It’s often very cold here in Stockholm ( a surprise, I know!), so the town is full of indoor swim halls for people who would like to swim year round.
I used to be one of these people until I encountered the Shower Room Mafia.
The Shower Room Mafia exists at every swim hall in Stockholm. Large, naked old women (over 70) stand in the shower area staring at everyone and ready to yell if they don’t think you are showering properly. I’m not kidding. If you don’t completely strip down BEFORE your swim and scrub off with soap on every piece of your body, they start shouting at you. My thoughts:
1. I have no idea how everyone else showers because I’m not STARING at them!
2. I feel a full body rinse is enough. The chlorine is there to get what I missed.
Also, these women never move. I can go into the swim hall and stay for an hour and when I come back they will still be standing naked, chatting in the shower. You know, they do make cafés where normal people go to chat with their friends. Plus it’s cheaper to buy a cup of coffee than to pay the money to enter a swim hall. Of course, then they don’t get to scream at naked women and show off parts of their bodies no one wants to see, but they really should try the café option. It’s probably better for their blood pressure.
My husband tells me it’s the same on the men’s side. I hope this isn’t where my life is headed in 40 years. I need to develop better hobbies.
My encounter with the repairman last week says a lot about life in Sweden in the summertime.
“I replaced your medicine cabinet mirror, but it’s got no handle so you can’t open it. I’ll get you a new handle, but I’m going on vacation Friday, so I’ll get it to you at the end of JULY.”
Hope we don’t need any Band-Aids for the next 6 weeks.
One thing you learn quickly about Sweden in the summer is that they are crazy and quite proud of their strawberries.
If Swedish strawberries are not ready by Midsommar (last week in June), the nation goes into a panic. I’m not kidding, it will be the top headline in Swedish newspapers everywhere. And in the weeks running up to Midsommar celebrations, the papers are filled with important, hard-hitting journalism like, “Will the strawberries be ready on time?” “Spring was late, what does that mean for the strawberries?”
If you are a foreigner to Sweden, you must know that you are not permitted to bring anything but Swedish strawberries to a Midsommar celebration. Belgium, Spain, or anywhere else they were imported from will not work. Swedes are normally polite, but during the summer, the first thing they will ask is, “Are those strawberries Swedish?” Watch their faces crumple in disappointment if they aren’t.
Obviously, most of the fruit in Sweden has to be imported and that’s normally not a problem at all, but the Swedes have such a pride in the tastiness of their strawberries. And I can’t blame them. They honestly are amazing. I’ve been a Swedish citizen for 10 years now. As soon as they hand you the paper, things start to change. You start listening to a lot of Abba. You put lingonberries on your meat. And most of all, you don’t allow anything but Swedish strawberries at Midsommar. Traitors are not invited back to the celebration the next year. Be warned!
I don’t get much sleep anymore. I wake up at 3 a.m. every morning with sun blazing through the sides of the darkening shades. And that’s bright sunlight, which means it’s been light probably since 1:30 or 2 a.m.
This also means that putting children to bed is almost impossible. “It’s not dark! Why do I have to go to bed?!”
It’s never dark! You live in Sweden, and it’s summer. Now get used to it!
On the opposite end, I can put those kids to bed by 4 p.m. in the winter.
It’s that time of year again…. Swedish graduation. I remember at my graduation in the states, we wore long robes and hats and walked up respectfully to get our diplomas.
It’s a bit different for Sweden. They run out of the school building in sailor caps and are loaded into trucks. Then they ride around town with loud music, covered in alcohol. Where the trucks are taking them, I do not know. I like to think they drop them all at offices at the end of the day, put them in suits and say “welcome to the real world.”
You know, I never saw this kind of thing in the job ads back in Texas:
• Fluent in English, Romanian and Russian.
Ok, so I know we offer other languages too late over in the U.S., but is everyone in Europe expected to be a linguistic genius? Of course, the rest of the ad maybe wasn’t quite what I qualified for either. Read this and tell me if it’s different from the Waffle House and dentist office ads advertised in my small Texas hometown:
Civil Rights Defenders, seeking administrator for Moldova.
As an administrator for Moldova you will provide administrative support to the Administrator in all activities, including the opening of the Civil Rights Defenders office in Chisinau.
Much of the work involves contact with our partners and with the headquarters in Stockholm. You will also, together with the office in Stockholm, attend the Moldavien office´ financial accounting.
Vem är du?
• You should be trained in organization, finance, financial management or related fields.
• Knowledge in accounting.
• Experience in volunteer work and / or work in nonprofit organizations.
• Fluent in English, Romanian and Russian.
Also, this was one of my 5 recommended jobs on the government website. Did I give the impression that I hoped to travel to Moldova someday? Did I even give the impression that I would know where that is? I mean, obviously they assume I can speak Romanian and Russian. Can’t everyone?
I can make decent muffins. When is that going to be in a job application?
Here in Sweden, you have to wear shoe coverings (plastic bag things) over your shoes when you go into a doctor’s office. They do the same at daycares and other places. It’s a great idea and I’m all for it.
However, in the summertime, when I want to wear sandals, this doesn’t work out quite so well. The plasic bags just go around the sandals and under my feet to the point where I’m just shuffling along on plasic. Might as well just wear Ziploc bags on my feet. The best part is that it really gives a whole sickly, doctor experience when you have to shuffle around a hospital. I fit in well.
We had to buy a heat lamp last week for the balcony so we can enjoy sitting outside IN THE SUMMER.
That’s right, it’s June and we bought a heat lamp.
Excluding today (which is 10 c! 50f ), the weather in Stockholm has actually been quite nice lately hovering around 20c (70f). It’s been nice and warm. We don’t even need jackets during the day. (Except today – did I mention it’s 10 c!?!)
But the problem with our apartment is that the sun only shines on our balcony until around 2pm, which means that by dinner time, we are covered in shadows and freezing – thus the need for the heat lamp.
I did point out to my husband that this might also be nice in the winter when we are on our balcony. We can sip umbrella drinks and wave across to our neighbors whose balconies are covered in 3 feet of snow.