Surviving in Sweden

Hej fellow nomads,

Notice that little bit of Swedish I snuck in there? Well it’s about all I know. I’ve been working on a project in Sweden for the past couple of weeks and I’ve had a blast. It’s so, so beautiful and everyone has been very friendly.

In case any of you should find yourselves stationed in Sweden any time in the future, here are a few things I think you should know.

  • Hej (pronounced “hey”) is both hello and goodbye. This can sometimes prove confusing.
  • Instead of fish on a Friday or a Sunday roast, their traditional dish is yellow pea soup and pancakes on a Thursday. To make it a little weirder, the pancakes are served with sweet cream and jam – and yes, you eat it all together with the soup.
  • Toothbrushes are expensive.
  • Actually, most things are expensive.
  • Any temperature above 0 is classified as “warm”.
  • They have excellent pick n mix selections in their supermarkets, and it’s not just for children. Adults happily fill up a bag with no shame. My kind of place!
  • Some Swedish people speaking English sound a little bit like they are making fun of very strong Welsh accents. This is very funny at the most inappropriate moments.
  • The trains have tiny rubbish bag dispensers by each seat. This pleases my inner anti-litterbug greatly.
  • Did I mention it gets quite cold?
  • There is plenty of gluten free food available, both in restaurants and supermarkets, and restaurant staff will carefully explain menu choices to you without sighing, rolling their eyes or tsking. Or saying, “Gloo-tin? What’s that? Oh you mean you can’t have potatoes.” (Argh).
  • Hotels tend to have this weird two-single-duvets-on-a-double-bed thing going on, which takes a bit of getting used to and can result in some chilly awakenings.
  • There is a brand of chocolate bar called Plopp. Do try not to laugh.
  • The airport shopping is nothing to write home about. Which is lucky, as there aren’t any post boxes either.
  • It’s generally a very pedestrian and cyclist friendly place.
  • Everything is so freaking Christmassy!

Have a festive week everyone,
– Rachel