Archive for July, 2008

I can’t see you tonight, I got tvättstuga

July 13, 2008

First of all: it’s a bit weird to have a washing machine in the kitchen. The kitchen is where you cook your food.

In Sweden most people living in flats don’t have their own washing machine, because there is no need for it, but if they do you will find it in their bathrooms. A bathroom is a room where you clean yourself, and it’s also a wet room which makes it a very convenient place for your washing machine.

If you live in a flat the building will have a laundry room, normally in the cellar. A very typical laundry room will have: two washing machines, one tumble dryer, one drying cabinet or a big room with a massive fan heater, and a centrifuge.

The laundry room is there for everyone in the building to use. This is Swedish living standard and it’s for free.

There are some very important rules you need to follow when you use a laundry room. First of all you need to book a time for when you want to do your washing. Normally it will be a big time table outside the laundry room with different time slots i.e. 4pm-7pm which you then can book for a cretin day.

So in three hours you would have done all your washing, it will be dry and ready to put in to your closet. No need to have wet clothes hanging around in your flat for days to dry.

If there is one rule you should always stick to is that you need to take out the fluff from the filter of the tumble dryer after you used it. I can’t stress this enough! If you forget to do this you could start a small war within the building. You must also clean the laundry room after you used it or like we say here in Sweden “Leave it the way you would like to see it the next time”. We say this with a big smile.

But the biggest mistake you could do is to take someone else’s slot. This is not acceptable. ALWAYS stick to the time table. You also need to be out of the laundry room when your slot ends so the person after you can start theirs. If you do not do this, your clothes will be thrown out of the washing machine/tumble dryer/drying cabinet aggressively on to a table and as the gossip goes you will be looked at as the worst neighbour in the building.

I had a slot last night from 7pm to 10pm. So when my friends called and wanted to meet up I had to tell them I’ve got a date with the laundry room. Your friends will understand, it’s a necessary chore in the daily life of a Swede.

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The card

July 9, 2008

There was a red envelope inside my door waiting for me when I got home. It was from England and I could see it was a card. I got much exited.

Of course it was from England, Swedes rarely sends cards. I opened it and it was from sweet O. It nearly made me cry. “New home” it said. It’s so sweet and so British.

In Sweden when you move, you send a card to all your friends with your new address and phone number. Since this is the land of organisation, the government has a department that handles this and sends out pre made postcards to you.

Now in the year of IT we have stopped sending cards and now notify friends via sms and e-mail. The government still helps you to write pre written sms and emails though. Very convenient.

Christmastime in England is when you go completely mad and send a card to every person you met in your entire life. Someone I knew sent 300 cards last year and that was a cut from the previous year. I don’t know 300 people, not even on Facebook.

In England there will always be an opportunity to send a card, here are a few occasions:

• Birthdays
• Anniversaries
• “Get better soon”
• “Well done”
• New job
• Good luck
• Drivers license
• Mothers day
• Fathers day
• Exams
• Christmas
• New baby
• Wedding
• Happy Easter
• “Thinking of you”
• “You are engaged”
• New home
• Valentine
• “Thank you for…”

Word of advice: It is very important to give/send a birthday card. One year I bought a lot of nice birthday presents for my ex. boyfriend but I didn’t buy him a card. I thought the gifts and having me in his life was enough but let me tell you; I was wrong. I think this might be the reason why we broke up…

And you shall sign your cards with “xxx”. X is something we don’t use in Sweden and people often don’t know its meaning. I sent a Swedish friend a message and ended it with xxx, he answered: “yyy”. Bless. X means kiss.

X