to it after a few weeks. When I first arrived in late August, daytime temperature was around sixteen to twenty degrees and in the night it was around ten or eleven. I was just freezing in the first two weeks or so until my body adjusted. Honestly, the cold is bearable if it was not windy. The winds are often a lot colder than the average temperature and it feels like I'm getting whipped in the face every time the wind blows. :( 

See the duckies trying to keep warm? Yeah Sweden is cold.

Why you so expensive, Sweden?! Anyway, things here cost between three to four times more compared to equivalents in Singapore. A McDonald's meal, for instance, costs around S$12-$15. A regular cafe meal costs over S$20 and a basic restaurant food charges above S$20 per plate. :< It's a lot more economical to just stay in a cook all day (and hone my cooking skills mwahahahaha.)


The nice thing about Sweden is that it has many beautiful sceneries that you can explore and immense yourself in. Gamla Uppsala, for instance, offers a lovely countryside escape that's just 30 minutes away from central Uppsala (never mind the fact that there are the Viking hills which are essentially ancient burial grounds). Unlike Singapore when I feel utterly icky and insect-phobic, I'm pretty happy to go frolicking in the parks or woods here.

So there, that's the 3 big things about Sweden for me in the first few weeks :p

More to come later!

Toodles, stay healthy and awesome everyone :)

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