The Swedish Stuff You Adjust To.

I have been in Sweden almost a year! Whaaaaaaaaaat? Since my mind is totally fried lately I thought I might write about some things I balked at when I arrived on the cold, fertile Viking soil and now have completely adapted to and will find myself not-okay-with-unadapting-to when I get back to Utah in January.

  • Eating everything with a fork and a knife.   I don't think it was just me because I remember EVERYONE in Utah and Tennessee just shoveling food in with a fork unless it was fancy steak or something.  In Sweden you eat EVERYTHING with a knife and a fork, even things like pizza (some lunatics do it with burgers too but that is just too much.  Hands I say!) 
  • Swedish pancakes.   I don't even know what I would do with an American pancake anymore.  Just look at it in horror, I imagine.  
  • No threats of being sued everywhere.  I remember first arriving and seeing ice all over the roads and sidewalk and wondering how the whole country wasn't bankrupt from getting sued.  I found out that sueing is a pretty American thing and now when I hear about someone threatening to sue over falling or getting hurt or the airbag not deploying I roll my eyes.  
  • No corn syrup.  Most of the additives and horse shit that flows with abundance through American food is banned here.  I have gradually tapered off reading every single label because something marked juice is actually juice, something marked meat is actually meat, and so on.  Of course there are exceptions, but the food/shiteating culture is so completely different it blows my mind.  
  • More equality.   I still have to deal with Swedish feminism which is the worst kind of feminism, but if I wasn't dealing with that it'd be the Mormons...so I can't win either way I go.  But Sweden is more equal in general; I see things like dads pushing strollers, gay couples holding hands, etc and nobody bats an eye.  
  • More atheism!! In Utah if you say you're an atheist there's almost always an awkward pause while the person processes the fact that you probably eat babies.  In Sweden, I've been made fun of and teased and called a Christian as an insult.  That's right, they use the word Christian which murricans so proudly flaunt like a badge of honor, as something humiliating.   A lot of older people  (40+) still maintain some loose association with the Swedish church, which is by far the quietest and nicest church ever, but people my age are 99 percent atheist.  They would be insulted if you even suggested there was another way to be.  It's great. 
  • Nobody talks to each other in public.   When in Utah, using the public transit system you could bet someone would talk to me.  Sometimes it was a wayfaring traveler just getting out of jail, sometimes it was a lonely old lady, and sometimes it was a granola Mormon mom on her way to pilates class.  I never thought I minded, but being on the trains in Sweden and never having to placate strangers for smalltalk has been one of my favorite things about this country.  Swedes, and especially Stockholmers, want nothing to do with idly chatting to strangers.  They kind of blow past people with tunnel vision most of the time, and nobody thinks it's rude.  I like it. 
  • Meats have sauces.  All meat.  A million sauces.  Sometimes I miss Worcestershire sauce.  But usually not.  
  • Taking shoes off inside.  I wonder, will I keep this adopted cleanly habit when I move? The answer is probably yes.  But I hate being barefoot, so we will see. 
  • Everything costing a million dollars.  Swedish things are expensive.  Everything from food to clothes is at least three times what you'd pay inside a WalMart.  That's scary.  I guess when I get to America I will go on a thrift store shopping spree just to be amazed at all the things I will get! 
  • In summer, there's no dark.  In winter, there's no light.   Right now the sun sets about 1630, but by December it will be setting an hour earlier.  That's right, by the time it's 4pm and before most people are off work, it's black as pitch outside.  It's really strange.  Strange as going to a Rammstein concert and getting home at 3am and watching the sunrise.  WHAT IS THAT ABOUT THE SUN DIDN'T GO DOWN TIL LIKE MIDNIGHT.   I actually don't like the lengthy day or the lengthy night but I will adapt.  
I'm sure more, TONS more could be added to this list, but I will leave it here so as to not overwhelm! 


  1. The long nights/days would be so hard for me, I think! Especially because I'm so not motivated to go outside when it's dark and cold.

    I can't believe it's been almost a year…that's so crazy!

  2. I always knew you eat babies! ;) It was so strange adjusting to the states after being in Japan for so long. I love your list.

  3. Most of those are things I like about Sweden. Especially the atheism and equality. I might be one of those Swedish feminists you don't like though. ;) What is is that you dislike about Swedish feminism?

    //Angelica - www.whirlwind.nu