Hi, and welcome to my blog, My Life As a Swede. Less then two weeks now, until I arrive in Gothenburg. At this stage I feel a mixture of excitement and anxiety about moving to Sweden. Excited by the prospect of living in a new country, and all the opportunities it presents. But also anxious about the uncertainty ahead, and how/if it will all work out. In the short term, my biggest challenge will be getting work. From all accounts, the Swedish job market can be difficult at the best of times, and will only be compounded by my lack of Swedish.
So of late I’ve spent much of my spare time coming up with creative ways for supporting myself in one of the world’s most expensive countries. Below is a list of possibilities.
1. Crown Prince
To date the most successful antipodean in Scandinavia is easily Princess Mary of Denmark. By getting herself hitched to the Crown Prince, she has become an ‘inspiration’ and ‘role-model’ in the eyes of many. Without doing a day’s work, she has set herself up for a life of extraordinary privilege and obscene wealth.
She is certainly an inspiration for me, and I could do no worse then follow in her footsteps by marrying into a royal family. Conveniently enough, the heir to the Swedish throne just happens to be the young unattached Princess Victoria. To date the 29 year-old is still looking for Mr Right.
2. Furniture Designer
Thanks to Ikea, Sweden is synonymous with cheap designer furniture. Like French chiefs, Italian sports cars and Brazilian footballers, nationality immediately equates to a perception of excellence. Perhaps moving to Sweden is my opportunity to start a designer furniture business? To capture the image-conscience yuppie market, I could change my name to Nik Tøunsen, and give all my designs fancy Scandinavian names, with lots of å and ø.
On the surface, my lack of design skills might make my furniture look crude and primitive. But I prefer to label the process as stripping away the destructive forces of excessive materialism and superfluous extravagance, and getting back to a basic functional minimalism. Complicated instructions could hide my shoddy designs. What’s that, your Kønå coffee table has collapsed? We’ll obviously you didn’t put it together properly. Nothing to do with my craftsmanship, I’m a creative genius.
3. Crime Writer.
Swedes love their crime writers. Henning Mankell, Kerstin Ekman, Ake Edwardson, Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, to name but a few. In fact Sweden has the highest population of crime writers per capita (possibly?). Despite exceptionally high living standards, few social problems, and one of the lowest crime rates in the world, Sweden seems to be a popular setting for gritty gruesome crime thrillers.
Maybe it’s the absence of crime that causes this proliferation of crime writers? Why else would a nation that has been free of warfare and social upheaval for generations, find violence such a curious novelty? Or maybe Swedes are sick of their goody-goody image, and enjoy novels that can convince them that towns in rural Sweden are on par with South Central Los Angeles?
I'd like to explore the niche market for True Crime: Novels about criminals and major crimes that have actually taken place in Sweden. Such as Lars Lindqvist's unpaid library fine, Jonas Larsson the jaywalker, as well as the notorious cartel of school kids and their stolen sweets. It’s the real Sweden, like you’ve never seen it before. Behind the squeaky-clean wholesome image discover ...the squeaky-clean wholesome reality. Forget it Jake, it’s Swede-town.