Sunday, January 14, 2007

Linköpinglivin Live!

Though there is still no snow in Linköping, save for a small dusting last week, winter is definitely here, if only represented by the post-holiday slow down as people take a collective break to catch their breath. In other words, aside from the excitement of hurricane force winds that hit parts of Sweden yesterday, life in Linköping seems a bit slower than usual, a calm during a (wind) storm if you will. A perfect time to take a moment and do what I normally don't get to do, respond through the blog to some Linköpinglivin questions, comments and contributions from the past few months.

Though I attempt to write this blog week after week for my own personal satisfaction, not dependent upon readers' comments, you bloggers out there can understand how rewarding it is when you know people are actually reading, most clearly represented through comments or emails. So to those of you who have taken some time to comment or email me directly once or more, thank you. And to those who haven't but read faithfully, thank you as well. Hopefully, the following will provide some insights, some entertainment and continue to further the understanding of life in Linköping and in Sweden.


Ever since Fredrik's advice on how to "How to Make Friends with Swedes and Influence Them Forever (see "Engelska"), I've done my best to express how impressed I am with Swedes' English speaking skills. Usually, their reaction is one of being flattered, as he said, yet I'm always left astonished that they don't just think it a matter of fact that they speak English well. I continue to be impressed that it's just normal for an entire country to know two and sometimes three languages easily and quickly. However, this line does not work in flattering Swedish women--funny thing....


I have never neglected ABBA again in anything I say and do Sweden-style (see "Top 10 Interesting Swedish Things"). In a cultural duel between ABBA and Pippi "Långstrump," I'm not sure who would win, but the TV audience would be right up there with Disney on December 24th. Other important Swedish people:

Dag Hammarsköld-Secretary General to the U.N. during the heart of the Cold War

Stefan Edberg-professional tennis player

Astrid Lindgren-children's author and creator of Pippi

Annika Sörenstam-only the Tiger Woods of women's golf (how did I forget Annika the first time around?)

The Cardigans and Roxette-music groups

Christer Fuglesang-As of December 2006, the first Swede in space! It was a pleasure to see the national celebration when, after years of anticipation, Christer finally hit the stratosphere and beyond sporting the blue and yellow. It brought back many memories and excitement of the first shuttle launches when I was in elementary school.


Nothing caused a bigger stir and more face-to-face comments than that "Fika" entry. Some understand, some don't get the uniqueness of it or why it was worth an entry, but one thing's for sure, fika, no matter where in the world I am, will always be a consistent part of my days! Long live fika (and those who gave it to the world)!


Someday, I'd love to have a beer with "KB" and "Hans Persson" and discuss socio-political-economics (see "Lagom and Jante Law"). I would learn so much. I loved the banter among Swedish and Scandinavian readers from this entry. Nice work on discussing and clarifying things, everyone.


I have indeed been to Ryttargårdskyrkan (see "A Special Welcome to Corren-Linköping Readers) and find the congregation there to be so welcoming, friendly and easy to speak with, which is not always the case with Swedish culture. In fact, watch for a blog entry on Ryttargårdskyrkan someday soon.


Thanks to "Helene i Valla," I attended the Lucia Domkyrkan celebration and it was an hour of pure Lucia bliss, one of the most beautiful spectacles I have ever seen.


Apparently, some think I have a striking resemblance to former LHC player, Mike Knuble. As usual, one fails to see the resemblance of oneself in anyone else, but if family members agree, then I must trust their judgment, albeit stubbornly.


Swedes are much to courteous and non-confrontational to boldly bring up politics or ask me to explain American foreign policy (see "Min Svenskakurs"). In my entire time here, I have never been approached about the subject. And while I generally try to remain apolitical, if you haven't noticed from the blog, if someone did ask me about it, I would simply say, "9/11 really hit us in the gut and we're still trying to figure out how to live in a world where that could happen." And most Swedes are very wise to the fact that a democratic government represents some of the people all of the time, but never all of the people all or even some of the time....


