a unique perspective on this crazy world


a little blast from the past 😉  As will become obvious, I mostly wrote this in the moment, my final night in Stockholm… the memories still resonate fondly 🙂

For those of you who haven’t been researching a trip to Stockholm, the Grand Hotel is the city’s grande dame.  This is where you get to stay if you have won a Nobel prize 🙂

I just walked through four different Stockholm neighborhoods and it is my last night so I am rewarding myself with a drink at the bar as the Nordic light fades and the twinkling artificial lights appear on the harbour.  This is a stunning city and the view is worth the price of the drink.

The crazy part is that the city is so expensive, the drink in the Grand Hotel costs about the same as less grand places.  When you see someone use a VISA card to pay for a Sprite, you know you are in another world 🙂

Tomorrow I leave for a final day in London and then onward to my real home.  Stockholm is the perfect place to not feel homesick.

It does seem colder here.  And I have had to channel my prairie roots and just huddle into my lightweight fleece because I am way too cheap to buy a new jacket 😉  As I agreed with the girls at reception on the first day, you don’t survive long in the north if you aren’t tough.  As a teenager on the prairie, you are always trying to not get frostbite when you are underdressed and it’s 40 below because it’s just not cool to dress properly.  So a Swedish autumn is a piece of cake… 😉

I did buy a pashmina shawl in London at a good price – and I brought gloves along after freezing in Berlin in April but I haven’t had the good sense to bring either along with me on this afternoon’s excursion.  Today there was a big clock announcing it was 11 degrees.  I wish I was wearing more but I’m not getting frostbite so it’s not really cold 😉

Stockholm does have moody weather, lots of water and clean streets.  The architecture really puts Vancouver to shame but there are more similarities than differences.

It is a little too “white” for me.  Seeing too many white people in a city always feels a bit strange – especially after multicultural London.  But the good news is that there are some non-white people here and they seem very integrated into the fabric of the country.  Now that I know some Swedish history, I know that immigration is a fairly new concept here.  It’s only been in the last fifty or sixty years people weren’t trying to get the hell OUT of Sweden.

So it is mostly full of Viking offspring.  But – contrary to popular belief – the blond, blue-eyed Swede is not very common.  It’s too cold for Latinos so most people have a similar look but it’s a much broader palette than one might expect.  The main thing the Swedes share – and I inherited – are the non-brown eyes.

I had an interesting conversation with some Swedish guys about “the Swedish look.”  They both looked different – but obviously northern Europe.  Two sets of green eyes.  One set of blue.  As we noted, a recessive gene.  I’ve already expressed my thoughts on the virtues of a mocha world.  It would be great for racism.  But the world is so full of interesting facial features.  I hope a few pale coloured eyes will survive.  Maybe they will have to be accompanied by pale skin.  But it’s the attitude that matters.

And Sweden has a lot to teach us about asking questions and playing a role in creating a society you want to live in.  An inclusive place where pretty blue eyes, pretty brown eyes or even obscure green eyes, male or female, you are considered an equal and interesting member of society.  That’s the kind of world I aspire to live in… this blog will continue to promote it until it is actually reality 😉

p.s. I ended my visit with an amazing cake and hot chocolate at the Sundbergs Konditori in Gamla Stan.  It’s been in business since 1785 but obviously still going strong…

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