All posts by Globatris

Swedish tongue twisters #6

Good morning! Let´s warm up our voices today with some Swedish tongue twisters. Let´s start with an easy one:

Får får får? Nej, får får inte får, får får lamm.

Do sheap have sheep? No, sheep don´t have sheep, sheep have lambs.

Now that was easy yet … odd.

Time to move on to those you try to repeat correctly as many times as possible.

Sex laxar i en laxask.

Six salmons in a salmon-box.

Packa pappas kappsäck.

Pack daddy’s suitcase.

Lastly and usually the most tricky one for non-native speakers. Unless you´re Dutch and go for a Gothenburg-accent – there are similarities to your advantage!

Sju sjösjuka sjömän på det sjunkande skeppet Shanghai.

Seven seasick sailors on the sinking ship “Shanghai”.

If you aim higher try to add “sköttes av sköna sjuksköterskor”  – nursed by beautiful nurses. I get a lot of questions on this sound from expats and during my Swedish classes. Listen to the sound via Forvo.com

I will do some recordings and add to the topic!

 

These are classical tongue twisters from Sweden. Want to add to the list? Pls do so in a comment!

#2 Embrace the cold! #blogg100

ice cold

A visual reminder to embrace living in a different climate – it´s a lot easier if you dress accordingly! “There´s no bad weather, only bad clothing” is one of the proverbs we grow up with in Sweden. I know expats who hate this saying, but truth is I guess we need it to survive! 🙂 Swedes are usually outdoorsy people; we need good and proper clothes for snowy, cold, rainy, windy, wet days. The first winter I spent back in Sweden after several years abroad I was constantly freezing. I had a winter jacket, right? The following winter I bought a new winter jacket – a Swedish one! Thick, fluffy and a fake fur lined hood. What a difference it made! I had failed to see the climate from the right cultural perspective.

One of the ladies in my expat network told me it is so easy to spot Swedish people in the alps – it´s the ones with the most appropriate winter wear! And not only in the slopes.

 

100 challenges #blogg100

#1 Saturday Jan 26

What have I done?!  😉

#1 Decided to join the challenge #blogg100

#2 Decided to go to an outlet center on a Saturday. An outdoor mall mind you. Freezing cold and a strong icy wind.

Well, the second decision of the day – check! Safely returned home in time for a late lunch. I like the concept of outdoor malls. Just not in combination with the Swedish west coast winter wind.  There was a small outdoor mall where I lived in the US when I was an expat in Michigan. Loved it. Starbucks, GAP and Bodyworks. A grocery store and some restaurants. A small green area with a tiny playground and a fountain with a bench next to it to enjoy an occasional ice cream.  Perhaps 20 stores all in all. The outdoor concept with a “main street” gave it a European feeling. I believe it was called The Village. Only missed one of my favorite stores; Target. Come to think of it it wouldn´t really have been a “village” with a Target in it.

Decision No.1 I´ll have to live with for the next 100 days. Good for me! Love the idea! Found the challenge only this morning, so starting 3 days late. Just need to finish 3 days later. Since we´re on twitter, my business and I, and Facebook, Instagram as well as on Google+ and Youtube, the project should be perfect for providing my different media channels with content. And vice versa. Want to join?

Let´s go!

Who turned the light off? DIY for winter blues.

So we´re here; right in the middle of it. I´m talking about the cold and dark time of the year. Tiredness, low mood and not being as social as you usually are – not uncommon at all. Not surprising at all. Personally I feel  as if the days were shorter which of course gives less room for being social; it is not likely that I would say “hey, let´s meet up in the park after work “. The day is already over.

Luckily we have the tradition of fika in Sweden. Always works. Ask someone over for coffee and a chat. The smell of freshly baked (works with the cinnamon rolls from the gas station too) goodies is sure to lift your mood. Yes, I think cocooning is trending winter time.

Lack of daylight might contribute to a chemical imbalance in the brain, affecting us negatively; some more than others. There is even such a thing as winter depression – SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Apparently it is not even heard of around the equatorial line. Go figure.

What can we do about it? GET DAYLIGHT. Preferably real, but there are also artificial lights. There are day light lamps, wake up lamps and even facilities with beaches, sun chairs and bright light.  I have to try that. Wonder if you can get a colorful cocktail with a straw too?

In Umeå, 600 km north of Stockholm, the energy company decided to treat bus commuters to some benevolent bright light. Bus stops were lit up by ultra-violet light therapy for a few weeks last fall. Bus drivers complained; they were blinded by the light … But all in all I´m sure it was a success, not at least PR wise.

Try to get some daylight every day, even if it´s overcast. If you can squeeze in at least the shortest of walks you will most probably benefit from it. If you can´t – open the curtains, position yourself by a window.  I did exactly this writing this text. May I suggest you drink some water too, avoiding headache. Just saying.

