I am definitely feeling a bit of culture clash around patience. This was certainly one of the things going on with trying to get our immigration status squared away (we were not willing to wait a month or more for everything to be taken care of). I sense the same impatience in myself pretty regularly. For example, when someone holds up everyone getting on the bus because they want to add value to their card or when I go to the department store, spend about 30 minutes picking some choice items, and then walk up to the register only to see a line of about 12 people and one store employee who is methodically wrapping someone’s newly purchased gift. In my most recent failed trip to the store, I wagered I would wait about 30 minutes to pay. I returned my purchases to their shelves and walked away.
It’s not that I am in a hurry or have anywhere to go. On the contrary, adding cash to your card on the bus makes perfect sense and it seems that in Växjö you are supposed to be out shopping from Saturday from 10 – 2. In terms of the shopping this past weekend, seeing as it was too cold for a lap around the lake, my schedule was cleared to do what the locals do. Instead of having exernal constraints that keep me from waiting, I just find it excruciating to stand in line whether it is to give a department store my money, take my seat on the bus, or get my legal status squared away.
But even as I am capitulating to my own impatience, I am chastising myself for being such an American (With a dash of the Chinese penchant to refuse queuing altogether. What would happen if I pulled a China and just walked to the front? I might try that if I am spending one day in a Swedish town to which I intend never to return – just a little breeching experiment). Folks here are generally docile and patient. They wait silently to pay, for the bus to arrive, and for responses to their applications to the State.
I need to get my Scandinavian chill on. Can it be done?