Florence Wetzel, COVID travel, Facebook, Passport, Podcast
Rodney & Sean are joined by returning guest, Sweden enthusiast and author, Florence Wetzel. She fills the guys in on her year away and adventure getting back to Stockholm, Sweden. Florence also shares tips on staying connected with Sweden while away and a fun project in the wings.
For those of you who might have missed our first podcast with Florence, it's nr. 52 (May 2020). Take a listen!
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welcome to two guys three crowds the podcast that talks about what it's really like to live in Stockholm Sweden I'm John and with my fellow American Rodney you break down the good the bad and the just plain weird that's quite the journey to join us for the ride so the the %HESITATION lo what may be hoong %HESITATION day news older %HESITATION do you own due date Ernesto due to the %HESITATION stead daily OSHA and %HESITATION receive %HESITATION did and attitude and stored some photons you know mad alerted Shah linked to the whole M. Blanding of circuits well sorry nicely done Sir not now now I know that my pronunciation a couple of those things we we we might get some comments but that was my that was my little opening and Florence we have Florence back with us Florence what's %HESITATION back welcome back thank you know it's so good to be back like we've really come full circle yeah %HESITATION for those of you who Florence is is a returning guest and she originally or the first episode that we did with with Florence was episode fifty two and that was back in may of twenty twenty and I I can't believe I mean nothing nothing much has happened since then %HESITATION %HESITATION but Florence your back and we're gonna jump around a little bit but but first of all when did you get back to town I'm I got back %HESITATION to be specific Saturday June fifth it was a happy day in the afternoon around two o'clock yeah after three hundred and seventy nine days away from Sweden and Stockholm %HESITATION I said this before I I I'm here I come like twice a year for three months at a shot so that's the longest I've been away since I started traveling here in January two thousand thirteen so it was it hurt wow A. N. N. three hundred and seventy nine that's pretty specific network just like well you know exactly three wow yeah and and yeah and what what a trip of the week we kept in touch and that's one thing that I've that I've actually brought up in the past is that we kept up with with guests that we've had I mean it is it this is like the most friends that we've ever we've ever had like to be a big being here in Sweden but %HESITATION you kept us kept us posted you and I kept in touch %HESITATION and and what what was happening over there to fill us in a little bit because you were on the other side yeah so the way I go to the other side so I said before that just through like sheer luck or whatever last year I had booked my flight months before for like March twelfth so I came in and like everything shut the like it like three days later the world shut down but just I managed to come in so when the world shut down I was in Stockholm is like okay so but what happened was that's the scary thing of course was as we remember it seems like a million years ago remember how all the flights just shut down like the world's shot yeah and so I usually stay I'm gonna stay ninety days I can't stay longer so but it's like well there's no flags are definitely gonna be staying longer so many good ones work it the immigration Swedish immigration yeah they said okay you everybody everybody who's in the situation you need to apply to extend your tourist visa in case there's no flights because we we can't guarantee sure so I did that and I was waiting for my results and the thing was that I felt like well okay if I can't leave I can't leave so that's okay I was actually working with but then what happened was %HESITATION I it was it was like maybe twenty twenty if there's something I went to my post box and I had the letter and they basically like actually you can only I suggest you do so basically what happened was suddenly there were flights from the UK to the US and they were flights from Sweden to the UK and they said that to me in the letter that like we keep track of what lights are available so they were basically like welcome to leave now so %HESITATION I did I was like right I got all my things together and I left %HESITATION and so I didn't stay over which is good right arm but none the less it was like it was kind of you know sending you get the letter and you need to act so I did so then I was in the US and I was there in the summer and as it turns out it was actually a good thing I was there there had some very personal business I needed to take care of so it's good I is there it's weird it turned out I was like I'm so glad I didn't get to stay but then I didn't need to be in the US any longer and I didn't want to be so I thought okay where can I go and there were very few countries open to American tourists that but the U. K. what's the U. K. is never shut down so right and the other thing was that %HESITATION sort of going to London and the thing is there a lot of sweets and London in fact you might even be some listeners there's like tons there you look in the US it's kind of like I'm gonna graduate go to Florida or California or somewhere you know I think London for sweets like this you know so I went to London for five months %HESITATION and I connected with the Swedish community there I mean not