Turn the lights on; candle lights are nice for the soul and mind too, but won´t fill your need for light. Alternate!

It´s cold. Yes. Dress accordingly, go out and enjoy the weather and landscape on a nice day. Try ice skating, skiing or tobogganing. Or just fika in the snow; watching the others. Nothing beats hot cocoa and an energy bar. Don´t forget the lambskin to sit on. Or fake fur.

Go for light colors. You might not want to redecorate your home (admit it´s a good reason though ;)), but accessorize with pillows, blankets as well as curtains in pale, pastel shades, or whites.

Buy flowers, tulips are great and affordable – buy every week! Spring flowers like crocuses and snow drops look pretty on the windowsill and make me happy too. At least when I remember to water them.

Perhaps you could even consider dressing differently? Skip the black for a week; dare to try something new – lemon, pistachio, baby pink? These are not my colors at all, so I´ll go with beige. Again, accessories might do (half) the trick. People must have been happier in the 80´s right?

Needless to say, if you suffer deep from winter blues and are depressed you should contact your doctor/vårdcentral.

Tulips – very Swedish

Tulips are my favorite flowers. The first sign of spring during our long dark winters; the first pastel colors after the intense reds and greens of Christmas. I love them! But I´m not alone – tulips are popular in Sweden. Swedes buy most tulips per person in the world, adding up to one million per day. US is still the largest market but the buying pattern of the Swedes- often a bunch per week – is far from matched. So even buying flowers can be culturally different, as well as the value of the flower. We happily buy them for ourselves when we do our weekly grocery shopping, whereas in other countries they might be considered more exclusive. Today– Jan 15 – is the Day of the Tulip in Sweden – “Tulpanens dag”. And yes, I bought some today! In spite of my admiration for tulips I haven’t grown many of them in my garden over the years. You see, it is not only Swedish people that can’t resist them; they seem to be favorite food for part of our wildlife. Last fall though I planted quite a few which I will guard vigorously when the time comes. Actually, due to the mild winter, one or two are peaking up already. As an expat I was lucky to enjoy smaller, botanical tulips in one of my rented gardens.

Updated 2018

Read more about tulips here, Tulpanguiden in Swedish, or just enjoy the pictures!

 

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Small Swedish lesson:

en tulpan – a tulip

tulpaner – tulips

en blomma – a flower

blommor – flowers

en bukett – a bouquet

att slå ut – to bloom/to enter the flowering state

en utslagen tulpan – a blooming tulip

att sloka – to wilt, to flag

vissna – to wither, to shrivel

vissen – shrivelled

en rabatt – a flower bed

en dag – a day

Tulpanens dag – the Day of the Tulip

The headaches of an expat

The headaches of an expat can be surprisingly heavy

My head felt heavy as I woke up. For once it wasn´t the tck baby but a throbbing headache that was calling for my attention.  Bright light found its way through the a bit uneven blinds in our American apartment, giving away that it was already morning. I felt as if I hadn´t slept at all.

It was really something else that had forced me out of my sleep. The smell. A heavy odor that shouldn´t have been there. It was all over our new expat home. Like sulfur; gas; a bit like rubber. For an instant I was tossed back to Swedish high school where the boys constantly opened the gas taps in chemistry class to upset the girls. Or should I say to impress them, speaking boys’ language.

The apartment was on ground level and raising the blinds I was welcomed by the sight of the lush green foliage outside our master bedroom, and – immediately to the left – the natural gas cabinet. It didn´t take long to make the connection smell and gas leak. Impressively fast, considering the condition my head was in.

I called the natural gas company and explained – a little bit cautious as Swedes tend to, not wanting to be such a hassle in case there was nothing to it. Apparently the smell was not good at all. Someone was to be sent over immediately. “Gas leaks are not to be taken lightly. Right, and that´s why I made the call in the first place.

Before long there was a service minded maintenance worker on the patio. He wore sturdy shoes and had a dark blue overall on, as well as a concerned look. It didn´t take long though before he burst out into laughter.

“Seriously??” he said. ”Have you never ever smelled a skunk before??”

What? No, I hadn´t. His reaction left me feeling relieved yet a bit wronged. There are no skunks in Sweden.

I thanked the highly amused man and made a mental note. My list of new experiences, ever growing from living in another country and being exposed to cultural differences, had been added to. Again.

Share your story! I know there are many situations out there that deserve to be shared! We all have problems and headaches as an expat. Surviving expatriate life is a lot easier if we´re able to laugh at ourselves. And believe me; it´s not as if there’s a lack of situations where things can be misunderstood …

This post has also been published in Swedish, go here if you´d like to read that version and the comments!