On Röda Sten and Carlos Motta…

Hi and welcome! My name is Jakub and I am new blogger for Letters from Gothenburg and this is my first post! Yay!

Picture: Still from Carlos Motta – Nefandus (2013) Retrieved from http://www.rodasten.com

It´ll be maybe two weeks since I visited “For Democracy There Must Be Love”. An exhibition of works by Columbian artist Carlos Motta in Röda Sten Konsthall. I have to come clean and admit it was my first visit of Röda Sten, even though I planned my visit many times over a year and half I´ve been in Göteborg. I was discouraged by its locality and distance from the city…Well, I couldn´t be more wrong. If you hop on tram number 3 from Brunnsparken, you´re there in few minutes. The tram stop is Vagnhallen Majorna, walk under the highway towards Klippan and you´re almost there. I was a bit surprised by size of a place. My impression from photos I saw was that it is much smaller place. Don´t get me wrong, the building itself is not huge, if you´re talking square metres, but it´s a really generous space. I really like the mix of large open spaces with more private rooms, with contrast of ruff, industrial parts and more slick, designed areas. And there is also a nice restaurant I want to try! Definitely cool place to visit and Carlo Motta´s exhibition is just another reason to do so!

In his works, Carlos Motta is questioning constructions of history, sexuality and gender. He is using different formats such as installation, sculpture, video or documentary. Before you enter the exhibition you can take some prints regarding his work. One of them is called “Shapes of freedom” and it is a timeline of events important not just for homosexual community.

When you enter the second floor there is a video projection of “Nefandus Trilogy”, three films about homo-eroticism of pre-Hispanic cultures and its stigmatization during European colonization. There is also a model of colonial ship and story of an explorer who was writing letters to his male-lover. Together with small-scale sculptures inspired by indigenous people, this part of the exhibition connects contemporary queer culture with European and South American history.

Next two floors contains a huge amount of information on questions of identity, democracy, political memory and queer movement in form of books, videos and databases. To be honest, I went through it very briefly, because I was overwhelmed by amount of information I got in second floor.

Röda Sten is a place I´ll visit soon again and you should do it too!

All the best,

Jakub

PS: For Democracy There Must Be Love ends on March 22. More info here.

The Ultimate Guide of Tips to PIMP Your Room!

February is almost over and for those who just came for the spring semester I bet you are already acclimated to this wonderful city.

When you arrive to Gothenburg is always the same, you are in the hurry for everything and just getting adjust to your new place and neighbors. But one month flew! And now is time to settle in your new place. I know how’s everyone, we are students and we don’t want to spend too much money in…nothing! But this doesn’t mean that you cannot have a cozy crib ;) .

So here I bring you the ultimate guide of quick and cheap advices to PIMP your room:

Just frame it!

Do you have a boyfriend, girlfriend, friends, a dog or a plant that you miss a lot? Frame it! There’s a common saying that goes like this: ‘A picture it worth a thousand words’ and this is so true when you are away of your beloved ones. I bet you bring some photos from home or you took already amazing photos here, then what are you waiting to frame them and put them around the room? First of all these will give more personality to your room because you can find picture frames in every color and shape. Secondly this will make you feel closer to your family, girlfriend, boyfriend or whoever you are missing in home, don’t forget that also the pics that you took here will make you laugh and appreciate this experience every time that you see them.

Price photo frame: From 10 SEK in IKEA or TGR

Print photos: From 5 SEK each (In the Vasaplatsen tram stop you’ll find a place to print your photos and the owner is a nice Greek guy that will try to sell you olive oil too ;) so, win win deal!)

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Vintage Style

In Gothenburg you can find second hand stores all around the city. Some of them have only clothes or some other include decoration. If you have that retro vintage style this stores are your dream come true! In these stores you can find everything from flower pots, candle holders and trimmings with a unique design and low prices.

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Light it up!

A good habit I learned from the Swedes is to put candles everywhere all the time ;) , here in Gothenburg people love candles and you won’t be the exception. The candles will make your place feel more cozy and peaceful. Besides this you can find a variety of scented candles that together with their nice colors will function as a nice decoration for your room.

Price: From 7 SEK in IKEA, TGR and many other places!

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Postcards

I don’t know if you noticed but a common way of making publicity in Sweden is through postcards. They have all kinds off it in stores, shopping malls and in the university too. A nice way to use these postcards is to collect them and then use them as decoration. The postcards are almost always really artistic, colorful and creative, so you can easily either frame them or tape them in your walls. This will give a lot of personality and an artistic flair to your room.

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Roses are red; violets are blue…and cheap!

