Which I’m probably spelling wrong, but it’s the first Swedish phrase I learned, and gosh darn it I am going to record it!  It means, “have you booked?” and it is what we say when somebody rocks up looking to kayak on a busy sunny day.  ‘We’ being those of us gainfully employed in Sweden to rent out kayaks and paddleboards 😉

My first shift on Friday was SO MUCH FUN!   I expected to work with Itsy Bitsy Shorts Dude, but in fact it was a guy around my age and a girl in her early 20s, both Swedish, but both so super nice and friendly that I realized I have been seriously unfair to the people of Sweden by thinking that THM is typical of them.  I arrived promptly at 10am as directed by Whacky Swede, only to find that they had no clue I was coming.

My heart sank as I thought, “too good to be true”, but a quick call to Whacky Swede sorted everything out, and they explained that he’s a fun boss, but not always so great on the organization and telling people what’s going on side of things.  They were completely chilled out about it though, they just shrug and roll their eyes and deal with it as best they can when he double books everyone or forgets to schedule any staff on a really busy day.  I love these people!

The work itself is pretty straightforward: some people have booked, others just wander by on the off chance (and therefore sometimes have to wait), we check whether they have any kayaking experience then assign them a kayak accordingly, help them get in, give them some basic instructions and a map, and wave them off.  (The last part isn’t strictly in the job description, but I started doing it, shouting, “fair winds and following seas!” which my Grandma used to say was a good luck wish for sailors, and people would wave back and laugh) When they come back 2 hours later, we help them out, dry off the kayak, and more often than not, there’s someone waiting to get right in it, and off they go.

A lot of customers are tourists, so they’re on vacation mode and if they have to wait for a kayak they just hang out and sunbathe on the jetty, and chat with us.  I literally had more conversations on Friday than I have in the two months I have been in Sweden, and a few times, when tourists were like, “you live here?  You’re so lucky!”  I found myself genuinely being like, yeah I do!  Even all the Swedes that came by were fun and chatty and would laugh at themselves if they had trouble getting in the kayak or couldn’t figure out how to go forwards to begin with.

Carrying all those kayaks and paddleboards down from the hut to the jetty and in to the water, then out of the water, back up the jetty and on to some grass across the pathway to let them dry, then repeat half a dozen times before finally putting them all back on their racks in the hut, is as about as exhausting as it sounds.

On the bus on the way home, I had a pleasant sensation of being tired after putting in a day’s work.