Culture clash #3 – Swedish curiosities

After three years in Sweden, I can observe myself becoming more and more “Swedish”. On Friday evenings it is “Fredagsmys”, which means cozy Friday, chilling on the sofa, often combined with “Tacokväll”, the typical Friday taco meal. Swedish citizens really don´t like surprises and Friday evening is reserved for tacos or similar easy-made food. On Saturday, I often take a trip to the supermarket and get some “Lösgodis”, that is different candy you choose yourself. Another very Swedish thing. Saturday is reserved for candy.

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A Swedish friend of mine is playing a music quiz every Saturday morning and before that it is pancakes. Every Saturday the whole year! That might sound really crazy to you and I felt the same but I start to find myself doing just the same with Friday tacos and Saturday candy. Three years leave their marks…

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And then there are the special food days: We have a cinnamon bun day, a waffle day, and shrove Tuesday, where you usually eat a semla, a pastry, filled with almond paste and cream. The perfect excuse to gorge on these treats the whole day!

Another curiosity is that Swedes seem to love to squeeze their food out of tubes. In each super market you will see a department where you can buy cheese paste, bacon paste, caviar paste and mustard paste. I have no idea what this is about but I have to admit that I sometimes squeeze bacon paste on my egg as well (but really just when I am very very lazy).

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The same when it comes to travel: Swedes are just not creative. They love to book package holidays, where everything is organized, out of the plane, into the bus and into the hotel. The favorite places are Mallorca, Turkey, Canary Islands and Thailand. Since a really long time. Especially Thailand seems to be a Mecca for Swedish tourists and among my friends there is nearly nobody who has not been to Thailand at least one time already.

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Especially for people coming from other countries, another recommendation: Don´t invite a Swede to a drink. You will make him feel very uncomfortable. Everybody pays for his own drink and if you invite a Swede he will feel obliged to do the same to you. A Swede always wants it to be even. I remember when I asked a Swedish friend to change a note into coins and he was five Swedish Krona short. I said it was fine but these five Krona were chasing him and he could only relax after he had given them back to me.

Nevertheless, I am sure you all will love this country with all its curiosities just as I am loving it and you will get used to all these little things that are a bit different.

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One thought on “Culture clash #3 – Swedish curiosities

  1. […] But what I was pleasantly surprised to discover was the spice rack! Being Indian, spices are a boon for me and it was nice to see quite an unexpectedly extensive selection of spice mixes, lentils and grains in every supermarket in Borlänge. Thai pastes, Japanese noodles, Chinese sauces, Mexican tortillas – there is something for everyone’s taste here. You can also read a little about what a typical Swede eats on my friend Katrin’s post here. […]

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