Another Rant

I had another post planned, but this pisses me off every 5 years, so here it goes. Within the next year, I’ll have to renew two official documents; my passport and my driver’s license. The driver’s license is pretty straightforward for being in the EU – since I’m from an EU country, and live in (another) EU country, I have to exchange my expiring one for one from the country I live in. This bureaucratic little exercise can even be completed in evenings, as long as I make an appointment in good enough time, and will cost me something like € 40.

Then there’s the passport. I sigh just typing this.
If you live in Sweden and have to renew yours, all you need is a valid ID and a “birth certificate” (not really, but our equivalent), and you’re all set. It’ll cost € 35 and be ready in around a week.

When I have to do this, however, there are 2 alternatives: going to the embassy or applying while in Sweden on vacation. Obviously, the embassy REALLY REALLY REALLY don’t want you to do it there:

Screen Shot 2017-06-17 at 16.05.18

Just to recap this – the passport that costs € 35 in Sweden, is € 141 here. That’s a € 100 markup. They even put on their website that “you can apply while in Sweden, and then have it sent here to be picked up once it’s ready for € 15”.

I honestly don’t know anything that encapsulates the Swedish passive aggression more than this. Don’t take the discussion/conflict, just make sure people won’t bother you by charging them ridiculous amounts. Thanks, Swedish Embassy. Really.

The Ridiculousness of Dutch Names

In Sweden, we have a lot of “son” names (Most common last names: #1 – Johansson, #2 – Andersson, #3 – Karlsson*). This is obviously remnants from the patronymic days, examples of which you can still see in action in Iceland. In addition to this, I’d say (this is based on experience, I have no empirical proof of it) a lot of names are related to nature. There are all kinds of trees, streams, mountains, hills, twigs, branches (and on and on).

Just to give you a feeling, these names all start with “Birch”:

Björk (Birch)
Björkegren (Birch branch)
Björkgren (Birch branch)
Björklund (Birch grove)
Björkman (Birch man)
Björkqvist (Birch twig)
Björkström (Birch stream)

And that’s how it goes. That is my normal.
Then I moved to the Netherlands, and my normal is being challenged EVERY DAY.

While my partner, like myself, has a slightly odd – but still reasonably acceptable – last name, we have friends with names like Bloemen (Flowers), de Groot (the great/big), de Koning (the King), de Boer (the Farmer), Klein (little), van den Heuvel (from the hill) (etc.). That I could learn to live with, but then comes the ridiculousness that is Dutch last names. These are actual last names, of actual people:

Suijkerbuijk (sugar belly)
Pannenkoek (pancake)
Naaktgeboren (born naked)
Spring in t veld (jump in the field)
Vroegindeweij (early in the meadow)
Rotmensen (dreadful/degenerate people)

Discussing this at work and home, the Dutchies in my life go “what? these are normal names, I don’t understand why you think it’s weird”.
I can’t even…

* Source

There are more examples of this here and here.

Oops or the Happy Holiday post

It appears I took an 8 day break from the blog! Not even Music Monday or Feminist Friday made the cut. I’d apologize if I were sorry about it, but I’m sure everyone was too busy with their own Holidays to notice.

Due to my job’s inability to give a proper head’s up regarding when we’ll be closed or not, I managed to spend a whole 3 days with the family in Sweden and there wasn’t even any snow.

At least Santa found the kids this year again (although, on Christmas day the middle kid told me he thinks his grandfather was pretending to be Santa) and they had the prettiest tree my brother’s ever managed to find. All in all a lovely time was had.