Friday, June 24, 2011

This is your religion.

I don't really have an opinion on the Royal Family. Because I don't know them. And I don't really have an opinion on monarchy either. Because what does it matter if we pay a whole lot of money to a family or to a president and everything surrounding a president.

I don't know the numbers and I don't really care enough to look it up or to engage with them when I see them, but I'm pretty sure the monarchy is a pretty good source of income both in the UK and in Sweden. So many tourists love them. And so many residents do, too. So I don't see the point in disliking the system.

However. I heard a segment on Swedish radio the other day. The title is 'can Sweden really have a queen with Downs syndrome.' But that's not what it was about (imagine...), but it discussed the fact that people are born into a royal family and we don't have a choice - however they have a choice on whether to remain royals or not. But what they also brought up, which I've never really thought about, is that they are not allowed to change their religion. Ignoring family constraints for a minute; they are the only people in Sweden who do not have this freedom. Isn't that awful? To be able to change their religion they'd have to abdicate their royalty (or whatever the terminology might be!)

And it's not about the religions themselves, it's the lack of freedom to choose for yourself, to follow your own heart. I wonder if they'd be allowed to be gay and on the throne?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Who the heck is Kenneth Williams?

Last week we went over to some friends and had yummy dinner (and raspberry-amaretti cake!) and we played some games. One of them was Cranium (I think?). I don't know if you know it, but basically it's a board game where there are 4 categories of activities. So, questions, performance, words and creative. Basically. For one of my performances I got the 'copycat' card - where you have to act as a famous person and your team mates have to guess who you are.

Of course, I got someone I've never heard of. Oh, I've heard of the Carry on films. I've even heard the catchphrase 'oh matron' (which a quick google suggests to me is not actually uttered in any of the films?). But I'd no way of connecting either of these to the esteemed Kenneth Williams.

What I'm actually trying to get at is slightly deeper than failing to impersonate Mr Williams. It's this fear as a foreigner of not being fully immersed in the culture of the country you're in. Sure, I've been here nearly 7 years and I'm not hopeless with the cultural references and jokes. But every so often something comes up and you have a choice. You either laugh along, because you really can't be arsed with option 2: asking what the reference is.

Option 2 usually results in one of two things, if you're lucky someone will quickly and quietly explain. If you're unlucky - which seems to happen more often than you'd like it to - you will get the whole group (or someone in the group) making a big deal out of you not knowing. 'Oh, you won't know who that is, will you Julia...' 'Oh, that won't make any sense to you... or did you have XYZ in Sweden??'. (funny how these things are always prefixed with 'oh.' I'm sensing a theme here...)

Now I don't mind it really. Not with friends at any rate. And the Kenneth Williams thing was just funny (and as soon as 'oh matron' was mentioned I made the connection). But it's the way some people have of making you feel stupid for not getting a reference. In fact, I find the same with age things - if I don't get a reference due to my age rather than not having lived here my whole life, I seem to get the same reaction.

Of course I'm not saying I want this exchange of cultures to stop. And obviously I'm exaggerating - it's not a big deal 96% of the time. But I do worry that people - including me?? - will be doing it to Mike when the poor lad moves to Sweden. If I do, you have my permission to slap me across the face with a fish. (yes, we did have that one in Sweden.)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Question time.

Borrowed from Min Karusell.

1. Pick up the nearest book, page 18, row 4:
'tre  three      ni vill väl   I suppose you'

2. Reach as far to the left as you can. What are you touching?

3. What did you last watch on TV?
My name is Earl.

4. Without looking, guess what time it is.
About 8?

5. Apart from your computer, what can you hear right now?
Vehicles outside. IT crowd.

6. When were you last outside and what did you do then?
Biked homewards...

7. What were you looking at before writing this?
The TV...

8. What are you wearing?
Clothes, mostly.

9. Did you dream anything last night? If so - what?
I can't remember...

10. When did you last laugh?
Earlier this evening when Mike tried to put me on the floor.

11. What's on the walls in the room you're in now?
Big mirror, some lamps, clock, frame with a few photos.

12. Have you seen anything strange lately?
Does the IT crowd count?

13. What do you think of this challenge?
Not very challenging.

14. Which was the last film you watched?
Get him to the Greek. Now that was a mistake!!

15. If you became a multi-millionaire, what would you buy?
A big house where we both could live.

16. Tell us something about yourself that people don't know.
I'm terrified of driving. Ok so people may know that one...

17. If you could change ONE thing in the world, without having to care about politics or guilt, what would that be?
I would open up all borders and stop making it so bloody difficult for people to move around and feel welcome.

18. Do you like dancing?
I most certainly do - though I don't do it very often...

19. George Bush?
Yes. No? What about him?

20-21. What would you call your children?
Starship and Sodapop.

22. Would you ever live abroad?
I would. I do.

23. What do you want God to say when you go to heaven?
'Welcome! I've been looking forward to you moving in.'

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Summer fun.

It's almost summer. I've got Summer Lovin' stuck in my head and that's quite nice.

On Thursday I'm going home, just for the weekend. But am quite excited to see people. And to spend a day with my sister. And to see her new flat!