18 Mar

Here I am. Another Friday is before me and I couldn’t be happier for the weekend. Joachim and I don’t have much planned for the weekend but I am SO looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow. I think I am the most tired on Fridays because all of those early mornings have added up by then. Luckily, my office is literally 10 minutes from our apartment so waking up “early” to me is 6:30. Thank God I don’t have to make a 30-minute commute to work everyday or else coming to work at 7:30 would definitely not even come into play. That’s one of the nice things about Sweden. Most people don’t have a long commute to get to work like we do in America. If you have a job in one city, you live in that city. It’s actually weird to people here if you live outside of the city you work in. I’ve actually started thinking about some of the main differences between Sweden and America and maybe now is the time I share some of them with you.

  1. Friday nights are not the nights you party in Sweden. Actually any night of the week, besides Saturdays, aren’t the nights you party in Sweden. Friday nights here are more aimed at going to the grocery store, buying chips and candy, eating a “nice” dinner and sitting on the couch with your loved ones to watch TV or a movie. No joke, they actually save all of their best television for Friday nights because they know that’s when the most people are at home. Weird huh? When Friday nights come around in America, there is sh** on for TV, Happy Hours are the place to be, and friends are constantly calling each other right around 3 or 4 to plot strategy for the night. There are some days when I miss that mentality, but there are some days when it is nice to have a “lazy” Friday at home.
  2. You don’t talk to people that you don’t know. It is normal (and a nice thing to do) in America to make small talk with random people you bump into, let’s say with the cashier at the grocery store or Target or something. “Hi, how are you?” is not something you say to a random person here. Actually, most people will look at you as if you are crazy and start questioning if maybe they’ve met you in the past and just don’t remember. Swedes are very introverted and keep to themselves. This has made it a bit hard to make new friends but it’s also nice because I know the random lady sitting next to me on the bus won’t try to strike up a conversation with me in Swedish. I can’t imagine how all the immigrants who come to America and barely speak English feel when some random American starts small talk with them.
  3. On that same note, smiling at someone you know isn’t normal here either. If you are walking down the street and someone is walking toward you, just you and him/her, they tend to look down and pass you as if you aren’t there. This has been a really hard thing for me to get used to because I think it’s so nice to give someone a smile and receive one back. Maybe we do this in America because we like to show off how nice our teeth are! I think I take that for granted too! Lol.
  4. College here is FREE! Yes, people still take out small loans because having a job while you’re in school here isn’t common, but nonetheless their tuition is absolutely free here. Whenever I mention this to some of my friends back at home, they can’t believe it. But I guess this is one of the benefits of having high taxes.
  5. Vacation time (called semester here) is 6 weeks long. Yes, that means that if I wanted to save all of my time off and take a 6-week vacation this summer I could. On that note, if you have a baby you can get up to 1 ½ years PAID work leave. Come to find out, most women share this time with their husbands so the husbands can stay home for a month or two with the newborn and then head back to work. Suddenly, I have come to think that I might have a family the size of the Duggars while here! KIDDING!
  6. Groceries/food is so much more expensive here. For example, one bag of frozen chicken breasts that have, 6 or 7 breasts per bag, is equivalent to $20-25 dollars! Even vegetables are out the roof. 1 avocado costs $2-3 dollars and who eats just one avocado!? Lol. Also, going out to eat (like we so often do in America) only happens when it is a big, celebratory occasion here. For example, Joachim and I went out to one of the “cheapest” restaurants in Helsingborg for our anniversary the other night. I had chicken and rice with a soda and he had a pizza with a soda, the grand total was $42.00. I’m not sure why food prices are so high here, maybe it’s because we are SO far north that shipping things up here cost an arm and a leg.

I think I’m done with my comparisons for now. I know there are a ton more but I’ll write about the rest some other time.

Oh! Another thing. Joachim and I bought a coach and a bed this week! We didn’t buy the first couch we were looking at because 1. It was going to take 7 weeks to ship it here and 2. It was 2,000 Kroner (315 dollars) more than the one we went with. We actually found one that has the same form and layout as the first one we were looking at: with a chaise lounge on one side and a little cubby section on the right side. (See below). Also, the one we bought was already at the store so we can pick it up next weekend when we get the keys to our new place. We also bought a bed that comes with a mattress and a mattress pad from Sweden’s Craiglist ( for a total of $400 dollars. We hit the jackpot here because if we were to buy the bed frame, mattress and mattress pad separately it would’ve cost us close to $1,000. Click here for a picture of the bed 🙂

Other than that, I can’t think of much else to update you on. I am still riding my bike to work and haven’t managed to come across any more obstacles as of right now. You guys will be the first ones to know if this is to happen!

Proud owners of our new couch!





2 Responses to “Comparisons”

  1. Mom March 23, 2011 at 3:05 am #

    Hey, Had — so glad that you’re writing your blog again. I love it — very entertaining and informative. I’ll start looking for this blog regularly now since “you’re back.” Luv ya!

  2. Lily Kwok March 24, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    Wonderful! I also met my Swedish boyfriend while traveling in Thailand. And now I’m over here in Sweden as well 🙂 Great post, and really interesting points about Swedes!!

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