Friday, August 21, 2009

Using the ATM

I finally got my bank card a few weeks ago. There are a few things I really do not have the patience to stop and take the time to do. Stopping to buy gas, going to the bathroom and using the ATM are among the top three. Little annoying pieces of time banditry that take away from more productive past times like being on the internet.

Well, getting gas is no longer an issue. Using the ATM is, although, now it is using the ATM while everything on the screen is in Swedish. I have it down to a basic routine as long as the screens do not change. Well, yesterday they did. A little stress inducing to say the least.

Usually, I make my husband come with me. I am not really sure why as he knows less Swedish than I or the kids do. Yesterday I was feeling brave, so I went it alone. I put in my card, the usual screens came up. I typed in my pin, typed in my amount and, yikes, a completely foreign message popped on the screen. Ofcourse, at this point the line behind me was four deep.

I could not make out what the screen was saying. I just wanted my card back. It was the longest 30 seconds of my life and I was certain I was never going to see my card again as I bargained with God about being a better person and never using the ATM again if I could just see my card one more time. I tried my luck and pressed the button that said something about a receipt and presto, my card was back. My ATM card never looked so good.

I stepped back and let the queue file through and what do you think I did? I tried it again. Like some sick masochist, I went back for a second round. Only this time I knew to press the kvitto button. I was convinced that, maybe, I did something wrong. I think it was telling me it was out of 100 kronor notes and I had to take out a minimum of 500 kronor. I am pretty sure that was what it was reading.


  1. Sweden isn't like Italy.

    Often, you don't have to do like Stockholmers do, being a visitor.

    If you plan on going for a wonderful, one month vacation in Sweden, you don't have to study Swedish at all. You'll get by in English and in many cases German/Danish/Norwegian. Perhaps even French.

    At Italian airports, in tourist hotels, restaurants etc. most of the staff know English, but generally speaking, you won't get in touch with the best Italy has to offer if you stick to that language. In order to really get to know Italy you have to learn some Italian and furthermore, it's a good idea to learn the basics of the different regional dialects.

    Scandinavia is not like that. We love English!

    However, you are not on holiday here in Sweden.

    Please pardon me for sounding like a grouchy, old professor, but you are evidently an intelligent person who commands English very well. That's a very good start for learning another Germanic language.

    Perhaps you'd find yourself a master of (at least written) Swedish quicker than you think. Just dig in and this part of your life will become a very, very rewarding one.

    Welcome to Lutheranism and again sorry for sounding somewhat grouchy:)

  2. Wait, couldn't you just ask someone behind you to read the screen?

    ps. check out these two things. How do you not love them?

    I can't wait until I arrive. I'm going to have you obsessed with their art and culture by the time I leave. HA!!!

  3. WC-- I am trying to learn as much as I can. But, I'll let you know--the fact that you guys all eagerly speak English isn't helping. (: And you don't sound like a grouchy old professor...just sound like a German. (:

    Lex-- I am not asking some stranger to read my ATM screen. I get visions of what happened to Jake in Africa.

  4. " don't sound like a grouchy old professor"

    - Thanks for letting me know I don't sound like I'm lecturing:)

    Anyhow, I know you are trying hard. I also respect you a lot for this.

    I understand what an unwelcoming place Sweden can be.

    (Just ask René Descartes, he knows all about it).

    Stockholm is a wonder, but by now, you have also found out that Stockholmers are a bunch of very self-righteous, elitist people.

    Don't challenge them on their home ground, even though they might speak in very disrespectful ways about things that deeply matter to you.

    You don't need my guidance, but just perhaps you are beginning to acclimatize.

    You and your family are, indeed, welcome here,