Land of the Vikings... and my
my first trip to sweden was in october of 1997, and i stayed there
for 3 weeks. this is how i looked and felt the entire time:
why do i love sweden?
let me count the ways... first, the swedes have an amazing desire and
capacity for wild and spontaneous fun.
whether it's disco bowling or dancing or road-trips, it's never a dull
moment in the land of the vikings.
right is a photo of me and my swedish friend sofia, ready for a night on
and who could say anything bad about a country where everyone knows all
the words to every abba song? not me.
and communication is never a problem... since most television and movies
are in english (without subtitles, mind you), swedish people are often
fluent in english, and are more than happy to speak english with you. i
would love to someday learn swedish (and i intend to), but until then, i
feel absolutely spoiled in a country like sweden where people can speak my
language so comfortably (and without accents, might i add). i swear these
people are geniuses.
but sweden is cold, you say.
well, the swedes prefer to deal with that
minor obstacle by pretending it's summer all year round and indulging in
ice cream in sub-degree temperatures. it may sound crazy, but with enough
haagen daaz and absolut vodka in you, you can convince yourself happily of
almost anything. life is just one long warm fuzzy experience in
sweden. and if the vodka won't get you tipsy, the sugar highs will. in
people of all ages eat haribo candy ALL DAY LONG. it's mind-boggling. the
never outgrow their sweet-teeth, and have realized--long before any other
developed country--that "life is uncertain; eat desert first."
and let's not forget sweden's remarkable political system, which
surpassess that of any other developed nation on the planet. scandinavia's
social democracy provides a tangible example that there are positive
alternatives to american corporate domination.
sweden is a thriving country that both participates is capitalism and
extenisive programs of welfare, free health-care, and free education.
poverty rates and child-mortality rates in sweden are remarkably low,
thanks to a government safety net, which ensures that the whole country
(and not just a minority few) can reap the benefits of economic
this summer, i found a lovely fellow
named doug and hitch-hiked around sweden. in scandinavia, you can camp
anywhere you want, as long as you are 50 meters from the nearest
private building. we camped in parks, in front of churches, and on
islands. we met lots of crazy swedes and
had an all around bizarre experience. it reminded me that sweden IS in
fact the greatest place on earth (as if there was ever any doubt).
all things considered, sweden is a surprisingly humble
country. the swedes maintain a strong sense of culture and tradition
without feeling the need to be patriotic. they love their country (who
wouldn't?), but they also have an insatiable desire to learn about other
countries and peoples. if you tell a sweden his or her country is
he or she will laugh and tell you that is silly. they have never known
anything but the open, friendly, fun lifestyle of sweden, and they can't
imagine it being any different anywhere else.
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