Stuck In Stockholm

Is that good or bad? As seen by an artist from Eastern Europe
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Posts Tagged ‘sweden special’

Looking for a job in Sweden?

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

I hardly read mainstream news (they are only designed to put you down, intentionally), but this morning bumped into an article on The Local, which gave me a big laugh, so it might deserve a blog post.

Swedish jobs agency can’t fill own vacancies

Short summary:

The Swedish Public Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) hired a recruitment company to fill their own vacancies. Which from one side, shows their level of competency to help people in finding work.

On the other hand, this particular company is to get 24 000 Kronor ($3640,) per recruitment. The state-owned Arbetsförmedlingen needs to recruit 700-800 new employees, yearly. Last year they paid 38 million Kronor  (it’s about 5 780 000USD, 4 425 000EUR) to recruitment companies. From tax payers’ money, what else?

Swedish coins

I have my personal experience with Arbetsförmedlingen: through the years, I registered twice with them as job seeker. Maybe someone can learn from my adventures.

Read more in my main blog >>>

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Vrångö Beach

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Summer is here even in Sweden (not to be compared to my Hungary though where they have 40 degrees these days…)

Earlier I promised to go out to the beach in Vrångö island, so here you go, have a great time:

Vrangö Beach - 1. Photo: Andrea Gerak

More pictures here

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New religions

Friday, January 6th, 2012

After the first shock of reading this news about file sharing being officially recognized as a religion in Sweden, I was going to write a long ramble about it, but now I can say that it is fantastic!!!!

Because I can go now, gather my singer/musician colleagues, figure out some good-sounding name and a cool wording of our “act of worship of choice”, which would be something along the lines of playing music anytime and anywhere we feel like it (preferably where there are people: in shopping malls, stations, office buildings, hotel lobbies, restaurants, corporate meetings and conferences, in cinemas before the movie starts, between the walls of the City Hall or the Parliament, in front of the Royal Palace, or why not inside, in churches etc,) so that we can give others the chance to be entertained and their spirits lifted.

Ain’t it awesome? Sacred and holy, that is. Music.

And nobody could stop us from doing it, for practicing our religious belief and our freedom of expression are protected by our fundamental human rights and by Swedish law.

Perfect.

I don’t know how long the process would take, but while you are waiting for this new religion to be born and registered, you can book me for events and listen to my songs.

And if you like other art forms as well, enjoy my photography, poetry and other writings! (For those, I will need to figure out their respective religions a bit later)

May Polyhymnia, Euterpe and Terpsikhore bless you. And Photogenia too.

www.AndreaGerak.com

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Turn the light down, please

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Now when it is starting to get dark almost around 3pm already, it is time to turn the lights a bit down. Logical, eller hur?

I live now a bit outside of Stockholm, and that means walking 2 kilometers from the bus in the night. Which I love, so far.

Except for one thing: whenever a car comes from the other direction, it has full beam on. Which is okay if you are on a country road or highway, but here, along this 2km road, there are a good couple of houses, people walk home from the bus, some even would use it as a jogging route, or to walk the dog, so it is a populated area where one should use dimmed headlights.

At least this is what I know from when I was learning to drive, back in Hungary. Is the rule different here in Sweden? You are supposed to drive with a full beam amongst houses, blinding all those in front of your car?

What is more: this is a winding road, and what I also learned about driving when I was 10 (of course, as a passenger) is that you dim the headlight before you turn in a bend, because you can’t see who or what is coming toward you, and you don’t want to blind the other driver or biker, walker. Made perfectly sense for me, a kid. Who on Earth would want to be in front of a driver who can’t see?

So my question is to Swedish drivers: isn’t it so according to the driving rules you have to learn here in Sweden that you must dim the headlight in these cases???

And if it is not written in the rules for whatever reason, so people actually don’t have to learn it and keep it (just as there are some other weird driving regulations here, like for example one is allowed to hold the mobile phone in the hand while driving), can’t drivers figure this out for themselves?

Okay, I have to acknowledge those 4 drivers in the past 6 weeks who did dim the headlight when they saw there was somebody walking in front of them, holding her hand close to her eyes so as to make a shade. Honestly tack!

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Here is the music

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Following from my previous post Where is the music?, a quick hello from Budapest, I am here since a few weeks.

Besides that the autumn only arrived a couple of days ago, until then it was t-shirt weather (bright sun and around 20 degrees – okay, it’unusual even here, but in Stockholm I needed my winter jacket two weeks before I came here…), so besides the much nicer physical climat, I prefer the cultural climat as well.

