Nothing on Corona

Since the weekend the French media stop to report on Covid, I guess its to not scare people now when people return to work and school. Yes, I repeat myself….

So to give you some news about me, or Swedes. Swedes from the eyes of an foreigner:

Are Swedish people nice to foreigners?
If you’re a young backpacker traveling on Eurail, yes, young fellow Swedes will be friendly and typically curious about you and where you come from. But once you’re there, be aware that there is thick barrier in Sweden between public and private sphere, which can put some foreigners off.

A taxi driver may not look at you or talk to you at all, a waiter will just stick to his task, with none of the chitchat that you would find normal on “the continent”. This is not hostile behavior, it is just normal. If you ask questions to a stranger, you will most likely be replied politely, but in a minimal, standoffish, sometimes embarrassed way. It is very rare that Swedish people are rude, and they will never raise their voice. If they’re angry at you, they will typically cast you an evil eye and say nothing. Losing one’s temper is disgraceful in Sweden.

Swedish people are not talkative when you compare to European standards. If they have nothing special to say, they see no problem in remaining silent. You may find that destabilizing. You can see some couples sitting in a café each one reading a book, which would look just odd in France, Italy or Spain. It is very typical that Swedish conversation is bland until you know people on a personal basis. Once you go beyond that step, there are all sorts, and yes, then Swedes may come out as communicative, cheerful and friendly, and you don’t feel such a distance anymore.

You will make the most of your Swedish experience if you’re invited to a “stuga” (country cottage). Swedes are never happier than strolling in the woods, boating, swimming, fishing, and then they get totally relaxed. If you’re invited to dinner in a Swedish home, don’t be surprised that they turn off the lights, and burn candles, which creates an intimate and mysterious atmosphere. Then, they’re likely to open up their minds and say deep things you wouldn’t have expected.

Swedes can drink like soldiers, men and women alike. This is typical on weekends and during parties and social events. Booze abolishes all barriers, and then you will finally see what’s on their mind, for better or worse. They can laugh their hearts out, be promiscuous or provocative, and sometimes feisty. But this only a temporary break away from natural order. The day after, they will revert to normal as though nothing happened. You would almost believe it was all a dream.

Hugs,

Björn

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