Saturday, May 13, 2006

Everything in America is bigger...

...except for the baby buggies.

Since Swedes seem to like to take their babies everywhere (including academic lectures), and because babies need so much stuff, it is necessary for Swedish "barnvagnar" to be large enough to transport small elephants.** Inevitably, barnvagnar take up a lot of room, oftentimes the space right in the middle of the sidewalk.

Getting off the bus today:

"Why do they always have to adjust their children right in the middle of where everyone needs to walk?"

(And by "everyone," he meant "we.")

"If you had children, you would probably need to adjust them too."

"Yes, if I had them, I would probably adjust my children a lot, but I would do it to the side, out of everyone's way."

"Because it is, after all, very important to have well-adjusted children."

"Oh my God, you're turning into me."

Let the bad jokes go on.

**In the U.S., it's a fairly common practice to leave the small elephant at home with the babysitter.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Very taxing indeed

After experiencing what is by far the most bureaucracy I've ever dealt with as a foreigner in Sweden in the form of Migrationsverket (the Swedish Immigration Agency) I find it rather ironic that completing one of the more onerous paperwork tasks EVER can be as simple as sending an SMS. Of course, I shouldn’t be all that surprised, as taxation is one of the things Sweden does very well. In fact, the country comes in at number one. According to the OECD, the tax burden is over 50% of GPD (2003). But somehow, I think that promoting the Swedish Bikini Team makes a better tourist gimmick than advertising that your country wins the "gold medal for highest tax burden in the world."