It’s been three weeks since I started living with the Swedes. For the sake of clarity, I mean the northern European people normally resident in Sweden, not the root vegetables. That said, after having met and observed some of their adolescent and university-aged specimens, the distinction between the two blurs.
For the most part, I enjoy living in Sweden. Swedes, in general, are kind and decent people. They’re a bit reserved, but they’re polite and helpful. One thing they’re not known for is being boisterous, something which on occasion becomes a problem for me — especially when Spanish Inés and I start having heated arguments in Castilian. I made sure to have our last heated argument in front of Malmö’s famous windmill.
There are, however, certain, infuriating things that are rather typical for Sweden. When visiting Italy early this month, I was able to wash my clothes at a laundrette near where I was staying in Milan. Whether in Japan, the UK, Italy, Germany or Australia, there was always some possibility for me to wash clothes. In Sweden, there is not. Some years ago, the Swedish government passed a law which required all housing units to have access to washing machines and they must be free. On paper, that sounds good. In reality, it’s a bloody nuisance.
I’m still in the process of settling in. Part of that involves my living in short-term lets, usually shared. It’s not an issue, really. Though somewhat inconvenient, especially when having to head out with three suitcases, it gives me a chance to spend time in different parts of Malmö and to see which areas I like and which I dislike. It does, however, become a nuisance when I have to rely on others to handle booking a time slot for a washing machine. Yes, it’s based on a reservation system. What that has meant is that I’ve had to cross the Øresund to Denmark on a weekly basis. For the past two weeks, Viking-type chum has granted me the use of his washing machine. As his schedule, for the time being, does not permit it, I have had to find another solution. There are no laundrettes in this part of Sweden. They became redundant some time ago. Instead, I get to cross the Øresund to Amager and make use of a Danish laundrette.
4 thoughts on “Living With the Swedes”
My Word Christopher – you certainly get around! Do I take it that your latest linguistic achievement is Swedish!
It is, indeed, the smallest things in life that can cause the biggest problems. I hope you find somewhere more settled (with laundry facilities) in the near future.
Boadicea: I’ve spoken Swedish for some time now. It’s close enough to English and German that with enough exposure and a bit of study, I was able to pick it up very quickly. When out and about, I’ve spoken almost entirely in Swedish. That goes over well in Sweden but does not win me many friends on the other side of the bridge.
I had preferred going back to England, but Boris ruined that for me. People I know and trust of Irish extraction talked me out of going to Ireland. Not Seppos, but people in the UK who have family in Ireland and lived in Ireland. I really didn’t have many options. Germany is too horrible for words and the US is too expensive, too stressful and too deranged. I’ve landed in a part of Sweden that’s remarkably affordable but very close to Copenhagen’s large, relatively well-paid job market. I’m only trying to survive and have a reasonable quality of life.
Congratulations to that Swedish cameraman who dealt conclusively with the protester trying to disrupt a TV programme.
Sheona: There is a general sense of irritation in Sweden. Swedes have not become fanatics, bigoted or somehow nasty — instead, most are fed up with idiocy and people being allowed to behave atrociously with no consequences.