I'm happy to say I saw my first "LHC" victory two weekends ago (see "LHC and Swedish Sports"). A whitewash of Luleå, 4-1. And there really is no good reason why we call American football "football." I think this is one the world has on us...


A colleague who had not read the blog asked me last week if I have noticed the "Stroller Mafia" that is Sweden. I said, "Yes, I have noticed."


One frequent commenter on this blog is unacknowledged and shall remain so....!


Pictures above are more humble spots throughout Linköping. The viking on the keg welcomes people to one entrance to Linköping University's campus (a symbol that students really do have a say in their own campus here in Sweden) and the canal is the Gota Canal, which runs from Stockholm all the way through Sweden to Göteborg. A weeklong journey for those mariners who choose to float along that route.

Thanks for reading this far-this entry got a bit out of control. As a reader of Linköpinglivin, I can't adequately express my gratitude that you're interested in what I have to say.
Vi ses snart i Linköping!


Crystal said...

Sean- I can't believe that this is the weather there- especially after looking at the recent storms!!! I'ts paradise!

Sandra said...

Vi undervisas liksom i både svenska och engelska som en del av den obligatoriska skolan. Dessutom är vi tvugna att lära oss ytterligare ett språk under de tre sista åren i grundskolan. Dessutom dubbas inte alla program, utan många tv-program, ibland även barnprogram, är på engelska.
Och politik kan man diskutera med många svenskar, men många av oss har en oförmåga att förstå amerikanskt förhållningssätt till mycket. Jag har endast diskuterat politik med två fantastiska medlemmar av Jesu Kristi kyrka av sista dagars heliga och då blir de alltid fyllda med religiösa åsikter...

Anonymous said...

Someday, I'd love to have a beer with "KB" and "Hans Persson" and discuss socio-political-economics (see "Lagom and Jante Law").

I'd be happy to! My email is in my profile.

Swedes are much to courteous and non-confrontational to boldly bring up politics or ask me to explain American foreign policy

I kind of assume (or perhaps hope?) that Americans would be a bit embarrassed to discuss the subject. ;-)

Actually, I would be interested in discussing it, but be warned that I read Chomsky with interest.

Skhor said...

Great blog, Sean! Good day for it, too, as its my birthday! Yay 20!

Anonymous said...

hej där!
It's so fun to read about all your thoughts and reflections.
About the politic stuff, I've been wondering about that for quite a long time, but it doesn't feel right to discuss it with a pure american...
So excuse me now if im asking (I do not hope on an answer) but what do you actually think about the political situation in your country? What is the generally thoughts among the americans?
Im only asking because im so curious, i've only heard one side of the story... which I guess you know by now how it sounds...

well, keep blogging!

Dad said...

Just a test for Dad.

Björn Jonsson said...

Sean, that viking is actually the mascot of the master students in mechanical engineering´s section.

Anonymous said...

Gota kanal is beautiful!
Do you know that it was built by russian war prisoners?
It is also called "skilmässodiket" which in translation means "divorce ditch". If you spend an afternoon at Bergs slussar this summer you will understand why.
Love Your blog!

whynja said...

It's always interesting to read your blog and get a foreigner's view of Sweden in general and Linköping and the Swedes in particular. Keep writing, I read your blog with great enthusiasm!

By the way, Göta Kanal do not run from Stockholm to Göteborg, it runs from Mem, Söderköping to Sjötorp by the Lake Vänern. It has, however, made it possible to travel from Stockholm to Göteborg through Sweden by boat. for more information.

Anonymous said...

Can I come join the stroller mafia? Haven't heard from you in awhile.....seems like you are livin life large over there...

Anna H said...

Just wanted to let you know that I'm a reader of your Blog. My grandmother lived on St Korsgatan (the top picture in this days entry), and my brother lives in Ljungsbro (where you can shop at the Cloetta Chocolate Factory!), so it is fun to read your views about the city itself and everything else.