I’m Italian, Polish and American and Swedish and have traveled quite a bit so far in my tiny time on this planet. At this point in my life, I feel I could live anywhere in the world as long as I have my loved ones close and my basic human rights available to me. And yet I stay, year in and year out, in one of the darkest countries on the planet. So what is it that’s keeping me in little Sweden?
I have a complicated love hate relatonship with Sweden. Every winter I get a little obsessed with how depressing and conforming the Swedish people are, with their black coats and dark clothing. The 5 hours of daily ‘sunlight’ (mostly cloud covered skies) and empty streets makes you go a little crazy too, let me tell you. But today, on Sweden’s national day, I don’t want to talk about those things. I want to talk about why I love this place, as I’ve come to realize I have a more emotional bond to this country than I thought.
1. We’re nice to our animals. Well, we still have a ways to go, but I’m still proud to live in a country with one of the best animal welfare legislations in the world.
2. We know how to write music. I pretty much moved here to be a part of the Swedish music scene since we have such a great reputation world-wide. In any given week, we have at least one of our writers/producers involved in a top 5 hit in the American Billboard Chart. And very often I can tell if a pop song is written by a Swede – there’s just a certain sound. Perhaps it’s the dark cold lonely winters here that create the perfect environment for creative expression.
3. We look good. Not a scientific fact, but… Well there have been a lot of subjective studies done on the subject, and only Argentina & Brazil can ever beat us in this category. Other than our natural beauty, we also tend to rank high in the category of “best dressed nations” as well, second only to Italy.
5. The Swedish melancholiness. I have a love hate relationship with this one, because it can tend to go a bit overboard, but I’m listing it as a positive because it’s one of the reasons I feel so accepted here. We embrace darkness and we bond in it. There is a general acceptance here that life isn’t always happy and awesome. Hell, how can it be when there is so much suffering in the world? Being slightly depressed is something socially accepted, (and unfortunately even kind of encouraged if you ask me), but it humbles us and puts us in touch with our souls which I think is generally something positive. Just look at our dark Ingemar Bergman films. Just listen to our melancholy traditional Christmas songs. In grade school I remember we had Friday group therapy sessions where we worked out our problems together… I doubt that exists anywhere else in the world! And I would like to argue that it is our ability to embrace sadness that makes us such great musicians.
4. Nothing too crazy ever happens around here. We don’t get natural disasters (just the occasional “thunderstorm”), *knock on wood* not really any terrorism, and we score low on the crime index. We don’t really have any poisonous animals. This calms my nerves cuz I’m a worry-wart about things like that.