You know these people who come to a country and instead of joining society, they move into ghettos with only people from the country they came from? That’s me.
I am living in the ghetto nowadays. The Swedish ghetto. This week, I was forced to stay at home two days thanks to my lumbago. I was actually on sick leave a third day as well but once I feel okayish I always want to go back to work and enjoy social interaction. Especially after I had spent two days in my new apartment and started to question which country I live in.
Obviously it is my own fault. And no, it is not exactly a problem either. But it is a surprising thing to notice. Everything in this house/church is in yellow and blue, even the lantern outside is a Swedish flag. The matresses are exactly like the ones we had up at the polar circle in Juoksengi, and the doors open outward like Swedish doors (German doors open to the inside). There are even window lamps on the window sills! Last night, I went down to the basement to do laundry (of course in a full-blown tvättstuga that only lacks the torkskåp) and when I scurried up the stairs in this respectable house in the dark, I kept encountering statues and busts of Gustav Adolf.
So if you are home alone and listen to RixFM in the morning (I know. I know. But you are welcome to recommend a better channel.) and watch TV4’s “Welcome to Sweden” in the evening, you might just forget you are in Germany. Even on my metro train this morning I was sitting next to a girl with a bag from Systembolaget and she was speaking to someone on the phone in Swedish. (Who brings Systembolaget-bags all the way to Germany?!) Not to mention the countless Fjällräven backpacks I see everywhere.
Today I went to Eimsbüttel and as I walk down the street, I see a store advertising Scandinavian products. As I step inside, I find myself engaged in a pleasant conversation with a lady from Dalarö, and I am surrounded by so many Swedish food products that I literally feel I am standing in ICA. Unfortunately my camera was dead, but I have to return to deliver a whole blog post on it.
I like my ghetto, it sometimes damps reverse culture shock. But I will try to learn how to switch on the TV to watch something German. I will go outside and speak to my fellow countrymen. But I will not, never ever, buy a Jack Wolfskin jacket.