What a wonderful feeling to wake up with the fragrance of fresh flowers! The are available in every supermarket and specialty stores in reasonable prices. Well… if you are a professional plants killer like me you can also find an alternative buying artificial flowers ;) just make sure that they look a bit real :D

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From gray to color

Every time that you are about to decorate your room think about color schemes. A secret for this is to take three colors and work with this in all the ranges. The colors not necessarily have to be combined; they can be contrasting colors that will illuminate your room.

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Be creative!

Yes, we are students and we consume a lot of canned food or candies, but a good way to get rid of these packages is actually not getting rid of them. Why don’t you try to recycle these into a nice pencil case or jeweler? It is possible! And is fun :) Be creative!

Here I give you a bit of inspiration with this wonderful 100%recicled jeweler that my Spanish friend Mercè made ;) Enjoy it!

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Photo credits:

#2: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vintage_Style.JPG

#8: Mercè Montoliu Nerín

Between Carnival And Valentine’s Day I Prefer Semla Day!

What a week! We had carnival and Valentine´s day all together in one Weekend! We are people from all around the world in this wonderful experience as an exchange student, but I was wondering how the others celebrate these dates.

In Bolivia for example we don’t celebrate Valentine’s day, instead we celebrate the friendship and love day on the 21st of September. On the contrary the carnival is one of the most important holidays in Bolivia whit 72 hours of national holidays that together with the weekend make a wonderful 5 days carnival full of folklore and culture. The Bolivian carnival is known worldwide for the famous ‘Oruro Carnival’ awarded many times as the best carnival in Latin America and in the world. This year for example, the last saturday the famous Manneken-Pis from Belgium dressed as the famous ‘Diablada’ (Bolivian folkloric dance) in honor of the Bolivian Carnival ;) .

CARNAVAL

This time, with me in Gothenburg, I tried to look for alternatives to my beloved carnival and I realized that this holiday is not that significant for Swedes. I was waiting for having million options of parties, celebrations or street parades but I couldn’t find them. But don’t forget that we are in an international student community where many people do celebrate the carnival! So one of my friends offered a costume party where the theme was to dress as a country that is not your country :) I chose India!

CARNAVAL 2

This weekend I was also excited to see how Swedes celebrate Valentine´s day. I was waiting to see everyone dressed in red or hearts all around the city in restaurants and coffee shops, but no. Again the Swedes doesn´t seems to be really excited about this celebration and the only heart that I saw that day was my boyfriend’s present: a delicious box of chocolates (what matters is what’s inside right? ;) )

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I was looking for a light of hope to see what turns on that celebration mood in Sweden…and I found it. Semla Day ladies and gentlemen! The Semla or Semlor (or as I call it Cream Hamburger) is a typical Swedish sweet roll with cream and almond paste filling. In the last days I only heard people speaking about Semla, how to make it, how to eat it, where to find it, how to be a Semla, everything with Semla! And let me tell you that these people are not mistaken, because when I tried the Semla I wanted to know how to make it, how to eat it, where to find it and even how to become a Semla!

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These delicious buns will sweet your day believe me, and since today February 17 is the Fettisdagen or Srove Tuesday you can find Semla in every supermarket ready to be eaten or baked. If you have some free time why don’t you call your friends and make a proper Semla Day celebration? Here I leave you a recipe for you to try it, enjoy it!

http://www.swedishfood.com/swedish-food-recipes-biscuits-cakes/130-lent-buns-semlor

CARNAVAL 3Photo credits:

1. https://www.facebook.com/TourismeWallonieBruxelles/photos/a.185550494791461.56477.185545614791949/964222313590938/?type=1&fref=nf&pnref=story

2. Mercè Montoliu Nerín

4,5. Zinnie Pham

Get Warm In The Cold!

It has been a weird winter in Gothenburg…cold days, warm days, rain, snow and sun. For example did you know that the past Monday was one of the hottest February days in the history of Gothenburg? We have reached temperatures of 11,5 degrees that day, and I got confused whether I was still in Sweden or not anymore. Just for you to have a comparison in my hometown Bolivia we are in summer and on Monday we got 5 degrees :D! (cold!).

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Ok this is not an everyday thing, normally these days we are colder than that. One thing that we like to do when is cold outside is stay inside for sure. But stay indoors does not mean not being in motion! What happen if I tell you that you can run, exercise and have fun in a Caribbean place in Gothenburg? It looks like I am talking about two contradictory concepts but they are not, this is actually true!

In my search of discovering new things in the city (being sincere sometimes I discover them accidentally, but anyways ;) ) I got to know activities that you can do whenever you are in the sporty mood.

