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24 September 2002


Hello journal. I often refer to you like you are a person, and I am not quite sure why. If I start referring to myself in the third person, then I am in serious trouble.


So last night Ewa gave me a call out of the blue. That was awesome and it made me really happy because I hadn't spoken with her for the longest time. She gave me a lot of good insights into how the Swedes work. And actually, I understand her so much better now that I am here. Not that she was some unsolvable mystery before I came to Sweden, but I better understand the cultural perspective she brought with her to the states. So I can't wait for her to eventually come back to Sweden and she can show me how she experiences Sweden -- it should be very different than the way I experience Sweden.


Today's revelation is about music. Specifically, "Schlager" music or Swedish pop music. While you have probably never heard of it out of Sweden, within the country, once they play Schlager music, the crowd goes wild. They start dancing and singing like they just won the world cup. Except since it's in Swedish, I still don't understand it (although I will buy a Schlager CD because it does sound interesting). So anyway, at this one bar I went to, Schlager music came on and everyone was dancing and I thought "what the hell" and just started dancing too. And while everyone was singing what the real words were, I would just make up my own words and sing them in English. So to a techno-ish dancing beat, I made up a song that went something like:


"when i was a young boy, i had a pet fish, and i was happy;

and then i lost him, i was sad and felt really crappy,

i began to look around

my fish was lost but now he's found

in my fish tank safe and sound

and now i'm happy -- woo hoo


blah blah blah...something or other...i've found my fish and now i'm happy

yadda yadda yadda...i've found my fish and now i'm happy


break it down now..."


So, you can imagine that I am singing this over the Schlager song, and most of the people dancing near me were looking at me. Actually, most were genuinely frightened I believe. One couple looked at me and I just smiled and said "I have no clue what the singer is saying." They laughed at me. I asked them to translate. Roughly, it was something about love and winds of change and other crap. I personally wish she was singing about my fish song.


I realize that you must think that my life is one big party, filled with clubs, expensive booze, and fancing meals. And you'd be correct, except not really. My goal is to go to every club once and get a feel for what it is like. And I like spending about 30 minutes in them during the weekday because on the weekend, everything just gets very crazy. And according to one of my new Swedish friends, this Friday should be the most interesting time of the month, because the vast majority of Swedes receive their monthly salaries or social payments (if they need such assistance) and of course will spend a portion of partying like it's 1999. Unfortunately, I won't be here for the partying on Friday, since I have to go to Paris on Thursday afternoon for an all-day meeting on Friday. However, I will be back on Saturday afternoon in time for evening festivities. However, whether I actually go out depends on how much fun I have in Paris since I have a couple of friends and some workmates I want to meet up with.


Anyway, have to go...time for an "instant meeting" (tm), which means that someone has come to my desk and decided that we need to meet in 10 minutes to discuss topics I know nothing about while I create the appearance of being competent through nothing more than reflective listening and delegation. I mean...ummm....ciao.


Rodney

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