Tuesday, January 8, 2008

First steps depression

I have a friend which moved to Amsterdam shortly after finishing university. After the first joyous mails he said he was starting to feel a bit depressed because his life was not exactly as he pictured it: he moved because he found job there, so there was no idle time for him, but language revealed to be a bigger issue than hoped and the job is not as interesting as he thought it would be.
Before moving I thought there was no chance this could happen to me. Too much is at stake because I have invested a lot in this life project. The truth is that I really feel depressed now. It’s not about the job, not really: it’s about the long stand for my new life to start.
This has something to do with the fact that I came here without a job and without any idea of what I would do once here. I mean: I had the big picture well clear on my mind, but I didn’t work out the details because there is no way of doing that from aboard.
First of all there is this big internet issue. Unless you live in a student apartment you need to fill up a contract to have an internet connection, and for that you need a social personal number which you can obtain by getting a job in Sweden. Problem is: you need an internet connection to look up and apply for a job which makes it all like running in circles.
Then again there is the CV issue. I’ve never wrote one and I honestly have no idea how to write in Italian, much less in English or Swedish. Which are my strengths to be underlined or weaknesses to be underestimated? Am I any good? I’ve never applied for a job in my life so, really, I have no idea how this CV should be done. They really should have a course at University for that! I finished university a little more than three weeks ago and nobody is looking for me in Italy because I made it clear that I’m not interested on jobs in Italy, and nobody is looking for me here because I didn’t say I am looking for a job to anyone.
The third problem is, amazingly enough, a bicycle. You cannot even begin to call yourself a Swedish citizen unless you own a bike, but things are a lot more complicated than I thought. Everyone has a bike here, either stolen or brand new, but bike shops sell outstanding bikes at star high prices. This is partly due to the insurance which comes with every new bike, but, really, I reckon 500€ are a huge bunch of money for a city bike with lights (obligatory in Sweden) and all. As I recently learned it is only Italians that buy mountain bikes which seems pretty odd considering that the streets are often covered with ice and snow falls each every winter. As Italian I kindly hate the brakes of the normal Nordic bikes. I don’t know if you ever heard about it, but here bikers need to use pedals as brakes! It’s not as complicated as it sounds: you cycle one way to accelerate and the opposite to decrease speed… I mean… it’s not supposed to be that complicated… unless you find yourself in a real panic situation and your instincts tell you to act in a lot of ways except the one and only working. I need a mountain bike because otherwise it’s going to be certain death at the first panic situation. Naturally I started looking for bikes in Lund as soon as I started visiting my girlfriend (which is more than one year ago) but after a lot of disappointing second hand bikes I got to learn a new Swedish word: “stengd” (closed). Apparently there is no real regulation for opening times in Sweden for some of the shops, in fact I’ve been checking on them since October (when I spent 21 days here) and most of the time they are closed!
All this stuff would be much easier if I had an internet connection … and I think my girlfriend could win a special prize for the most un-digital girl of Sweden. Lucky for me I have this amazing monthly data flat (50MB/day) with the Italian H3G which I pay 9€/month and, amazingly enough, it works in Sweden just as well as everywhere H3G exists.
The first step I took, then, was to obtain an internet connection on her name, even though she doesn’t have an internet capable computer! There were various providers more than happy to offer 24MBit of pleasure, but only Telia (ex State controlled monopole Telecom) seemed capable getting things done in two weeks. Too bad the contract is 18 months binding: what happens if we move to another apartment or (worse) split up? That said, today the modem got it DSL signal and they confirmed that I’ll have a connection by Thursday: I’m going to be back online real soon!
The second step is, of course, the Personal Number which shall enable me to pay taxes, get a job and open a back account which I’m very keen doing because I’m still bound to pay with the Italian VISA. It’s not a big problem unless I need to take money from an ATM (2.6€/operation). I still have no idea how to get one but I’m working on it!