From beginning of October, I had more public performances in Hungary than in Sweden in the past whole year…

And before anyone would say that of course, because my music is way too country specific, let me also mention a concert at Brugges Festival in Belgium, where I was the singer of a nine-piece international orchestra from four countries.

In the evenings when I don’t have my own stuff to do, I run into the problem of which show should I see, because the selection is so great – and not where to go, because I don’t find anything interesting…

And booking, booking, booking – the number of concert venues, events, festivals, celebrations etc is just overwhelming, there is so many organizers to contact and so little time in a day, which was quite the way around in Sweden…

Well, so far, so good here :-)

BTW, the only request to perform in Sweden I got recently, with all my contacts there that I am still keeping was for a Christmas party, for free
And some weddings and such, where I should pay first to get the contact to the persons who want to book an artist, which seems to be a normal thing over there, kind of another Sweden Special (check out the tag for more of them).

What??? In wealthy Sweden??? If this is how artists are treated, no wonder that one needs to search with a magnifying glass to find where is the music…

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Super Yuck – part 2

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

With September, the long season of darkness, cold and depression, lasting for 3/4 of the year is back :-((((((((( And with it, Super Yuck #1 :-(((((((((

Super Yuck #2 however, to be described here, seems to be practiced and enjoyed by Swedes throughout the whole year, they really like it, otherwise they wouldn’t do it, I suppose. Despite of that it is even more disgusting than the other one.

In the beautiful, quite clean city, you see spots of spits everywhere. And when you look up, no, it’s not only the low-class, uneducated men doing it (as you would see it in other countries, like in Middle-Europe), but many of the most breathtakingly gorgeous and sexy Swedish beauties as well.

And no, not only the teenagers, but just yesterday evening within about 30 minutes, I saw 2 ladies around 40, well-dressed, apparently not from the poorer families. The second one was standing in the bus stop with a few of us, in carefully selected, good quality clothes, an intellectual type who is arguing by environmental-friendly business solutions at her office and preaching to her children about saving the planet – she would shoot a nice dose of saliva from her mouth every 30 seconds or so.

I wonder if in this one-of-the-most-developed-highly-educated-hyper-modern-superior-country-of-the-world Sweden where people seem to do quite a lot of things in public that one would normally do at home (having sex at beaches or in parks, taking off your shoes in offices, etc), do they spit around in their homes???

In the highly environmental and health aware country, people don’t know the utterly basic thing about how to lessen the risk of various diseases and infections like influenza or common cold: spitting is a fantastic way of spreading them… (besides that they don’t know about the other fundamental health care tool called handkerchief, see again Super Yuck #1 , if it wasn’t disgusting enough for the first read)

In Europe, spitting has been widely accepted until the Middle Ages. But by the early 1700s, it became something that should be avoided and soon were looked upon as vulgar. And when a person spits in a company of others, it means that they utterly disrespect the persons present or the subject being talked about.

Dear Swedes, FYI, this is the 21st century, and if you look around, you will hopefully find a couple of things in your country and about your fellows that you can respect and you won’t need to go around spitting all the time…

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A peaceful country: Sweden?

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

I was told to be lucky to be able to live in one of the world’s most peaceful and decent countries, and that’s what I can read at various lists and articles where they compare countries. Alright, let’s see.

Sweden hasn’t been in war for a few hundreds years, that must show it!

Well, it’s not a secret that in WWII for example, Sweden sold arms to both sides and made shit loadz of money on it – hence a nice economic boom.

Also a known fact that Swedish soldiers serve in Afghanistan – doesn’t that make Sweden take part in a war?

And what about the training fields for NATO (in a neutral country, which is beating her chest so much about being a model country for neutrality – correct me, if I am wrong)?

More and more details of manufacturing and selling weapons by Swedish companies and authorities are coming to light. Like this one: Sweden’s Saab sold arm to Saudi Arabia

Yes we know, war is the best business for those who provide the material means. (But then… khm… what was this all Saab bankruptcy circus about? Where did the big money go?)

And we also know that war is killing of other human beings. So my one billion Kronor question is:

If the vast majority of people want peace, WHO is happy and proud about the money they make by killing people? WHO are those few guys? They should be named and publicly hanged, or something of the sort.

In the history of Mankind, there have been a couple of great man from whom we all can learn. One of them said about war:

“War is fear cloaked in courage.” – Gen William C.

Well, no comment to this one… Or: what is Sweden afraid of? One of the best countries of the world shouldn’t have any reason to.

“There was never a good war or a bad peace.” – Benjamin Franklin

So which one of all the wars Sweden was/is supporting was/is good?

“Peace will not come out of a clash of arms but out of justice lived and done by unarmed nations in the face of odds.” – Mahatma Gandhi

How is Sweden providing true justice, based on REASON?

