Some of you might already know that I have a decease called MS. And that I am Swedish. So, living in Sweden with MS you will get a 9 weeks long rehab period for free every other year. I am in the middle of one right now. I go three times a week to this fantastic place where amazingly professional and good people work only with the aim to help people like me. Can you believe that?
That is something I am incredibly grateful for in itself. But this post is not about that. It is about something called Fardtjanst (with the two dots above each a for an extra Nordic exotic touch ;-)). Here I will give you a simplified description on what Fardtjanst is:
Fardtjanst is, as far as I am aware of, something unique for Sweden. (Please let me know if you have heard of it somewhere else.) What it is, is a possibility for people like myself to travel by taxi when we are going somewhere. I can't drive a car, and I can't cope traveling by public transport since about 3 or 4 years. So instead I get to go by taxi. For this I pay only the cost per month of a travel pass for the public transport in my region. If I would not reach the full sum for a particular month I would pay less. But never more.
To me this service is crucial. I would not be able to go to, for instance, my rehab otherwise. And to so many other things.
Look, I get picked up right outside my door, and driven to the door of where I am going. I sit comfortably the whole way. I do not have to walk to the bus stop. I do not have to make any changes of means of transport. I do not have to share space with lots of others who talk, move around, smell, mess around and so on.
The journey takes half the time from door to door. Compare 1 hour and 40 minutes by public transport, and with two changes, with 50 minutes by taxi. I could keep going on for much longer about the benefits of Fardtjanst.
This service is soooooooo fantastic! And I am so so grateful that I have been given the chance to use it. Thank you God for making me being born in Sweden! Thank you Swedish Social Democrats (a political party which was in charge in Sweden for many years and who's well fare politics lays behind a lot of this type of social services) for creating Fardtjanst. Thank you Moderaterna and Alliansen (current parties in charge) for keeping it. I am so grateful! My life would be very different without Fardtjanst.
Now to the upset part:
It is not uncommon that people in Sweden complain about the Fardtjanst. The taxi might arrive a little late (but within the guarantee time of 20 minutes), or you might have to share the journey with someone else (which if you have problems doing you can order a "singles" journey for). I can't think of all the reasons I've heard that people go on about. They would sit in the car moaning moaning and moaning to the poor taxi driver who has to be focused on driving the car at the same time. And most often he/she is not the right person to complain to anyway.
This makes me so upset. Have you who complain any idea how unique this service is?
Back in 1990, when I was 24, me and my boyfriend at the time, went on a six months long journey through South America. Back pack style. Apart from being an absolutely fantastic, beautiful and exciting experience, I got some serious perspective on life and living during that trip. One being that so many people in the world go through such difficulties in their lives. And do they complain? No!
Check these people out for instance. We (my boyfriend and I) sat in a cramped and uncomfortable and cold bus as we passed this scene. Wow! I know they were gonna stand there for hours, traveling to where ever they were going, coz there was nothing within miles. We are in the middle of the Altiplano of Bolivia here. High above sea level. It is empty, cold and windy.
This is of course an extreme scene. And I was luckily not one who had to stand there on the back of that truck myself. But I can give you so many other stories of awkward travelling conditions that I myself took part of, when you did not hear the smallest noise of complaint from any of the people there. On the contrary the people of South America are amazing at finding joy and happiness in the now. Making the situation more pleasurable by their attitude and share friendliness. And yes, I am generalizing now. But honestly, I think this is a true trait for all of them.
It is a cultural difference I believe. I remember speaking to some women in Venezuela about it, when we had to leave the bus and instead walk with our luggage up a looong steep hill in rain coz the road had become too slippery to drive on.
I tell you it was a caravan of people (hundreds, maybe even thousands) from all the cars and buses that had to wait until they slowly could try to make their way forward upwards until they caught up with us. We were delayed by at least five hours.
I asked some ladies if this was a common situation on this particular road, and if it was something that caused irritation with the people in the region. "Como?" "Que?" "What?" "What do you mean?" They did not understand what the problem was. Instead they were singing, telling jokes and laughing loads as they were struggling up that hill.
I guess that was what attracted me to them in the first place. They did not come across as poor or not well off. Rather more similar to my own socio-economic standard here in Sweden. That's why I thought it was a cultural thing.
It is just a plain different attitude to life. People in the so called western world, should learn from that. We would be so much happier in general.
I am so so grateful for the possibility to use this fantastic service called Fardtjanst. And I am upset by people who are not able to appreciate fantastic things they benefit from, and instead go on complaining about insignificant details.
Thank you for reading this far. And remember, please drive safely. :-)
All my best,
You can learn more about Malin on her blog, Beading By Malin de Koning