Thursday, June 20, 2013

daily doings- misery and magic!

Well, the jobapplication at IKEA did not work out. Even with my experiences I was "not qualified". The  reason why was not given, even after I asked directly. I have to admit that that hit me quite hard! 
What the hell do I need to be qualified and to get a job around here????

Disillusioned and downhearted I went to one of the local secondhandshops 2 days later to see if I could find some things we still need and when I came in, there was this book, staring me right in the face.  I do not believe in coincedences, but how big are the odds that exactly this book appeared there at this time???
I read it in 4 days (which, given my still fairly limited knowledge of the language, was laborious) and many things fell into place. I was so focussed on getting a job, that I was willing to neglect my own principles, beliefs and feelings. This book reminded me of the things I had learned in my previous years there and explained many more. I was again about to start working for a company that stands for everything I detest today; consumersociety in a huge way!! The relentless buying-, selling- and consumingmachinery.
So this rejection might actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise.... It will not require a complete disregard of everything I believe in and stand for, but on the other hand is the pressure building and my selfesteem and good faith are suffering. By the way; people with an interest in this company, either as employees or as customers, should read this book. I wholeheartedly recommend it! To me it made it clear I'll never work there again.....

But enough of the dooming, glooming, complaining and selfpity.... There are a lot of good things happening to! At that same visit I also found a good 75cm of reindeerantler for a giveawayprice; 5sek! That'll give me a good handfull of buttons, some pieces for knivehandles or other projects!

We get to see a lot of wildlife these days. For instance last week, as I was chatting with the weekend woodsman a male deer paraded by the kitchenwindow. A large (for a deer) reddishbrown, healthy 6-pointer. We also regularly see an ormvråk being bullied by a couple of ravens and magpies at the same time! And if he is unlucky, some gulls will take over from them. What a stressed out bird of prey that must be! Last week, as we sat on the steps in front of frontdoor we saw one of the foxes running by, gracefully hopping from one rock to the next with a bundle of black dangling in its mouth. We see plenty of hares (I am always amazed at their size!) running around the yard and horsemeadow and another smaller, but more beefy and furry, fox too. Many birdcouples have chosen to nest in the nesthouses all through our garden and they are busy too.

I also had my final scoutcamp. Even allthough I allready announced my leave as a scoutleader, I had promissed to participate earlier and offcourse I kept that promiss. At first I had said yes to going along from saturdaymorning untill sundayevening, because someone had to take care of our youngest daughter, while my wife would be working. I also agreed to take one of the other assistants to give her a ride home that evening. As it turned out later there was no need for me to drive home on sunday. My wife was diagnosed with probable rheumatic arthritis in her hands, so she's home on sickleave now and the assistant found a summerjob, so wasn't coming to camp. The weatherforecast said good and sunny weather on saturday, a downright miserable and wet sunday and mixed weather on monday and tuesday, but with plenty of rain.
We did get rain, but not nearly as much as forecasted and mainly at night or in the early morning.
I had some wonderfull experiences and lessons, but during the weekend the reasons for me quiting became painfully clear again, so I did end up driving home on sundaynight..... and not alone. Seperately from my decision, my son had had enough and wanted to go home. Even after he told me this and I told him to think it over, he remained 100% sure... And pretty much for the same reasons. The cultural differences regarding religion, attitude and the total lack of real, outdoorsy scoutingactivities are too profound.
I mentioned there were good things too, didn't I? Well, we slept in tipis, the "real" ones, with long seperate poles, raincover on poles and all... And we had to erect them ourselves! That was quite an event and offcourse it didn't all go well at first. We ended up erecting them 5 times.... for 2 tipis. The first and larger one, went up without a problem, but the second and smaller one proved to be trickier. It is not as easy as it looks and requires some sound judgement on where to put the poles, how to tie the cloth to them, but above all where and when! We had to redo that one 4 times....
I got to understand the benefits and drawbacks of this kind of shelter. I see how it would be a great way to stay in one place for a while, while living in it. There is plenty of room to sleep and cook, the design would lead the smoke up and you'd be warm and cosy, even in winter. We all stayed dry, even with copious amounts of skywater. The one we slept in would easily accomodate my entire family with all necessary equipment. The drawback is the size and volume of its components. The poles are very long, at least 5 meters, and with this design, with folding, semi-rigid door, we needed 15 of them. The cloth weighed an estimated 10kg and had the size of a small dufflebag.
After that it was time to erect our living- and eatingarea. Again the expected weather meant some extra work and effort, but we did good! It all looks complicated, but is relatively easy to build..... once you know what you need to do.
I also got to try out some new things, like a grassfilled pillow.... which was not a succes. The grass compacted quickly, leaving me with an item under my head, really resembling a wooden block!
Another big plus for me was the outdoorcooking and this time for a large group; 24 strong! This included all meals, coffee, hot water... the lot. If you include all the preparations and work that needs to be done, I know understand why they used to have campcooks! It is a fulltime job.... nearly. But what fun! I just loved it! And I did not hear one, single complaint..... How 'bout that.
And tonight, as I am writing this, we introduced a new "familytradition"; the kvällsdopp or eveningdipp. 

