The Difference Between Sweden and Australia

From The Local in Sweden

Woman uses fishing line to cheat bottle deposit system

A 42-year-old woman in Köping was caught by a security guard on Tuesday using a fishing line to claim multiple deposits on a single recyclable bottle at a Willys supermarket in the central Swedish town, several local media report.

In Sweden, if you use some fishing line to get extra money from the bottle deposit machine, the police catch you on video and charge you for fraud.

In Australia, if you use some fishing line to get extra money from the bottle deposit machine, you get given the Australian Of The Year award for your ingenuity and respect of all your mates. Hello Australia!

Do we even have bottle deposit machines? Maybe in South Australia only where they have doubled the refund recently. Its time for a good Kramer scam!

Good To Be Home

14:40 from Stockholm to Tallinn this afternoon was particularly delightful, it was a sunny day and we flew in from the west over the islands. More than other cultures I know, Estonians have a bond to the land and looking down over my adopted home, I can start to understand why.

Ive had a good two weeks on the road, it feels like winter is really over for me. Portugal was loads of fun and even being in old mother Britian stirred a few patriotic strings in me. I used to be in favour of an Australian republic but now, after being away from my culture for so long, I kind of like it now. When I go to England I can feel the connection and plus, shes a nice old lady too. I say we stay in the Commonwealth while shes around. Atleast Malcolm Turnbull and I agree on something.

I am back i town for atleast a week and Ive got plenty to do, courses to learn, people to meet, estonian to learn. Its good to come back to my own apartment, its going to take time but Im starting to really think of this as home.

Cultural Learnings Of… Portugal Police

This is a two photo set I call "Portugese Police are a big bunch of nancy boys who need to find some real wheels"

Segways? Electric gogo mobiles? Harden up Portugese coppers!

Cultural Learnings Of… European Map According to EastJet

In Berlin Schönefeld airport EasyJet show all the places they fly in Europe and what an accurate map it is! Ok im covered in Estonia and Latvia is good but if your Lithuanian then sorry, you are all part of the great unwashed mass to the east. Add into that Belarus, Ukraine, Romania and Balkan nations, including our newest country, Kosovo. Oh wait, thats the one Russia does want. Have you seen Putin lately? Hes getting fired up, its awesome. Come on red tanks, roll east!

Happy Days In Lisbon, Portugal

Welcome to sunny Lisbon where winter doesnt involve long dark days, its fantastic!

I have been working here for a week down here in Lisbon, Portugal which is pretty much as far as you can go across Europe. I have REALLY enjoyed my week here in a big way, ive got a great impression of this country.

The food! Hot dang, seafood! Grilled calamari, fresh garlic prawns! You know it! Fry some home make potato chips, grill a nice serlion and stick an eggs on top of it and you have Portugese steak. You all know, when Im full im happy so they did good just on this one.

Nice people too! Every portugese person ive spoken has been friendly and open to me. The hostel im staying at is owned by a retired Portugese guy who had time and money on his hands so opened a super nice new place here in the old town, hes always giving you the local advice and asking about how it went, it really feels like hes doing it for the fun, god bless him.

And the weather! It has been sunny all week which has been good for my soul. 17 degrees and light into 6 or 7 in the evening has given me energy again which I havnt felt for months, strangely similar to the good vibes I had in the US. Yesterday I went to the beach with my friends here and the water was faaaaarkin cold and it was only surfers with wetsuits but I absolutly had to go for a swim, even though everyone thought I was some crazy aussie bushman. It was refreshing and cleansing to be in the water, now my hair feels salty again and its something I miss.

My friends who study here have been rocking to me also, Lucka and Ranno took me out, introduced me to all their friends and we had awesome times, the big student party last night was going off like a frog in a sock. Is nice, I like!

Heres Ranno and I, what a man, tall blonde surfer guy AND Estonian! Whos heard of an Estonian surfer?? 🙂 Ladies, stand in an orderly queue for the surfer guy!

Good times in Lisbon, Portugal! Next week is Windsor in the UK, time for a dose of fish and chips and then its back to Nordics again where hopefully the worst of the cold has passed. rock on.

Cultural Learnings Of… Australians Saying Sorry

Some of you may have actually seen Australia in the news the last few days and its not because someone famous died (oh I cried when Fatso the Wombat from A Country Practise passed on) or because of our crocodile wrestling prowess, it is because our country is about to do something it should have a long time ago, say "sorry" to the Aboriginal people.