“If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another.” – The 14th Dalai Lama

How Sweden’s selling weapons to both sides of conflicts provides peace for another?

“Ideas and not battles mark the forward progress of mankind. Individuals, and not masses, form the culture of the race.” – L. Ron Hubbard

What are Sweden’s ideas about how to live in peace, without battles?

How is the individual supported in a society where outstanding achievement, sticking out of the crowd, daring to be different from everyone else in not cool but frowned upon, where talents are suppressed, because of a misinterpretation of  “everyone should be treated equal”?

“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.” – Mahatma Gandhi

How do Swedes educate their children for peace? By dressing already the little babies in black clothes with hate symbols like skulls and cross bones?

“Peace is costly but it is worth the expense” – African proverb

How is money spent on peace, where can one see the rocketing statistics of that?

“It is more difficult to organize a peace than to win a war; but the fruits of victory will be lost if the peace is not organized.” – Aristotle

How is Sweden organizing for peace?

And lastly:

How is Sweden a law abiding country, if, through decades,  the governments and parliaments (which are elected by and are the representatives of the citizens, so whatever happens in this country, it is ALSO the responsibility of the individual citizens and NOT only of the Nanny, I just put this here in parentheses, for Swedes seem to forget this) – if they are so disgustingly violate the weapon export law, for one?

How on Earth can Sweden be called one of the most peaceful nations of the world, when they are one of the biggest arm exporters as well?

A few questions, before the election day…

(ps: this I wrote particularly about Sweden and her open or underhanded warfare dealings, but as for war, it would concern a couple of other nations, too, one can think of too many.)

And to ease up a bit after this heavy topic, a music video, with a Hungarian song arranged by an Israeli composer and put to photos of the beautiful Swedish waters of Baltic Sea…

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Lagom (part 2)

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Here was part 1 where you can see that I don’t have a super positive view on it…

Now one more aspect of it.

Lagom and Jäntelagen seem to go hand in hand, and in my eyes, the latter S-U-C-K-S, big time, one of the most harmful things that can happen to an individual. With this attitude, Mankind would be still in the Stone Age, without wheel and fire.

Alright, so let’s try to see the whole lagom thing in a more positive way – I am a girl with a very positive attitude, after all.

Lagom has the meaning of  “just right”, “sufficient”, “moderate”, “enough”, “appropriate”, “normal”, “average” and similar. (=again: “not too good, not too bad,” “not too few, not too much”, etc)

I just grasped this meaning today in a way that it can be demonstrated very simply.

Let’s take singing as an example (not surprising from a singer, I guess…)

From the beginning, everyone can sing. I mean, just watch any kid, each and every of them will do it happily, naturally, more or less good (till the less fortunate ones get stopped by stupid remarks of adults or camerades).

And basically everyone likes to sing, this soul food lies so deep in humans, you can observe it in any given civilization.  (Unless it is suppressed directly or indirectly by certain authorities, but that’s another subject.)

For you to sing together with several or many other people, maybe dozens or even hundreds, just for the fun of it, or because you are supposed to sing your national anthem, it is absolutely alright if you don’t have perfect pitch, a very large vocal range or any other special skills that would be required from a singer. You just sing with whatever voice  you have and in whatever way you can use it – and you are happy with it, so are the others, because it simply feels good to sing together.

Indeed, I find this Swedish Allsång thingy fantastic, when they sing together in masses like several thousands even! So this would be lagom in singing.  You sing along with the masses, you don’t have to be particularly good at it, just good enough to have fun and not to ruin the thing – and everyone is happy.

But if you wanna do more with singing (sometimes perform for your friends and family, or with an amateur choir as a hobby, or God forbid, be a professional artist), lagom is way less than enough… Try to tell a singer not to work on extending her range (because “everyone knows that an average vocal range for a woman of  your age is 1.5 octaves”), or not to work on perfecting her pitch or her stamina, and so on, and so on… (oh, I almost forgot which is the most standard way of treating a singer or musician here in Sweden: “You should find a normal job instead”…, which is the greatest ever bullocks to tell an artist, if anyone is wondering why talents are escaping from here to other countries… – did you see my adventures with the Artist Division of Swedish Unemployment Service?)

You can also find other examples from any fields of arts, sports, science etc, where it’s about improving your talents, improving your skills, excelling in your field of activity, aiming for outstanding results in your business, and so on.

Shortly put: if you are happy about going with the masses and not to perform something outstanding, not to be special, not to aim higher than all the others around you, and you love to stand in the line, unnoticable, lagom is your thing. Many people are like that, and nothing wrong with it, if this is what makes them happy.

