Boston Blatte

Raised in Boston, remade in Sweden

Posts Tagged ‘snow’

Debunking Swedish Stereotypes: Cold neighbors

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

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.


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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Stockholm snow: Shove[l] it

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Snow is different in Stockholm than in Boston. And I don’t mean that in some kitschy philosophic “every snowflake is unique” kind of way.  It’s more to do with the snowfall and accumulation than the actual substance which is the same color and temperature (though in Celsius and not in Fahrenheit.)

The first significant snow fall in Stockholm I ever witnessed started in the evening and snowed all night and throughout the next day. Had that been Boston there would have been at least 2 feet of snow on the ground, but here there was barely a decimeter (yep, snow measures up different here too.)

But now that that I have a very long driveway I am rather thankful for minimal snow accumulation during these multiple days of snowfall. In all honesty I like shoveling snow, in fact, a good amount of my teenage income came from the neighbors who wanted someone else to dig them out.  But did I mention we have a very long driveway?

Today a neighbor kindly lent me a special snow shovel that’s more a hand-operated plow/wheelbarrow. (see below)

snow shoveler I have seen them around but until today (we had about a 10 inches on the ground) I had stubbornly stuck to the plain ole shovel, my tried and trusted tool. These hand held snowplows scoop up a massive amount of snow which you then slide along the ground (like a sled) until you dump it in the grass with a quick shoving jerk;  no lifting required.

Clearing our driveway with the “plow” today probably took as long as it would have taken with a typical shovel, but I don’t have an ache in my back this evening. Could be time to invest in one of these.

Or a snow blower.

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