Monday, July 29, 2013

Time, I Need More of It

I have not had time to write. Yes, I am back from Sweden but there were several topics I did want to work out on paper so to speak and I just never had time when there. I literally tried to squeeze every second out of every hour out of every day there. I was leaving the apartment pretty early and falling into bed fairly late, wonderfully exhausted from miles of walking, exploring and savoring each day.

I am writing this more for myself so that I will remember the topics. Number one, the insane baby boom in Sweden ( I really, really need to "talk" about this with someone who cares), finally understanding the legions of posters on The Local who have left Sweden but have some odd obsession with the place to the point where they hang out on message boards dedicated to the place and it's news, Cafe Saturnus and it's madly huge kanelbulle. I am sure there are more but these issues will be broached in the coming weeks.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Man Bites Dog

"With their snoots in the air,
the Star-Bellies would sniff and they'd snort 
"We'll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!"

Big news, Sweden is a pretty class conscious place. Oh, I know that is not the visual one gets when they think of Sweden. Americans, well one's with a favorable view of leftism, want to believe Scandinavia is the place that really got it right. Well, honestly, after many years of reforms, Sweden is less leftist that places like Massachusetts or Berkeley, California and most Swedes are certainly less militant about the whole thing.

Let's face it, all the wanna be communists now reside in the United States but let me redirect myself from this rant.

When I first moved here, I didn't know one area from the next. In fact, I was quite puzzled when I would get this wide eyed nod of approval when I told people I lived in Vasastan. Honestly, I did not get the differentiation. Most areas looked the same to me with the possibility of exception to Östermalm. You definitely get the feeling of being in a more tony area around those parts.

Similarly, I noticed when my friend would state she lived in Kungsholmen she would not get the same comments and nods of approval. Strange, right? Especially since my first impression when looking for an apartment was that I liked Kungsholmen the most. It almost has a NY village feel in some areas. Almost.

Well, now that I have stayed in both areas, I can certainly feel the difference. There is a small but definite class shift between the two. Kungsholmen is still in the city and highly sought after real estate. You'll see less Audis, Range Rovers and BMWs. More of the area is here in July and not at their summer house. It is just different.

This zip code compartmentalization is just one example. There are quite a few things that I, personally, do that I can tell do not meet the, more elitist, Swedish approval.

I shop at Lidl. And I like it. OK, so it is very often myself and other immigrants, kid's buying candy, drunkards, sort of red-neck (yes, they do exist here, en masse) hellions but, whatever. I like the place. It has great produce. McKennedy has pretty much nailed the American taste buds with his line of Americanish products. They sell the best olives ever and where else, in Stockholm, can you buy a pair of damn fine looking Tom's knock offs for 120sek?

I went to the flea market. I was met with multiple cross eyed looks of utter disapproval and bewilderment with that one. "Do you like that sort of thing?". "What are you looking for?" "I have never been".

I am sure there are plenty more but you get the jist. Fact remains, we humans are a strange lot. Just as the sneeches in Dr. Suess' famous childhood story, we will always find ways to differentiate ourselves off from other humans. Ways to affirm our predominance just as a strutting peacock will fan his tail. So it is and so shall it forever be.