If I wasn't here...

If I was no longer living in Sweden, I would NOT miss:

1. Having to wear gloves for a handful of months in the year. Although I haven't started yet, and it's the 3rd week of November. I'm holding out!

2. Seeing used snus packets lying on the ground. Gross.

3. The way that girls blatantly stare at other girls, analyzing their outfits.

4. How despite the fact that people are quite stylish here, there is often so much similarity in the style. Trends sweep through like crazy. It's not strange if you have the exact same shoes as all your friends.

5. The fact that I always find everything out about my California friends last. Not as much Sweden's fault as it is mine though... I could be better at all that.

6. That I feel like I'm a wild card with some people. A foreign girl. You don't know what to expect with one of those... I feel like I can hear the thoughts..."How long will she stay here? Does she understand the language? How much of it? Is she judging my English? I don't think she got that joke just now... a Swedish thing I guess."

7. How private people can be. I am too, in some ways, and that's why I am comfortable here. But sometimes I feel like people mention their kids, girlfriend or boyfriend, or any personal insights about themselves by accident almost... and I knew that it would be this way, and I do get delighted by the slow process of people opening up. But it can sometimes feel like it will take you years to really get to know people completely. With plenty/most of my closest friends, this is not an issue. But in other interactions, it is.

8. Governmental departments' service people. They have, putting it mildly, a lot of room for improvement.


If I was no longer living in Sweden, I would desperately miss:


1. Ramlösa. I just adore it. Before Sweden, I was a mild fan of sparkling water, but never preferring it to regular. Now, if I left I would need it exported to me, weekly. Perhaps the Granatäpple flavor, please!

2. In the colder half of the year, Candles. Candles sitting in front of store doorways. Candles in the store windows. Candles all over inside restaurants and bars. Candles in all my friends's houses. Nothing makes things as cozy and romantic.

3. How stylish people are. Yes, I remember my point #3 above. And yes, I think nowhere I've ever been quite compares to the style I've seen in certain parts of Los Angeles and New York City... but I am quite happy with the level of dress in Stockholm. Formal at the right times and casual when you want it to be, and people look good.

4. The forests and the big city parks and all the nature around me within such easy access. Trees and landscape that really draws me in. I thought nothing could compare with how happy it made me to walk along the beach with my favorite songs playing through my headphones in Santa Barbara. But biking through forest pathways with fall leaves coloring the ground in red and yellow and the water and islands within sight? To music? Unbelievable.



*Photo from my date in Hagaparken last weekend with Lelle.
Lelle... he is... my bike. ;)

5. The critical minds of my Swedish friends. Swedes were cultured and taught in school to question assumptions, not take for granted the authority of an instructor, and I sometimes think this criticality carries over into their opinions of things and of themselves and their own country. But it's remarkable what it can do in healthy and caring friendships, so far. My Swedish friends challenge me, question my assumptions about myself and others, make me consider things a different way, and tell me when they think I'm doing the wrong thing, more than I've experienced before.

6. The cold. And snow. Yes, I am crazy. And I do complain about the cold sometimes. But going for a walk out in the cold with your warm jacket on and boots, and then how you feel coming in from the cold to have tea with a friend. I can't believe it, but yes, I would miss the cold.

7. The Swedish language.

8. The long days of summer. Midnight sunsets... magical. Okay, fine, maybe that is a given, everyone is intoxicated by those.

Instead, I will pick...

I can't pick. There's too much I would desperately miss if I wasn't here. Will need to make another list soon.

Comments

  1. I'm an American black female who lived abroad in Germany for 7 years and traveled extensively through Europe but didn't make it to Scandinavia but now after falling in love with Alexander Skarsgard from True Blood and watching many if his movies and interviews I dream if Sweden. For several months I have been researching the country, culture, idealologies, Americans in ciubtry , their views if blacks, etc and taking it all in....I am surprised that I find it less appealing now. I respect differences as I've lived I. 3 different countries in my lifetime and traveled to over 22 but what concerns me is the acceptable lack of communication and social skills. It seems like a nationalteebage mentality if bar hookups, having crushes but u don't dare tell the other person, its nor cool to speak your mind for fear if being shunned type of mentality. I'm all for equality but how does a man woo you or impress you if he can't even buy your coffee but he can screw you after getting drunk and its acceptable to ignore you or treat you like a stranger the next day. Actually seems like some shovanice male invented the rules there and some how brainwashed the rest of the country to buy into it. Its kuje high school on steroids that's not equality that's puberty. Wow! The internet is really a great tool. Bow, I still think its a beautiful country,. I still want to visit and would still live to meet ASkars and see the beautiful nature the country has to offer but spare me the mind games please. Maybe the younger people cab freely adapt to this but if this is Swedish mentality across the board I'll pass.

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  2. Hi Sky,
    Regarding your comment, "but how does a man woo you or impress you if he can't even buy your coffee but he can screw you after getting drunk and its acceptable to ignore you or treat you like a stranger the next day"...
    the ladies in Sweden do it too, it's not just the men :)
    And I will add that there is more of a bar hookup culture across Scandinavia than most places in the whole world, but it's not how everyone meets and falls in love by any means. And if you are in a relationship with a male Swede, chauvinist will be one of the least relevant ways to describe their behavior.

    The country is beautiful. And despite some cultural differences, I love the people and their way with real relationships and social life.

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