Love Refugee is YLC’s Friday fiction serial; a romantic comedy about expat and confirmed singleton Ellie, determined to avoid commitment at any cost… who discovers that she has an inconvenient weakness for Swedish men (it’s not autobiographical at all…)
I’ve met my soulmate. Her name is Liv, and she is awesome.
I haven’t really explained anything about what I’m doing in Sweden, have I? I’m Director of Business Strategy and Marketing for a chain of farm fresh organic restaurants (‘Director’ isn’t as fancy as it sounds by the way, I’m only senior-ish, but my boss agreed to give me the title as it helps me sound impressive for when I’m approaching people to partner with us). We’re opening two restaurants in Stockholm over the next few months, and I’m here to oversee the project.
When the opportunity came along, I jumped at it, even though my boss, whose husband is Swedish was all, “…are you sure? Have you heard about winter?”
And I definitely was. I’m always saying that one of the big plusses of being footloose and fancy free is being able to pack up for a whole new life at a moment’s notice, so when adventure comes calling, I’m the one jumping up shouting, “me me me.”
What I love, is that, even if all I’ve done is go to work and have some dinner and watch a bit of telly, I’m in Sweden and that makes it an interesting day. Not least because, being completely and utterly clueless with regards to language has been a real eye opener. I never realised how much I relied on reading until labels and signs and directions became incomprehensible.
The other night I was in my local Co-op trying to figure out which of the multitude of cartons that appeared to contain some form of dairy product might be sour cream (I had a Mexican feast planned). I have already fallen foul of overconfidence when it comes to dairy in Sweden: filmjölk may have the word for milk in it, but you definitely don’t want to put it in your tea. After a bit I decided to throw myself on the mercy of the next Swede that came along, and just my luck it turned out to be the Most Beautiful Dude Ever to Walk the Face of the Earth (Official).
I know it’s a bit of a cliché that all Swedes look like they have just stepped off a catwalk, but seriously, sometimes it’s ridiculous.
Naturally I was therefore incapable of describing sour cream. We were standing in front of the dairy cabinet, so I felt that the ‘cream’ bit went without saying.
“You wouldn’t put it on a pie,” I said.
Beautiful Dude frowned.
“There are a lot of things you wouldn’t put on pies.”
“Like dog food, for example.” It just flew out of my mouth. I don’t know what to tell you.
He frowned again.
“… Do you want to buy dog food?”
I left the supermarket without any sour cream.
Back to my soulmate. Liv is basically the equivalent of me for the group of investors my company is working with, so we get to work together quite closely, and luckily she’s fab. The third member of our team threw me for a bit of a loop, actually.
We emailed for months before we finally met last week, and, okay, is it just me or would anyone else expect someone named Gustaf to be a little old man? ‘Gustaf’ conjures a mental image of a rotund, bearded guy, maybe a bit jolly (he was quite funny in his emails) sort of Santa in a suit?
Until I arrived for our first proper team meeting and this Viking Sex God greeted me and I was all, where’s Gustaf, and the Viking Sex God said that he was Gustaf and I was all confused.
Anyway, Liv and I decided to unwind last night over a bottle of wine at this gorgeous little wine bar which apparently was once a prison of all things, and finally had a chance to chat properly.
She’s recently divorced, and explained that she loves her ex to death, he’s her best friend, but she can’t live with him any more. They have a three-year-old son who lives with her every second week, so Liv is looking for a man who also has a child half of the time on the same schedule as her.
So far, all the ones she fancies have their children the week she is free, and all those free when she is she doesn’t fancy. She says that the longer she is single, the more she wonders if she can even be bothered with all the faff of a relationship again.
Featured Image: Thomas Rydberg/Flickr (file)