me, myself & andrei

26 Aug 2008
Is it a sign?

Some days ago, when I bought the TV tuner, the girl at Kista Galleria’s ONOFF store started speaking in Romanian (she’s not Romanian, or at least doesn’t seem to).

For a second there, after a week of mostly down-with-spirits mood, it almost felt good.

Now, for years, I have been critical in what Romania is concerned, only to come to Sweden for a full week of really living here, and not just act like a visitor/guest, and question myself “What the hell am I doing here?”

There lots of advantages, I’m not denying, nor covering that.

The thing is that I had high expectations, and I think they were mostly realistic expectations, but here in Stockholm things tend to move in a different direction than in Uppsala.

Here, you go to a Telia shop, with nobody in the queue, but you cannot start a small chit-chat with the desk clerk, explaining what your situation is and expect him/her to come up with a solution for you. No, no, sir! No matter if you are the only one in the queue, you get the “talk to the hand” attitude, as if he/she had better things to do. Who knows?!.. Maybe it is indeed better to look “out the window” than have a chit-chat with me.. I’m open to that.

Or.. you turn at Coop around closing time.. they end up having no change.. they don’t apologize but ask you “Don’t you have a card to pay with?”. And when you answer “Well.. I do, but don’t want to use it right now” (because of transaction costs, as a foreigner - dohh!!!!) you get the “Motherfucker!” face, as if you’re the one that screws “the system”.

I was having a small chat yesterday with a Brazilian called Mateus (I’m slowly finding Western people in Kista) and I was saying that.. without being disrespectful.. Stockholm is not Sweden any longer. Not the Sweden I know, at least. With so many immigrants here, with a different language in the air in every subway car you take, there’s simple a pressure.. a mix that blows it all away. I’m not saying that it’s the fault of immigrants. Stockholm is known to be elitist and colder way before it had so many immigrants. On the contrary, some immigrants pull the mood towards an warmer one. Like for instance at the KTH Info Center today.. there was this Indian lady, very helpful, very friendly, smiling..

Maybe it’s a mix about Sweden that I feel as well.

And I need to take the bits and pieces separately. But that feeling of relief when I heard Romanian being spoken to me at ONOFF really blew me away.