Day 20 — Another Swedish Institution

Today, we sent in my application for a course that teaches immigrants Swedish to help them integrate with their new culture. I am told that students even receive a small stipend for attending in addition to the course being free. As a corollary, a person at the folkuniversitetet, which is the adult education program as far as I understand, is interested in me becoming an English teacher. Even though my command of Swedish extends no farther than “Pardon me, but I understand very little Swedish. Can you speak English?” (to which everyone replies, “Ja, sure.”), they want native English speakers only to teach English to Swedes interested in improving their command of the language. So, we will see if and how that pans out. Mariette told me that the woman was quite interested.

One of the curious aspects of Sweden to an American is the phenomenon called Ållsong. Any time a group of Swedes gathers of any size at all, there is a good chance that singing will break out. Nightly during the summer, thousands of Swedes gather at an outdoor amphitheater in this wonderful recreation of 18th Century Swedish life called Skansen for a couple hours of singalong entertainment. An hour of this is broadcast nationally from Stockholm and Lord knows how many people watch it. People of all ages, but particularly young people, fill the amphitheater and sing along with an assortment of Swedish pop singers, folk singers and entertainers. It is hard to fathom your standard disaffected American youth getting behind something so wonderfully corny as a several thousand strong sing along, but there they are every night rocking out with their parents and grandparents. I am beginning to think that this–there’s no other word for it–cornball institution is perhaps the best reflection of the workability of the Swedish system. Literally everyone there is happy and they are singing. It has to be seen to be believed.

Another Swedish institution is the tiny cottage on the seashore for the  family summer holiday. Here are some from a walk I took last evening.

You can see that some of these “stugas” are truly dinky.

The sun came out today and the water was like glass.

Then Mariette took  her camera and we biked out to Tylösand, the main tourist beach in the area for some shots at sunset.

Tomorrow is supposed to be warm and sunny, so Tylösand should be packed.


6 thoughts on “Day 20 — Another Swedish Institution

  1. I can believe the cornball mass sing-alongs. I saw a documentary a few years ago about the central position singing has in Eastonia, just across the Baltic Sea from Sweden. In 2004, 34,000 people participated in their national song festival before an audience of 200,000. This in a country with a population of 1.3 million. You probably don’t remember more innocent times when going to a movie, there would be sing-alongs with the lyrics on the screen and a ball that would bounce over the words in time to the music. ” Yo WTF man, that sucks homie.”

  2. This sing-along phenom is amazing! Last time I remember doing that and being glad at heart to sing along was riding a school bus with a bunch of other kids in MN, on our way to summer swimming lessons! “Great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts, ……..” hey! everybody sing along!

    Hey Dan, those little cabins look to be 50 sq. ft. at best. ARe there little cooking facilities in them too? Twin beds? Full beds? Very interesting!

    Just started reading your blog yesterday so am catching up, having started at Day One!


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