When I first heard about the baby, whıch was quite a while back actually, I knew it was true. Not because I believe gossip (me? Never!) and not because I figured it could be true since they got married a year ago, she’s reaching thirtyfive blah, blah, blah – no, I knew it was true because I had a reliable source; a friend of a good friend. And that’s what it’s like in Sweden. It’s so small, you always know someone who knows someone, who knows something. It’s great when it makes you feel like one big family, like Princess Victoria’s and Daniel’s wedding, and sometimes not-so-great, because when tragedy hits it hits everyone.
Everyone I know knows someone, or knows of someone, who either died or survived when the cruise ship Estonia sank in September 1994. Everyone I know knows someone, or knows of someone, who was in Thailand when the tsunami struck on Boxing Day 2004. Swedes in general are empathetic. I’m not just saying that because I’m a Swede and proud of it – believe me, being empathetic can be a curse – but maybe that’s just it: there are so few of us that there’s always someone who knows someone.
Of course, this can be fun, too. Everyone I know knows someone who knows or has met a celebrity – and I’m not talking about passing Pernilla August or Alexander Skarsgård or Crown Princess Victoria on the street. Even I’ve done that. (Hell, I’ve even walked past Tony Blair.) I mean truly met. So if you’re tempted to become a news reporter, come to Sweden – you can get hold of anyone.
Back to the wonderful baby news, which I also knew was true because Swedes rarely lie. (If we do lie, we feel bad about it for weeks, until it eventually comes out on a drunken night out.) That’s why companies trust their employees to work from home and take flexible hours – called freedom under your own responsibility – because we DO work every minute we should so that we don’t feel guilty when we get that pay check at the end of the month.
Since I’m not a gossip girl, I kept my mouth shut about the baby news. Just passed it on to my closest friends – oops, just realized – and the rest of the world.
Congratulations Victoria and Daniel!