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NU RÄCKER DET*
If there's one thing I've learned in 8 years of living in Sweden, as well as 6 years living in Europe as a teenager, not to mention all 40 of them moving around my whole life, it's that if you get into playing the comparison game about the place you currently live, you might as well just go home already because nothing will ever measure up. I was always taught to view life as an adventure, and the places we moved and lived in were a part of that. There was never much point in comparing where we were with where we had been, because there was always going to be something different and something better and something worse about both or all of them. Some people never learn that lesson, however.

It gets a little tiring trying to teach them subtly, since I, like so many others, am usually all about the avoidance of conflict. Sometimes I want to just grab them and shake them and ask them if they are really listening to themselves, to what they are saying, to how negative they sound about everything. No, things are not perfect here, but I challenge you or anyone else to find someplace where they ARE. Go ahead, I'll wait.

*crickets*

Uh huh, I thought so.

I'm not saying there isn't plenty to vent about here in Sweden, anymore than anywhere else, but I sometimes feel that people should be awarded a bonus point for every POSITIVE thing they add to the negative things they say without hesitation. Sadly, I don't think there would be a lot of bonus points awarded. I sometimes feel like a hypocrite because when someone is going on and on about how cruddy this is, and how bad that is, and how terrible things are, I try to refute it by saying, "well sometimes"...or..."well, not in my experience"...or..."really? I never thought so" but after repeated assaults I usually give up and just stay quiet. I doubt that they are hearing anything past the negativity that is spurting out, and the funny thing is the few times I have called someone on it and mentioned how negative they are being, they are always genuinely surprised and affronted, because they don't see themselves as being negative. *sigh*

I really like my life here. I like my job, I like my home, I like my family, I like my friends. I have a good support circle, and meaningful (if occasionally overdemanding) hobbies. I'm comfortable in Sweden, and I know I would probably be able to be comfortable most anywhere. I think energy spent worrying about and bitching over the little things that go wrong or aren't perfect or aren't the same as they were back home are pointless, because I'm HERE and I think it's more worth the effort to make the best of it. To find the positive. To make a difference with MY good attitude and my outlook on life. I wish everyone shared my perspective, but I know that's not the case.** I can't change that, but I can refuse to kowtow to it.

Reading things that people write about their life here in Sweden is always interesting to me since it's a shared experience, but I have to admit, I prefer the ones that are positive or at least are fair. I am not saying that I don't want to read or hear rants or vents, I just want a fair balance. And I'm very grateful and appreciative of the friends I've made and the people I read who DO spend their energy finding the good things, detailing the positive, opening other's eyes to the nice and the pleasant and the interesting things about living here.

There are such good things about being in an expat club like the AWC, that it's often a shock all over again to me, when I realize that for some, the chance to get together with other expats is often an excuse to rag on Swedes and Sweden. I need to be more upfront about my position, I guess, and make it clear that I just really don't want to hear it, if all a person has to say is negative.

Good grief, was that a RANT?? ozswede, you're finally rubbing off on me.

Thank you to galestorm and brief_therapy for being the right kind of good company. :)

In other news: Pussywillows! Greening budding growing things! Daffodils and their bobbly heads!

*Enough already
**Although, if I ruled the world, THINGS WOULD BE DIFFERENT AROUND HERE! hahaha!
 tired
mood: tired
music: The Stranglers—Always the Sun


Comments

I was sitting here scratching my head and thinking, gee, wasn't she going out for sushi with Geena (who just kicked-ass on her driving test) and Gale, who aren't at all that type of person? Sorry to hear that others in your company seemed to not be of their ilk.

Plus I think these things tend to irk you more when you're sick. And you are still SICK (in big, bold letters), aren't you?

:) Yep, but not as bad as the rest of the week, thank goodness. And no, it was either of the G-girls :D

I knew it couldn't be the G-girls, but I forgot others would have been there too. You need one of those buttons that's a circle with a line through it and the word "whiners" in the middle. Then you can flash it when appropriate.

Neither, I meant.

That's a major reason why I left some other sites behind, this constant harping on stuff that mostly can't be changed anyway (and why should it?) And the bitching only makes things worse, I think. I have a good life here, over-all, can't really complain.

Your first paragraph first reminded me of my mother's lifelong advice to me to "bloom where you're planted." Then it reminded me of a little anecdote:

An old man sits at the entryway to a town when a couple driving past stops to ask, "hey old man, what's this city like? The last one we were in was full of vicious backbiting people and greed..." The old man replies "this one is much the same, you'd best keep on going."
Another couple driving past also stops to ask the man about the town, but they word it a bit differently. "Our last town was just lovely, and we hated to part from all of our friends and the community there. Can you tell us what this town is like?" The old man replies without hesitation, "You will love this town. There are plenty of folks for y'all to make new friends with."

In other words, it's the person, not the place, that makes the situation.

That bein' said, I've been a whiner of late, that's for sure! But I have thought it was more myself and not Sweden (though I do vent about the differences, you're so right to say that every place has its faults!) Surround yourself with positivity and you will drive away those that only wish to tear things down.

