Our 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's 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 achieved 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 highly paid to act stupid. I've 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 with computers, movies on the ceiling . . . cutting edge equipment. X-rays were displayed as they were taken on a large computer screen. My dentist here commented on his skill. “Your caps caps look very nice, excellent work.”
My Seattle dentist was expensive. He 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.
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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 here's 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.
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.