So whats the deal? Like many other indigenous peoples, the Native Americans or the Sami up north, our Aboriginal guys had a rich and deep culture and then some British dudes rocked up, steam rollered the place and displaced them good. There is one particularly bleak part of this history, around the 1960’s when we had this nasty piece of legislation called the "White Australia Policy" (sounds good already right?) where any Aboriginal childen who were "half cast" or looked a bit whitey, were taken from their families, their land and their culture and placed with white adopted families and told to just "be like whitey". One doesnt have to be Freud to imagine the mess this makes to a person and to the entire culture, this is what we know as The Stolen Generation.

Today, the first day of the new Australian parliment, our new Prime Minister, Keven "07" Rudd, will make a formal apology to the Aboriginal people on behalf of all Australians and the government. Its a big step to formally say the words out loud and it means a lot to both white and black Australians.

The thing you might be asking is.. Why Now? Well it comes back to our former, ass licker Prime Minister, being in power for 12 years who refused to give such a formal apology. This is a man who divided Australia, a proud multicultural nation, along cultural aboundries, turned us back towards being a selfish conservative nation and entered us into an unjust war. John Howard said that he wasnt going to apologise because he felt that the current generation didnt have to take the blame for what they didnt do.

Ive got news for you Howard you, out on your ass mother fucker, me, ben folds and every Australian of this generation knows WE DIDNT DO IT DIPSHIT. WE ARNT SAYING SORRY BECAUSE WE DID IT, WE ARE SAYING SORRY BECAUSE ITS SOME BAD STUFF OUR FOREFATHERS DID WHICH WE WISH HAD NEVER HAPPENED. Im proud of my nation but not too proud to admit we havnt messed some stuff up, which nation hasnt and the best we can do is admit we did some bad stuff and try and make up for it.

My name is Kevin Rudd and while I may look like a finger waving twerp, Ive got atleast a few good ideas on how to make people involved in their country again because the truth is, its not rocket science.

Kevin 07 might not be our saviour but hes doing Australia the service is dearly wants by saying sorry. A leader should bring people together, not divide in attempt to rule in fear like our previous government. Some will still see Aboriginal guys as just petrol sniffers who want to make off with your DVD player. While every man is his own creation, they dont exactly get a leg up in life now do they? If you dont get a good education and get your culture molested by another for generations, your going to have a hard time too.

Oh and while im here and ranting about my home country, I find it offensive that in this week of reflection on the past, there is talk of knighting John Howard and making him "Sir John". John Howard as a socially divisive, devious arse fuck who appealed to our lowest senses in keeping his conservative image of 1970s alive. Little johnny should be made to go sit in a corner and think about what he did.

Compassion is a good thing for people, its not a weakness.

ps. sorry for the profanity, im just… you know… fired up. you think if I felt this way Id just go live there or something.

Home Sweeeet Home

One week now in Tallinn and things are cruising along, I just got myself a fresh new haircut, however I smell conspiracy in the air (if you ever come here you will know it), they gave me a cut like an Estonian man! Never say they dont welcome you and help you blend in.

The place down on Poksa street is our beautiful little love nest, check it out.

Already I must leave our beautiful home however, I am off to Lisbon in Portgal tomorrow to teach next week and then to the UK the week after to teach again also. Its a bummer to be away after being here such a short time but thats the lifestyle, jetting off from exotic location to exotic location.  It is still quite a surreal experience to be here, to imagine the days in stockholm are over and I dont need to get up and go back to the same desk again each morning. I feel the same way about the winter here, it feels like it has been going on forever here, like the memory of the long summer days is something of childhood years ago.

Why would anyone want to come out of their home when its as nice as ours?? come on! Here is the guided tour…

Im also holding down the fort now as the resident aussie blogger in Estonia, hoping to provide those big crocodile related insights to this small but lovely country. For real insights into this place check out Itching for Eestimaa and Antyx.

48 Hours In Estonia

Its been 48 hours in Estonia and times have been tough. Being greeted by my friends getting off the boat, seeing some lovely Estonian seaside, showing classic aussie films over a few bottles of red, moving into our HUGE new apartment and being really warmly welcomed by everyone I know. Man this place is the pits. Getting my phone hooked up in 5 minutes. Dry cleaning at one third the cost and done overnight. No, please! one day will kill you, how can you offer such service?? Its terrible to open your laptop any place in old town and be able to find some free wireless to use, thats a bad one. Having the supermarket down the road stock a huge range of beer for sale between 11 and 20 EACH DAY. Oh god your killing me, stop it, stop it. Hello Tallink, is that the 6pm boat? Better get me a first class ticket outta here, I can hardly stand it.