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Boston Blatte

Raised in Boston, remade in Sweden

Debunking Swedish Stereotypes: Cold neighbors

Bring on snow and the Bostonian in me cannot be contained.

If I see a car stuck, I just jump in and start pushing. Despite the Swedish husband’s concern that people might get offended, every Swede I have helped has thanked me appreciatively. The day I got stuck in soft, deep snow outside our place at Hornstull I feared I might be there for hours if people were as cautious to assist me as my husband had suggested. Not the case. Within minutes a man asked if he could help. Out in a flash.

snow push

Not surprisingly, I have been following the Blizzard Nemo that hit Boston and the northeast last week. I was feeling rather helpless thinking about my mid-octogenerian parents in Watertown. They have adopted that Yankee stalwart independence despite both of them being naturalized citizens (in fairness I think the stubbornness and independence was imported with them, but tis no matter, they fit right in) and had waved me away on each concerned call to confirm that they had a plan in place to get them shoveled out.

-You don’t have to worry about us.
-We are all set.
-We will manage.

Did I mention that my father just got his hip replaced less than two months ago and my mother has been playing his nursemaid since the pre-op? And yet she was out there shoveling the day after Nemo stopped dumping snow. But so were her neighbors and my friends who live close by. And I was very grateful.

sdf

Today, in an act of repayment in the spirit of paying it forward (because the help my parents got is now being passed along) I took a shovel up to an elderly neighbor’s house. The snow accumulation has not been much here in my ‘burb of northern Stockholm, but it has been consistent. The plows caught up yesterday and piled up heavy, frozen banks in front of cleared walks and drives. My sweet neighbor clearly just couldn’t manage it, and probably like my parents, hadn’t turned to neighbors since she figured she could manage climbing over it.

So, I just started clearing (and quietly swearing since it was solid frozen and heavy). She came out a bit surprised to find me there. I assured her that I was happy to do it and I explained about my own parents. With moist eyes she hugged me.

Best thing I could do on the day of love; love my neighbor. And she loved me back.

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