Dealing with suitcases and assholes

This post is a rant.

I bought a new suitcase from Costco in January. It’s their newest Kirkland Signature (private Costco brand) suitcase, one in a 26″ size.  I have used their suitcases for the last 8 years (I think) and have never had a problem.  I took the suitcase on its first maiden flight back to Stockholm via Munich and it lost a wheel on its way.  Unbelievable, especially for a Costco product.

I filed a complaint with Lufthansa. They called me on Monday, January 16 and told me that in order to reimburse me for the product, they would have to have a statement from a luggage repair store with the repair estimate.  If the bag can’t be fixed, they need a statement saying that too.

It’s not every day someone goes to a luggage repair shop, so I asked them for a referral. They said that they’ve had good luck with a store called Asplunds Väskservice.  I looked them up and one of their stores was on Kungsholmen.  I made my way there today at lunchtime.

As I entered the store, I was shocked at how cramped and messy it was. There were suitcases EVERYWHERE.  It looked like the store had never sold a single suitcase.  The guy, presumably the owner, asked me what I wanted and I told him I needed a repair estimate.

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A broken nose and 350 SEK poorer

Remember how I was raving about innebandy?  I still love the sport, and I’m finally getting a bit better at it.  What’s so difficult about running around a gym with a plastic club and a wiffle ball, right?

The last time I played – about a week ago – I broke my nose.  Or rather, my friend Josh did. I ran up behind him to get the ball, and he swung around and his elbow met my nose.  It wasn’t his fault – he didn’t know I was there.  But “crunch,” “pop,” and *boom* I was down on the floor.  It was a pretty solid hit.  As I lay on the ground, I felt like the insides of my nose were running out.

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Bathroom stalls

I love Swedish bathroom stalls.  They’re clean, private, and most of them even have their own sinks.

I was recently on a business trip to New York.  It was a good trip and I got to meet a client who I will enjoy working with.  But something weird happened.  I walked into a bathroom stall and suddenly felt exposed. There was nothing wrong with the bathroom at all, I just wasn’t used to it anymore.

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A weekend in Falkenberg

I recently watched a film called Sunes Sommar.  It’s a film from 1993 about a Swedish family going on their summer vacation.  Sune is the middle boy in this family, probably about 12 years old.  Most of the film is spent in a typical Swedish summer town filled with RVs and campers.  The family sets up their “husvagn” (towable caravan) in the campsite.  The rest of the movie is about what the family does while they’re on their vacation: play tennis, lie on the beach, play card games with the family, etc.  The dad is a goof so there’s a lot of slapstick humor about the stupid things he gets himself into.  They also manage to squeeze some romance into the film, focusing on Sune’s love interest.

After watching this film, I understood immediately that the movie depicted a truly Swedish summer.  Spending time with family and friends out in nature doing, well, nothing, really.  Yes, some families might travel around the world or go to Spain, Greece, or Italy for a week or two, but when they’re not doing that, they spend their summers pretty much like what I saw in the movie.Read More »A weekend in Falkenberg

Swedish summers

I’m on my summer vacation and will be for the next few weeks.  Wow, that still feels strange saying it… but I have to say, I love it.

Swedes go through a miserable winter every year and are thereby rewarded by an amazing summer.  This summer has been pretty “lagom” – not too hot and not too cold, a little rain and a little cloudy.  It’s already starting to get darker every day – after midsummer, we start losing sunlight and it is remarkable how quickly you notice.  The sun is still up by 4 and doesn’t set until 9:30 but in just a few more days, we’ll have lost 25 minutes of sunlight.  And the days will only get shorter…Read More »Swedish summers

Trash, Recycling, and Maintaining Order

Swedes are very proud of the fact that they are one of the most environmentally-friendly countries in the world.  Generally, I agree – and this is coming from someone who has lived in the California Bay Area.  Bay Area residents have been recycling for decades, and those of us who live in the San Francisco and Berkeley areas know that the local City Councils are extremely supportive of recycling and other environmental issues.  Did you know, for example, that grocery stores in San Francisco do not allow the use of plastic bags?  They only give out paper bags or sell the reusable grocery bags.  The picture featured on this blog are of two containers that are provided to every family: a recycling container and a compost container.

In Sweden, we have recycling centers, everyone promotes lower electrical use, taxi companies have a large fleet of environmentally-friendly cars, we get to use a fantastic public transportation system (at least in Stockholm), and most important of all, everyone understands the importance of doing their part for the environment.

But this comes at a price.Read More »Trash, Recycling, and Maintaining Order

Do Americans Dream of Swedish Sheep?

I recently posted an entry about how Swedes speak amazing English. I thought I’d post a follow-up on learning Swedish and how it’s impacted me.

First of all, I’ve been here 3,5 years now. I took lessons sporadically for about 2 of those years – my work paid for a private tutor who’d come to the office and teach me for an hour and a half roughly every week. Of course, the nature of my work meant that sometimes I’d have unavoidable client meetings or I’d be travelling somewhere, so I’d have to schedule for when it was convenient.

I am finally at a level where I can understand most conversations if I’m paying attention – at least the context of the conversation. I can speak reasonably well too (at least I think so) and I’m doing my best to write it also.Read More »Do Americans Dream of Swedish Sheep?

Innebandy – my new hobby

Do you remember going to gym class as a kid, all excited about what activity the teacher was going to make everyone do next?  It was always fun for me, especially if it was something that I was reasonably good at, like badminton.  The gym teacher always made sure the sport was something that everyone could participate in, no matter how tall, short, fat, skinny, or uncoordinated you were.  Equal opportunity sports.

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