I don’t get embarrassed easily although this moment was memorable:
A few years ago, I needed an apartment for special guests that were visiting me in Sweden. Fortunately, a friend was kind enough to lend me his apartment, which I appreciated. Often, Swedes open up their home for a friend to use when they are away – something that has always impressed me.
Upon entering this dimly-lit apartment, neither my guests nor I noticed anything out of the ordinary although it was a gray day and they were tired after travelling overnight. It wasn’t long before I left and they got a few hours of sleep.
When they woke up, they got a surprise they weren’t expecting. The place was a mess. Dust, food crumbs and dirt were abundant and I won’t even mention the state of the bathroom or kitchen.
Taking the bull by the horn, they spent an hour cleaning the apartment as they couldn’t stay in such a dirty place. It became livable by decent standards, not by their standards as that would have taken most of the day.
Needless to say, I was embarrassed after hearing what they had to endure on their first day in Sweden. If I had known, I would have paid for a cleaner. They were gracious in how they told me although they said it in no uncertain terms.
Most people (and Swedes) I know, take care of their home in the same clean manner as we do. I assumed that this friend was similar. I’ll never make that mistake again!
I never mentioned to my friend what my guests had done on that first day and I didn’t have to. Unbeknownst to me, they had also cleaned the place the day before they left; making the apartment sparkle in ways I’m sure it never has. When my friend returned, he mentioned how clean the place was. I thought, “If you only knew”.
I’m hopeful that seeing his apartment in a clean condition may have helped to inspire him and his family to take better care of it.
It was a powerful lesson for me as I’ve rarely assumed in life but for some reason I did this time. Any place I’ve borrowed after has been checked thoroughly.
Thankfully, there have been no “Unclean” apartments since.
Happy Gswede Sunday!
You might know this proverb if you are religious - "Cleanliness is Next to Godliness"