30 May 2003 - Somewhere between Stockholm and
Malmo, en route to Copenhagen
So Far, So Swede

Well, Mama left me yesterday to fly back to KL via a short stopover in London, leaving me to fend for myself in Stockholm. Well, it's not that there's much to defend myself against. Swedes are generally nice people who speak good English and say "Hej" a lot. If you're wondering, the 'j' is a 'y' sound, so it's "hey" or "hi".

Mama thinks that "hej" is interchangable for "hello", "what's up?" and "good bye", although I disagree with the last one. If there are any Swedes out there who can clarify this matter, it would be very much appreciated.

Anyway, they almost always say this, certainly when you enter a shop or when you want to ask for something, and even if you happen to be sitting down on a bus next to them. It certainly makes your day when you get a bright smile and a jolly "hej" from a pretty face first thing in the morning.

However, you can sometimes see people getting impatient under that veneer of politeness, so I wonder exactly how far you can stretch them before they explode on you. Unfortunately, I am now leaving the country, so I am not going to be able to indulge in a bit of Swede baiting to find out.


posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - permalink
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