Sunday, January 31, 2010

du är söt (guest blogger)

Many years ago several friends and I took a trip to Greece to vacation under the warm Mediterranean sun. It was a much deserved holiday after a year of tedious corporate toil. The Greek Islands were, as it turns out, as beautiful as expected with sweeping views of deep blue waters and whitewashed dwellings precariously perched along the rocky faces of the islands. The food was also fantastic, my favorite being the chicken souvlaki.

Interestingly we did not run into many Greek people in Greece but instead came across fellow travelers from so many other nations, from England to Australia to Holland as well as so many other places. To travel between the different islands we took huge ferries as large as cruise ships. As we traveled to Ios, one of the islands in the Cyclades chain, we met some guys from Sweden (players on the National Basketball Team, as it turns out.) They were a crazy bunch of Swedes sporting blue and yellow afro style wigs and blue inflatable hats emblazoned with the flag of Sweden. We got to talking and I asked the Swedish fellas if they could teach us some Swedish. They responded by saying, when you meet a Swedish girl tell her this: 'du är söt' (due are soat). "What does it mean?" we replied. "Don't worry; just say it," we were told. We later found out that it meant 'you are sweet.'

Once getting to the island and upon meeting our first Swedish girls we tested the phrase with trepidation at first and gusto later. It worked beautifully with the Swedish women who would melt and at the blatant line-magically, it was successful! Their faces would light up and they would warm to us right away. We had a lot of fun tossing out the phrase. Thankfully the Swedish girls always spoke excellent English as the three-word phrase was the extent of our knowledge of their language. It proved to be a fun-filled trip with many memories that we will relish for years to come.

Fast forward to six months later. My cousin, John (who had accompanied me on the trip to Greece), related the following story: He was in a meeting with a telecommunications firm headquartered out of Sweden. He and his team were attempting to sell them some new technology. Upon meeting one of the clients, the man indicated to John that he was from Sweden. John, trying to impress with his knowledge of the foreign phrase, told the man: "I know a little Swedish." "Is that right?" the man replied. John continued, "Yes: du är söt," he said with a wide grin. The man was visibly taken aback and John's comment was met with an icy stare. After an awkward silence between the two everyone took their seats, the man careful to take a chair far from John. The meeting commenced, business was discussed, and the meeting ended. As the clients filed out of the meeting and last minute 'thanks' and 'nice to meet you's' were exchanged, the man refused to look John in the eye or even shake his hand. Needless to say, that particular business was not won by my cousin's firm. "I think I may have screwed that one up," John confessed to me as he reflected upon the incident.


Thursday, January 14, 2010


I’ve been a recreational writer in one form or another for well over a decade. I enjoy writing, which is funny since I spent a good deal of my schooling years avoiding classes and projects that required it. There were certain writing requirements to graduate from college. I put those classes off until the last two years.

Since the early ‘90s writing had been something I did when I had the luxury of free time. This yielded an unsatisfactory amount of written product. In fact, I had been feeling pent up with anecdotes and assorted trifles that I felt compelled to transcribe. 2009, my blogging year, was an effort to release the backlog of this writing compulsion and to make writing more of a priority. I wanted to make writing something I did as regularly as reading a book or watching football. I have achieved that goal to some extent, yet the time commitment was more than I had expected. I will continue writing in 2010, though not always blogging. Blog entries will be shy of last year’s 200 posts.

If you’d like a dose of blogging to make up for my 2010 shortfall, I am pleased to offer my sister. She started blogging this month and can be read here. She’s a pleasure, this one.