Silly comparisons

While some of the bloggers write about really important topics (see Alexandra’s and Dina’s posts about their thesis, for example) I am returning to one banal topic, one of the first you face when arriving somewhere else: to compare your new country or city of residence with your home country (or city). Althoug “popular wisdom”(1) as the one in Desiderata will tell that, when you compare yourself, you become “vain and bitter”  (2).

You will notice that something has changed in your mindset when you are not sure if your standard is the new place or the old one. It is in that moment when you realize that the new place has become your home. I tried to avoid value judgements in this comparison but I know that it is difficult. Please try to read each item as a fact without prejudices or conclusions. Now that it is trendy to create lists, this post will be something like one of them without the numbering and the fancy title.

  • Stockholm streets do not have STOP signs in corners
  • In Bogotá bags do not seat in your side chair at the bus. Maybe because you are not sure they will remain there for long time or because it is difficult to find an empty chair.
  • Bogotá is not near the sea shore, it is 2600 meters above the sea level. So it is cold as a normal Stockholm summer day.
  • Stockholm does not cause you to be “short of breath” when you arrive.
  • Many people run and jog in the streets and parks of Stockholm
  • People do not hum in Stockholm metro, buses, streets… Do they do it in Bogotá? I am not sure but I think so as I miss it here.
  • Stockholmers do not hum but participate in choirs, a lot of them.
  • Colombians do eat much rice
  • In Bogotá cyclist must be alert of pedestrians invading their road.
  • In Bogotá strollers do not obstruct sidewalks. In Bogotá there are no many strollers
  • In Stockholm small kids use public transportation without companion to go to the school.
  • In Bogotá it is not allowed to park cars in most of the streets (theoretically)
  • In Colombia plants are evergreen and, many times, you do not value this feature.
  • Daylight in Bogotá is basically the same every day of the year
  • Almost every time it rains in any place of Colombia, it is a downpour (it rains cats and dogs). At least for a short time.
  • Bogotá also receives migratory birds
  • Traffic jams in Bogotá are real traffic jams
  • Subway system in Bogotá is not comparable with any other… there is no subway system in Bogotá. There will not be no matter the promises.
  • Snow is unknown in most of my country (except above 5000 meters of altitude, but it is vanishing due to global warming)
  • In Colombia there are no good options to vote in the next elections.. oh wait, in Sweden neither. There is no difference


(1) Some (or many) people consider the Desiderata Poem not at all related to wisdom, but cliche and common place.

(2) Desiderata poem is a work by Max Ehrmann: see Wikipedia and the text of the prose poem

One thought on “Silly comparisons

  1. After reading this I felt a deep existential void growing in my lower left consciousness. Let us continue this thought experiment of reading facts without having prejudices or any form of conclusion;

    – there are no beach houses in Serbia
    – most lizards die without ever finding a job
    – knifecuts dont make you immune to stabbings
    – Michael Jackson never actually walked the moon
    – orange is both a color and a fruit

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