Saturday, 21 July 2012

Week X: Takeaway Pints

I've been in Sweden for ten days and I haven't yet been anywhere near a pub. I've been hiding in my parents basement working on my Swenglish book. In my hometown Nässjö there's only one pub, in an English town of the same size - 16 000 people - there would be about twenty pubs.

Once when I was in the Evening Star in Brighton, a friend said he was about to leave, but that he'd get some takeaway beer. I thought he was going to pop to the off licence - instead he went up to the bar and got takeaway pints of ale in old milk bottles! I've never seen anything like it in Sweden - it would be impossible anyway as the milk bottles here are all tetra pack.


Sunday, 15 July 2012

Week X: Swedish Strawberry Habits

I hate food blogging, but food is inevitably a big part of people's life and every single person or family I've stayed with has had different food habits.

In my family we always eat strawberries in a bowl with milk and sugar. I think that's a very Swedish thing to do; when I had strawberries with milk in England a friend said: "that's unusual" as he was used to cream.

However I don't know if it's a Swedish thing or just a habit that comes from my family. We also like to have strawberry or currant squash (unmixed) with our pancakes.


Monday, 9 July 2012

Week X: Halfway there

This is the woman 
who has spent 15 weeks
being a traveller in the everyday life
of 15 different people in England

This is the woman 
who gave up her room and her job 
and her own social life
in order to live the life of other people

This is the woman
who is going to do it all over again
15 weeks, 15 different people in Sweden
Is she crazy?

Tomorrow I'll be on a plane to my home country and then a train to my hometown Nässjö. 
Six weeks of working on my Swenglish book, before moving in with Swedish person number 1. 

I'm more confused than I was when starting the project 
and have no idea where I'll settle ... Exhausting and exciting in equal measures.

 I'll still be updating the blog during my break. Thanks for reading. 
And a big thanks to the people I've stayed with so far.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Week15: The Smug Swede - Reliable & Punctual

For my last Swenglish week in England, I stayed with a Swedish guy who has lived in Brighton for as long as I have – about ten years. Like me he doesn’t look very Swedish, but says that the older he gets the more Swedish he feels.

We spent some time chatting about the differencies between Sweden and England and my host thought that Swedish people are more reliable: they mean what they say and keep their word. An English person might say ”Let’s meet up next week” even if she or he has no intention of doing so. It doesn’t mean the person is lying though: it’s part of their social script, just another polite phrase. If a Swedish person says ”Let’s meet up next week” she or he will usually get her diary our and make an arrangement as soon as possible.

With reliability comes punctuality. My host is rehearsing for a show he is doing, and walking to the rehearsal space he predicted that the director would be late – he was right. The actor who turned up for the second half of the day was late too. In my experience most English people think it’s okay to be up to fifteen minutes late without saying anything. After fifteen minutes she or he might send a text, saying sorry, but expecting the person who is waiting to be totally fine with it.

My host has affectionally been accused of being a ”Smug Swede” by his English girlfriend because he’s got the attitude that Sweden is superior in many ways which is true when it comes to how the houses are buildt or how things are organised in general.

Yesterday we helped the girlfriend to paint her flat. We were supposed to be there for 9, but didn’t turn up until 10. The danger of being a Swede living in England is that you lose your reliability and adopt any attitude of being late just because everyone else always is. Hopefully I won’t miss my plane to Sweden next week ...