Living in an international community it is easy to discover things to be different. The cuisine is different, expressions are different, dress styles are different and in general life is just different. But once you live in a new country or place for a couple of years, the things that previously were different to you become the familiar. My husband suggested when we first moved here that I write down my impressions and thoughts about all of the things that are different in Sweden because in a year, he said, I would no longer see them as different. It is absolutely true and I did not take his advice.
One of the biggest differences I have found is the lack of accessible, free, public toilets. When we first moved here it was a bit of a problem because I did not yet know where the best public toilets were, let alone any public toilets for that matter, other than McDonald's. I remember running around frantically trying to find a toilet and not having much luck. Now however, I could tell you where to use the toilet in nearly every area of town, and how much it will cost. Most of them cost five Swedish kronors (crowns) but some of them cost ten kronors. That is between one to one and a half U.S. dollars. It seems steep but when you gotta go, you gotta go. Just make sure you have a few five or ten kronor coins on you at all times.
I really do wish I had written down all of the things that I noticed as being particularly different about life here back then. Two years later I am straining my brain trying to come up with something and I am sadly at a loss with the exception of a fabulous new one that I learned this evening. Living in Sweden I tend to forget how much of an international community it really is here. There are people living here from all over the world. I have friends that come from Croatia, Brazil, Spain, Germany and China among some of the places.
I met a woman tonight who moved to Stockholm from Cape Town, South Africa. Besides her accent that I just love she left me with one of the funniest expressions I have heard in a while. I was chatting with another woman and did not hear the exchange between my Cape Town friend and the woman she was talking with but that woman suddenly turned and asked us all: "If I said I was going to be on my bike, what would you think?" We all said that we would assume she was traveling by bicycle. Unfortunately not. It is a South African expression meaning, "I will be going now". Seriously funny and seriously cute. Especially having a husband who loves bicycles and has a tendency to collect them. I had to steal it.
Apparently "pull up your socks" means "get yourself together". So now every time I pull up my cheap knee socks, that are constantly sliding down when I walk, I will think that I need to get myself together. It's not a bad thought really. Maybe I do need to "get myself together"...
Happy Friday everyone.