Work Extension

The past week has been, as one of my colleagues would call it, hectic.  I work solely doing data entry.  For nearly 10 months now, myself and around 17 others have been employed on a temporary contract (full-time hours) which has been continually extended.  It was originally a 1-month job to catch up on a backlog, which was extended for 1 month, which was extended for 2 months, which was extended for 3 months, and then another 3.  10 months.  Now, we’ve been used to knowing with just a couple of days notice as to whether or not our contracts were to be extended.  Never have we not known.

This time around, our contract was scheduled to finish on June 26.  That morning, we still had no word.  The stress and nerves were getting high – some people lost motivation, other people got angry, some upset – but I kept working away at the keyboard, trying to focus on nothing else.  I reached my personal best that horrible day before, thinking that maybe this was it, June 26, and I would be unemployed, again.  Our [great] bosses were all fighting to have us extended, but our contracts had to be signed off by multiple managers that sit high up on the ladder, and come the end of the day, they still couldn’t give us a confirmation.  But they did say the delay in a response had resulted in a definite two more weeks of employment.  And there was a 99% chance we’d be extended.

Today, we found out we ARE – and what a relief it is!  Not 1 month, not 2 or 3, but 6!  We have jobs to last us until Christmas, which is very pleasing for what was initially a mere 3-weeks work (and of course, money plays a big part in long distance relationships).  I’d love to shove that in the faces of my employment consultants who couldn’t help me with temporary or part-time jobs.  I have to admit, I couldn’t be happier.  Despite how much I complain about waking up so early, I have grown to not only love my job, but fit in, more than I ever thought I would.

As you may know, both Johan and I were unemployed when we met.  As you may not know, I was unemployed for almost 2 years after dropping out of university.  If you want the technicalities, I could say I was unemployed for 5 months, worked for 5 days, unemployed for 3 months, worked for 3 weeks, unemployed for 14 months, worked on the dole for 6 weeks, worked for 3 weeks, and unemployed for just 1 more month before landing this job… but let’s just say I was unemployed for 2 years.

My other jobs were so insignificant and meaningless (and sincerely no fault of my own that they ended) that I’ve really grown to consider this as my first (real) job, and I love it.  I work with some great people; we joke around and keep each other awake when we’re doing our repetitive, boring, same-day-in-and-day-out work.  And despite the ordinariness of the work, it’s everything I’d hoped for – a back office job that didn’t involve dealing with customers.  What’s more, I have proved myself fully worthy of the job as I’ve become the best at what I do, which is virtually stress-less (except when waiting on extension news!) after I triple the KPI (key performance indicator) each day (once I even quadrupled it).  I finally have a job I excel at, where my work is appreciated and I feel needed.  I’ll miss it when the time really does come to leave – whether it’s this Christmas, or whether it’s extended again, or whether it’s not until I move countries… all I can say is a big thank you for the extension!  Knowing how long it’s taken me to come this far, it’s been much appreciated and I honestly don’t know what I’d do without it, because I’m not ready to say goodbye.


Kissing is Hard…

Well mostly it’s easy, and this wasn’t really kissing either. Actually, it was a very unfortunate accident, and I’m sorry to say, it was all my fault. I must have apologized for hours.

So what happened?

Short story: I bit her lip.

Long story: I bit her lip hard. And there was blood.

Actually, there is a high probability that I remember it worse than it actually was. Hindsight has a tendency to do that. If I think about it, I can swear I felt her soft lip give way under my teeth. It’s not something I wanna experience again.

So how did it happen in the first place? Simple. I was trying to take a bite of her Hot Lips. That is, the lip-shaped Lollies she was holding between her teeth.

Oh the irony.

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Oh Happy Day!

WARNING: Ramble ahead. This is a complete straight up word vomit because I needed to get it out!

Today it finally happened! Actually, two longed for things happened to us today, one for Kylie and one for me. But if I may say so, I actually think my thing is slightly more important.

