No. Not all Swedes can [sic] English

Swedes are great at English. Pretty much every Swede manages proficiently in English. And most are rather fluent. Speakers. Readers. Understanders.

Writers? Not so much.

Writing is a skill, a craft. That’s true for native users of a language, too. Writing is is the trickiest of skill areas within a language because it’s recorded. This is why we hire writers, editors, professionals of the writing sort to assist with the written word. Especially if it’s the written word of a government minister. Specifically, in this case, Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Ms. Margot Wallström has got herself into hot water before for the things she’s said. In those instances they have been for the content. So I guess poking some fun at her for her Swenglish will deflect off into outer space. But on a serious note, I do think Sweden has enough money to provide their foreign minister with a budget enough to run her tweets through before they’re public.

What exactly is a civil society actor? Non-unionized?

Today’s giggle from a random Twitter account

The word ‘Sweden’ has its Twitter feed on my Tweetdeck. It used to be a good source of random events or facts about Sweden. Sometimes it flagged an event currently in the news. Sometimes a fascinating image from a bygone era that prompts some research.

Of late, most of the posts are regurgitated erroneous propaganda factoids. Sweden’s once liberal welcome to refugees (a bygone day with the reintroduction of ID checks crossing from Denmark – not done in over 50 years) has placed it as the anti-Muslim, anti-refugee whipping post.

The warning is “Sweden took in refugees. Now look at the carnage. Let’s learn from their example and not follow.”

This evening’s eye-catch was:

And the geeky grammar stickler in me giggled thinking of ways to complete the threat: “We will kick UR sorry asses 2 the street & cut U balls off be4 the cops get their”

  • get their donuts
  • get their guns out
  • get their game on

So I read a bit more in the feed seeking more chuckles. It didn’t take many tweets. I could even forgive the spelling error for the deliciousness of the irony.

And perhaps the following tweet is taken out of context. Or maybe true patriots die for their countries by proxy via their relatives.

And now I am sure the intentions are noble, but just having read a run of acerbic tweets hating on pretty much every group out there (and especially Obama)  I just couldn’t help myself anymore when I read this one:

So I had to write it up. And so I did.

That is all.

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At Stockholm’s Trade Show and Fair venue, Stockholmsmässan the tweens and teens rule the floor.

Rumor has it (but not their website) that it’s the first in Sweden. I will take their word for it. It’s my first visit to a fair aimed at youths so no one would be surprised that I might be feeling out of touch.

I don’t know the headliners though I do recognise STHLM Panda. They make thought-provoking social experiments around the greater Stockholm region with 131,000 subscribers. They’re available for meet and green at 4.30pm. That’s in 10 minutes from the time I am writing this. I think I will have to take a peek.

My 11yr old son has named Jockiboi, who are here too. They’re on at 5pm. I might have to see what that is about too. They have nearly a million subscribers. Hmmm.

White tie or black tie. In Sweden this is a funeral dress code.

“I wear a white tie, right?”

The Swedish husband asked me, the immigrant from across the pond.  I had to suppress  a giggle despite the somber reality of why the question was asked. We will bury my mother-in-law on Thursday. She often giggled together with me when we poked fun at her son with his moments of utter cluelessness regarding occasional Swedish customs and traditions.

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“Yes, a white tie.”

He’s worn white ties to the funerals of his farfar (paternal grandmother,) his morfar (maternal grandfather,) his mormor (maternal grandmother,) and his father. And black ties to the funerals of his great aunt and his sister’s in-laws.

By deduction you can figure out the custom requires white tie for close family members and black tie for other family or related. Other attendees simply wear somber ties.

For non-Swedes, especially coming from the US where “white tie” and “black tie” are dress codes for more festive formal wear, this can sound confusing. Those would best be understood as “frack” (white tie) and “smoking” (black tie).

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One Swede’s Trash, One Immigrant’s Treasure.

We junked our car today.

20 years old, failed inspection and repair costs exceeding its worth and value to us. We tried to give it away to a poor soul in need of car willing to shell out a few thousand and maybe put in some elbow grease.

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No takers.

So I found an enterprising company, based way out in Strängnäs,which not only picked up the car but also paid me 500kr for the privilege to dunk the junk. A closer-to-home business would have taken the car for free if I could get it to them. If it had to be towed, it would have cost me 500kr.

I liked the gumption of a company offering a service to take the trash off my hands, sure they could profit on the salvage, and throwing me a bone for knowing it, too.

Win-win trumps me-lose.

I got to talking to the repo man, Safi, as he loaded the car. I was curious how the business worked. As you expect, they profit on the parts and scrap. My heap would turn them a profit of somewhere over 5000kr.

No, it’s not a new business concept, but in wealthy countries like Sweden (and more so in Sister-in-Sw-land, Switzerland), people more often dispose of the unwanted, albeit in a recycling kind of way, than try to repurpose.

Safi, like the owner/entrepreneur, Ali, are from Afghanistan. The other 7-8 employees are all immigrants from Arab countries. It’s the success story of determined immigrant creating a business and employing newcomers.

I asked the delicate question of income and benefits.Turns out, Ali paying Safi a decent salary, does Business Like a Swede. 

Ours was one of the oldest and least “fresh” cars Safi has picked up. He told me that recently they took a 2011 model that had been in an accident. The owners didn’t have enough insurance to make it worthwhile. That car turned a nearly 50,000 kr profit when they fixed it up and sold it.

I’m glad that a fellow immigrant will make some money on my trashed car. I’m even more content that it will provide jobs for immigrants who would struggle to gain access to the job market. And it’s good for the environment.

I never thought I would get so much out of sending a doomed car to the crusher.

.Swedish boy

Sweden Off Road. See it “Street View”

Google has taken StreetView off road…and hit the trails. New name: TrailView, TrekView?

In September 2014 Google strapped their globular camera, aptly named Google Trekker, to the guy below. His job was to lug it along Kungsleden, or The King’s Trail in northern Sweden to let us see what he saw via Google Street View.

Google Trekker in Abisko Park, Sweden

Google Trekker in Abisko Park, Sweden

There are over 20 sites in Sweden that Street View has captured.

Save the rather irritating entrance fee to get into Stockholm’s Storkyrkan  or see what it would feel like to be center of attention at the Ericson Globe.

Or one of my most favorite places to visit in Sweden, Ales Stenar, the megalithic monument in southern Sweden in an oval outline, a sort of Swedish Stonehenge.

Not a bad way to get around Sweden if you can’t be here for real.

Happy Google Trails

Happy Google Trails