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An Awesome April, potentially

So it turns out I absolutely smashed the film editing course. The grading system is a bit funny here in Sweden; whilst back home of course there are brackets and percentages, the grades here simply stem from Fail to G (good) and then VG (very good). Those are complete guesses by the way, I have no idea what G and VG actually stand for, all I know is that the latter is the highest I could have possibly gotten and, well, I did.

Overall I’ve really really enjoyed this course; Patrik is such a good lecturer, like an older version of Matt Johnston, my course leader back home. I am already highly confident that my studying of film will make me a better photography student because I know just how much work I’ve put in to make it so. I have already proven practically the still photograph’s relevance to cinema but hope to further this by inseminating the principles of montage to my own curatorial duties post-Karlstad.

Last month I mentioned being interviewed by the newspaper and being offered a job as their photographer. Well last week I was given a portrait assignment for stories regarding their student writing team and the university’s student-president. Nothing challenging at all but it was cool to get back into the swing of directing a subject and exercising those commercial skills, you know. The newspaper team seemed very happy with the results and I’m confident more work will come my way the rest of my time here, I’ve even been invited to a “team-banquet” next month.

Karlstad is known across Sweden as “the sunny city” and such is reflected in the countless sun-icons spotted around university, the high street even the buses. For my first three months this seemed rather ironic given that I was slipping onto my arse every other day in the ice and snow. Now however, I see what all the fuss is about; temperatures have risen, the snow has almost all melted. The sky is a vivid blue expanse, without even a wisp of cloud in as far as I can see, pierced by the warmth of that big yellow sphere. Nestled behind our flats lies a full length astro-turf football pitch, suddenly made visible as if a big white duvet haze been pulled off it. The last couple of days have been spent lazing in the sun with my new friends, beer-cans in hand, having a kick about when we feel like it. Absolute bliss.

I was almost disappointed to leave the place last week, when a job interview/assessment meant I had to return to England for a few days. Of course, however, this was shortly overshadowed with the excitement of seeing my family and friends back home. I’m not really the type to suffer from home-sickness but seeing everyone again brought home how much I missed them. I think I’ve complained, either in the blog or vlog, about FaceTime’s inability to transfer hugs; I’m happy to report that I made the most of the few days I was back for. My mum reckons I’ve lost weight on my face so of course I was treated beyond measure to lovely big home-cooked meals and upon my return to Sweden my bag was stuffed with all sorts of foods that I can’t afford here. I have to admit I’m enjoying my break from tuna and pasta, now if I can just make this jar of Nutella stretch across the next three months. It’s weird that Karlstad really does feel like home at this point, my trip to England more a holiday than the prodigal son’s return.

I write this sitting on the window-seat of the Karlstad-to-Stockholm train, I’ve broken off from my fellow-foreigners to finish this post whilst these thoughts are still relevant. All too aware of the submission deadline for the study-abroad module (the reason I once begrudgingly started writing these to begin with), I thought I should make an ‘April’ post for now with projections of what’s approaching. I’ll probably update this at the end of the month and repost so please keep an eye out. I also want to do a mid-semester review of my time here too but I’ll do this once I have a bit more time to really get into it.

Anyway, right, okay, so I’m on the train to Stockholm. Loads of international students have booked to go on a two day cruise from Sweden to Riga, Latvia. ‘Sea Battle’ is a promising name for the trip but fairly accurate when one considers that it is a party-boat of 600 students. Now usually this wouldn’t be my kind of thing, but I was coerced into booking my ticket by my friends whilst drunk in Koriander so I don’t really have much of a defence against your inevitable character judgement. Now that I’m on the train I have to say I’m very excited. Not just for Riga ( although I hear there’s a photobook festival somewhere so I’m hoping to sniff that out / expose my myself for the nerd I am) but also for the few days that will follow our docking back at Stockholm. I am of course far from being the only one of my peers back in Coventry to have studied abroad, some of my closest friends are based all over Europe. Going from seeing each other every day in university to being scattered for a year has been a bit of a shame; that said, I’m f*cking delighted to write that about ten of us are meeting in Stockholm to live it up for a good few days. With my 21st birthday occurring just next week, it’s a real touch that I’ll be able to celebrate with some of my best mates. At the very least it should make for an entertaining vlog, eh.

Anyway, the tannoy has just announced that we’ll be at Stockholm in five minutes so I’m going to leave this here for now, but WATCH THIS SPACE.

It’s set to be a wild week.

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