The boy sitting at the back of the bus was maybe 10 or 12 years old. Dark haired and dark eyed, he leaned against the foggy window, hunkered down in the last seat to the right. His hoodie covered most of his face and music filtered from his mobile serenading those of us who also sat in the rear. He wasn’t wearing headphones.
It was some mix of Latino music that filled the bus with a happy beat, but as new passengers entered each, in turn, looked back at the boy. Glaring looks from passengers already seated were also directed toward the kid – it was rude to be playing music out loud. It was rude to be agitating other people with something so personal as one’s own musical selections. No one in Sweden does this.Read More»
It is something that millions of us might aspire to – the adventure and romance of living abroad. And while for some, it is all of that, with travel to nearby foreign countries, new friends and new languages, there are ways in which living abroad can break your heart – no matter how effortlessly you have managed to fit in to your host country.
Being away means exactly that. So when there are funerals or weddings which take place in your home country and you can’t go, either due to work or financials, it can be a devastatingly lonely event. It might not even be something as traumatic as a death or as joyful as a marriage. It could simply be that one day you are walking down the street and are struck by a memory – an all consuming heart-wrenching knowledge that someone you love very dearly is 3,582 miles away.Read More»
When contemplating a move to Sweden, one can be quite mistaken in thinking that the Scandinavian culture will be somewhat similar to one’s own. This, I find, is especially true of expats and foreigners who come from the US, Britain, Australia, and Canada. We assume that we are moving to a country which will allow us to integrate with ease into a multicultural, white – yet diversified – and progressive society. When we find that cultural mores and differences stand in stark contrast to our own, confusion reigns. There is complaining. Many experience culture shock. There are those who rebel. Some of us become very depressed, and some just get lost between the cracks. Integration into Sweden does not come with a guide book or instruction manual. Until now …
Julien S. Bourrelle, founder of Mondå, seeks to connect people and provide a light in which to guide Swedophiles toward a more satisfying and successful integration. His new book, A Social Guide to Sweden, is a much needed resource for people hoping to understand Sweden and her sometimes rather odd character. Not only for foreigners, the book also shines a light on Scandinavian nuances which will enlighten many a Swede as to how they are perceived by the outside world, and it illuminates the challenges faced by those who seek a new life in the Nordic nation.Read More»
Today I have no water. Today is also the day I planned to clean in preparation for the electricians who are coming tomorrow to rewire and upgrade the electric in our apartment. It will take them two days. On those days, we will have no electricity.
An excellent opportunity for spring cleaning, I thought. The sun is out, so let the cleaning begin.
Today I have no water and I have no idea why. Construction, I assume. This was an unplanned surprise. It is also not the first time we’ve been without water. So the laundry I hoped to do can not be done. The walls and floors, I planned to clean will – if done at all – have to be done with a spray bottle and cloth. It ain’t happening.Read More»
I’m not sure what I expected.
That’s a lie.
I was expecting a metamorphosis – a transition similar to the changing of a butterfly or the Parisian sophistication of Sabrina.
“Come to Sweden and be with me, and I promise you, we will have a beautiful life,” he said.
It is only now, after four years of challenges, that I see the glimmer of that beautiful life. It didn’t happen in one week, as when the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis. Nor did it happen in one year as in Sabrina’s case.Read More»