Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Swede vs. Non-Swede: How We Roll

This month, one of my favorite people came to visit Austin for the month. Her name is Sarah and she was the first Swedish person I ever met. Sarah has taught me alot about Sweden--everything from the crazy crap they eat to their governing system. She has a magnetic quality about her, something that intrigues everyone. I find all of my friends immediately engaged in asking her about her life. It's as if they never knew that Swedish people existed! I LOVE listening to her tell stories--funny, outrageous, enlightening, and empowering.

Therefore, I came up with this wonderful idea for an advice/opinion blog called "Swede vs. Non-Swede".

You see, even though Sarah and I have a pretty amazing friendship, we also have our own unique perspective on things, often influenced by our cultural and regional upbringing. Sometimes she is dumbfounded by the way that "Americans" live and act and likewise, I was surprised to find out that she doesn't have a movie theater in her "willage" (village, but that's how she says it) and the last time she went to see a movie was over a year ago. See.....we live our separate lives, have our own experiences and influences, and enjoy sharing these with each other and the world.

I asked my Facebook community to ask questions, advice and propose topics for discussion. We had a great response and so we will be breaking up our conversations into separate blog posts.

Without further ado, here is the first installment!

HOW WE ROLL: Personalities & Lifestyle

Question: Do you believe a person's name has any effect on their personality?

Sarah: Not at all. A name is just a name. It's something your parents gave to you. Of course it depends on how strong of an identity you have. If you're kind of shy and having a hard time socializing with people, then I feel like people begin to associate your name with you. So no, I feel that a name is just a name. I love the Indian names. "Sarah, the Girl with the blonde hair who is here to cheer us up"...if that was my name, then yeah..but I'm just (wanders off in thought)....cause I mean like 150-200 years ago in Sweden, it would still be that you got your parents name, you know? So it was also a kind of identity marker back then when there was so few people. But today, a name doesn't say anything.

Monica: Well, I do find it interesting that I can have strong reactions to people's names and sometimes find myself judging them based on other people's personalities with that name. For example, I tend to hate Johns because most of the Johns I know are egotistical alpha males...and maybe a guy named also terribly broke my heart a few years back, so I kind of shy away from hanging out with Johns. Here's what I think: People form strong attachments to names of people who were significant in their lives. So it's not that a person's name influences their own personality, but rather, the people they know influence their perception of them. I feel like I am trying to communicate this while I am on drugs. Hope you are staying with me on this one.....You know what would be unfortunate? If you had a really kick-ass name like Sunbeam but you were actually a huge ass.

Question: Do you like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?

Sarah: I do, but it's just that we don't eat that much peanut butter, so for me peanut butter is this thing that is just taking over your mouth. But with the jam, it just goes down, so with the sweetness of the jam, it makes the peanut butter eatable. I do love peanut butter, but not by myself. It's "gum glued" food. Like some special kind of wines are "gum glued" wines. You know that feeling?

Monica: I feel so unAmerican for saying this, but I do not like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that much at all. I feel like I spend way too long trying to get the peanut butter down my throat and the smacking sound that it makes really bothers me. HOWEVER, I would be more enthusiastic about eating a sandwich that has the crunchy peanut butter because I do enjoy whole nuts.

Question: What does rock music sound like in Sweden?

Sarah: Can I just paste a link to a Metallica song played from a Swedish computer? That must be Swedish rock music. Hahahaha. Here are some music groups you should listen to: Hellacopters, Moneybrother, and of course, the Hives. That is Swedish rock. Swedish rock sounds alot..it's just got this cool rock sound. Swedish music sounds COOOOOL, okay?

Monica: An ex-boyfriend of mine introduced me to a band called "The Sounds" years back and I really dug them. Then I met Sarah and she informed me that they are in fact, a Swedish band. Soooo...."I really like this rock band" + "This band is Swedish"="I really like this Swedish rock band". Therefore, Swedish rock (the very little I know about it) is pretty cool. In fact, we've posted some Swedish rock for your listening pleasure! Just like American rock, there are many genres and sounds across the spectrum, but here is a diverse sampling.

Hellacopters:"I'm in the Band"

The Sounds: "Painted by Numbers"

Moneybrother: "It's Been Hurting all the Way with you Joanna"

Oh and let's not forget THESE AWESOME SWEDISH ROCKERS..

Roxette: "The Look"

Okay, that's it for this time. Check back soon for the next installment of Swede vs. Non-Swede.

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