Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Swedes vs Italians

OK. I know my husband hates when I compare Swedes with Italians. I think he feels that I'm harsh on the Swedes, and being a Swede he takes that rather personally. Can't argue with that. But still, after spending another three weeks in Sweden, living in Italy and most importantly, being an American and so not defensive about either position (and not claiming a preference either way) I try to give a neutral view and just report the facts as I see them. It's not my fault if it's funny too. So my apologies to him...I'm not mocking his culture. I'm mocking them both. I hope that helps.

Two Swedes discussing a soccer game:

Per: (hands in pockets) How about that game? Vad sägs om det spelet? Wow. Oj.

(5 second pause as his friend considers the question first)

(another 5 second pause to form a response that is clearly his own opinion but not confrontational or too enthusiastic)

Magnus:  (hands in pockets) Yeah. Ja.

(short pause for emphasis)

Magnus: (with a half nod in the general direction of Per) Wow. Oj.

(a companionable silence ensues)

Two Italians discussing a soccer game:

Mario: What a game! Unbelievable!! Che partita! Incredibile!!

Luigi: (begins talking before Mario can finish) That game?!? What were they thinking?!!? Quel gioco?!? Quali sono state pensando?!!?

(thus begins a 45 minutes discussion of the players (and their history), the referees (their faults and snide references to their lineage), the coaches (whose minds are certainly a mystery to everyone in the discussion, which has probably grown by several people), the fans (who are great and terrible at the same time) and a general history of soccer. There is a flurry of waving hands, shaking heads and eye rolling during the entire discussion. In fact, the discussion continues until they've walked out of earshot of each other.)

All this observance brings to my mind two questions.

If Italians couldn't use hand gestures would they become mute?

What does it look like when Swedes play charades?

And now that I've offended nearly everyone I think my work here is  done. Till another day.....


  1. Having lived in both Minnesota (though, granted, not Sweden) and Italy, I can appreciate this :-)!

    1. You'd be amazed at how much Sweden is like Minnesota. Or do I mean that Minnesota is like Sweden? Thanks for reading!