Kenneth Chen

Why so serious?

Does anyone remember that line from The Joker on Batman: The Dark Knight?  “Why so serious?  Let’s put a smile on that face!”

I’ve lived in Sweden for over three years now and have used public transportation for all that time.  I don’t own a car (I’ll have to blog about that some other time) so I buy a monthly SL-pass to get to work and around town.  Although it’s a pretty simply journey to my office, I like to alternate routes sometimes just to keep it fresh.  It’s nice to ride the bus since you get to look around the streets, and it’s nice to ride the tunnelbana since you can keep dry and warm during the winter months.

But why is everyone so damn quiet?  There is absolutely no chit chat on the bus (with the exception of the occasional person on their phone). Everyone looks like they are on their way to a funeral.  I’m guilty of this too – I think the “Swedish calm” (or whatever you want to call it) has rubbed off on me over the years.  I get on the subway or the bus, I either stand or pick a seat, and I stare off into space.  I don’t smile, I don’t greet anyone, and the only thing I might say is “ursäkta” when I need the person next to me to move so I can get off the bus.Read More »Why so serious?

It’s sunny today. Solen skiner.

Hej!

Well, after posting my first entry, I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful it was outside.  Yes, it’s November and the sky is as blue as could be.  That is not usual for November; in 2009 we had something like 17 hours of total sunlight in the month of November.  We know November as the “dark month” in Sweden.

This utterly depressing fact means that Swedes appreciate any shred of sunlight that they can get their skin on.Read More »It’s sunny today. Solen skiner.