not obviously all hundred thousand suites that are there %HESITATION but I can't yeah I'm I anyway I did end up %HESITATION so I was there for five months I went back to the U. S. and then Sweden changed because I was allowed to be in the UK for up to six months and then %HESITATION Sweden change their rules on February first and they said okay we have new rules now no matter what your nationality is if you travel from an E. U. country you can come to Sweden so I was like I need to get me to right right yeah I couldn't get you to your country no E. U. countries are taking American %HESITATION Shane getting all shrinking countries are shut down so the only two possibilities I had Ireland and Croatia right in Ireland bless its heart they never shut down either but they did this very interesting thing where they're like you're allowed to come in but we are are discouraging all travel since when we get to the airport and the like so right like %HESITATION you get extra we have long yeah but then finally Croatia opened up I still remember where I was I was like in New Jersey I was eating lunch with a friend and I got it I got it %HESITATION email I looked and it was a like a an email about Croatian it's at its open now this so I went on April twenty second and my plan was to stay there for two weeks you know to show that I've really been there and then trip right we then but then thank god I found out as it turned out I needed to do have a direct flight because my plan was to fight %HESITATION to Frankfort in Frankfort to stock home right but I found out through this great website it was a Facebook group I'm part of our travel off half they were like you can't do that as an American because you can't come into Germany you can't get in through passport control thank god I found out before I went to the airport but I so I realize I need a direct flight from Croatia to Sweden but it wasn't tourist season yet so there were no direct flights so I was instead of being in Croatia for two weeks I was there for seven weeks and then you speak fluent Croat now hi Bob thank you I got a call you know like yeah they have their version of she can there %HESITATION some of them so I booked my direct flight the first one was on June fifth and so that's why I came on on June fifth %HESITATION so I had an interesting experience at times for control so wait wait wait it gets more interesting your denture I can come in and you know I'm I'm I had to like the page memorized like the rules for getting into and I knew I was that they had a list of countries Croatia was on it I was like okay so I got off the plane and there's probably fifteen of us on the plane and and so I get up to for control want to show my passport he's like he's like American I was like yeah he said what's your reason for coming here and I think we'll tourism he said %HESITATION well a lot of questions like have you booked a hotel room view this have you then I answered then he said you know what let me get my boss like that's not what you want to hear right opposite effect but no no no no I don't want to talk to both my parents were still to go in and I I didn't I knew I was in my right to you know and meanwhile the other fourteen people on the flight were gone and I don't know if you can well Sean you've been to Orlando I mean there's like there's like no flights I mean the airport was like everything's in terminal five right now everything everything terminal force like ghost town and so there was nobody there except for me so I go on the little pension waiting like the boss came over and he was like hi to my bank account number one did you have enough money asking all those questions %HESITATION and then you said you were you know if you if you came from another country like that's not me you you wouldn't be able to get in right now it's like oh I know that that's where I came from Kuwait right like recite the whole thing because I have yeah he was middle aged woman with white hair and she tells you what it means I was like he said okay so we went back to the path of the desk and it was so interesting because the boss said to me he said you know what the problem is no I don't he said we don't understand why anyone traveling now that we don't understand why you want to come to Sweden right and I was like and the guy behind the desk yeah that's what I was thinking to and I was like I like sweet in and they just we just I mean that from the Swedish process when they push a button somewhere under the desk bike already calling the Calvary yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah but also from a Swedish perspective which I hadn't understood I was in Croatia it was sunny they were like yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah I have a friend who %HESITATION she's an American Tricia shouted to Tricia and your body %HESITATION and she does a lot of she's an interpreter so like she gets calls from Orlando and she told me I told her about it she said %HESITATION that she thought that %HESITATION I might actually been like the first American to do that what I did was legal but maybe like no one else had done it right really were just like so my adrenaline was through the roof but I do just want to note though and they were so sweet and polite and nice because you guys know going into America like you can't make any jokes you can't like show any employer would have been a cavity search involved it would have been horrible right I would have been back in some little room I would still be there do you know what I mean