Monday, July 23, 2012

Oh My God, I LOVE your hair - Getting attention in the US

So we were in the US last week, or now two weeks ago, and we brought some Swedish family with us. One was a teenage girl with blue hair. She had colored it herself, but it was a really nice tone of blue that suited her well. (It also made her really easy to spot in a crowd, so was great for trips to the mall or pick-ups).

Every day, at least one random person came up to her and said 'Wow, great hair!' Or asked her how she got her hair that particular color because it was so nice. Or stopped to chat.

And they were people of all ages, men and women, of all different races. It was pretty funny to see just how much attention she got over her blue hair.

She had blue hair in Sweden for weeks before she came to the US. Not one person ever commented on it. She has been back now for two weeks, and still, 'no comment.'

I haven't spent a lot of time imagining the difference between being 16 in the US and Sweden. I spent some time here in Sweden as a teen, but it has been awhile.

In the US, teenagers get a LOT of attention. Not all of it is wanted. Sometimes it can be nice. Sometimes it can be angry making.

And then there are the landscapers that always honk, the construction workers that always whistle. The random guys who stop you on the street and ask 'You lookin' for dates?' as if the street was where you might perform this sort of activity.

I used to say if you were really desperate, you only needed to go down to the Jersey Shore on a Saturday night and walk ten feet in a tank top and shorts. I'm pretty sure the same thing is true today, for anyone under 25. But usually the type of people you meet there, aren't the type of people you want to meet.

In Sweden there are no guys at the bar trying to subtly, or not so subtly, slip five dollars to the bartender to pay for your drink. You don't need to chase them off by forcing your money into the bartender's hand because you don't want to owe that guy anything.

But at the same time, it is nice to be noticed. To talk to people and have them take an interest in you. None of the conversations my Swedish guest had were inappropriate or made her feel uncomfortable.
She got the best of things, without having to deal with the worst of it.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Swedish Prime Minister files for divorce – nobody cares

                                           Photo: The Telegraph

Today in the newspaper there was a short article about how Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt officially filed for divorce. It was in the middle section of the paper and probably about 250 words long.

In defense of the papers, the news did not come as a surprise. In March, he and his wife announced they were separating, although no papers were filed.

The two have been married for about 20 years and have three children. They are both active in the world of politics and have been the golden couple of the Moderate party for years.

With an election coming up, you would think this would be front page news. I mean, could you imagine what would happen if President Obama filed for divorce? The chaos that would ensue? We can’t even handle Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes getting divorced without working ourselves into a crazy media frenzy involving even reputable news sources (is there such a thing anymore?) and everyone saw that one coming.

It is a real relief, in a way. I believe the personal should have a very limited role in politics. The state of the Reinfeldt’s marriage has little to do with the state of Sweden. Reinfeldt’s moral fiber is not being judged and neither is his wife’s. No one is being asked to ‘stand by their man’ until the end of his political reign. Life goes on, even for politicians.

That said, I am guilty of reading way too much gossip about the Homes/Cruise shenaningans. But mostly because I love reading about the world of Scientology. I really am not curious about the details of the Reinfeldts, although 20 years is a long time.

And as for the next Swedish election, I will be surprised if the divorce is mentioned at all. In general, people seem relatively indifferent to the whole thing. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I'm Ba-aa-a-a-ak

Sorry for the unintended long break. I had every intention of blogging, and then took an internet break.

Good excuse though - We are expecting another little Swede! OK, so it is super early, but since you were all so supportive of me during my tough time a few months ago, I figured I might as well get this out early.

But while I was in the early weeks of pregnancy, I was also traipsing around the USA with a toddler, The Swede, and two amazing teenage Swedish family members (including one first timer to the USA).

Sad to say, nap time became my favorite time of day.

I was tired. I am tired. But it was a great trip and I have a ton of observations and fun cultural moments to share.

I am still adjusting to being back to Sweden. I keep apologizing to people I bump into and smiling at random strangers who quickly look away.

Anywho - I hope to be blogging a bit more about being pregnant in Sweden and the current nonexistent Swedish summer (which I am pretty sure is a thing of myth at this point, just like those childhood New Jersey winters where it snowed every day).