Saturday, October 17, 2009

Toilet Humour. In Sweden.

Permit me to be crass or vulgar for a few moments. Now, if you're reading this and you're Swedish, well you may not see this post as either.

Now "apparently" here in Sweden, it's perfectly fine to make the business you have going on in the bathroom public knowledge. It's ok to announce exactly what you plan on doing when you head on over to the toilet. And if you have a raging case of diarrhea, feel free to let your co-workers in on the frequency and consistency.

Was having a discussion on all that is the washroom with my Swedish teacher, who happens to be from Armenia. Not exactly sure how we got on the subject but there we were. Now in Armenia, if you need to "go", you never actually use the words "toilet", "washroom" or "bathroom". Even if you're a young student in class and need to be excused to take care of your business, you just ask the teacher if you can leave the class. Noone questions your destination. You could be going anywhere really, to meet up with your bf for a makeout session, grab a quick ciggie with your friends or home for a nap. But it is assumed that if you're asking to "go", it means, well, you're on your way to the bathroom for a #1 or a #2.

Uttering any such word associated with what comes out of your body is taboo.

Where I'm from, we DO indeed say the words "bathroom" or "washroom" or not-so-frequently "toilet" when we need to go. We're a bit more specific on that front.

But I cannot imagine an occassion where I turn to my co-worker in the middle of frying up some burgers and exclaim matter-of-factly, "Gotta run and take a dump. Cover my station for me? Be back in 5 or 10 depending on how hard I have to push and how intriguing my reading material is."

Apparently that's the way it is here in Sweden though. My appalled Armenian friend, a real classy young lady btw, explained to me that her co-workers, whom she is not particularly close with, frequently update her on their bathroom habits. They didn't share a womb, don't necessarily share the same social circle and have really only known each other for a year or so. But, "Dominika, can you run this sushi platter over to table 4 so I can take a shit? That's the last time I'm mixing a litre of Absolut with Tomato Juice."


Another expat girlfriend recently told me her boss called in sick the other day. "I have diarrhea so bad I've been on the toilet all night." Let's give her the benefit of the doubt here. Maybe she was really playing hooky. You know when you're pretending to be sick, you always give WAY too much detail about your illness in an always failed and exagerrated attempt to convince your boss and others that you really are sick? Never works.

But c'mon people, who goes THAT far?

Well, by all of two accounts so far, the Swedes do. Fellow Swedes, am I right here? Can we extrapolate these two isolated incidences to a national epidemic? And if so, what the hell? Keep your shit to yourself. Pun intended. :-)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thanksgiving in Canada

Well, we're not in Canada. We're in Sweden. Another holiday passing without the comfort and craziness of being surrounded by those we love. And this is also the first holiday in a long time without our dear Tanja (little man's Montenegrin Nanny). So, just me, the boy and Dada and an 8lb turkey. I've always had a turkey mentor close to me on such special occasions. But this time, it was me on my own with the big bird.

It went well. The bird was great. All the side dishes perfectly timed. I am the champion my friends. We stuffed ourselves and now, it's over.

For over three years now, with the exception of being home for the holidays on a few occasions, we've celebrated our traditional holidays in other countries. And this is the first time we were truly alone. It was nice and it was sad. Thank God for Skype though.

And speaking of being thankful, here's my list of things to be thankful for. Of course I'm thankful for the usual: health, happiness, husband, child, parents/extended family, roof over head, food, etc. so here's a list of stuff I'm thankful for lately.
1. Thanks to the makers of Play Doh for inventing a product that is forcing me to create bad interpretations of a Stegasaurus, a turtle, a tiger, a shark and...repeat. Oh and also, big thanks for that distinct play-doh odour.
2. Thanks to my brain for finally realizing that the little guy's bad potty aim was a direct result of him standing on a bench to pee. Removal of bench = pee IN toilet.
3. Thanks to the neighbour lady for letting me crash my son's first official playdate with her daughter. She actually thought I was leaving..bahahahahahhaaha.
4. Thanks to my husband for being creative and making Play Doh creatures that actually resemble the real thing!
5. Thanks for living in a country where a clothes dryer and a dish washer are staple appliances. I challenge ALL you friends in developed countries to live without either of them for over two years. It CAN be done, but it's not pretty.
6. Thanks to all the North Americans in Sweden who overhear me speaking English and immediately begin chatting up a storm.
7. Thanks to the lady I cornered in the grocery store today for a) not freaking out because a random stranger was speaking to her, and in English and b) for being 100% sure that the box she pointed out to frantic me was indeed cornstarch. FYI: It was NOT.
8. Thanks Swedish businesses for booking appointments for me. "You have an appointment for your winter tire change at X o'clock on X date." "Your child has a dentist appointment at...." I seriously love this. I always leave these things to the last minute anyway. Swedes are so bloody efficient.
9. Thanks to all those wonderful law breakers who post free streams to my favourite TV shows.
10. Thanks to me for remembering to pack that little liquid strainer thingy from Montenegro. Otherwise, we would have had gravy flavoured with turkey bits and clumpy flour.

What are you thankful for lately?