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Boston Blatte

Raised in Boston, remade in Sweden

Archive for May, 2009

Stockholm Marathon runs its course

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

The Stockholm Marathon ran today. According to Runner’s World, it’s the 6th most popular marathon overall.  I had no idea it was that popular with runners.  And then that the Boston Marathon is only placed one rank higher at 5th overall. Well, there goes my prejudice up in smoke.  I was so sure Boston was way more popular.  You mean it isn’t true?  Just goes to show biases are just that: Biases.

I guess I can look at it another way, the two places I find most “home” are both in the top ten. And added together they’re an 11 on a scale of 10.

OK, seriously then. I could never run the Stockholm Marathon (beyond the literal fact that I could never run the Stockholm Marathon) because it is a 2-lap race around pretty much the same course.  That has got to test the psyche that when you finish the round and you’re sucking wind…you’re only HALF way and you have to do it all over again. That would kill me.

The original course was an “out back” route, leaving the 1912 Olympic Stadium and turning around at the Sollentuna Church to cross the finish line at the stadium. I don’t think I’d do well with that route either. Out you run pressing on and on and then on a narrow path (I’ve literally been there) you turn around and go back. Like, “OK then, everyone go back” How anti- climactic is that.

I guess that’s the reason they redesigned it to run through the beauty of the Swedish capital instead. Twice of course.

Truthfully, I just don’t get the need to run a marathon at all. After all, the first guy who ever ran it…

died.

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Styling in Stockholm. Svartensgatan 7, 10 years.

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

A megaphone,  an accordian and a contra base…Dorlene Love live on Södermalm at Brunno’s.  I’m bloggin’ at ya amid the glamourous  people of the gay community of Stockholm. My hairdressers’s salon, Svartensgatan 7,  is celebrating their 10 year anniversary of being the people who make us beautiful in Stockholm. Thank god for them.  Glamor is on short supply in my life today. 10 years of devotion to my favorite hair stylist, a few too many hundred crowns a pop and presto…I get me a hairstyle and an exclusive invite to an event that people like me don’t get invited to.

Sometimes you do get what you pay for.

I would take a picture with my new computer’s built in camera, but I’m too tech incompetent. I apologize. Check out the links. These guys rock –and polka. Yes, polka. The band’s sound is very much a mix of pop, rock and polka. I like.

This is a first for me. I’m, well, shall I say, not sober. Perhaps it’s irresponsible to drink and blog, but sometimes you have to go off the deep end. And how cool is that, to be able to hook up thanks to a 3G connection? Very, if you ask me.

Don’t, because it’s likely tomorrow I’ll look at this and like the one-night stand wish I hadn’t.

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Public Holidays. Remembering there’s nothing to forget.

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Our long weekend to remember Christ’s upwards flight in Sweden started last Wednesday (for many, though not all) while friends of mine on the other side of the pond are enjoying Memorial Day as a day off.

One after another Facebook status updates of friends in US not only mentioned that they were home from work  but gave public thanks to the men and women of the US military on this day of remembrance. The ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq where American servicemen and service women are still serving on the front lines are clearly in the hearts and minds of people going about their daily lives.

Sweden doesn’t have a public holiday to commemorate its fallen soldiers. That’s largely because Sweden has kept itself out of war for well over 100 years and nearly 200 since Sweden the country was at war with anyone else.

While I am not glad that American men and women have lost their lives while fighting wars I am touched by the solidarity of the American people giving shout outs to American soldiers and veterans.  And while it’s good that Sweden hasn’t been to war in so long, I sometimes  think a defeated  enemy or a recent liberation would unify Swedes and infuse a national pride that could extend beyond a common love for the outdoors.

I don’t know if it would be a good or a bad thing for Sweden or Swedes, but it would definitely give more umph to the Swedish National Day on June 6th.

War anyone?

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Web wills: Facebook status update- Boston Blatte is dead (Not really)

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

No, I’m not really dead, many thanks for all of your sighs of relief.  However, it is a modern “problem” that needs consideration and dealing with. There are so many loose ends to tie up with a person’s untimely death, on-line accounts probably take a low priority yet remain an eerie echo of  a silenced voice.

It’s not really new but an article on The Local today about a new Swedish service, Webwill, sparked some thought in the wake (unfortunately rather literally) of the death of a close friend.

In this particular friend’s case, I was rather relieved that he wasn’t on Facebook (or any other on line network).  His death was rather unexpected (though not sudden) and he left behind a widow who had only lived in Sweden since their wedding 2 years ago. She will already struggle to finalize things with the help of his family. I can’t imagine the added burden of closing on-line accounts. Or worse, trying to inform all of those random “friends” you have via the myriad of networks you ’sorta’ know people. ‘After all, they’re usually rather personally customized.

I know my husband has no clue how I’m digitally connected to the world nor the large number work, school  or other network “friends”  I am in contact with. I suppose some kind soul on The Local staff would put my account to rest and say a nice word or two about me should I suddenly exit; stage left even.

Or would they just recruit another dark-haired immigrant from Boston?

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Christ flies up to heaven. Red day, no newspaper.

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Before I moved to Sweden I was astonished by the multitude of days off from work in the spring the then boyfriend, now husband was enjoying. Each day was yet another Christian holiday which he was rather foggy on why the day was celebrated.

Today is Ascention Thursday which can be referred to in Swedish as  kristi flygare or roughly translated (and in the words of the same Swede referred to above,) “Christ flies up to heaven Day”.In this case, the humorous translations gives an inkling on why the holiday worked its way onto the list of days off.

