Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Day 22 and day 23. And 24. And 25, and the blur. (Last part of living on an asylym's seekers' budget)

The thought crossed my mind that I should have started losing some weight, but in fact body was prepared to survive so I actually gained some.

I knew from before that there is a law on writing a last date on food, but that it lasts much longer. As a Swedish researcher said, when the clock strikes 24:00, bacteria does not jump in an make the product bad. A friend had tested the milk, and realised it is as fresh for an entire WEEK after the dated marked on it, and that more sour products last even longer. And I learned long ago that in a religion (keep forgetting which one, Amish?), furniture is designed so that food can be stored within and bought so that it always will last a year ahead. Eggs are bought in spring - that is when they last the longest. (And for the less advanced consumer, a month after the written date. Sugar does not even need a date, it is kind of eternal.) So, I took a chance and ate a one month (not opened) old kvarg (like yoghurt but more firm). Waited; will I have to call an ambulance? Survived.

Day 24: in the store, I discover a small, zero-flashy piece of paper that can give me discount on "mjölkkronan", which I had not heard of before. Poor for now, yes - but not unhuman to the farmers, I ask the lady at the counter what it is good for. Turns out, it is voluntary to pay. (More research shows that instead of 100 öre (1 crown) per liter milk that the farmers were promised, they only get 7 öre: http://www.dn.se/ekonomi/mjolkkrona-till-krisande-bonder-blir-7-ore/. I choose to pay.)

Earlier that day, I get invited to an introductory meeting on holding courses in Swedish with refugees, which I have volunteered for. The contact person and I write a few emails back and forth. The only meetups are available before 3 p.m. When most people are at work! How can I help, if the system is not adapted to this simple thing? A colleague hence suggests I should give courses in Swedish at SFI which has classes in evenings, and that I will even get paid for that. Well, I also volunteered to be part of the Red Cross, at a hospital, directing people right. The pressure of volunteers right now is so high, that I will not be contacted until January (in November, when this took place, it meant about 2.5 months ahead).

Day 25: I can have as much candy as I want at a conference, and at the second meeting that day, I get chocolate cake from the bakery Gateau (as I had requested weeks before - it is that kind of annual meeting when cake always is served). This is also the day when the Swedish government makes the decision to say stop to more refugees from crossing the borders. And a colleague and I chat for a bit, stare at each other and suddenly book a spontaneous trip to Copenhagen: prices are super good that day, and his friend agrees to pay my part due to my monetary condition.

Day 26: lunch is my breakfast. I have ceased to eat in the morning, so any food is so filling that afterwards, I am moving as if it is a few days left before giving birth. Then there is another confrence, with sandwiches for everyone. I then go to a food store to look at food as if I am in a museum (and from then on, always act more carefully in a shop compared to before). Simultaneously, I have a very good discussion with C. about how people who live like this feel. Answer is: gloomy. You CAN NOT plan to cook for a week ahead. You can basically not afford to think rationally; you are never given the possibility. And you think about money, and how long it will last, all the time. You can impossibly pay a little extra for organically grown food that is fairtrade certified; you can not afford it! And not eating properly affects EVERYTHING. Health, joy, you name it. And you miss out many of the news, including your rights, if you can not read local newspapers, meaning you will be relying on living sources you trust. Also: Swedish infrastructure is adapted to people having cars. Two friends brought a sofa to the subway station, and the speakers informed them right away that this is not done. "Crammed" reasons. Even bikes are not allowed. Why? Don't even try blaming it on rush hours. Buggies are thrice as big and ok to bring, with or without child in it.

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