Observing Sweden – Americans Part 2

9th Month in Sweden:

            I think Swedes tend to see America as more affluent, an aspired to state of being where people are slightly better off. Things are expensive in Sweden. Gas is seven dollars a gallon, and a pair of 501 Levis sell for a hundred fifty. Americans have more space, bigger houses and more stuff, bigger stuff. Maybe that’s why Swedish Hollywood Wives is doing so well. It is the Swedish-American fantasy fulfilled; these totally insane ex movie stairs, and others quite well married, are all Swedish. They are in America, in Hollywood, and lap dog rich. These women have realized the fantasy, a shallow glamor world where they bask in hysterical luxury. This just-over-the-hill gang, posing as a reality show, are filmed and paid to act really stupid. I have been doing it for free all these years, but whatever.

We are half way through November now. The sun does not rise, it hovers, skirting around the horizon, as if in order to avoid Sweden. By four thirty it’s totally dark. The cost of electrical power will go up over the winter months—also expensive.

Health care seems adequate so far, and very inexpensive. The doctors and dentists have nice equipment, up to date, and adequate. If you were to write a description of what a doctor’s office should have, and what it would properly look like, these offices would be correct. I miss my dentist in Seattle. His office was like rocket science, computers, movies on the ceiling, computers. X-rays that were instantly displayed on a large computer monitor. My dentist here commented on his skill. “Your gold caps are very nice, good work.”

            My Seattle dentist was very expensive, and would not take my dental insurance. They were arguing with him about the high fees he was charging patients. He had three dental chairs that looked like they came out of a space station, One was used by two alternating hygienists. It took a couple months to get an appointment, unless it was an emergency. It’s about the same wait here. It takes longer to see a doctor in Sweden, but the amazing thing is once you appear at the office, you are not kept waiting . . . ever. Admittance is easy, brief. You pay a ten dollar fee, then follow a colored line to a cluster of comfortable seats. In less than five minutes, doctor comes out to meet you. A doctor appointment that happens exactly on time?  For my experience, this is amazing.

*         *         *


           I’ve been going to a gym here, and exposed to music, radio, and tapes, while working out. A new experience, both gym and the music. Today I heard something called, “We don’t live in America, and we’re not sorry.” I think it was rock and roll, or maybe heavy metal . . . something. I can’t help but wonder if the lyrics are protesting Swedish admiration of America? Am I not sorry I’m not living in America?

            I wasn’t happy to leave, and not really sad about it. There was so much going on while packing up, and not to much to think. There are things I miss: familiarity, an understanding of the law, convenience of a common language, knowing where to look for things. A cognitive map. I’m no longer sure which way is north. I’m sure I’ll miss the West Coast weather, not so much Seattle’s rain. The winter will be a bitch they say, but I’m still looking forward to it. Wife says I’ll soon change my mind. I miss a kind of wild-west way of being, not so easy to describe. I miss my guns. I just liked having them around.


Why would anyone want to go to a gym, Amber? I don’t get it.

They’re human, Bucks. Who knows? I notice you’ve putting on a little weight.

It’s fur, not fat.

Whatever. Hmm . . . This bag smells kind of interesting.


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 – Americans Part 2

  1. Although I’ve visited many places in the world, I’ve always lived in Texas. Would not live in any Texas town except Austin. There, you know a lot about me. However, I’m finding it interesting to try to wrap my mind around actually living in Sweden. Keep reporting, please.

  2. Your journey has been fascinating Bruce… is it really nine months since you popped the kitties into their bags and took off? Some of what you talk about, the strangeness, I understand , both living in Hongkong, and first coming here… some things I’ve never got my head round after 40plus years… including metres instead of miles!!!

  3. catnipoflife says:

    It does not seem like it has been 9 months. Time is going by way too fast. Do you think you will ever get back to America for a visit? Sorry to hear about the Swedish speaking computer…arrgh! is right!!

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