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Jonas and Ulla March 11, 2007

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.

“We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend” — Robert Lewis Stevenson

What is a friend?

It is often said that in times of prosperity friends are many but in times of trouble your eyes are opened to whom your friends really are. It is also said that if you die having had a handful of real friends, that you have lived a very good life. Personally, I believe these both. In Sweden, I won’t lie, it is very difficult to find new friends. It is ingrained in the culture to shun, ignore, and be suspicious of a stranger. Watching it on a daily basis is like reliving a tragedy. The air is thick with a smog of social pressure, to destroy and deny any sort of individuality in the pursuit of uniformity. Don’t rock the boat my friend, or else prepare to wear a letter of scarlet. I honestly believe that Swedes get up every morning and force themselves to put on a frown and go about their day in a cloud of pessimism. O.k. so its not that bad.

This may shock you but I’m not posting this to complain. Rather I wish to give thankfulness for two great friends I’ve made thus far in the fatherland. Jonas and Ulla. Jonas lived in my (or rather I lived in his) corridor before moving into an apartment with Ulla, his girlfriend. We hit it off immediately and have had many memorable experiences together since. There is no way my Swedish would be half as good had I not had many conversations with him and Ulla over the months. In short, they are good friends. I had “fika” at their apartment not too long ago, enjoying semlor and other traditional Swedish things.

Thanks for the good times guys. In an era of hostile feelings and ill-will towards Americans the world over, thank you for seeing past stereotypes and accepting a stranger.

Hopefully they will be taking a massive road trip across the USA this summer, including coming to Seattle to see the greatest-place-on-earth – my home – the North West. I want to take the time to thank all the friends who have kept up with me, especially those back home despite the thousands of miles. We are going to have some great times this summer, I promise you that.



1. marcovinicio - March 13, 2007

Any friend of Mike’s is a friend of mine–can’t wait to meet em.

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