Wednesday, June 10, 2009

oh this amazing swedish effeciency

well sweden has proved an intersting place. so very swedish it is. everything is perfectly designed, and works correctly and exclusively for it's intended purpose. the people are cold (as is their country) and seem to be very unaware of other people around them. i have never been so alarmingly bumped and joseled while moving around public spaces, it's as if no one cares about anyone else, no one smiles at the grocery store at strangers, no one seems to say what they mean. elusive and indirect these stockholm-ers. but make some really good ice cream (saffron and blackberry, the most amazing flavor/color combination i've ever experienced). but that seems to be the thing i notice most here. everything is perfectly made, works so exactly for it's purpose, the clothes are perfectly tailored and well made, and the sinks all have a little rubber scoop designed for getting all the bits of food that collect there out easier, but the people are emotionally devoid.
the laundry in and of itself was an experience. my friend beth who i am visiting here, has free laundry here (free like everything else, health care, school etc) and it is perfectly done if i do say so myself. there is a board outside the laundry room with a full month calender and every apartment has a lock that they move with their door key to the day and time slot they wish to do laundry in, that way no one is there when you planned to go. the washing machines are huge and the dryer industrial. there is also a large and very effective iron and the most amazing drying rack ever. designed sort of like a heated towel rack with all of the bars spaced alternatly so that everything you hang will not be piled on top of itself and therefor dry better, the bars swing out of what looks like a fairly normal cabinet, then once loaded up with all delicate or hang-dry clothes, is rotated back in where they dry in a clean dust free environment, hung over round rods so that they do not wrinkle either. astounding.
every subway train has a route map by every door-four actually so that multiple people can be confused and search for there stop simaltaneously, though that couldn't happen as (unsuprisingly) the underground is very well organized and logical. it seems to be that my overall impression of sweden, or stockholm as it is really supposedly different from the remainder of the country and one should not judge an entine country on just one three day stop, is that all of ones basic needs are provided for; such as housing, health, education, lots of the culture/art, any humaness is distictly unnurtured here. i have heard that people will not befriend you unless formally introduced through school, family, or work situations, that if you go out to a bar you never speak to anyone but the people you arrived with and if you were to meet and hang out and talk with someone at a party, the next day passing them on the street they would act as if you didn't exist because to them, you are not a part of their world. it is like they give you everything you need to 'survive' but only in a technical sence. in an emotional way one is left abandoned here in the frozen country, where the children though charmingly adorable it is true, seem cold and distant as well. overall i would surely be able to stay that i would not choose this place to live if i were looking at all of europe. while it is impeccibly comfortable in one sence, i think, especially when winter and all-day-darkness settled on the city like a heavy blanket, that i would find myself slowly freezing as well. even after such a brief visit i feel i will need to thaw out on arriving in paris.


  1. I wonder if many southern europeans, ie Italians, move there

  2. mary jane, from southern europe, i think there are many greeks, armenians, and southern italians. lots of turkish people too. very few french, spanish and portugese.

    max, i think your entry mirrors my first impressions of stockholm (which is reportedly so different that the rest of the country). winter is horrendus, but once you find friends, they are true friends, and life gets rosey again :-)

    xoxo beth