Pax be with you

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Today was a big day in my life. Today I felt like a real grown-up. Because today, for the first time in my life, I bought a wardrobe. I don’t think I ever spent this amount of money on anything yet (even though many others probably don’t think it’s that much). If you wonder where I stored my clothes the past 9 years after moving out: there were mostly built-in wardrobes in my rooms. In Sweden, that’s a pretty common thing.

I bought a Pax from Ikea. I’ve been wanting to do that for months, maybe years. I’ve longed for this piece of furniture ever since I moved in here. But buying a Pax is not something you just do. I planned four Paxes online, took stock of my clothes, measured my room (too small!) and – most importantly contacted my Paxexperts. My Paxexperts are Ilka and Anthony, my friends who have five metres of Pax that they built up themselves, something I deeply admire them for. They were so nice to meet me at Ikea and help me choose and plan, adviced and calmed me (“Will 100 cm of storage for bed lines really be enough?!” “Helen, that’s a lot. You will be fine.”) and they assisted me in downsizing so much that I could take away 50 centimetres. I was so glad to have them with me because not only to they know more (like that if you, like me, persist in getting hinge doors, you can only put baskets in the lowest part) but they also helped me deciding, something I am really bad at because which door handles should one get?

When you plan your Pax at Ikea, you can name your project. Somehow it was impossible to log out again so everyone who used the same computer after me had their projects named “Helen’s Pax!” which was a bit funny when they printed it and showed it to the shop assistant.

I still wonder why the Ikea wardrobe system is called Pax. In Swedish, att paxa or pax på means to reserve the right for something. But I think that maybe this Ikea name is exception from the rule that Ikea names are Scandinavian. I think it might be Latin. Pax. Peace. Peace in the wardrobe.

After the Pax purchase, I attended the Crayfish Party Ikea hosts for its partners every year. We don’t have company parties or a Christmas staff party so this is kind of our thing. It quickly got very late and I ate half a crayfish as every year. I really try again each year but I just don’t like it. I love all the rest of a Crayfish Party though so I even signed up for the Swedish Association’s tomorrow. Let’s see if I can get away with not cracking little red tails and not sucking claws…

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This week, I was also better at living up to my challenge of testing the bars around my house. Thursday with Britta.

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Sweden played Germany tonight, I couldn’t decide who to root for.


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My sofa table had to be taken to the conservator so I got this replacement for three weeks. So pretty!

Del 2 i random-citat-samlingen:

20 minuter efter lunchpaus: “När är det fika?” “Halv tre but I like your thinking”.

“Han har ett enda intresse angivit på Tinder och det är Techniker Krankenkasse, han får ett megalike!”

“Det är för varmt. Jag lider faktiskt lite. Mina lår mår inte bra just nu. Jag är som en kamin!”

That time of the year: Kräftskiva


A month has gone and I have no relevant observations for you. My dear friend Malin suggested that maybe four weeks are the time span it takes to move from watching and studying to participatory observation.

I could still tell you things (like that Düsseldorfers seem to not have learned the same traffic rules as the rest of the country, I mean how hard can it be?!, or the never-ending heat that keeps me awake until 2 a.m.) but I will spare you. Instead, I choose to report on our crayfish party yesterday.

Apparently, IKEA invites its business partners to a traditional Swedish crayfish party every year in August. I did not know that because I have never before been in the favorable IKEA business partner position. At our office, everyone really looked forward to this night and we were anticipating the event by hearing about the last years’ parties.

So yesterday, I took my friend Lena as a plus one, and we went to the smallest IKEA I’ve seen so far. The restaurant was decorated with lots of crayfish party accessories including the obligatory silly hats and bib.  The point with crayfish parties seems to be looking really silly and drinking strong alcohol (even though many people would claim that it is a celebration of the end of summer).


The table decoration was really the bib and a singing instruction

The table decoration was really the bib and a singing instruction

It was very easy to discern the Swedes/swedified guests and the Germans because only the former wore the hats. At our table, we even sang lots of traditional drinking songs before every Aquavit (which the host sponsored as well as free cocktails and of course loads of food, and a live band – I don’t even want to start thinking about their budget!). Swedish drinking songs are often short, very simple and similar in terms of contents. Usually, the text sums up to something like, “I haven’t had enough. I need to drink more. Let’s lift our glasses”. To the point at least!

The party was great and the singing brought back sweet nostalgic memories of the many occasions in my beloved student town Uppsala where the singing also was a given part at most dinner parties.

However, my issue with crayfish parties is that even though I love the tradition (and that Swedes honor the it by always holding these parties every year), I am not on good terms with the crayfish. Their dead eyes staring at me, their antennas seeming to reach out at me…and then when I have brought myself to cracking one open and apart, I don’t even think they taste particularly good. But oh well, other people need to do bungee jumping to get that kick and feel alive, I can just touch a crayfish.