like scary and they they really like but these guys practically offered me feature like think like talking to yeah back in the states we we are we would be doing this pod under a whole different circumstances yeah they would be like a would you accept a call from a I'm still at the airport I'm stuck in this little box I think the car is going to be like you know it's like midnight express so that's really it was so you know what it is impolite even though they were questioning my you know my motives but they let me in it was just that they I was like a weird ball I think it is your doctor collecting the passport why are you here %HESITATION tourism yeah but why are you here first horizon actually me fascinating some guys those guys a whisper there like we're trying to get out of here you had no matter it's been a sunny summer up here this is true so eight if you arrive the day before national day I mean the end of the timing of of everything the way that all these possible your puzzle pieces came together and just everything you've described and then being back in Sweden that day before national day having this this amazing summer but man what a journey but that when we talked %HESITATION Lawrence you had said because I'd you'd start breaking down the details of stuff and like you said okay and I know I have to be here for this many days and then I can do this and then if I flight there and then I got this underground Facebook groups they're gonna meet me on the Norwegian border there's a guy with this really fast truck named Lars yeah right exactly no it really was like that like everyone I love the Facebook group it was great they really respect each other right you know what I would like yeah so you always like gay people update stuff so yes I I came in and then as we know to update for your listeners you probably still know I think was July first that the U. S. was put on that you use like they called the white list like you know Americans are okay now because it's the virus situation is better there so %HESITATION right and I thought about that I thought we could wait didn't come in but I didn't know that and I just thought let me just try this this is you know on the Hey how boring would that story had been waited I hopped on a plane I got I'm in Orlando and I came to you now I mean yeah we got book material now now you have material now you gotta beat Croatia came in the mix I know I know so yeah so it's it's it's been very interesting so but it's been great to be back I just got back and I just like landed new ideologue higher disease and %HESITATION Florence I mean being back in the states because you were obviously keeping up on news all over %HESITATION but keeping an eye on what was happening over here %HESITATION and the news and and and things but how was that %HESITATION I mean everything back in the states of you we've been watching the news thing what's happening over there and I assumed that you were kind of keeping track of what was happening over here definitely %HESITATION I mean so I was in New Jersey I was in a little suburb of New Jersey called Westfield and it was it was it was tough because so I had to longer two times in America three months and you know like my usual activities were like shut down you know I don't even know if my yoga places still open so there really there was hardly anything to do I did meet friends like %HESITATION you know we'd meet in the park but I must say when I came back yeah at the end of may from Sweden it was like in Sweden you know sweet sweet just like lawless society of but nobody cares and you can do whatever you want I mean really when I would say they're like already been I've been to sweeten the deal %HESITATION yeah but what ex had to explain to people I would say you you need to understand sweets like for instance they didn't show up to like my hair place for instance I'm drunk after there was never any shut down the people didn't go like this we just didn't go like it was empty things are empty because the suites were told to stay home and work from home like they didn't need to the lock them in the city to be threatened yeah we have to stand from each other okay okay we were doing that anyway so I yeah I understand that they went on to explain it to them they will %HESITATION interesting like you know see like when I went when I got there to go into trader Joe's there was like a sign that the supermarket was like it's the law you have to wear a mask to get in you don't really get to be threatened in order like aren't aware masks I don't wanna get arrested so %HESITATION right just different mentalities you know but in terms of keeping in touch I mean it was really interesting because I did feel very bereft because I felt like %HESITATION I mean I was okay I knew okay so I needed to come back I could come back but I was like when we go to the back to Sweden again right and that I started my three hundred seventy nine day adventure of staying in touch with sweet and outside of Sweden right but it can be done %HESITATION and I think like one of the biggest things is like the language so I just had all kinds of like things I was doing anyway like reading and listening to podcasts but %HESITATION I really really tried to do it because I thought I mean I don't want to lose the level of you know I don't wanna lose the habit of speaking Swedish and right back and be like %HESITATION so %HESITATION so yes so that was something I did and %HESITATION I want to have some chips actually for your nice listeners so what you can