* Call your friends to go for a “fika“…
instead of inviting a friend to go for a coffee, it becomes natural to ask:
“Are you up for a fika around 4 p.m.?”
* Write “hej” instead of “hey“…
when you begin text messages. And no, it is not misspelled.
* Get angry when people do not recycle properly…
because everyone should know what plastic and what carton is.
* Think it’s usual to see cows on the way to uni…
when you’re walking from the student residence Lappkärsberget to Stockholm university.
* Appreciate the smallest ray of sunshine…
when it’s the only one you’ve seen since several days/weeks/months.
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I was sitting on the waterfront of Strandvägen and couldn’t believe that it was 20°C and that it was in Stockholm and that spring has finally (finally!) arrived. I had a book with me but I couldn’t concentrate on it and was just discreetly observing people walking in the streets, sitting near the water, laughing, talking, eating sandwiches.
On the other side of the water was the Radisson and further on the left Djurgården and you could see the beautiful building of Nordiska museum. So I was sitting there and when I was closing my eyes all I could see was the red color of my eyelids. And all I could think of was: “I love Stockholm, I don’t want to leave!”. It’s almost the end of my Erasmus year and all my international friends are leaving in a couple of weeks.
A woman was standing on my right side, several meters away from me and was looking at the water. Suddenly a little boat arrived navigated by a smiling man with a big brown dog on the bow of it barking. The boat moored in front of the woman, she jumped on it and they went away.
People on the waterfront didn’t even glance at them and I thought that I have had never seen anything so special turned to be such a casual thing and that Stockholm is special because of these small things. So here what I’m going to miss about you, Stockholm.
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So after my failure to be a Swede I have changed my tactic and tried to understand Swedes. I scrupulously elaborated my plan of action.
Step number 1: learn Swedish.
As you may have read in the previous post, I can argue during hours why you should learn Swedish. What amazes me the most in this language is when I hear Swedes speaking to each other I have the feeling they are imagining themselves in a theatre play: the way they talk and pronounce sentences is really performative! And I was so excited to go to Sweden that I started learning Swedish in… June. By myself. With a book. And CDs. Repeating “Hur måååår du?” 10 times a day by the swimming pool in Italy. I admit, it was quite absurd. My dad was laughing at me, my sister called me crazy but when I arrived in Stockholm 3 months later I could at least understand some signs and some ads and was able to have a basic conversation. Funny thing, I was finally hearing Swedish, spoken in live, by Swedes, in Sweden. Read more » >>