But if you do aim higher, if you think you do have something you wanna show to the world, if you like to experience, think outside of the box, challenge yourself (and maybe others), improve yourself so as to be the best yourself that you can possibly be, lagom will slowly but surely kill you…

Related posts:

Lagom (part 1, probably)

Think outside the box
Don’t worry kid, we’ll only break you, for your own sake!
What does it take to be happy in Sweden?
Arbetsförmedlingen adventures – part 2
Arbetsförmedlingen adventures – part 1

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My Stockholm photo blog

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Lagom (part 1, probably)

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Sapphire over at Lost In Stockholm asked a few of us about what lagom meant.

Well, I don’t have time to say everything about it right now, just a few points:

1. In Hungary, this same concept of  “not too good, not too bad” would be expressed in something like “thanks we are fine, as canned fruit on the shelf”. Which is definitely negative: it means to us that nothing interesting happens, there is nothing special or exciting about you or around you, you just live a completely boring life that you don’t want to change. You basically don’t even LIVE, just watch your days passing by, without causing anything to happen… When a person answers your “How are you?” this way, you know that there is nothing to talk about with them, you show each other a few more social smiles, and that was it for the conversation.

Shall I say that for me, this makes Sweden probably the most B-O-R-I-N-G place on Earth? Which manifests in the most various areas of life: from the selection in the stores of food, cosmetics and other goods, the way people dress, the relatively way too less events (concerts, festivals, celebrations, etc, etc, etc) than in other countries, and the list goes on and on. Nothing special, nothing interesting, nothing exciting, – well, that’s all but apealling for me…

2. This was one of the first lessons I learned from my Swedish husband I had: that the Swedish system gives equal chance to everyone. This means two things: one is that the social net doesn’t let anyone fall too deep, indeed you don’t see too many homeless people in the streets etc, and this can be considered good, but two: one can’t really stick out upwards either.

And here we could go into a long discussion about how good is it that the #1 welfare state takes very good care of the unable, the unproductive, the criminal etc – at the expense of the able and productive. For now, my 2 cents on it: the Berlin Wall and the Eastern block broke down 20 years ago, because socialism simply didn’t work…

3. If I understand it right, the lagom concept originated from a very nice Viking tradition where everyone took their turn from the drink at the table, they shared what they had with each other – correct me, if I am wrong. To insist on keeping the lagom concept alive and make it the prevailing idea of life in general, beating the Swedish chests about how fantastically advanced they are in terms of promoting equality, a model country for the world and so on – and having a royal family in the meantime, reminds me slightly of Orwell: “All animals are equal , but some animals are more equal than others.” Just slightly… Doesn’t this put Sweden in a kind of schizophrenia? They can’t decide for either of the two, so they keep both?

4. Let’s take the equality part of lagom: it sounds sooo great, nice, advanced, tolerant and what you want, that in making laws, in treating women and men the same, dealing with different races and religions etc, equality is stated to be sooo important – but take a LOOK at reality how does it really work. Anyone heard about any racist stories, where if you have black skin or hair, and your name doesn’t end with -son, don’t even dream about getting that job, no matter your qualifications? Don’t get me started on this, please…

But okay, let’s see where equality indeed does work: one example is treating men and women. Here we have great advances: delicate, beautiful, fine girls whose role in society should be to make this world more beautiful with their kindness and creativity, love and take good care of the future generation, we see them in ugly uniforms of rough and tough roles, like security guards, soldiers and such… Somehow I have a little problem with imagining how loving, caring and kind such a woman could be at home with her man and children (if she has any)… On the other hand, strong men who should carry the world on their shoulders, they sit for hours sipping latte in the park, chit-chatting with their mates about which pampers are better for the baby’s butt…

I might be very bold with my opinion when I say that this kind of equality sounds wonderful on the surface, and very appealing to many, but indeed it is a nicely wrapped, very vicious hypocrisy that is killing the future of Mankind on a long term basis.

I might continue another time, but now the sunshine and the water is calling – one thing I definitely LOVE about the ramifications of lagom is the Allemansrätten, the Right of Public Access, and there are some nice beaches around :-)

Related posts:

Lagom (part 2)

Think outside the box
Don’t worry kid, we’ll only break you, for your own sake!
What does it take to be happy in Sweden?
Arbetsförmedlingen adventures – part 2
Arbetsförmedlingen adventures – part 1

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My Stockholm photo blog

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Lilla Lördag Loppet

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Tell me: is this also some Sweden Special? That people run around on Hump Day night, instead of enjoying it?

Riksdagen by night

Seen last night

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