Tag Archives: neighbors

Air raid / get to know your neighbors

We’ve just arrived home after 3 weeks vacation to a city that is mostly empty, as Swedes generally take the month of July off. I was wondering how many people were left in our apartment building yesterday and happened to get my questioned answered about 10pm last night when the city’s air raid sirens suddenly went off.

Stockholm has air raid/emergency sirens that are tested every 3 months at 3pm on a Monday. My 43-year old husband has NEVER heard the air raid sirens at any other time than that during his entire life and I would think most Stockholmers have not either.

So imagine how completely freaked out the entire city was last night when the air raid sirens started to sound around 10pm. Every person at home in our building and the one across from us immediately came out from their balconies to look at the sky. Then everyone started shouting to each other from balcony to balcony and across the courtyard “What’s happening?” “Do you know what it is?” “Are they saying anything on the news?” etc.

And during this time of possible obliteration, I had 2 thoughts:

  1. Why didn’t we come back home from our trip a day later?
  2. I think this is the first time I’ve heard neighbors speak to one another in this building. It’s kind of nice!

Apparently it was some sort of technical fault, so luckily we can all continue to enjoy the summer if we made it through the panic attacks last night.

On a side note, our kids who were reading in bed never asked about or mentioned the blaring air raid siren. Glad to know it’s not just parent voices that they are able to completely tune out.



If we all just chip in…..

I live in an apartment complex. We have an incredibly boring middle space between our two buildings with nothing on it because the building company decided to “keep the nature,” which basically translates to them wanting to save costs by not developing any common area for us to have barbecues.

But now I’ve found this amazing product online. How perfect is this for Swedish winters? I’m fairly certain all the neighbors could chip in – and with all of us, it wouldn’t be expensive at all. We could reserve times in our igloo just like we reserve laundry times. I’m pretty sure I can convince everyone, especially if I promise to keep the igloo stocked with glögg (warm Christmas wine).

If I can get them to sign up on this, maybe later I can get us a hot tub as well.

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Laundry security

Today I realized there are 4 security points I must pass through to do my laundry in the basement.  All residents have a special coded chip to get in the doors.  I have to use my special chip to get in the front door (because laundry is in the next building), use it again to get in the basement, use it a third time to get through the first set of doors to the laundry room where the time-booking computer is, and then a fourth time in the time-booking machine, which checks whether I’ve reserved this particular time before it will unlock the final door.

I’m glad my laundry is so safe.  In fact, that laundry is safer than my family in my apartment.  It only takes 2 doors to get into our place.  Even the American Embassy takes 2 security checks, not four.  I would ask why laundry is so protected in this country, but after several encounters with people stealing my laundry time, I guess I can understand.

Still, if I ever have something valuable to hide, I think I’ll keep it down in the laundry room.  It’s the Swedish form of Swiss bank vaults.




Naked neighbors

“My neighbor is naked – What should I do?”

This is the headline I read today in the paper after reading a magazine that had an article called, “Can you be kicked out of your home for being naked?”

Once again, I love that this is the big story everywhere in Sweden.  Other countries have war, famine and economic troubles.  Sweden has too many naked people walking in front of their windows.  I actually don’t see why the news is so surprised by this.  It’s pretty much what I expected when I moved here.



I used to live in a building with a trash chute in the stairwell.  That was the greatest.  I could walk 3 steps outside my door in my pajamas and toss trash immediately into a magic chute where I never had to think about it again.

But as usual, someone in the city of Stockholm had to complain and now all new buildings have bins for trash outside of the building, while many old buildings are closing up their trash chutes and moving them outside as well.

What awful person had to ruin this for us!  It’s -15 several months out of the year here!  I really don’t have time to take on a winter coat, boots, scarf, gloves, hat, etc just to take out the trash!

Our neighbors found a way around this.  They simply leave the trash outside their door and stink up the house until they happen to be heading outside (which apparently they don’t do every day).

I’m considering building a metal slide from the 3rd floor to the outside trash chute.  I don’t think anyone would mind.  I think they would join me.

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