Bloom where you're planted. I'd say you're blooming quite nicely :)

I'd say you're blooming, too, actually. Everyone is entitled to whining and ranting, and feeling like nothing is going the way they want it to, once in awhile. It's just when it's ALWAYS like that, and it keeps coming out that it's because it's Sweden or Swedes or whatever, that it starts to get old. :) Lovely story that you shared. Thank you :)

I suggest you send them this card!

Great rant.

(Anonymous)

o Liz... that, in a little LJ nutshell, is why I love you so.... your boundless blueskying always buoys me like a little red balloon and you the solid, stable, friendly rock keeping me happily weihted to Earth and all that is good and real and true. I truly do wish you DID rule the world, because I'm certain it would be so much better! (Not that I'm complaining, mind you!)

besotted as always, Wee xoxo

Boundless blueskying even when I'm ranting? Hee!

The right kind of good company? From the first couple of paragraphs, I was *sure* that you were talking about my medical rant at dinner! And my dissatisfaction with my dinner. And whatever else I was on about.

nope. Those were specific rants about your own experiences, not sweeping statements that things were always like that in Sweden because it was Sweden. You should have stuck to sensation makis! haha!

(Anonymous)

I know what you mean. I have one friend here (non-American) who is constantly ragging on Swedes or Sweden. I really value her as a friend but I don't identify at all with the hostility. Last time I was with her, I dropped a casual hint about romanticizing home, which she seemed to get...

I still compare things here, but I try to do it with an attitude of interest (why would it be like this here and not there?), not criticism. And when I bitch about things, it's usually more about my own bad mood.

For the record (and to get myself in your good graces):

Amy
luvs
Sweden
4-ever

Picture that carved into the trunk of the blogosphere.


-Amylou

Hee! You've always been really positive about Sweden, and very much one of those who presents things in a fair or inquiring light. I wasn't talking about anyone in the blogosphere. :)

I do believe that is the first actual rant I have read from you. hehehee. Very well stated.

and fiddle poo...I missed sushi night. just don't tell the big swede there was a night of sushi planned. He will kill me. hehehehe

I think it might be the first rant I've ever written here...and the last.

Granted the first year is a hard one & many adjustments are to be made, that's fair enough. How wonderful you had an evening with good company ..... geeees one day I must try Sushi.

I too love my life, my family & our House.

(Anonymous)
we create our own reality

A young couple in a station wagon drive into a small town. They slow the car to a stop and roll down the window to talk to a guy sweeping the street.

Couple: Hey! We're moving to this town. What's it like?

Guy: Hmm, well, what was it like where you lived before?

Couple: Oh it was wonderful! People were so friendly and kind. Great town!

Guy: Yeah, well-- you'll find this place to be pretty much the same.

Couple drives off. Another station wagon pulls up beside the guy.

Couple: Hey! We're moving to this town. What's it like?

Guy: What was your last town like?

Couple: Oh it was a nightmare. Gossip and petty feuds and just tiresome people really. Everyone competing with each other.

Guy: Yeah, well. You'll find this town to be pretty much the same.

*feh* ~bluepoppy

Re: we create our own reality

:D

(Anonymous)
*note to self*

MUST learn to read comments BEFORE posting . . .*sigh* just saw that Vember shared the same joke--- oh well ~bluepoppy

Re: *note to self*

I do the same thing all the time :)

Hey, no fair picking on the kid who's absent for a week...where she can't defend herself properly in class! Actually, I know it's paranoid and uncool to do this, 'cause it's YOUR blog and all, but I gotta tell you, my first reaction reading this was, "Shit...I'm so ashamed, am I really that bad??"

I mostly complain about my diminishing finances in Sweden, not Swedes or Sweden in general. OR...??

But you're totally right about making a stand about getting rid of so much negativity. I'm going to e-mail you a technique for "telling the positive truth" that I used while teaching; a technique that disallowed students to complain unless they could do it in a postive way--with solution. It would do me good to employ it now and again even when not teaching (or working....).

I wasn't talking about you!!!! I swear, I'm never going to rant again, I seem to have hurt everyone's feelings. :(

Oh, heavens no! Rant all you want. This is the place, man! I was just a wee bit paranoid, that's all. But then I went back through my latest posts and realized, "hey! I'm as chirpy as a chirpy thing!" But sometimes it FEELS like I'm a big buzz-kill. Like, even when the sun shines and the flowers bloom, I sit over on the stoop and say, "no! I want to smell this turd instead..."

But it only feels like that. (I don't actualy prefer smelling turds)

LOL! When we're having a tough time, it's hard NOT to be or feel like we're being a buzzkill, but I honestly don't think you're one of the people I was talking about, and most specifically you were not the specific person I was referring to.

I'm not the sort who quotes the Bible, but there is one verse that has always struck me: Wherever a learned man makes his seat, there is home.

It takes me a little while to warm up to a new environment, but once I do, it's home, and there's always something to find that makes it dear to me.

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