Saturday, December 31, 2011

The day before New Year's Eve

The day before New Year's Eve
people tend to take it easy to be ready for the party of the following day.

Not many folks have realized it's better to party the day before, to avoid the disappointment caused by big expectations.

Take Dublin for instance: never mind December 30th is a Friday, very few people are around; not even on a regular Monday you see Temple Bar so empty...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas in Roma

Christmas in Roma

is not so different from the rest of the world.

It's Roma that is different from the rest of the world....

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Is Sweden racist for real?

"We Swedes have to come face to face to the fact that we are super racist!" my friend Kåre told me after a few weeks from my arrival in Sweden.

Kåre's words might have some point.

Racism exists even in Sweden (but the Swedes are not so aware of it).

Any foreigner who lives in Sweden for a while (Erasmus students don't count) notices a certain attitude.

What does that mean?

I need to be clear about the meaning of my statement, otherwise I could get the same reaction the average Swede has when I tell them this (without any insulting attitude): they look at me as if I had said that Albania is the strongest national football team in the world, they get astonished.

Then they add: "But we Swedes give political asylum to every Iranian or Iraqi who applies for that; we give them a job, an accommodation to live, everything they need to live in a decent way"

That's true.

It's also true that many men and women have relationships with people from other countries; I could quote many positive aspects of Swedish people which make them among the best citizens in the world.

But it's a matter of fact that if you live in Sweden you are never taken too seriously, simply because you come from a different culture, which is perceived not as good as the Swedish one; if you apply for a serious job you'll get it only if there's no Swede who can do that job at all (but that happens almost in every country).

Here is one of the examples I could provide: a friend of mine got a very good job for a Swedish IT consultancy company which worked with the Italian market; my friend was hired at the very last, after they tried employing some Swedes who spoke a bit of Italian; the problem was these Swedes could not really understand the Italians on the phone, so the company in the end they had to give in: "We need an Italian native speaker, otherwise we risk to lose this important client of ours for communication impossibility"

Obviously when they had to choose between hiring a native speaker of another Country or losing a big customer they had to do what they didn't plan at first.

Another non Swedish friend of mine was the best performer of his company in Stockholm, always reaching the highest targets; one day he had a chance to have a look at a work contract of a new colleague of his, who was a native Swedish girl, with no work experience: her starting salary was significantly higher than his and he could not find any explanation for that. So he started asking around what could be the reason, and his colleagues answered him "you are not Swedish..".

I know other stories of the kind.

What's my conclusion?

When the Swedes tells me that Sweden provides a foreigner many good things they are right: not many Countries can say the same thing.

But they miss to realize their unconscious attitude towards the foreigners. These things are perceived.

It's true that in Sweden people are not allowed to joke about ethnic groups, they are always politically correct speaking wise.

But facts count more than words.

Obviously what I have written here is only a generalization and not all Swedes are like that, but without generalizations 90% of speeches do not exist.

My Swedish friends don't get pissed off when I claim what they know (in the deepest part of their hart).

Because they are smart.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dublin is Cozy

After 14 months I can say that:

I did the right thing when I moved here

Ultimately Dublin is a cozy city, where you feel at home

Where you can go to a party on a Saturday night and at first you know only one person, but in a couple of hours you know everyone there, or at least the most significant ones

I may miss something from Sweden but I am happy to be here