Eric: Entering Malmö from Copenhagen was something that I was very excited about.
Having been introduced to the TV series, ‘Bron’ fairly recently, and seeing the Öresund Bridge from the aeroplane, my anticipation and expectations were high to say the least. I flew to Copenhagen airport, from Amsterdam… my luggage did not.
Let’s take a moment to talk about that… Luggage on the same aeroplane as the passenger… surely? Aparently not. So, my very first experience of Denmark, is filling in forms and giving my temporary address in Malmö.
“When will my bag arrive?” I asked.
“I don’t know sir, soon.” Was the reply.
“How soon?” I asked with anger beginning to show in my voice.
“I can’t guarantee a time sir.” Came the reply.
Excellent. So I’m now on my way to Sweden, for the first time. Meeting with my “flickvän” in her home town, for the first time… with only the clothes that I am wearing. Needless to say, after three days and at least £40 worth of telephone conversations with “Baggage Information,” my suitcase finally arrives… wet…. but at least I have it.
Anyway, I won’t bore you with my obvious anger at Copenhagen Airport Baggage Information… as it will get us nowhere.
Back to the bridge…
A little background… All I have ever seen in the news about Malmö is the bad stuff… shootings, murder, rape, terrorism (thanks Mr Trump!)… so Erika has spent a lot of time telling me that it really isn’t like that.
“It’s fine.” She says, “That’s not how it is.” She says.
Ok… so… I’ve joined the train in Copenhagen… taken my seat, and I’m looking out the window… The train moves. The rails clatter. I’m on my way!
Then, I hear…. Random Swedish – at volume… A man, in his 40’s stands near a young girl, shouting at her. I look. Don’t understand. So go back to staring out of the window. The man leaves. The rails clatter once more. The man returns. He shouts once more. He sounds aggressive. But I have no idea what he is saying. It could be his daughter? He could be her husband? Or maybe her pimp? I have no idea.
Suddenly, an older man shouts back. The exchange is heated. Now I realise that the first man is probably crazy. Shouting at random people on the train. It seems that he doesn’t even know the girl. The two men continue their verbal battle. I look around the carriage. Two young lads in their early twenties. Three ladies of varying ages. And me. Ok….
The first man leaves the carriage. Throwing aggressive Swedish words behind him as he goes…. I look at the older man, who shakes his head, then speaks to the girl. “Är du okej?” Now I know that this was a bad situation. The first man returns…
My very first experience of Sweden… Is now standing up, and blocking this first man from the girl. The older man continuing to shout in Swedish, with me between them. Needless to say, I am fairly shocked by this initial experience. A little altercation on the train as it enters Swedish territory. I finally leave the train, after the young girl attempts to speak to me, and I have to admit that I’m English only… And I meet Erika. What a start!
But luckily, “It’s fine. That’s not how it is.” She says. Let’s see if it gets any better.
Erika: När vi träffas på Malmö Centralstation är Eric helt uppe i varv och förstår inte att ingen reagerade på det som just hänt på tåget. Jag ler. Han är ju för söt. Kuturella skillnader, antar jag. Och kanske inte ett av de bästa svenska dragen, men vi blandar oss inte i andras privatliv. Oftast. Eller hälsar på våra grannar. Oftast. Eller sätter oss bredvid någon på bussen. Om vi inte tvunget måste!
Visst, att vi svenskar kan vara lite egna då och då. Men att Malmö är en dålig, våldsam och skrämmande stad är jag glad för att Eric snabbt kunde se att den inte är. Malmö har sedan i torsdags, när han kom hit, visat sig från sin bästa sida. Vårkänslor i luften och väldigt lugnt och stillsamt. Vi har i fyra dagar bara gått runt och runt. Bo01, Västra Hamnen, fikat, Slottsstaden, parker, centrum, Davidshall, Möllan, ölat, Systembolaget och andra små butiker, fikat lite till, Ica, restaurangbesök m.m. Nu har han äntligen fått se vad jag menar med “mitt Malmö”, och inte enbart vad engelsk media väljer att visa. Och jag tror han gillar det. Tummen upp till det!