Christ flies up to Heaven Day is a “red day” in Sweden, which simply means it’s a national holiday and no one works. No one gets a newspaper either.  Which seems kind of silly since the day you don’t work is the day you are most likely to have time to read the newspaper. I guess you’re supposed to look heavenly and wonder if there is indeed a stairway to heaven.

Or perhaps a flight.

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New name. Still a Blatte.

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

My name spoof/goof on a popular Swedish blogger, Blondinbella, which I thought was rather clever and original, is clearly not clever at all and highly unoriginal.  So, I am no longer Blattebella but from here on in,  Boston Blatte. You all understand the Boston part, but many of you are probably unfamiliar with what blatte means. From Wiktionary

blatte

  1. An often derogatory term for a person who is not of Northern Europe descent.

Often considered derogatory, but it’s also sometimes used as a neutral word.

When I first got here the  pejorative term du jour for immigrants was svartskalle,  which means dark-haired  person. With my hair color and non Swedish background I clearly qualified. The current term is blatte. The same description applies.  I am just trying to keep up to date on my slag off terms.

Plus, my favorite letter is ‘B‘ and I like the alliteration.

Truthfully,  I like to adopt disparaging names and try to remove the offense by espousing the supposed criticism and dispelling the negativity.  I have been a bitch for a long time. It is time to take on blatte.

Some Swedes don’t think I cut it to be a true blatte since I am a “first class immigrant” i.e. I am from a wealthy, western country. I say screw that.  I have roots in the lower classes anyway coming from a blue collar part of greater Boston. I didn’t start off life as a WatRat for nothing.

Boston Blatte, bloggin’ at ya.

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Coughing up the cash. I just can’t be that cheap.

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Presents are never in the same league price wise  here in Sweden.   I pretty much see it as a good thing. You don’t have to break the bank if you’re invited to a wedding or someone’s milestone birthday party and it’s great when you are supposed to cough up something for the “kitty“. No amount seems to be too small. However, I still can’t shake my natural instinct distinguishing between  “small” and just too damn cheap.

I’m relieved that this feeling extends to native Swedes too. The confirmation is the email I just got from the volunteer parent of our parents association for our children’s daycare.  The hat is being passed to buy year-end presents of appreciation for the teaching staff. This email is different in that it specifies a “recommended” amount. While the amount (40kr per child + an extra 20 for the two retiring teachers) is pretty small, it’s a lot more than Christmas collection (when each family was asked to kick in 20kr total).

I guess some Swedish parents are fed up with the extreme cases of the parents who would chuck in road gravel if given the chance. I’m glad that the gentle foot is being put down, ever so gently in this circulating email. It’s something. After all these years, I take what I can get.

If I had no guidance I probably would have thrown in 100kr per child which I still think is kind of cheap but well within the “Swedish limits”.

How much would you have thrown in?

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I’m in love with a fairy tale. Congratulations Norway winning the European Song Contest.

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Before moving to Sweden I had never heard of the European Song Contest. After my first experience watching it, I would never have thought I’d be watching it without the prompting of a party evening. And yet, I just watched it as embarrassing as it is to admit.

Norway’s entry,  Fairy Tale was truly magical. Its composer, writer and performer, Alexander Rybak stole the show with oozing out charm as the next teen heartthrob. Heck, I’m ready to put up his poster on our bedroom wall.

I learned from the Wikipedia entry on Rybak (amazingly already updated on the Norwegian victory within minutes of the last vote) that he’s a Belarusian immigrant (came to Norway at age 4.) Immigrants are always “native sons and daughters” when they win something for their “new” country.

Today is Norway’s National Day , already a day filled with revelry. They’re going to have yet more to sing about.

Rybak announced his return to Oslo inviting fans to meet him at the airport. I think you’re going to wonder which Beatle is arriving at Gardemon at 11 pm.

Heja Norge.

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Better customer service. It’s about time.

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

My fancy watch needs a new battery. Because it submersible to 100M (so useful in the shower) the watch needs to be pressure tested and that’s not DIY. So into the shop it went.

I had thought I would be blogging on why it should take so darn long to get a watch battery changed in Sweden since “While you wait” is not really ever an option in Sweden, at least not at the “more established” (I guess I should just call it snooty) watch retailers.  But for the first time in the life history replacing demanding batteries for demanding watches, I heard the unbelievable:

“Would you like to pick it up later today or tomorrow?”

In the past I’ve waited weeks for this process and I’ve given up wondering what takes so bleeding long. That’s what it takes, this is Sweden. But times; they be-a-changing.

So tomorrow it is. I just wonder what time.

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I’ll take that in “Orgasm”: Flirtatious one-liners.

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

“I’ve got “orgasm” all over my face.”

That’s she worded her thank you message on Facebook. She was referring to the NARS cosmetics I had brought back for her from the US. My mission was to buy “must have” products unavailable in Sweden.

I very much enjoyed that mission. In the swank Lord & Taylor department store I got to flirt obnoxiously with the playful (yes, that’s code for gay) cosmetics counter guy. He told me about other racy names the brand carries and we giggled like schoolgirls.

With a cutsie shopping bag full of “Orgasm” I moved on to Macy’s for Benefit products. I got to “play” with those gals at the makeup counter recounting the “interesting” name of NARS products.

Smiling ear-to-ear fresh from very enjoyable and innocent “naughty” flirting I thought of how I just don’t get to flirt or play with random strangers this way in Sweden. I miss it.

Perhaps NK needs to stock some Orgasm.

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