#notallswedishcatholics

I’ve gotten better at this over the years, but I still tend to forget that people don’t live inside my head and will just smile and nod when I say things that make absolutely no sense and don’t provide any backstory. I really don’t want to deal with the 73 pull requests in my queue, so instead I will attempt to explain:

Swedish Catholicism

My mother is a product of osmosis, in that if she surrounds herself with enough of something, she becomes that something. She worked at a local bakery – the Swedish Bakery – for almost two decades, side by side with the very Swedish bakery owner. She claimed this exposure made her part Swedish. As I find the idea of a partially-Swedish-by-proximity Chinese woman absolutely hilarious, I went whole hog on the idea. She’s my mom, she’s part Swedish, therefore I am also part Swedish. Can you not tell by my tall slim figure, blue eyes and blonde hair, and affinity for herring?

Along those same lines, my mother one day decided she was Catholic. I’m a little less clear on how this happened, as my father was from the most Anglican part of Montreal (so, all of it), they were married in the Anglican church, I was baptised (no really) as an Anglican, and our brief dip into religion in Victoria was with the Anglican church (this ended when 8-year-old Kimli wore black leather pants and a black Flashdance-esq Ghostbusters sweatshirt to service one Sunday or maybe that time I spat the blood of christ out into a tissue because wine was and is gross), but nope my mother was now Catholic. I did flat out laugh at her when she told me this, as she is probably the worst Catholic in history (outside the actual church, I mean): 38 weeks pregnant at her wedding, married less than a week after my dad’s divorce from his first wife was finalized, all the child abuse – but you know, whatever makes her happy and keeps her out of my hair. She doesn’t actually go to Church or own a bible or .. whatever else Catholics do beyond being archaic and constantly pregnant, but she’s as Catholic as she is Swedish and therefore so am I. Herring goes surprisingly well with the body of Christ.

Future Dystopian Us

Ed and I get my constant supply of Diet Coke from the drug store. They sell it in 6-packs of 710ml (uh, 24oz), it’s always super fresh (this is a thing), and it tends to go on sale every weekend (2 6-packs for $5! It’s practically stealing!). When we lived in East Vancouver, going to the nearby Shoppers Drug Mart each weekend to restock my supply was our main post-brunch errand.

While we were extremely successful in our modern-day hunt for the first few years, we started noticing that even though the Coke aisle literally teeming with lesser beverages, there would be absolutely no Diet Coke anywhere to be found. We’d ask if they had any secret stashes in The Back, but more often than not we were told they were completely out of Diet Coke: someone had beaten us to the store and bought the entire supply. We sometimes had to go to two or three additional stores to get my fix, and often in weird formats like cans or two-litre bottles. It was annoying. We tried to get up earlier in an attempt to get there first, but we are super lazy DINKs and we don’t do early unless we’re travelling so that usually didn’t work.

One day we did manage to get to SDM early, and were pleased to see the Diet Coke supply still intact. I loaded up our cart with at least 8 6-packs, enough to last me the week, and wheeled away with my bounty. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a couple flagging down a staff member to ask if there was any more Diet Coke, or any in The Back – it was them!

Ed and I watched the scene unfold with a dawning sense of horror: the couple shuffled the remaining Coke products around in a fruitless attempt to find any remaining Diet Coke, muttering to themselves the whole time. They were a somewhat sloppy older couple, a slight but grizzled white male and an ambiguously Asian woman with strangely coloured hair. THEY WERE US. They were us from a future dystopian state, travelling back in time to gather supplies! At some point in the near future, something would go terribly wrong in the world and cause people to start hoarding supplies and not care as much about physical appearances, throwing on any ratty thing to go to the store! Diet Coke would become so scare that we had to risk destroying the universe and breaking the time space continuum for a refreshing beverage!

It was sobering and also hilarious. We never saw the couple again, but we knew. It didn’t stop me from buying every available bottle – suck it, future dystopian me – but we knew that the apocalypse was coming sometime soon, and with it, a thirst that could not be denied.


Now you know my past as a practising holy Swede, and my future as a bedraggled time traveller. Please don’t hold it against me. Instead, watch this video of my spiritual father making an old favourite from the homeland:

i repeat: suck it, future dystopian us

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