do if you're in if you're in Facebook it is the most amazing thing if you put in in Swedish Spence gar he so sweet in you say like New Jersey Croatia yeah because one point one is going there sweets are everywhere and and they have these groups and it's really really cool and so when I was in Croatia I wrote I was like okay mereka visiting I don't want to take a public speaker and I met this really nice Swedish couples so they became my buddies they were like you know I'm so there is like the whole Swedish DS forum that's out there %HESITATION yeah so that's a really good tips for people so %HESITATION and another thing is that %HESITATION I found out about the way us I cannot prove exactly club on sway us so Swiss Swedish women's educational association assertion right these ladies are organized you know sweets or general but like all over the world and so I I did like a little bit I did something with them online and now I'm gonna be going back to London I I'm gonna actually officially joined on because they have lots of activities and things like that %HESITATION so that's another way %HESITATION and in terms of the language %HESITATION anyone who's on Instagram if you do like hash tag learn Swedish study Swedish there are so many independence we dish teachers out there yeah it's really great and I had good fortune because I ended up when I was in London I do look like sweets U. K. and I found it's like an online I'm also a school it's really like three three suites it's called Swedish made easy and I just became like their biggest fan like they said they have private lessons but they also have a language cafe that's a big thing in Sweden every week where we have a zoom call and we talked and they have like classes courses that you can %HESITATION do on your own they also had the verb boot camp wow that was hard core but it was good it one sided with the November lockdown actually I'm Dan so I had something to do just make lots of coffee and I mean it's like four days a week and then we met once a week and talk to us we just worked it was so nerdy but it was great yeah %HESITATION now it will now do you do you have do you have some stuff going on in the wings we know that you have two books bye D. are there any other Florence projects kind of in the in the works in the in the hopper that you can share yes I can are the hopper is full right now okay so basically what happened was you know like I'm a writer when I started learning Swedish I thought maybe one day I can write in Swedish and so but I knew that was like way far away and then %HESITATION like about two thousand it was two thousand eighteen I started listening to a podcast I don't you guys listen to it it's called creepy pardon the translation the creepy podcast I feel like I've seen it on scene of a fire yeah yeah it's so good I mean they have listened to every episode like three times it's great so it's like horror stories in Swedish some of the translated but some like you know take place here and so I really don't like I love that and so I started thinking what one instead of like thinking about writing like a novel one minute right short story try running partial stories so that's what I've done actually have thirteen hard stories I wrote them in Swedish one in Croatian %HESITATION and then I thought would be nice if someone translated these and I looked around and the only person was me so I I did that so I've I've translated them so it's like double trouble that's double the work I have an English version and the Swedish version I can actually show you actually this is my reader copy because storage space so that's what I'm working on now so I'm hoping to release a both English and the Swedish in %HESITATION January or February who is it how cool is that how cool is that M. as in the US I feel the Florence here's one of the few people who've gotten stuff done during the lock right I'm actually I'm actually looking at my own desk going well let's see the last year I had moved my pencil from over there and put them next to the sharpener over there but just so that everybody knows those who haven't listened to the earlier episode %HESITATION Flores's books are the grand man and the woman who went overboard Scandinavian thrillers yes written in English so in English for for now you can rent until you translate them this is a good question for you I mean I like I just couldn't I couldn't translate into Swedish to translate from Swedish to one's mother tongue yeah it's still hard but yeah but I would it be nice if someone did that I've I have looked into it and asked send out some queries but you nothing's happened yet but you never know so you know okay ma'am hedge now one thing that we also brought up or herbs that we found out and discovered about you in the first original episode was princess daughter %HESITATION yes my god I'm wondering I'm wondering you landed on the fifth how long and how many days was it until you went and had your first princess toward Duffy did you pull over the our land this is right now I must have my princess story it was like thirty minutes after I got to my hotel so I got to my hotel probably about three o'clock in the afternoon live %HESITATION like in the center and in a hotel right in the center of town and so I'm about a ten fifteen minute walk from a legendary Swedish cafe Tory that's a captain which means that %HESITATION exactly yeah you don't have to get into that but that it's like a little things we say %HESITATION yeah that's what I did I was just like I went there and I was