The water is chrystalclear....
Unfortunately that reveals some of the problems this country faces too.

There is this wonderfull bathingsite at a lake very near to home. Yesterday afternoon we went there and it was a strange sensation to be swimming for the first time in more then 20 years! If the only thing you know is a manmade, fully controlled 10x25 meter, bluetiled swimmingbasin, it is a almost miraculous thing! This sense of freedom you get when being in the water, surrounded by fish, plants, trees......

And tonight that was topped by the most perfect eveningswim one can have.
The sun was out, the wind was gone..... befor we hit the water we saw a watersnake swimming under the pier and away after it spotted us. After we finished swimming, and I actually did swim and workout those muscles, we saw a couple of storlom with a chick, which we could observe from about 30-40meter away from the pier. Their majestic posture, almost simultaniously turning their heads on a lake so flat it resembled a mirror..... Sheer grace... And as we got dressed to go home, we could marvel at a large low circling ormvråk overhead. Judging by its bright colours it was still a juvenile. We were all quite excited by this abundant display of wildlife, but there was more to come. as we headed home, there was this stretch of road where we saw a large snake earlier this week. So we drove slowly and noticed an oncoming motorcyclist, slowing down and stopping at the edge of the road, bordering the lake we live near. In the water was something swimming. Something large, so I told my wife to stop and pull over. As we watched and followed the animal, it splashed, dove for a short while, came up near the shore and climbed on land. It was a beaver!!! Fantastic! (and offcourse no camera with us....) It feels as if I am on a vacation, but damn... I live here everyday!!!
And now, enjoying a handground and -made cup of coffee, while digesting some homemade rhubarbpie, served with chocolatechipped icecream and vanillawhippedcream, I can only say;"Life is good!!!"
Tomorrow we will be celebrating the traditional midsommar, heralding the arrival of summer.
I wish you all a great summer, filled with the same feeling of joy and wonder I experienced tonight!!


  1. Looks like the job market is though these days. I have allways belived good things happen to good people, so I am sure something will turn up for you.
    I can totaly relate to the scouting issue. My scouting career was about a week long at the age of 13. The religious aspect to it, and the fact that I found most of the activities stupid and contradictory, told me that this was not for me. So I quit before I had really begun. Can't say I have missed it either....
    The last year I have become an active member of the local Red Cross, and I find that very revarding. It feels good to do something for others without expecting something in return.

  2. Thanks for the confidence, Odd.
    After reading the book I realised I committed 2 mortal sins in their eyes; 1) I critisised the management at the store I worked, no matter how valid that was/is and 2) I made it perfectly clear I am no docile obidient servant. I ask questions and speak my mind when I think something's wrong.
    I guess I'll have to find something else within the community to do or to get socially active.

  3. Sometimes not getting the job is much more important than getting the job. Congratulations on not getting the job!

    1. That's a way of seeing it too, Peter. Thanks!

  4. Yeah, I guess I'd have to congratulate you on not getting the job as well. :) Just keep networking and trying, and hopefully something will come up.

    Sounds like overall you are enjoying life in Sweden. Great to hear. :) I think maybe you were born in the wrong country, but are now finally "home". ;)

    1. Thanks Matt. We think alike on that last remark!

  5. Ron, I am with the guys on that issue. I daresay you are qualified for things that are right under your nose now, and maybe you´d want to start something like a bushcraft school?

    Anyway, jag önskar dig en härligt sommar ocksa, and I believe, you have one! Don´t let those tycoons bring you down, and keep your head up!

    As for the scouts, same as above: I have never been a scout, and never wanted to become one, for there was not enough scouting involved. I mean, if I want to pray, I visit the grove or a church if I felt so inclined.

    Good writing again, thanks for a great post!

  6. No, no bushcraftschool. For one I lack certain skills. I also do not posess the right legal qualifications either.

    Glad you enjoyed the post, even if there's not much woodsmanship in it.