Tuesday, July 31, 2007

rant slash confession

I really can't stand it when Americans make dumb assumptions about Sweden, or when Swedes make dumb assumptions about the US. I also can't stand it when Americans think that just because I am a foreigner I don't know the first thing about anything. And I really can't stand it when Swedes start lecturing me on what it's like in the US, or when Americans start lecturing me on what "Europe" is like. And I absolutely can't stand some of the most common misconceptions Swedes have about Americans.

I know that the first rule for intercultural relationships is never to take anything personally (that's what I teach my students too), but a person only has so much patience.

Lately I have had enough a couple of times. I am tired of Americans assuming I don't know what a verb is (that happened on Saturday), Americans lecturing me on Swedish food, when all their experience stems from Solvang, the fake Danish town in Southern California (it only happened once, but I can't let it go), and Americans being surprised I know something about New York that they themselves didn't know (that happened last Friday).

I will leave for Sweden next week. I know what will happen. People there will lecture me on US culture, and American life.

I rarely say anything. I can even find it interesting sometimes, how people react and what they think. But right now I am tired of it.

I am sure every bicultural person has these experiences. It comes from the situation, from having two homelands and from being stuck in between.

-- Thanks. I feel better now.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

and yes, I bought a boomerang. the hunting kind that doesn't come back.

My memory is bad but I think maybe this year it's 30 years ago since I got myself a pen friend in Adelaide, Australia. We wrote letters back and forth for a few years when I was still a kid in Sweden. I remember looking at the map thinking we were really on opposite sides of the globe.

In 1996 I went to visit my friend and her husband and their cute kids. It was great. In addition to the kids and her parents and a brother and the other brother's wife (I think that was it) I also met a koala, some kangaroos and a class room full of first graders. And we saw a whale. It was in August and in the middle of the south Australian winter and the sea was gray and pretty.

A couple of days ago I had an email from her with new pictures of her cute kids. Only now they are cool teenagers who refuse to take off their sun glasses for the camera and only mom put her head in the stuffed crocodile's open mouth, true holiday photo style.

I am glad I have a far-away friend and I am glad she does silly things, and I still love her kids.

thank you, pioneer woman

I am on day 2 of a pesky migraine-like headache (complete with an unmentionable incident in a gas station restroom), but boy have I found two good sites to get me through:

Confessions of a Pioneer Woman and The Pioneer Woman Cooks!

This is good stuff, I am telling you.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I am old

The weird thing about seeing 1980's fashion return is not having worn it before, but having given it to Goodwill already.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

you pretty much can't go wrong with bacon

That's my fat little dinner taco there. It had rice, bacon, and spinach inside, a little bit of sour cream on top of that, and hot sauce on the side. It was super yummy.

¡Manuel! I know that's a white person's tortilla but we were out of the real stuff.

thistles are very pretty

My neighbors like classic rock.

whenever I can have my middle class with a touch of surrealism I am so much happier

Right now I am reading a little book by Danish writer Leif Panduro. It was first published in 1958, and the English title is Kick Me in the Traditions. It's great (never mind what one of those amazon.com reviewers said there). And it's a refuge from the appearance-is-everything middle class values you run into once in a while.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

no, we don't see race

Dan and I met a new person the other day, an affluent white American woman around 55.

She treated us differently. I am pretty sure the reason was that I am European, and Dan's grandparents immigrated from Mexico. I think it was the first time I saw difference being made so fast and so brutally, and which such a sweet demeanor.

If I never see her again that's fine by me.

newsflash newsflash

New study says Americans don't understand others.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

link from manuel

Click on this link, and then on 'videos' to see a preview of a show on The Game Show Network called 'Without Prejudice?'.

I don't know what to say. Watch it.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


upside down

rien de rien

We went to see the film about Edith Piaf that in the US is titled La Vie En Rose. I kind of liked it. Dan not so much, though. I liked it because I like the music, and also because, honestly, at this point, I pretty much like anything that is European. I like seeing houses that feel familiar and people who are not American and clothes that are not American. I don't mean that to be offensive in any way, it's just how I feel.

To me, much of American style is still alien. I know technically speaking I am the alien... but when it comes to clothes, and design in general, I am stubborn. I'll gather my thoughts and come back to the topic of clothes, actually. Meanwhile, back to The Satorialist.

never again will I walk outside with no shoes on

I stepped on a bee today. He looked pretty dead but I guess he mustered his last bit strength to defend himself when trampled on.

It hurt like hell.

So then I yelled for Dan to get me the tweezers super fast and then I pulled the stinger out. It was tiny. Then I put the foot on a bag of frozen peas and googled bee sting cures.

Whatever you do, according to the article, don't put raw onion on it.

Ice helped. Foot is pretty much back to normal.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

homicide life on the street is so much better

I managed to catch an episode of The Little House on the Prairie. I haven't seen one of those in years. Decades. I remember liking the series a lot, though.

So there I was, catching the end of an adventure. And it didn't take me long to figure out what was going to happen. The kids were about to be found out, Mr. Ingalls would first be mad, then see their point. Knowing that their hearts were in the right place, he would turn around and help them, defend them even against less understanding adults. And then they would all come out victorious in whatever dilemma they were about to solve.

The moral of the story would be that if your heart is in the right place, it's OK to bend the rules sometimes. And if your heart is in the right place, other people will recognize your moral superiority, and allow you to bend those same rules.

I really wonder if this is a good lesson for kids to learn. I mean, it's an awful lot of trust to put in the world. I did recognize the warm fuzzies that come with Mr. Ingalls saving the day. But just because it feels good doesn't mean it's right, right?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

this is very cool

Waltz for Debby, Monica Zetterlund and Bill Evans' Trio.

One of my favorite songs, but I never saw this before. Love that youtube.

no joke

It's not so much that Dan and I work at home, it's more like we live at the office.

on the commentary on sicko

This is worth reading.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

the cutest kid was my student

It's him in the yellow shirt and blue jeans.
And yes he sent me the link himself.

o7-o7-o7 if you like that kind of thing.

I am for the first time attempting to translate fiction from English to Swedish. It's fun. The process brings you into the text in a way I wasn't prepared for, but I like it. A lot, actually.

To be perfectly honest, what I feel is that I discover what the author was really saying. As if the real meaning lies hidden beneath the English. Of course I know that isn't so. But it is what it feels like, and it is weird.

The picture has nothing to do with it. It's the top of a south San Jose parking structure. The mountains are at a distance. Straight down is Target and Macy's and everything else.

Friday, July 06, 2007

the hibiscus again

So I wondered if this is what you use for making tea. So I googled, and learned that it is not. There is another plant. I also learned that when the tea is hot, it's hibiscus tea. When it is cold, it's called aqua de jamaica.

In Trinidad and Tobago there is a brewing company that mixes the tea with beer into a shandy. [Insert your own joke about the British here.] (And by that I mean something about the Empire, cricket, and stiff upper lips during heat waves in the colonies. And I guess that's where the shandy comes in.)