Go to play beach-volley! (Seriously)

Did you know that Gothenburg has one of the biggest beach volley centers in Europe? It’s true and it’s here! When I was walking to the Beach Center for the first time it was snowing heavily and I went through the door and magically I was on the beach! Indeed it is a beach volley center full of sand and decoration that makes you feel in a beachJ. Besides this you have a bar and restaurant there with nice food for you to get in the sporty mood ;). The fee entrance is 60 SEK but believe me totally worth it. Go with your friends, kill each other and have fun!

http://beachcenter.se/

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Watch a basketball game

Are you into basketball? Then get ready and attend a basketball game, it is really fun and it is for free! One week ago I had the opportunity to watch a basketball game: Greece vs. Sweden, and let me tell you that I had so much fun! Besides having a great time along the game you will also have the opportunity to meet people from other countries. If you play basketball this is also a good way to get in contact with people that can give you the best advices about places, teams and training.

In the link you will find the Facebook game of the Greek basketball team (Hellas Gothenburg) and the Swedish team (Mölndal Basket) where it is announced basketball games every week.

https://www.facebook.com/HellasGoteborgBK?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/MolndalBasketklubb?fref=ts

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Go to the gym! (Why not?)

I have to admit that I am a bit lazy when is about exercise but since my New Year’s Eve resolution was to keep (get) fit and healthy I decided to get commit with it. One good thing that you learn in the gym is that you feel that you are investing time and money for getting healthy so immediately you change some lazy ‘daily’ activities and get healthier habits.

One advice that I can give you is to go and try the gyms so you feel comfortable with it plus you can save some money. Normally the gyms here have a trial week so you can go try some of them and then decide what fits you best.

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These are three nice activities for remain active in winter, but I’m sure you have one hundred more in your mind, what about bowling or ping pong? The options are infinite and I’m sure you will discover them over time. :D

Hey! Ho! Let’s snow!

Hello everyone! Crazy days ha? It snows, it rains and suddenly the sun rises! If you are new here, how are you dealing with the snow? Probably is the first snow that you see in this season or probably is the first that you see in your life!. This time is the second time in my life that I am experiencing snow and I feel like a pro already (not!)

My experience can be based in the next image.

FRIO

I saw the first snow of this season some days ago when I was going out of classes, suddenly a big storm of snow came! (Big for me everyone was telling me that is nothing actually) And me and my German friend decided to use an umbrella to cover from the snow, wise decision (not!), almost one minute after the umbrella was upside down because of the wind. So I remembered that I had a rain poncho somewhere in my backpack and I didn’t hesitate to use it. Of course there were some people looking at me like WTF! I mean…like WTH! :D .

If you are experiencing some of these things in the snowy days let me tell you some tips for you to get along a bit better with the snow ;)

1. Snow doesn’t mean cold…

Is crazy but some Swedish people told me that they are waiting for the snow because is more ‘cozy’ (yes, they used the word cozy), more illuminated and no that cold. I am experiencing exactly that and it is true but it always depends. One factor to have in mind is the wind, when is windy then is extremely cold, but when is not windy (even if it is snowy) is not that bad!

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2. Layers is the solution

No matter if you are a man or woman, tights is something that you should have in your wardrobe this time of the year. I thought that I could be ok with my super power jeans but it came to be that the jeans are a cold fabric so if you use cotton made tights or leggings inside the jeans will make a huge difference! And don’t forget about the thermal shirts, they will keep you warm too.

Multicolored clothes pile

3. Cover your head!

Some people told me that the cold gets in to your body from the head or from the feet, so try to use good socks and a good hat! Don’t worry about your fancy hear style, with or without a hat the outcome is the same given the fact that we have strong wind this season so let your hair go! ;)

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4. Astronaut shoes

I am a tiny person but when it snows I use my big, widths, astronaut shoes ;) and indeed I look like an astronaut but who cares!? If you are planning to use those beautiful leather shoes that you bought some months ago, think about it twice! The snow may damage them plus you could slip (is not that it won’t be funny but still). Sweden is a country that is adjusted to the snow so if you check out the shoe stores you will find a huge variety of shoes for snow including those that won’t make you look like an astronaut.

INVIERNO def(Any resemblance to fiction is pure reality!)

5. Enjoy the snow!

Don’t forget that there’s not bad weather only bad clothes, so enjoy this season! Have a normal life, go out, go running or walking and build some snow men. Keep in mind that this landscape is only once a year and you might not have the opportunity to see a frozen lake or trees covered with snow in a long time! Give it a chance to winter, you will have fun, believe me :D

invierno 4

Photo credits:

http://lostbumblebee.blogspot.se/2015/01/winter.html

The Ultimate Dictionary For International Upcoming Students!

