Monday, December 5, 2011

You know you're homeless when...

We’ve all seen the homeless in our area sifting through the trash for buried treasure: old clothes and furniture, sometimes electronics, or even uneaten food. In Sweden, these treasures lie in people’s recycling bins. Jo and I have quite the collection of recyclable items, however it’s mostly the plastic bottles we’re after. Depending on the size, a plastic bottle can be worth up to 2 kroner! Yes, dear readers, I've resorted to scavenging for something that is worth a mere 30 cents. Nevertheless, this has proved to be quite a moneymaking deal, as Jo and I have been doing this since our arrival in September. We have a jar that hides in an undisclosed location in the apartment full of our earnings. This money will not be counted until the last week of our time in Sweden at which point we will be taking our money over to Systembolaget (the liquor store), spending it all, and throwing the biggest and best going away party that Ljungby has ever seen.

Initially, the gathering started fairly low key, as we would just take bottles that were easily accessible. This mainly consisted of people’s trash from the two, and only, get-togethers we had at our apartment. We then decided to move on to practice, asking our teammates to, instead of throwing away their Celsius drink cans, let us take the garbage home. This gradually grew into a part of our everyday lives.

Case 1: At the pre-match meals, some of the team moms provide us with multiple beverage options, usually some flavored seltzer water—its very Euro. The first home match, Jo and I really wanted to take these 2-liter bottles, but weren’t sure how the team and parents (who bought them) would feel about us more or less “stealing” their money. So, I hid the empty bottles in my pants. All four of them.
Bottles in my pants.
Case 2: Any time Jo and I leave the gym, or any place that we see people drinking from cans and plastic bottles, we request that they give them to us instead of throwing them away. Sometimes they forget, forcing us to rummage through the trashcans. Thanks to Sweden, and my low self-consciousness, I can now cross “dumpster diving” off my bucket list.

Case 3: We’ve managed to suck Selma into our twisted ways: when leaving a men’s Elite Series match, she noticed two unattended Coke bottles. We waited for two bystanders to leave the area before swooping in for the snatch. I realize that I just described a hawk stalking its mouse prey, but this is swiftly becoming our livelihood—don’t judge.
Jo caught Selma and I in the act!! 
Case 4: Jo and I went over to Joel’s apartment to watch our match against Falköping. Upon entering his kitchen, Jo noticed 3 FULL bags of 2-liter Coke bottles! We instantly asked his permission to have them. Despite his hesitant “yes”, we nabbed the bags as we left. It’s fair to say that both Jo and I are becoming a lot bolder with our methods of collecting.
Our overflowing recycle bin

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