In this post I will talk about my experience with Swedish people in the past, before I came to Sweden. Now I remember those situations and it’s interesting to analyse everything from my current perspective.
Around 5 years ago a Swedish family came to Minsk and I was asked to show them around. They had two boys, 9 and 11 years old, who looked much younger, though, and were trying to run faster in front of the parents while we were walking around. I found them really cute, because they were blond and curly and looked like little angels. I mostly interacted with the wife, who originally came from Portugal, because she was the one talking. The Swedish husband looked silent and serious most of the time and was asking tricky questions about the history and architecture that were hard to answer. I had a feeling he didn’t like me for some reason. Most of the foreigners I had met before were smiling and outgoing Americans, and I assumed, that the Swedes were similar to them. And it turned out to be the opposite. Anyway, I was so happy that the Portuguese wife was there, otherwise I would have had a really hard time:) In the end they gave me a book about Gothenburg, their hometown, as a present. That was the first time I’d ever met somebody from Sweden.
I also got to know a few Swedish families when I was in Egypt. First, on vacation a few years ago and then during my work. I went on a sea trip during my first visit to Egypt as a tourist, and there I met a really nice young couple with another small angel-looking kid. I had a thought they were from one of the scandinavian countries. True, when we started talking (which was my initiative), they happened to be from Sweden. That cute little kid, who I first thought was a girl but turned out to be a boy, kept coming to me to play with the sand and seashells, and the parents were really polite and kept asking me if he was bothering me. Of course not. It’s a pity I didn’t exchange any contact info with them. Anyway, that couple has left very positive memories. Later on when I started working, I met a few tourists from Sweden. One thing I remember is that they really disliked smoking and were complaining when they could smell it in the reception area or anywhere else at the hotel. Their attitude appealed to me a lot, as I dislike smoking myself and was always struggling with this issue in Egypt, where people are doing it all the time. Another characteristic that I noticed about the Swedes in my work was that they were quite straightforward and demanding, unlike English tourists, for example, who were requesting things in a polite and even somewhat apologetic way. The Swedes just said exactly what they thought in a direct and straightforward way.
That was my previous experience with Swedish people and the way I perceived them back then, when I didn’t know the culture at all. In my next post I will continue talking about my experience in Sweden now. There have been quite a few revelations for me, so stay in touch to find out:)