Monthly archives: May 2012

It’s That Time of the Month Again

It’s that time of the month again.  You feel weak and cranky. You raid the cabinets for chocolate and realize that you don’t have any more. A sense of malaise and dissatisfaction descends.

And then it comes.

A feeling of restless anticipation takes over the city, and the state-run liquor stores brace themselves for a run on the shelves.

PAY DAY!!!!

One truly strange and hilarious aspect of living in Sweden is that certain rhythms of everyday life tend to happen in unison. Read more » >>

What to Do When You Get The Expat Blues

Last Thursday was Kristi himmelsfärds dag, aka Happy Jesus Christ’s Ascension to Heaven Day. Sometimes I feel like when it comes to religion, Sweden’s motto is this:

“Christianity—we’re not that into it, but we won’t say no to a day off from work.”

Or, even better, two days off from work, since a lot of people get the Friday in between Thursday’s holiday and the weekend off as wel. Long holiday, yeah!

Instead of loving having a random day off, however, I was mostly just grumpy.

There was a storm outside, a pile of unfinished work inside, and a bizarre assortment of half-eaten food in the refrigerator. The best Kristi himmelsfärds dag-related thing that happened all day was when I learned that its German name is “Christi Himmelfahrt.”

Nyuk. Nyuk. Nyuk. Himmelfahrt.

Here’s the thing: I didn’t have a real reason for being grumpy. I was tired and headachey and stuck inside because of the weather, but those are pretty mundane complaints. Nothing was wrong, really, and I know because I searched pretty hard for a concrete reason to justify being a total pain in the butt. But no, nothing. No excuse for being totally miserable except for the fact of being totally miserable.

Photo: Kate Reuterswärd

Usually when I write here, I make it sound like expat life is nothing but sunshine and moonbeams and perfectly coiffed Nordic men with a finely-tuned appreciation of women’s rights who are riding around Sweden on unicorns that excrete delicious candy and universal healthcare instead of regular old unicorn poop.

And it is, most of the time. But there’s a flip side, too. Read more » >>

45 Swedish Words You Should Know Before Starting a Business in Sweden

Have you ever thought about starting a business? If so, you’re not alone.

Unless your transition abroad was prompted by a job offer, it can be extremely difficult to enter the job market in a foreign country. Language barriers are only the tip of the iceberg—different educational systems, unfamiliar or incompatible certifications, and a lack of a social or professional network represent huge barriers between the average expat and a full-time job with benefits.

As a result, many expats are inspired to start their own businesses. Including (effective June 1)… ME! Sole proprietor of Kate Reuterswärd Consulting, right here.

As I go through the process of starting a business here in Sweden, I’ll be writing about the process and what I learn. If you’re thinking about starting a business, don’t hesitate to leave questions in the comments! If you have already started a business and have advice to share, please feel free to jump in and share.

First things first: 45 Swedish words you should know before starting a business in Sweden.

Like nearly all things here in Sweden, you really can do everything in English, but having some key Swedish words up your sleeve is always a plus, especially when you’re trying to navigate websites or looking for specific forms.

Read more » >>

7 Things to Love About Valborg and May Day in Sweden

I’m starting a new campaign.

From now on, every spring day should be just like Valborg and May Day.

Sure, we can squeeze in a few days of work here and there, but once we’ve done our duty, I want everyone to get out to the park and kick off their shoes just like they did last Monday evening. Seriously.

I don’t want to go overboard here, but Valborg and May Day are like the best parts of Swedish spring condensed into 24 hours of pure sun-loving, laid back fun. To celebrate Valborg and May Day, all you need is a blanket, a couple of cans of cider or soda, a grill, and some sausages. Then you can just sit back and enjoy the day until it’s time to light enormous bonfires.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. There are seven elements from Valborg and May Day that I want to be applied to every single other day in spring, and they are as follows…

1. A RED DAY and a SQUEEZE DAY

Read more » >>