Spring term…it doesn’t have too much of spring right? But believe it or not this is one of the hottest winters according with the Swedes, is half of January and we didn’t go that much below cero degrees and the snow…where is the snow? Anyways this season is the one in which a lot of new students come to study. As I stated in my last blog the first time that I came to Gothenburg I was pretty much lost with some words or concepts that people used to use, but I wasn’t the only one (Thanks god!), so this time I present you the ultimate dictionary for international upcoming students!

1. After Work

Every Friday you and your friends have to get ready for going out early because is Afterwork Friday! A lot of bars offer food to accompany your drink. For example, you get a beer in a bar and together with the beer you can pick food from a buffet, yes it sounds awesome! Don’t be picky if you see that the food is not the best quality or the most varied, it is food and it is good! J Take this as an opportunity to be with your friends hang out and welcome the weekend. Why don’t you try different Afterworks every Friday? It can become a tradition for you and your group of friends, think about it ;)

keep-calm-and-love-after-work

2. Västraffik

Västraffik is an agency that regulates the public transport services in Gothenburg. You can recognize the institutional colors blue and white that characterizes the institution. Once you arrive here one of the first things that you have to do is to buy a card for the public transport (if you are under 26 years old you will have a discount ;) ). The card will allow you to take the tram, bus or ferry inside the city during one month, three months or one year. They are a lot of plans to buy a card so pick the one more suitable for you. Sometimes people of Västraffik jump on the tram or bus to check your card and if you don’t have it they will give you a high fee. So the best thing is to go with the rules, buy the card and travel safe.

Kortläsare_i_Västtrafiks_fordon

3. Fika

I have to confess that when I got to Sweden I didn’t have a sweet tooth but now I get grumpy if I don’t have a coffee and something sweet in the middle of the afternoon. The Fika is this: coffee+something sweet (cupcake, cake or cookies). So whenever you heard the word Fika! Be prepared to have some spare time with a good coffee.

fika

4. Kanelbullar

Fika time! mmm delicious, but if you are new in town remember to accompany your coffee with a delicious kanelbullar! You have to try this cinnamon bun which is a Swedish specialty J. You can find it in almost all the supermarkets in town and also in bakeries or small shops like 7eleven.

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5. Kötbullar

Did you make some research about traditional Swedish dishes? Well, one of the most popular dishes in Sweden are the meatballs. This dish is normally accompanied with smashed potatoes or French fries and a delicious cranberry sauce. You can find this dish in some restaurants but a common place to eat it is in IKEA ;).

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6. IKEA

Are you looking for a blanket? Maybe you need candles? Or for some reason do you need a stuffed teddy bear? Then IKEA is the place to be! IKEA is an international chain of shops with household items (Don’t get confused, it is international but it was created in Sweden!), in this you can find whatever you can imagine to furnish and decorate your place. Besides the nice design it is also cheap and you can find stuff for set from top to bottom your kitchen, bathroom and room. Have a look to your closest IKEA, call some friends and go! You don´’t really need to buy things, you can go to explore IKEA and have a Kötbullar lunch.

ike

7. Rea

In some specific seasons of the year you will walk on the streets and see once and once again the word REA. When you see this it mean something: Sales! So if you are looking for something specific and you see the sign REA on it is your lucky day ;) .

Sale - Bags

8. Systembolaget

The systembolaget is the state liquor store of Sweden. In this you can find alcohol from all the nationalities! I tried to find Bolivia but at least I found Argentina and some other Latin American drinks. The schedule for buying liquor in the Systembolaget is not that flexible so if you want to go to a party take a look to the schedule of the closest systembolaget, they are all around Gothenburg so don’t worry.

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9. Nordstan

Nordstan is the biggest shopping center in Gothenburg. Inside you can find a variety of brands of clothes, shoes, food, sweets, bakery, supermarkets, electronics and more! If you have a free afternoon go with your friends, walk around, have a Fika and enjoy it! Take the tram or bus to Brunnsparken and you are there.

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10. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

He is Zlatan, he is a football player and he is from Sweden. Don’t you ever tell that he is French and you’ll be safe with the Swedes, that’s it.

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Photography credits:

http://iogt.se/nyheter/rekordstarkt-stod-for-systembolaget/

http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Zlatan+Ibrahimovich/Portugal+v+Sweden/Ngpwo8ij-Nl