Money and Milestones
Money is money. This is a fact. I know this in my mind. But I just can't make Swedish kronor (crowns) seem like money in my head. Maybe it's all of the colors. I'm used to greenbacks. Dollar dollar bills y'all. And the stubborn American in me wants all "money" to be like our money. But it's not. And that's where we have a problem.
First of all, I have a self-diagnosed mild case of OCD. So American money suits me. All of the bills are the same color, size and shape.
This makes the money easy to stack and fold together and keeps away the brain twitches that I get whenever something is just not right. Or someone I'm walking with splits a pole. Or when the only pen available to write with is not black (so unprofessional). I think you get it. Greenbacks are good for me. But Swedish money looks like this:
Browns, pinks, yellows and purples. Tell me those bills don't look like Monopoly money! That's not an optical illusion by the way. The bills get smaller as their value goes down. If you have a pocket full of twenties, you still feel broke with those little bitty bills. It feels like you have the credit card receipt at a department store in your pocket. On the other hand, if you have a 1000:- bill on you, it's like you have a cue card from yesterday's study session in your pocket. The 100:- bill is about the size of the US dollar. So if I have a few of those on me, I do feel like I'm walking around with actual money in my pocket. I got my wallet in the US. I normally don't put cash in my wallet anyway (I typically stuff cash in my pocket like I used to see my uncle do when I was a kid), but I couldn't put a 500:- or 1000:- bill in my wallet without folding it if I wanted to. I'm almost in need of a new wallet now, and some of the wallets I've seen here look like an office planner. It's not their fault though. It's the makers of that huge 1000:- bill. I dread that wallet shopping experience.
And it wouldn't be Swedish if it wasn't confusing to Americans. They used to have "change" here. Let me explain change for a sec. Change is currency worth less than a dollar. In the US it's quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies. All coins. Here it used to be called "öre", but then they did away with it. The confusing part is, all of the currency less than 20:- here are coins. To me, that's "change". So I'm used to thinking that coins add up to a dollar when their "dollar" is a coin! I'm getting used to it now. After a year here. My mom was here this past week and she didn't realize that she had enough "change" to buy lunch. Those tens add up!
The exchange rate can be a headache also. Everything is more expensive here. It is what it is. It's the sacrifice that they chose to make in order to make life easier for everyone. Higher taxes = higher prices. It's great in theory, but a shock at first. You will drive yourself crazy if you ask yourself, "How much is that in dollars?" The answer is MORE. It's going to cost MORE than you thought. Don't come here for deals. You left all of the deals when you walked into an American establishment in another country. I tell my friends/family who visit to just take some cash out and have a good time. It all works out in the end.
I do however feel like a baller when I look at my bank account. If I transferred 1000 bucks from an account in the US, it would pop into my bank account here as 6664. BALLIN! I keep money in my savings just to feel like a BAWSE. That's my savings plan. Ignorance. I never do the exchange in my head when I look at my Swedish bank account. That would be depressing. But in Swedish? I feel GREAT! The same goes with my salary. I feel good getting that money each month (don't get me started on that once a month thing). It feels like it is impossible to go through that much money, right? Wrong! Our bills are over 10000:- each month. That money goes. Then again that's nowhere near the cost of living we had in the US. So I guess it all evens out. In the end, I'm not hurting for anything and that's what ultimately matters.
I recently hit a milestone that I would like to share with you. This blog has had over 10,000 views now, likely thanks to you. So thanks! I started it over a year ago without any expectations. It's been fun to write. I have tried to update it once per week (if you haven't noticed) and Thursday has been the day each week that I have been passing it on. It's very amazing and humbling to check out the world map and see that I have had readers all over the world reading this blog. So shout out to my readers in Sweden, America, Russia, Germany, UK, China, Italy, Netherlands, France, Norway and Australia. I appreciate you taking time out of your day to read my thoughts. I'll try and keep it interesting. Until next time...