My Sweedse lewe

Ek is gevra om iets oor my lewe in Swede vir Liefie se Johannesburg kantoor se nuusbrief te skryf. Ek post dit dan sommer as my inskrywing vir vandag.

P and I talked about doing a transfer, but that’s all it was, talk. Then suddenly we were in Stockholm on a rainy (and cold!) day in April after we had decided to go to Copenhagen. If you’re confused, imagine what I was feeling.

P got staffed immediately and his life pretty much continued in the same way as it did in Johannesburg. I was left with apartment hunting, deciphering Swedish, Swedish supermarkets (really – someone should do a study there, they need help!) and the life of a housewife. It all sounds very laid-back and low-key, but if you’ve never ironed a shirt in your life, a day gets long. Well, truth be told, one of my terms of the move was that P would iron all his own shirts, that left me with more time to enjoy the coffee shops.

Stockholm is a beautiful city and thanks to the advice of both the Swedish Henriks we arrived in Spring – the perfect time. The days were getting longer, the temperature was picking up and (this was more P’s thing than mine) the girls were wearing less.

We soon settled into our new lives and I was surprised at how easy it was. The occasional societal quirk still caught me off guard every now and again – when I say caught, I mean literally, doors hit me in the face all the time, gender equality and all that – but for the most part we were living the good life.

We were living a scaled down life and it felt quite good not having any real responsibilities. No car, no house, only one set of drinking glasses. Trains and busses run on time, there’s some government department for just about everything you can think of and you pretty much know you are being looked after by someone bigger than yourself – The Swedish Government.

We travelled a lot, got to see some awesome places, got to walk around at night, could afford to not lock the front door. We got used to not having sunshine, even in summer, no Nestlé products and gave up on our mission to speak a fluent Swedish. Winter came. So did the darkness. Snow didn’t come. It rained. A lot. I felt cheated by the lack of snow and the continuous darkness. I started baking. A lot. Someone had to eat the baked goods. I did.

And suddenly, the darkness gives way. We’ve almost been here for a year. We have to go back. I can’t get my mind around having to leave this place and the lifestyle. I think I might be suffering from Stockholm syndrome.

What I learnt:

1. Recognising a Swedish word doesn’t mean you can pronounce it. Swedes will never laugh at the pronunciation, but only give you a vacant stare and switch to English.

2. Buying something and then remarking on how expensive it is doesn’t make it cheaper the next time.

3. Fika is a wonderful custom and should be adopted all over the world.

4. Don’t go out without a beanie in winter – thawing ears are unpleasant.

5. The Swedes make a distinction between nudity and sex. Nudity is natural. Neighbours don’t close their curtains. Ever.

What I wish I had known:

1. “Housewife” is not a generally understood term in Swedish society. The bank told me that I have no purpose and therefore could not have my own account.

2. Stockholm style is, well actually there is no real way of describing the fashion sense, let’s go with interesting. These are the clothes the stores stock and sell. Live with it.

3. Be strong and have a real purpose when walking into IKEA, you can lose days once inside.

4. Rain can last for days.

5. Expecting a country to be expensive isn’t enough preparation for the shock of actually realising how incredibly expensive everything really is.

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11 thoughts on “My Sweedse lewe

  1. hanlie Februarie 26, 2008 / 3:57 nm

    Dis ‘n wonderlike ondervinding om te he. Ek dink jy gaan baie dinge mis wanneer jy terug op eie bodem is. Dinge het erg agteruit gegaan die laaste jaar…

  2. Dellie Februarie 26, 2008 / 5:04 nm

    Mooi possie! Ek wens ek kon ook daardie wêreld sien. Maar ek dink ook jy gaan effe ontnugter wees as jy terug is…

  3. Da Mario Februarie 27, 2008 / 5:46 vm

    Baie oulike possie!! 😀
    Ek dink ek sou ‘n baie groot bohaai opgeskop het as ek MOES terugkom.
    Ek dink ek moan eerder oor hoe duur goed is as om te wonder wanneer die effe goedkoper goed uit my huis gesteel gaan word. 😉

  4. BB Februarie 27, 2008 / 6:09 vm

    Daardie ‘fashion style /sense’ het ek 2 jaar gelede in Amsterdam ook half-en-half beleef… aardig, nê?! Maar jy sal dit nog mis, sus! Ons is hier ter lande veels te veel geworried oor drees-sense en looks etc as oor die true issues in die lewe. My dogter was ‘n jaar in Nederland en het ‘n horrible kultuurskok gehad – veral toe sy terugkom en universiteit toe moet gaan en al waaroor die groepe girls kan praat is boys & klere & gewig en dieet en en en… 😦

  5. René Februarie 27, 2008 / 7:32 vm

    hehe, jy laat my vanoggend dink aan Lisa de Waal – wat in Sarie/Rooi Rose (? nou is ek self nie seker nie), skryf!

    Baie interessant – en ten minste het jy lekker memories wat jy kan terugbring saam met jou!

    Ek is dankbaar dat ons in SA bietjie meer konserwatief is oor “nudity” – ek sidder om my bure naak te sien!

  6. Karl Februarie 27, 2008 / 9:33 vm

    Uiteindelik loer ek ok hier in.
    Het self baie jare in vreemde lande gewoon en gewerk. Mis tot vandag toe nog die beskaafdheid van opgevoede mense wat nie langs die pad staan en pie nie hehehehehe.

    Geniet daai nuwe goed.
    Karl

  7. platterfuss Februarie 27, 2008 / 11:46 vm

    Eish, my voete jeuk sommer……

    Dit wat jy het is ‘n voorreg…… en, dis beslis ‘memories for life’…..

  8. mykopop Februarie 27, 2008 / 8:30 nm

    Have no purpose?! Jy moes hulle gesê het jy’t ‘n blog!

  9. boendoe Februarie 28, 2008 / 8:22 vm

    Ek het jou inskrywing vreeslik geniet! Jammer om te hoor julle MOET terugkom.

  10. maeree Maart 6, 2008 / 2:03 nm

    toe ons daar was, het petrol ongeveer SEK11 per liter gekos. ons het gedink dis vreeslik. nou’s suid-afrika ook amper daar.

  11. maeree Maart 6, 2008 / 2:04 nm

    ek wou ook sê:
    bwahahaha
    die lysie van goed wat jy geleer het, is briljant!

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