Thursday, June 28, 2007

Once Upon a Time, there was...Sweden.

Once upon a time, there was a land (seemingly) far, far away from all other lands.

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.
And not to overlook anything, thank you to those of you who have faithfully or occasionally read this blog and a big thank you to those of you who have contributed important information and enjoyment to this blog, especially my outstanding brother, Todd, who has made this form of communication all the more fun and often, as you know, stole the show…

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.

Glad sommar.
Trevlig semester.

See you in August.


Sofia said...


Så du har lämnat Linköping. Och jag som precis har flyttat hit för att jobba i två månader. På Corren. Du minns mig?

Ha det fint, jag tar hand om Linköping nu. Och bloggar om hur konstigt allt är här...

Ang said...

Loved the first year Sean! Can't wait to see you this week. Your little blonde cousins will welcome you home!

Helen i Valla said...

I read your blog with increasing fear. I thought you were leaving Sweden for good already. Whew, you are coming back for another year. I don't really know you, but I love reading your blog once a week and I think it's a good habit to do so. (We need good habits, don't we?!) Anyways, have a good time back home and know, there will be lots of us Swedes, and others, waiting for your return in the blogworld so take care...bad or good July is a "fast" month.......

Östgöten said...

I think it´s very good for Swedes to read your blogg about Linköping and Sweden. You reminds us that we live a very good life up here in the north of Europe and should be prude of this country.

I'm happy that you enjoy to live in our little country.

Have a great holiday Sean!

Alex said...

Beautiful fairy tale =)

Have a great vacation!

Todd said...

Finally...a break. I've been waiting and waiting for you to stop this silly bloggery. I almost lost my job because I devoted so much time to commenting.

Ok...maybe I've enjoyed it a little. I definitely know more about Sweden than I ever thought I would.

All who read this would have the gift of writing and we all look forward to linkopinglivin 2.0.

Thanks for the Swedish ride...from me, the rest of the family, your friends, all your LL readers...and especially my boss.

Oh yeah...good to see you in Seattle.

Chris said...

Hej !

I've just found your blog on internet while i was looking for some information about life in Linköping ! I really loved it !
I'm french moving to Linköping end of this month too , so it will be a new experience for me also.
After reading couple of your articles, i think i might enjoy my new life there !

Well, see you may in Linköping some day , who knows !

Coornet said...

Hey Sean.. I loved your first blogg year, I am so looking forward to august. I hope you are having a kick ass time back home.

// Coornet

Crystal said...

Glad to see that you're taking a vacation- even from the blogging realm- and it was good to see you in Seattle- take care my friend

Kelly said...

seriously. sean. you have been home for almost a week. some of us still haven't really talked to you so we need an update to keep up with you.