I know I’ve been living in Sweden when:
- Someone I know plays golf and votes for the Left Party
- I’m wearing red pants and I don’t think twice about it (I also have a pair of bright green and light blue slacks.)
- I’m no longer uncomfortable with long periods of silence
- But I wrap up converations with a strange “ummm” that starts low and ends mid range, signalling to the other Swedes that this conversation is over
- I walk past a slide at a playground that’s shaped like a caviar tube
- I have an adjustable desk at work so I can stand up (Employers are required to provide stand-up desks.)
- I took five weeks off this summer — two weeks of vacation and three weeks of paternity leave
- There’s an election coming up, and I just passed a sign for a political party called: The Pirate Party
- I have opinions about Swedish meatballs and have gotten used to robotic lawnmowers
- I feel a bit emotional when I hear Öppna Landskap
It was pitch dark this morning when my son began screaming at his younger brother for stealing the olives off of his plate with such an intensity that you’d think the olives were the last memento from an old lover who’d just died.
Why was he eating olives for breakfast?
Funny that you ask. My 10-year-old daughter decided she was going to eat olives together with her omelet and knäckebröd. Where I come from, we called this type of crispbread Wasa bread, which is actually a brand.
Swedish language alert: Knäck means to snap or crack. So, knäckebröd is bröd, or bread, that cracks. (The son of a friend of mine used to call knäckebröd kick a bird:-)
At 7:25 this morning, my daughter was jamming her arm elbow deep inside of a black olive jar when her younger brothers looked over. This was interesting, they must have thought. We don’t usually see olives at this time of the day.
They wanted some olives too. With a cup of coffee in my hand trying to break out of my Nyquil-induced trance from the night before, I swayed on the other side of the bar and watched with fear to see what would happen.
My daughter reluctantly began to share the olives. But at some point, the middle child felt slighted by his share of olive handouts and began to protest, loudly.
At that point, I could have used an olive branch, but the juice had already spilled.
Photo: Alpha from Flickr
Santa pulled out a box wrapped in animal gift paper and read out a name. In front of him, my son Herman and a pack of mostly blonde-haired 3-year-olds dressed like Santa Claus and gingerbread men waved their arms. One by one, with a gift in hand, they ran to their parents who opened their eyes wide and feigned surprise. I watched from the side and began to panic.
My Swedish wife had the flu that night. So I was at my sonâ€™s Santa Lucia and Christmas party without my full-time guide who makes sure I donâ€™t make any missteps on the slippery Swedish etiquette slopes. â€œPlease come with me,â€ I begged her before I left the house.
Continue reading “A father and sonâ€™s traumatic Swedish Christmas party”
Maybe you heard that Sweden’s TV4 is airing a sitcom called Welcome to SwedenÂ about an American guy who falls in love with a hot Swedish woman and leaves his great job in NYC to move to Stockholm?
Well, that’s pretty much my story about moving to Sweden. Except that I moved from New Jersey and had no job or money when I moved here. On the other hand, my Swedish wife IS hot, so there’s one similarity.
Welcome to Sweden disappoints
In one of the opening scenes, the Swedish customs agent looks through every last inch of the American guy’s baggage and asks him a bunch of tough questions.
Continue reading “Welcome to Sweden: Why the new sitcom sucks”
The best reasons to work in Sweden
I’m an expert on what it’s like to work in Sweden. I’ve lived here for nine years and have had jobs in the corporate sector and the public sector. It’s pretty amazing to work in Sweden.
1.You can tell your boss to go screw yourself without getting fired.Â Â I haven’t tried this one yet, but I’ve been pretty close a few times.
Continue reading “The best reasons to work in Sweden: Master Guide Part 2”