Life continues in Sweden. I am doing by best to catch up in Swedish class, since my group is set to take the C level exam at the end of this month, and I have been watching the news and reading articles as much as I can stomach. Which is how I came upon the happy news that the Nordiska Museet (Nordic Museum) in Stockholm is doing an exhibition on laundry rooms. This might not sound like the thrill of a lifetime, but it is pretty damned amusing because Swedes Take Laundry Seriously. If you live in any sort of shared building, as 42% percent of the country does, then you know the joys of the tvättstuga. This shared washing room must be booked in advance and any violation of the tvättstuga rules will land you in hot water with your neighbors. Forgot your laundry in the machine? Went over your time by twenty minutes? Left lint on the floor? Well, you might just be the lucky recepient of a lapp, a scrap of paper with an angry note left on it. They are showing a collection of them at the museum and since I won’t likely be making the trip down to Stockholm any time soon, I satisfied myself with a quick google image search. Here are a couple of examples with my bad translations (could be wrong — I’ve only been studying for three weeks, after all).
You who took my washing time, move out!
If Britta P. reads the rules maybe she can learn to book one slot at a time!
Why are you doing your washing at my time, 1700 on June 22?
Can you not read? Remove your laundry by 1745
Note! The clothes on the floor are not mine. My clothes are only those in the drying closet. Because you had not come by 1500, I started the machine to dry my clothes and dried my clothes until 1600. Then I left the door unlocked. Next time grow some balls and open the door. I would like to talk to you about what is going on.
Bloody steal my time, will you! There was one time booked all day (MINE!) and still you have to take it?
Because I had to stop and empty your machines I will take an extra 30 minutes in the drying closet and the drying machine.
Haha, angry Swedes. So far we haven’t received any angry notes in our building, thank goodness. We’ve been doing our best to follow the rules. Otherwise, life continues. It’s been snowing a lot more again–but it never sticks. Been pursuing job opportunities and watching others slip away. I’ve avoided mentioning it but I got the opportunity to do a translation trial for a company that I’ve dreamed of working for since I was in high school. I did not ace it. I did not even squeak by. No, I bunged it up well and good. I moped around for a few days and finally let myself just cry about it, and since then I’ve been slowly getting over it. Perhaps I can try again in a year or two, when the horrible details of my oh-so-less-than-stellar translation may have faded from their memories.
I never want to admit how much something means to me because that just opens the door to pain and loss and ridicule, but every now and then, I have to swallow my pride and admit that I really do care about something. I really wanted that job. It was one of the few dreams that I have had in my life. I’m not the sort of person who has always had some dream, like “I want to be a doctor” or “I want to fight for justice” or whatever. Sure, when I was a little kid, I wanted to be veterinarian (I’d read every James Herriot book by the time I was ten) but then developing allergies to cats, dogs, horses, and birds and five years of unsuccessful allergy shots put a stop to that. Then when I was a student, I thought I wanted to work in publishing. I really would have liked to design book covers because–say what you will–people do judge a book by its cover. It would have combined my love of reading, books, art, and design. But I never trusted that I could be successful in art and I figured I would have to give up on my dream of working in publishing because I was never going to live in New York or even London. Now the only two dreams that I still have are to write my own books and to translate the stories that I love, and I have always kept these two dreams clutched secretively to my breast, never talking about them to anyone. But I do hope that I’ll be able to accomplish even one of them someday and so it is time that I start openly pursuing them if I want to give them my all.
My best friend just had her first child. Yes, she has simply done something that most humans in history have, but at the same time she has created something that no one else ever could have. I just have to keep reminding myself that losing one dream is not the end of everything. Some things are still just beginning.