Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Week Thus Far in Stockholm, Sweden

I got pooped on. By a bird luckily, but still, I was pooped on. I heard the splat. I feared the worst. But it hit my backpack. Brown and nasty. Which was surprising, because I thought bird poop was always white. Turns out the white poop had landed on my black jacket just inches from my neck.

It rained. And rained. And rained some more. It rained so much that I bought a cartoon covered umbrella. I cursed the Swedish summers. I complained to friends and family. I was basically a bipedal Eeyore. It was bad. And then the sun came out. All was forgiven. When the winters consist of 17 hours of darkness, sunlight becomes very important.

I was completely ignored by a cashier. She looked right at me. I said hello and began putting my groceries on the conveyor belt. Then a man came out of nowhere. She had already begun helping him and he had forgotten something. So obviously, this being Sweden, she was unable to speak to anyone else. The sad thing is that being ignored by cashiers when speaking directly to them is more common than I would like to think.

That being said, I was also pleasantly surprised by the customer service of one store. The people at Galleri Elde Art Stockholm were friendly, helpful, and even managed to have what I had ordered ready and waiting for me when I came in just before closing. And the sad thing here is that, so much of this should be a normal part of good customer service, but I was damn near ready to give the old man and the girl at the cashier a hug because stuff like that seems so rare sometimes in Stockholm. But it happened. And I couldn’t have been happier.

And soon I will be heading off to get drunk and dance around a phallic green pole while singing about small frogs. Oh Swedish Midsommar, how I love you so.

Welcome to Sweden.


  1. How has the weather been there so far this summer? Has the summer been as mild there as it has been in NY? And how has that affected Stockholm nightlife? I know summer months are when everyone goes crazy because they finally get good weather, but I heard this summer in Stockholm has been underwhelming to say the least.

  2. i was at one of these celebrations where they erect the pole, unlikely it was more like a family style party, and no booze, no dance :( there were still some songs about frog and harvest and bla bla.. good for people who understand it ,though.
    so,basically it was suck, and luckily i just left before it began hailing , now it's good for me, haha
    and more unfortunately now i 'm one step closer to buy the idea of "Swedes are so self-centered"
    for some reason!
    love all you Swede guys out there :)
    for god sake put more ads for room on

  3. I took care of my grandpa's birds for ten days while he was on vacation, and I had the pleasure of cleaning up their green poop. It was lovely, as I'm sure you can imagine.

    Is customer service really that bad in Sweden? Or are you just over-exaggerating for your blog? ;)

  4. I understand why they dance around a pole, but why singing a song of a frog????

  5. No one knows why, we just do it, probably to entertain the children. "The little frogs, the little frogs are funny to watch". Haha, it doesn't sound extremely mature, does it? :)

  6. @T – the weather has been miserable. It just seems to rain. There have been rays of sunshine lately though…

    @Mike – its true, it helps to know what is going on during these celebrations. Or to just drink.

    @Jessy – I can imagine all too well.

    And I wish I were exaggerating. Unfortunately, I am not. It really is that bad.

    @Anonymous – I think the Swedes have some underlying love for frogs. There are songs about them. Caution signs on roads about frogs. Theres something going on there.

    @Phil – it sounds even less mature when translated to English for some reason.

  7. Don´t forget the dance! There´s a dance that goes along with the frogsong (or is it "frog song"? I´m having trouble with knowing when to särskriva in English).

    It´s fascinating to think that Swedes consider talking to strangers weird but that normal. ;)

    Sorry about the late comment but I just discovered your blog, I finally got curious enough about that hairy Swede writing in English at tjuvlyssnat.

    /Frog loving (again - särskrivning??)Swede.

  8. Oh, you're absolutely right, the dance to accompany the song is also pretty glorious.

    It is fascinating what people consider to be normal, like dancing and signing to a frog song, as opposed to not talking to strangers.

    By the way, in this case, you do want to särskriva. Frog song. Good work!