We found the car, a compact little Ford Fiesta in bright blue and threw our suitcases into the truck. But upon getting into the car, we discovered the "keys", which it took us a moment to find, weren't actually keys but rather the rental company tag plus 2 door-locker/unlockers. I felt on the side of the steering wheel column: no ignition, just an expanse of grey fabric. I looked down between the seats, thinking the car was set up like our Saab, but no. No ignition there either. Hrm.
Ah! There was a little flat button on the dashboard to the top and right of the steering wheel that said "Engine Stop/Start". I pushed it. Nothing happened. After 24 hours of traveling I wasn't sure if it was fatigue or just me being stupid. But Mom couldn't figure it out either. I pushed on the gas and pressed the button. Pushed on the brake and pressed the button. Nothing.
Hrm again. So I got out of the car and headed back up the parking lot to find someone in a uniform. 2 men at the little hut stood up as I approached and I apologized for what was probably a really inane query, but how the heck do you start the car?! One of them laughed and said he'd show me and we started back. I explained what I had tried and he told me that you have to HOLD DOWN the brake and press the button simultaneously and once we got back in, sure enough, it started right up. He also told us that the "keys" have to be inside the car or it won't start either. I said I only came once a year to the States and this newfangled technology was pretty confusing. He laughed and told me the next time I come I won't even have to press a button; I'll probably just be able to say "START ENGINE".
Heck, maybe in another year, I won't even have to actually drive the darn thing!
When I first moved to Sweden and finally got my driver's license, we converted my height (5' 2.75") into centimeters and got 155. Which is what I thought I was all these years. But a couple of years ago, at a company-sponsored health checkup, I found out that I was actually 158 centimeters! Did I GROW or was it just my math impairment sneaking another one by me? Today, I went for another health checkup, courtesy of my company again and when she measured me, she told me I was 159 centimeters. I thought I was supposed to be shrinking by now, but apparently there's something in the water (or in the sushi, haha)! :D
I don't think I've talked about this here, but Martin's class won a science competition this past weekend out of all the grades in his class in Lund county and first prize is a 3-day trip to London! Last spring they started the competition at Lunds Tekniska Högskola (which is a college, not a high school) by participating in a day-long round of science activities and experiments and then had to come up with an idea for a future energy-solution. They had 3 groups from their class and Martin's class voted his group's idea as the best one, which they submitted to the competition.
This is the description (quickly translated) of their idea: "Creating a global network of electricity and heat. The dish is called GGSM (Gigantic Geostationary Satellite Mirror ). It works by two mirror-satellites reflecting sunlight down to two bases at the South and the North Pole, where they are converted into electricity via solar cells and then transported to the continents through cables. Ozone layers at the South and the North Pole are thinner so more UV rays can get through. Everyone should use our invention! That's the point of it: it's global. The energy is transported to different bases, which distribute electricity in the area. The base at the North Pole must float (with an anchor) because there is no land mass. Our invention is good because it is renewable energy, eliminating all nuclear power plants and thermal power plants. It can be used all the time because the sun shines all the time and it does not emit CO2 when everything is finished."
Then there was a voting period online where anyone could vote for about a month and at the end of that period, Martin's class was in 2nd place with 4513 votes. Nothing happened over the summer but when school started again, the class had to hone their idea and write a presentation of it to bring to a juried panel back at LTH. Martin was in the group that wrote the speech and he and one other classmate mostly co-wrote the whole thing.
This past Saturday, his class presented their idea to the jury with the other 5 finalists and they WON! (the runners-up won 2000 kronor each) The whole class, 18 kids, plus 8 teachers, will be heading to London the first week of November, and visiting the Science Museum in London, among other things. How cool is that? I wish I could go!
There's a definite nip in the air, though layers are certainly called for. If you don't like the weather in Sweden, just wait 5 minutes is never truer than during the seasons of change...we typically have cold, warm, clouds, rain, sunshine and wind in a day. Yesterday I saw my first sugarbeet on the side of the road; a sure sign that Autumn is officially here. Only 97 shopping days until Christmas, kids!