Kylie finally received the package I sent her with her birthday presents, as well as a delayed Christmas card and a letter I was supposed to send at Christmas. What can I say, it was supposed to be included in this package my parents were going to send her for Christmas but they never did, despite repeated reminders, and the card and letter stayed. So I put it in her birthday package instead. It’s only six months late. The important thing is that my actual Christmas gifts for her weren’t delayed, right?

Anyway, she will probably make a more detailed post about what she got and what she thought of it. That package isn’t the point of this post.

Because today we got the best news we’ve had all year!!! But first I’ll give some backstory on why this is so important.

You may have heard that we are planning a vacation in Norrland (the very north of Sweden) for the coming Christmas. Well, our plans have relied heavily on me going to school up there. All through the planning process have been “assuming you get in…”, and this uncertainty have been slowly eating away at us, because if I didn’t get in to this school I’ve applied for, what will happen? How much of the plans will we have to rearrange in order to fit in everything we want to do? How much more money will it cost to pull off?

Things got a little more optimistic at the end of April, when I got an email saying that they wanted me for an interview, so on the 18th of May jumped on a train and travelled for almost 12 hours to Haparanda to visit the school for an interview, have a pizza at the local pizzeria and go over the border to Finland for 15 minutes only to head back home the same day.

They said I’d know in three weeks, so we waited to hear back. The three weeks came and went, but nothing, so I contacted them through email where I got the reply that it was already sent out and I should have it already. I asked if they could send out again because I had checked spam and searched my inbox to make sure I hadn’t missed it, but this time, I got no reply. I sent more emails and tried to call, but couldn’t get any info. Finally, today I managed to get hold of someone who could tell me that it would be sent to me later that day, and lo and behold, it was!!!

So by this point, I think you can guess what the good news is.

That’s right. I GOT IN!!!

And if you’re wondering, I’m going to be studying music studio engineering, which I’m very much looking forward to. It will be great fun!

Now there’s just a few more things that need to be decided, then we can actually start booking flights and trains and tours and things for this Great Northern Christmas and New Years Adventure we will be having! Expect more updates soon!

He Forgot My Name

This is one of those things I’ll never let Johan forget.  It was very early days when I introduced myself on the Facebook group we were both members of.  I had talked to him just two or three times before in large group chats, but that’s besides the point.  When he commented on my introduction post, he seemed to have trouble remembering who I was!  In any case, this was the day we became Facebook friends, and that’s where things really kicked off.  I would ensure he never forgot my name again! 😀


Tech Time #1: Communication

Today, there are more long distance relationships than ever before in history, and I can say this without having made any research into the subject. How do I know this? Because we have the internet, and the internet changed everything. Never before have people all over the world been so connected to each other. Chat messaging, video calling and social networks allow us to communicate across the world in real time, and it’s no wonder that we become friends and form relationships with people everywhere. This means a lot of long distance relationships. But how can we use all this modern technology to improve those relationships? That’s what Tech Time is for.

I’m going to make a few assumptions about you:

  • You are a human being
  • There is another human being that you like a lot
  • This other human being does not live where you live, and it’s far enough away that you can’t simply drive there whenever you want

Congratulations! You are in a long distance relationship! Now, if you want to maintain this relationship, the best way to do that is to talk to each other. Everyone does it, but in a long distance relationship, it is especially important. You can’t express your feelings through physical interaction, like hugs and kisses, hair stroking, hand-on-thigh, sofa cuddles etc, so you’ll have to express it in words, and that can sometimes be difficult, but there are ways to at least get closer to the physical, and I’m going to go through some of them here.

1. An Actual Letter

Title Art 1 It’s not actually a tech item, but the most personal way would be to send an actual letter, written in your own hand, in your own blood… okay, scratch that last bit. My point is that it’s something that you have touched and actually physically made your makings on. It can be touched and smelled, and it’s a great thing to keep, and collect. Something you can pick up and read in times of loneliness.

Quick tip: Kiss the letter before you send it and then mark where you’ve done it.

