In this land there was no war, (almost) everyone had work, all basic human needs were met, vacation was plentiful, equality was strong and family was cherished.
This land was mostly forest and mostly water at the same time. This land had snow when you expect to have snow and sun when you expect to have sun, mostly. The people of this land treasured nature and took great care of the part of the earth they had been given.
In this land, the color of hair was blonde, especially among children as they were chauffeured in their luxury strollers. In this land, parents were prized and their omnipresent offspring were sacred.
Music, dancing, drink, food, family, friends, holidays and the seasons of the year were celebrated with more enthusiasm than other lands, just as the daily coffee and pastry break was a little more enjoyed.
During one holiday, a young girl wore a crown of candles. During another, crayfish was the centerpiece. During another, nationwide bonfires blazed and during yet another, family and friends danced and sang around, well, an important part of human “progress.”
This land had no shortage of ice cream and one could hear the ice cream man’s familiar tune in all seasons. Though food and drink were important, consumption and indulgence were moderate (except for holidays). In this land, the bicycle was the preferred mode of transportation.
The people of this land were beautiful and there was a rhythm to their language not to be duplicated by people from any other land, no matter how hard they tried…
This land was great to visit, but even better to live.
Once Upon a Time, there was…Sweden.
Early on during my time here, a fellow foreigner had these words for me:
“Sean, Sweden is like a fairy tale. Everyone is blonde, everyone is taken care of. They dance around the maypole during summer. It’s just like a little fairy tale.” Though every Swede has a long list of things wrong with Sweden and though not everyone is blonde and though this foreigner can name a number of things he doesn’t like about Sweden, it’s hard to argue with the above story. However, unlike a fairy tale, Sweden and the Swedes are sensible, grounded and based in reality. Sweden is not a dream come true, but the fairy tale analogy is not that far-fetched.
Yes, this may be romanticized, but anyone who has been reading Linköpinglivin’ gets the point. This is one “jättefint” country and it’s a pleasure to live and work here. It’s also been a pleasure to help others come to understand some things about Sweden and my experience through this weekly online ritual.
Tomorrow I get on a plane bound for Seattle and, in true Swedish fashion, will be taking the month of July off...from the blogosphere.
During the second year, Linköpinglivin’ might look a little different, so come back and find out.
See you in August.