like coffee beans princes torte and I took a picture to go I'm just I don't know it's just the most amazing K. right and and so I did find some sweet us some princes torte in London that was really great there's a place there's like an I am basically yeah I got it yeah and into making kitchen right the Swedish church to once in awhile they would have princes cake next year but Swedish princess cake in stock home and been a captain it's like the like the peak experience you know yeah so yeah I was gonna say eating printer support in the U. K. isn't quite the same stating it the floor is different and then the milk products are different like the taste different it was great but it just yeah so no it was kept me going but there was nothing like the real thing I have this real sense of like okay now I'm back now I have landed right now did you have a chance to I I I'd like to get some %HESITATION some of your tips now the creepy creepy pardon it is one Hey have you had a chance to to read any any books do you have any other tips that you could well you know I have to say I actually when I first started learning Swedish I I bought to be long stocking by Astrid Lindgren I thought because I know it's easier with children's books sure and so when I first started reading them I probably knew about one word in every sentence and so eventually I read a little bit more but that was years ago and so my hotel is actually across from a very tiny car called take near London and there's a little statue of her there and so people said oh that's because her book meal mean Mayo is set partly in techno Linda so I was like you know as Americans we've heard it be long stocking but Astrid Lindgren has read written so many books so many books here so I was like it is time to read some Astrid so I bought me all me me you know and it was like it was like a religious experience it was as religious as princess toward she writes so beautifully all my god and bizarrely enough on the very first page of the book the little boy in me okay she gives his address and it's the address of the hotel where I'm staying I was like all my friends thirteen so I think it's a song from Astrid she said she she got the idea for the book because she was walking in techno Linden and she saw this little boy sitting all by himself he looked really sad and lonely and then she saw him get up and come into this building so that's why she made at his home and she said she never saw him again so also spooky so I am I feel like I'm really excited I'm excited to read her other books %HESITATION so that's a really that's a that's a tip I mean there's a reason why she is so beloved in Sweden it's not just because it's cool outspoken lady who loves kids her writing is it's gorgeous yeah because I know that Sean has been learning quite a bit from Billy boom box yes yes yes a lot there are yeah I know like all sorts of different songs I can tell you I will I'll spare you from Rodney right now but we have some different different words and all that kind of thing from Bali bumper although it's leased out I think we started it was the last episode %HESITATION Sean what had started with actually his %HESITATION his rendition of a bully pulpit song eight that thing was stuck in my head for like forty eight hours I I almost had to get treatment by looking only heard it once I hear it all day long yeah some say is the bears to bully book but I have to say that I have friends who have young kids but I'm not a little not sure who believed him but is that so it was like %HESITATION the Swedish Barney it's this big green and write more fics dragon like hideous looking thing but the kids love it that's so nice and then they say right bounces the bear arms is the bare bones to be on my own and okay yeah %HESITATION knowledge yep it's the bomb said that was the what that's where I got stuck because when we moved here sixteen years ago you know my son Adrian was five my daughter was one so we were definitely we were in the palm said we were the bombs a generation deal there so I'm gonna have to give some of those %HESITATION some of those I think I have like a it's not on vinyl I'm gonna have to say CD it wasn't that long ago those get those jams go and Florence we are thrilled to have you back %HESITATION and we cannot wait to catch up we have a long overdue feca so we will go ahead and %HESITATION and have to do that keep us posted on everything and let us know what's happening with you and we will go ahead and re post some more information via our social media so that people can go in and and check out and follow fluorescent and and see what's happening well that's really kind of your guys is so good to be back like I said it's like being full circle and you know I always follow your social media and I listen to a lot of different episodes in it that also kept me in touch I think you guys really you know maybe you don't realize how much you help people like connect to Sweden when they're not there so yep biggest tip is listen to this podcast we didn't stop home and you know get a sense of how things are here so so I'm thank you so much for having me again yes thank you for and and who knows I mean you're repeat cast we've never had anybody a third time but that would be for the Florence take care and we look forward to seeing you soon same here thanks a lot have a great alright everyone that'll do it for this week's episode as always be very special thank you for tuning in don't forget to check out our 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