I met a Swedish girl in a Dublin pub in 1995
Imet a Swedish girl in a Dublin pub in 1995. What I knew about Sweden back then you could have scribbled on the back of an Abba stamp. Nevertheless, two years later I found myself stepping off a plane in Stockholm, blinking in dazzling sunlight, vaguely surprised to find myself not on a reindeer-specked tundra but in a modern city where I would end up staying forever.
I kick this story off with the why and the how because the question you are most asked by people here is a hesitant: “But . . . why would you come to Sweden?” After two decades in Stockholm my standard answer is: “Well, why wouldn’t you?”
I like Stockholm. It’s modern and old fashioned and gorgeous and odd and functional and quirky and hot when it’s hot and freezing when it’s cold. Stockholmers have a reputation for being rude, but it’s more that people here give each other space, a trait I admire. Nobody will probe into your business, but if you want your business probed into it can definitely be arranged. Give a Swede a drink, for example, and they’ll talk about anything, often for way longer than is necessary.
I taught English when I arrived. After a couple of years I ended up at a company that made computer games for children. (Thanks, Mum and Dad, for getting me that computer back in the 1980s.) I’m not at the same company now, but I’m still in comput-
Paddy Kelly: I met a Swedish girl in a Dublin pub in 1995. Now I live in Stockholm and have a grown son