What's up Local Laundry fam! We hope everyone is enjoying their Wednesday because we're here to sweeten your hump day evening with a guest blog from Alexandra Glazerman! Alexandra reached out to us during our Traveling Sweater campaign and felt so inspired she wanted to spread some love and kindness all the way over in Sweden. Read along and learn about the impact Alexandra created in the communities of our European neighbours! Scroll, read and enjoy :)
Photos by: Fotograf Sebastian Hellström
If you can be anything, be kind.
Such a simple statement, yet at times easily forgotten. Growing up, kindness and a friendly demeanour is encouraged and rewarded. We are raised to treat others with respect, how we wish to be treated. As we age, and life throws us a curve ball or two, we don’t always remember to practice kindness. I am guilty of this myself. So, when I was presented with the challenge to perform random acts of kindness in my community, I jumped at the opportunity! This may have been an easier endeavour if I were at home in Canada. However, I have been living in Stockholm, Sweden. Between the language barrier and their more reserved nature, the task became somewhat more complicated. In true Canadian style, I put on my Local Laundry travelling sweatshirt, hiked up my wool socks and took to the streets of Stockholm to do good.
I began my kindness pilgrimage by asking random strangers if they needed anything; help, to have a friendly conversation, etc.. This, as I had suspected, did not go over well. Between the barriers of me not speaking enough Swedish and the Swedes being caught off guard by the English interruption, my attempts to offer help to strangers were, for the most part, unsuccessful. Responses varied from “no thanks”, to being cut off, or just straight up ignored. On one occasion, I was successful when I met with an elderly man on the bus who had forgotten his transit card at home. I offered to pay for his fare and he accepted with a simple “Tack sa mycket” Swedish for “Thank-you very much”. After two days of rejection and a pending deadline I knew I needed a new plan, but what could I do if I couldn’t speak to them?
For those of you who have never been to Stockholm, it is a beautiful city that during the winter months is plagued with darkness. The sun sets at 3PM, and the few hours of daylight are generally covered by cloud and pouring rain. The people are much like the weather, beautiful, sunny and warm underneath their clouded masks. Knowing this, I devised a new plan. As a seasoned group fitness instructor I know words of positivity can have significant impact on a person, even if they are not spoken to you directly. Think of the power of an inspirational quote. I decided that since I couldn’t spread my kindness openly, I would do it anonymously.
I hit the streets of Stockholm for a second try with hand written cards. Each one had an inspirational quote, and a hand-drawn picture of the sun on the back with the words “A pocketful of sunshine” encircling it. I signed each one – XO, Your Friendly Neighbourhood Canadian. I dropped them into the bags and pockets of my metropolitan neighbours. I left the some on the train and in lockers at the gym. I hung them in changing rooms, and put them in pockets of garments in busy clothing stores. I will never know if anyone took the time to read my notes, or the impact my pockets full of sunshine made. All I can do is hope that it reminded someone that kindness is all around us.
Tune in next week to see what we have on the blog! If you or someone you know would like to be a guest blogger on our blog drop us a line! Chat at chaaa next week Canada - stay local!