2. Email

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The oldest way to communicate on the internet, and it’s not going to go away anytime soon! The good thing is that anyone who have spent more than a few days on the internet is likely to have an email address. There isn’t much you can do without one, unless you just spend your time looking at pictures or videos of cats. Email can be received on any kind of device, both computers and smartphones and anything inbetween. You don’t have to rely on the receiver having the right app, or if they’re at the computer or whatever else limitations some other services have. It’s the most versatile messaging platform. On the other hand, many people’s emails get so many messages, spam and newsletters and other junk, that they get clogged up, and it’s easy to miss single, more important message, and some people don’t even check their inbox at all. It can take some time to get a reply to an email.

Quick tip: Being most suitable for long-form content, try and be creative! If you don’t get time to chat often, maybe it’d be fun to make a weekly newsletter?

3. Chat

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Oh the beloved chat clients. They are everywhere, and new ones keep popping up. I remember a time when everyone used just one chat platform. A time when you could just ask for someone’s “msn” because you could just assume that everyone had an account with MSN Messenger, later called Windows Live Messenger (I think I was the only one who actually made an effort to call it Live Messenger instead of just MSN). Nowadays, we have Snapchat, Kik, and a million other chat apps, each serving a different purpose. When it comes to what client to use, all platforms have their strengths and weaknesses. Kylie and I primarily use Skype coupled with a little Facebook Messenger. I can’t tell you what to use, because everyone has their preference, but I really recommend Skype. It’s a great allround platform. It’s got a good basic selection of emoticons, some fun hidden features like the possibility to apply basic text formatting and you can send files, photos and videos. Facebook Messenger is a bit more limited, but it’s more likely that any given person has it. Kylie and I mostly use it to privately share links from facebook or sending photos, since for some unknown reason, sent photos don’t show up on Skype on her computer. I guess I can touch a little on text messaging here. As Kylie and I live not only in different countries, but different continents, texting isn’t a viable option for us because of international texting fees. But it can be a good option if you mostly connect through your phones.

Quick tip: In Skype, you can make text italic by surrounding it with two underscores _like this_, bold using asterisks *like this* or stike through using tildes ~like this~. Also, put “!! ” is the begining of the message for monospace font or “/me ” for a little roleplay!

4. Video calling

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Video calling is the most real-time way to connect outside of actually meeting. It’s not as easy to misinterpret as written text can be as you can communicate with both speech and body language. There are several services that allow you to set up a video call, and Kylie and I have tried most of them. We seem to be always coming back to Skype though. But Skype isn’t perfect. One of the biggest downsides (even though this is probably applicable to every video calling service) is a tendency to lag and often drop calls when uploading or downloading from Dropbox or other cloud storage services and sometimes the calls just start lagging for no discernible reason. At these times, we will use Google Hangouts, or since I now use an iPhone, FaceTime, both of which work pretty well, but still don’t feel quite as stable as Skype does.

Quick tip: A video call is great for simulating all those intimate activities you can’t do in long distance like dates and if you have the call running on a mobile device, it’s a good way to have your significant other attend parties and birthdays with you. If you’re feeling adventurous, it’s also really nice to fall asleep with the call running on a device beside your bed.

Ultimately, you will probably use a combination of all these methods of communication, and so it’s a good thing that there are so many offers available.

Kylie’s 21st

My 21st birthday came around during our first year of dating, and I had always been adamant on having a Harry Potter party after I didn’t get one for my 18th.  What was more, I now had a fan as big as I was to invite, except that he couldn’t be there in person.  However, the iPad I was given for my birthday helped with that, and he was still able to celebrate with all my family and friends, dress up and participate in most of the games.  He was such a good sport, talking with everyone and being passed from person to person all night, putting up with terrible call quality.  And when it was time to cut the cake, I didn’t fear the old “If you touch the bottom you have to kiss the nearest boy!”  Despite the miles, it was still that boyfriend of mine.

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