“So if I wanted to meet you guys and other Swedes in Bangkok socially, how would that work?” I was talking to a bemused staff member on the other side of a glass window at the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok.
“I mean, what does your events calendar look like here? When do you have your gatherings?” It had taken me long enough to find the Swedish Embassy (my online map had helpfully steered me to the Pakistani Embassy instead) so now that we were here, I was determined to use my Swedish and find out how to meet my fellow Vikings in Bangkok.
“Hmmm… Give me a minute and let me look around for some info,” said the aide. Jammie and I crossed our fingers. We had several goals for this first visit to the Swedish Embassy. For starters, we really wanted to make Swedish friends in Bangkok. And we were also hoping to get some info on interesting service opportunities. Would the embassy have any info on how we could kickstart our year of do-gooding?
“OK, I’ve got someone that can talk to you.” Our man was back at the window. He gave us directions to head to the other end of the embassy. We walked over and were met by a Thai Swede, Varaporn Premsot, the Cultural Officer at the Embassy.
She had several ideas.
Events for Swedes:
“We debuted a Swedish Film Festival that drew a lot of people last year,” she said. We’ll do that again but that’s in May and you’ll be gone by then. But there’s a world music festival in February that you should come to. We’ll have some Swedish performers and that’ll be fun.”
“Talk to the priest of the Church of Sweden here in Bangkok, she can help. There’s also the Thai-Swedish Chamber of Commerce. There are a lot of Swedish businesses in Bangkok so if you are looking for work, check them out and hit their mixers. If you want to eat Swedish food, Stable Lodge has some of the classics, plus the Huntsman Pub draws the biz crowd.”
“Go talk to the people at Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency). With your background in fundraising there may be some interesting opportunities to which they could point you….”
Wow… Jammie and I couldn’t believe our luck. “Thanks… thanks a lot!!” We headed straight over to the Sida offices and introduced ourselves. Then over to the Hunstman Pub and Stable Lodge (which really did have a very Swedish menu including the Swedish pancakes that account for half of my Swedish patriotism).
As soon as I got home I looked up the Swedish Church. Their calendar was awesome: next week they have a Bangkok orphanage visit planned for Monday and a meet-up at Stable Lodge on Tuesday. We were ecstatic! Things were starting to fall into place. The humanitarian projects organized by the Swedish Church could be a great place to start our do-gooding activities — worthy work AND networking!
The early days are always a challenge but as had been our experience getting an apartment, the right people are always ready to help.
Stay tuned as we meet more Swedes next week. In the meantime, help us say thank you to the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok by liking their Facebook page.