Observing Sweden – Culture Shock – Part 1

I’ve been in Sweden for six months now, half a year. Time to take stock . . . review. There has been minor progress. I now have a doctor, and a dentist, (more about health care later).

        Driving is still a challenge. I’m okay, but not really comfortable. I can find my way home from downtown, go the mall and supermarket. The roundabouts still feel like concrete roulette wheels, with my car playing the part of a ball. But I am patient, willing to wait, or even miss a chance or two to enter. I’m feeling more confident and have even inquired about taking the driver’s test. See photo below.


        Nine books: You and I in Traffic, Road Signs & Road Markers, Road Sign Summery (Test), Guide on the Road (Practice Assignments), Home Assignments, Engines Test, and last but not least, Study Nerd (300 pages). The mind boggles, but my Stateside license is good for a year. I have time.

 Doing The Math:

        Even the time is different here. They’re using military time, like airports. It makes sense, but still . . . so different. Movie starts at 19:30. Damn. What’s 19:30? Subtract twelve. Not hard to figure out, but not reflexive. Have to do the damn subtraction.  I want it to be simply 7:30. You don’t need to tell me if it’s dark or daybreak. I’m an analog man in a digital world.

            The Metric system is another change. Not bad to work with, but still unfamiliar. I still have to covert kilometers to miles in order to get a feel for distance. I keep forgetting if a meter is more or less than a yard.

            I know twenty degrees Celsius is above freezing, but that’s about it.  I almost remember the formula for conversion. Is it 5/9 × C + 32, or 9/5 × C = 32? I used to teach this to my high school students . . . years ago. When you don’t use it, you lose it. Easier to go outside than do the math. It’s nice today, sun shining, 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  Best summer in many years they say. Global warming?

About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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6 Responses to Observing Sweden – Culture Shock – Part 1

  1. I am enjoying your journey.

  2. We changed to metric years ago but I learned Imperial in school so never really use it. All I need to remember is 16 celsius is 61 fahrenheit (summer) and 0 is 32 (winter) – I work out the rest by estimates. In fact come to think of it. I don’t get either any more but I get by. 🙂

  3. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words says:

    Yes I am too enjoy the wandering about
    as you find your way to a comfort zone there..
    Thank you for sharing the journey!
    Take care,…

  4. Bruce, they use metrics in this country too, and I still think in miles and inches, pounds and ounces, gallons and pints, and I never have anything exactly right any more !
    As for your driving test… what a hurdle… don’t they have international driving licenses???

  5. catnipoflife says:

    Even though I taught metrics in high school, I am still more comfortable with standard measures. Of course, that is what I learned as a child thus my foundation. If you really take the time to examine metric system, it is much easier since it is a decimal system. Less memorizing.

    Loving hearing about your journey and still glad it is you, not me! LOL 🙂

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