Australians in Örebro

I was amazed to discover that there are 60 Australians living in our county, Örebro län. After two years I have yet to meet one of them. I did have some email contact with a few individuals from Australia when we first arrived in Sweden two years ago… they had discovered my blog, which I wrote much more faithfully then than I do now… But I never actually met any of them face to face. But they are there, according to an article in yesterday’s local newspaper, Nerikes Allehanda. Even more amazing is the fact that 31,390 people in our county were not born in Sweden. That is from a total population of 276,000. So a little more than 1 in 10 our foreigners. The top numbers come from Finland, Iraq, former Yugoslavia and Somalia. English speaking nations account for around 750, more if the many nations in Africa that have English as an official language are counted in.

So I should feel right at home, and in some ways I do. I occasionally meet people who speak English as their first language, but not that often. It is always a relief to be able to understand and be understood without the effort that it takes for all us immigrants when we speak in our “new language.” It seems so easy. Of course we English speakers tend to take for granted that everyone in the world should speak, or at least understand, our language. But living in a foreign land takes away some of that cultural snobbishness. You realise quickly that to expect others to always speak my way is really rather arrogant…

My Scottish friend Hamish says he met an Australian man recently who lives nearby. So perhaps soon I will have my first Australian encounter since we arrived. Maybe a barbecue and a beer…?


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