Right now, Swedish popular culture is euphoric because Sweden won Eurovision – the awkward, politically-charged annual music Olympics – with Loreen and her song ‘Euphoria.’ If you’re not familiar with Eurovision, it’s probably because you’re American and we’re not invited. But more Americans are catching on. Click HERE for an excellent blog post about it that someone else wrote.
But that’s not the Swedish musical moment that’s been on my mind. A few weeks ago, Karl was playing a song on his guitar, singing along in Swedish and I thought ‘Hmm that sounds familiar’ as the lyrics fell from my mouth, line by line in English. and they came out of their houses. and they looked around. but they didn’t see no one.
Karl was playing an Ani Difranco song. An Ani Difranco song. In Swedish. Granted, Karl and I share musical tastes, for the most part, but I never pegged him as a fan of the Righteous Babe herself. I walked over to my computer, pulled up ‘Tis of Thee’ in iTunes and said ‘That song sounds a lot like this one.’ Karl explained it was ‘Du Gamla Fria Nord’ by Swedish musician Lars Winnerbäck and that he knew it was a cover, but hadn’t heard the original.
And that, my friends, is the stuff that makes life beautiful – how much serendipity can surprise, bless, shake and teach you.
Corny, but true – Ani Difranco helped shape me and gave me much needed strength through the turbulence of teenagedom. I’ve seen her 10+ times and nearly passed out at the sight of seeing her once at the New Orleans airport. I own all 17 of her studio albums. Needless to say, I’m a fan. So when I found out that one of Sweden’s most popular singer songwriters covers two of her songs, I was floored. I thought I was pretty well informed when it came to all things Ani. Consider reality checked, mind blown, etc. It’s the same surprised feeling as when Karl spotted a guy at a Home Depot-type store wearing a purple LSU sweatshirt. Or when you find out your name is on some random Swedish music dude’s blog because of an article you wrote about rapper/former classmate/non-murderer(?) Lil Boosie. (HERE in English. HERE in Swedish.) WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON IN THIS PLACE?? HOW IS THIS HAPPENING?
What else is happening? Well, I’m in residence permit limbo! I thought I’d have permanent residence by now, but according to rules not explained anywhere on the Migration website, one must have a temporary permit for two years before they are eligible for permanent residence. Guess who was about two months short? Yep. So I had to pay $150 bucks again, get the world’s shortest two-month temporary permit, reapply and will be interviewed again in July. But July, you’re realizing, is the month 99.9% of Sweden doesn’t work. Yep. Sucks, right? Luckily my caseworker isn’t going on vacation until August and agreed to see me in July. So everyone cross fingers (or if you’re Swedish, hold your thumbs) that the kind woman doesn’t get hit by a bus.
And since permit limbo means I’m not sure when I’ll get my new permit, Karl and I cancelled the week of vacation we were planning in July. To compensate, we got the fuck out of here and had a weekend in Malta. What’s a Malta? It’s a tiny island neighbor of Sicily that has a rich history, strong dedication to Jesus, devastatingly blue water and draws thousands of language tourists who visit to learn English since Malta was once a British colony. The food was terrible (what restaurant thinks they can get away with serving long grain parboiled rice in a risotto??), it was a bit chilly and overcast one day and navigating the island’s lack of informational traffic signs was a nightmare, but overall it was a lovely place. I recommend it to anyone who’s ever in the area. Plus, well, they filmed bits of Game of Thrones there, which is badass. Click here to read about some of the Malta scenes in the show (brief nudity in the video, fyi, if you’re not aware that GoT is sextastic).
In other news, life is life and I hope you’re well. It’s June and I still have to wear a jacket outside. It makes me really, really cranky.
Click me in uhhh-what-are-we-doing-up-here-i-dont-wanna-die-young mode for the photo slideshow of Malta. Don’t forget the ‘show info’ button. Whee!