Monthly archives: July 2012

The long-awaited SWEDISH SUMMER

Before we left for vacation, I was feeling very skeptical about the fantastic Swedish summer that had been promised to me.

All through the cold, hard winter, the words “Swedish summer” were whispered like an incantation, a sure reward for suffering through months of minimal sunlight and maximal wind exposure. Swedish summer, Swedish summer, Swedish summer. There’s nothing better in the whole world. 

In the last week of May, it seemed as though summer were just around the corner. The clouds cleared, ice cream shops opened, and old ladies draped themselves over park benches with their heads tilted up to the sky, already eager to scoop up any available rays.

And then winter came back. And then spring. And then it got cold again. And then people started telling me that once again, I just so happened to be here during “the rainiest June in Lund” since the 1920s or something like that. When we went to Italy on vacation, a cold front descended, making the much-heralded Swedish summer look a lot more like Swedish late fall.

It’s just not right, you know? We LIVE for this. But all is forgotten now because the weather has turned and we are finally experiencing SWEDISH SUMMER.

Here’s what my summer days have been looking like:  Read more » >>

Reason number 537 to learn Swedish

Here is something that most people know about me: I am the least sneaky person on this planet. I have no poker face. I can’t hide my emotions. I can’t cross a room without bumping into a chair or knocking something over. Not sneaky.

But now I’m on vacation in Italy, and I can speak Swedish. Holy moly, I have gone from speaking the most easily identifiable language ever (American English) to communicating in a secret language all of my own (shared with just 9 million people or so). I might as well be speaking Slytherin. A RIDDLE WRAPPED IN A MYSTERY INSIDE AN ENIGMA, I TELL YOU. And the key is Swedish.

My level of sneakiness: without Swedish. Photo: Simon Reuterswärd

Read more » >>

Why Sweden? 10 Questions for Nomadic Matt

I poke. I push. I prod. I try to get people out of their cubicles and traveling the world… I show others that traveling doesn’t have to be expensive, that anyone can do it, and that your fears are unfounded… Judging by the emails I get from people, I think I’m successful at getting people onto airplanes and out into the world.

That’s how Matt Kepnes, better known online as “Nomadic Matt,” describes his day-to-day work. For the last six years, Matt has been a full-time traveler and travel blogger, roaming the globe in search of new adventures and experiences.

In that time, Matt has supported himself through his website, which has allowed him to travel around the world 3 times, create destination guides for other intrepid explorers for more than 200 destinations, and spend his winters on the beach of his choice (extremely appealing to me).

All good things must come to an end, though.

Matt Kepnes, aka "Nomadic Matt," blogger, world-traveler, and new expat in Sweden. Photo: Matt Kepnes

Matt has decided to give “semi-nomadic” life a try for the first time, and of all the places in the world to take the leap into being an expat, he’s chosen Sweden as his first destination. Read more » >>

The Magic of Personal Banking in Sweden: THE FUTURE IS NOW

It’s not often that I go to another country and feel like, WHOA, this is the future of _______. Coming from the United States – the home of Apple Computers, Silicon Valley, and TV channels that exist for the sole purpose of selling useless gadgets – I tend to think that my homeland is on the cutting edge of technological progress, for better or worse.

When it comes to banking, though, Sweden totally has us beat.

Internet culture defines the world of personal finance here. You do everything with your online banking site, from paying bills to sending money to friends to authorizing governmental forms. And you do it all with a little instrument called the “dosa” (due-sah).

Photo: Kate Reuterswärd

Read more » >>

Celebrating the 4th of July with the American Women’s Club

4th of July can be a strange holiday to celebrate abroad. Without the fireworks and the nationwide patriotic euphoria, there’s not much that distinguishes a 4th of July party from any other summer evening spent drinking and barbecuing with friends.

Photo: Kate Reuterswärd

All the same, in past few years as an expat, I’ve given it an honest try. One year, I made several trays of Jell-o shots with Jell-o bought at the American Store in Malmö. Both the how and the why of that particular food (drink?) were difficult to explain.

Read more » >>