Jag är invanderar…

May 14, 2009

Jag är invanderar och arbetar som bygg-jobbare.

Filed under: Uncategorized — invanderar @ 8:18 pm


Originally uploaded by neitzert

It has been just more than a month since I arrived and I recently landed a job. A construction job, more specifically unskilled day laborer at a pay rate of 1/12th of what I am accustom to earning and grueling in every sense of the word. The photo is of a very large planter I am helping to build. This week I shoveled all of that gravel, cut, bent, and tied up all of the steel. To put my mind at ease I like to think of this particular job as geometry in action.

This construction job is not anything like what I am accustom to but it is a job and without it I would surely be begging the socialkontor (swedish social welfare) for help when my modest savings dries up.

I have applied for countless jobs in my field (IT), tapped my extensive social and professional network, and through the good graces of one former colleague, managed to have 2 interviews at an international firm in my industry. I am hopeful for this job, though, not too hopeful because psychically I would rather avoid being let down should they decide to pass on me for someone else. Yet things are slower here, the hiring process for any job is at best a two month ordeal.

When I first moved to Sweden in 2005, a friend drunkenly said the following to me “Invanderar in Sweden are niggers, and at least you are an American, you are a cool nigger.” As much as I loathe racism in its myriad of forms, I think I understand what he so crassly attempted to elucidate:

Because I am not fluent in Swedish, apparently I am not a full person in the eyes of many Swedish. This notion really brings to mind the way Americans treat immigrants from all over the world, and it discusts me. Since he told me that, I have never looked at immigrants to the US the same.

Every day I have to remind myself to hold my chin high, chest out, shoulders square, keep a smile on my face, and think only happy thoughts. I cannot let being invanderar defeat my morale. It will not break me, I am better than this, I have come too far in my life to allow something like this defeat me. I will become fluent in Swedish, and loose the thick American accent I have when I speak it, in addition to mastering the subtleties of idiom and culture.

However for today I am an invanderar and my employment is as an unskilled day laborer. I start Svenska för Invanderar in 2 weeks…


1 Comment »

  1. Although I’ve thought it, I don’t know that I’ve said/typed “good luck” lately.

    I dropped a line to a friend in .se (not exactly local to you, I don’t think; near Gothenburg, if memory serves) who I think you’ve met and we certainly discussed. I haven’t the foggiest whether he’ll know of anything, of course, but hey, who knows?

    Comment by gr — May 15, 2009 @ 4:56 am

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