Category Archives: Living in Sweden

Ogiltiga sedlar efter 30 juni 2016/ Invalid banknotes after June 30 2016

Efter den 30 juni 2016 blir tre av våra svenska sedlar ogiltiga. Följ länken nedan för att läsa mer, och kontrollera plånböcker och spargrisar! 
After June 30 2016 three of the Swedish banknotes will be invalid. Follow the link below to learn more and check your wallets and piggy banks!

http://www.riksbank.se/Documents/Bilder/Sedlar_giltiga/2016/Tidplan/tidsplan_981x1075px_SVE_2.jpg

There is also an app “kolla pengarna” which allowes you to keep track of timeline for banknotes/ coins changes and learn about the new ones. 

#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.

 

Cultural parenting – of course! But which cultures?

Parenting styles can vary from family to family. But there are also differences between countries, or should I say cultures. We appreciate different values, which are likely to impact our upbringing of the children. Sometimes they are easily spotted, sometimes they are not. Concept of time for instance is a good example. Coming from a culture where being on time is considered important and a courtesy, I found it annoying at times as a foreign student working in groups with others that were happily an hour late for study meetings. No surprise that we soon found out that Germans and Swedes worked well together!

As always, awareness of the values and set of rules can lead to a better understanding, and less annoyance; tolerance. In the case of time, I simply learnt to agree on another time with the students I knew would be – in my world – an hour late.

Being a parent or not; moving into a new culture you will be exposed to the impact of cultural differences. As a parent a playground is a perfect location for observation and “study”. It´s fascinating that you often can tell from the parents’ responses to their children’s behavior from which country they are. I have encountered societies where one believes that adults should not interfere when children are “playing”. In the beginning I just assumed they did not care; now I hope they care but still want the kids to solve problems on their own. I have also experienced children being constantly corrected and taught. Swedes are normally somewhere in between these two parenting styles; of course, I would like to add with a touch of irony– after all we are the land of “lagom” (just enough) and “mellan” (in the middle).

There are also differences when it comes to physical punishment (illegal in Sweden) and scolding in public. Some people want other parents to know they are dealing with the matter, and some don´t.

Another, always hot, topic is whether it is considered acceptable for a parent to deal with someone else’s child.

I do believe that the culture you are currently living in influences your parenting. It is a way of fitting in, of accepting the hosting society but also grabbing the good stuff!

It is interesting once you start thinking in terms of cultural parenting. What are the cornerstones of your culture/-s when it comes to raising children? Which are the strengths? Have you added anything from your host culture?

Perhaps you are even a slightly different parent in another location! And by that I am not referring to the newly relocated, stressed and culture shocked parent …

Cultural awareness even for the young

Presenting some photos from the playgroup activity a few weeks back! The children made a gingerbread creation for the annual exhibition/competition at Kulturhuset Fyren in Kungsbacka. Concentration and creativity, colors and craft! Multiculture and everyone being different was decided on to be the theme – as you can surely see! Teaching children about different cultures is key to tolerance and understanding. We all need to be aware of that people are different, and that that is ok! We do not have to accept their point of views, but understand that there are different views. And look at the picture below – amazing result!

different people, different nationalities, different cultures
we´re all different!

 more pictures http://www.flickr.com/photos/32989978@N03/8232259036/in/set-72157632137461576/

Traditions and celebrations – a Smorgasbord for expats

One of the best things with living in different countries, and being exposed to various cultures, is that you get a bunch of new traditions to take on. You can choose freely – adopt the ones that appeal to you and fit your regular schedule of celebrations. It can be big; it can be small. As an expat; try to celebrate with locals if you can. If you moved already, keep the traditions – sometimes they prove to grow even stronger!

In my case there seems to be a strong connection between traditions and food. Anyone else? This year, with a bunch of friends from different parts of the world, we decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo; because of the Mexican food. But we also looked up some information about the tradition, and background, so we all learnt something new. We had a wonderful evening and will most likely do it again.

Thanksgiving is coming up, closely followed by 1st of Advent.  Again; food involved. But we must not forget the most important ingredients – people and the opportunities/excuses to get together!

What are your traditions? Have you started any new ones? What happens when you move – do the traditions grow in importance or do they tend to fade away? Would love to hear your comments!

Do not play with food!! Or … do!!

For Halloween the Globatris Network gathered to enjoy an afternoon of fun and “fika”! Halloween is a perfect opportunity to be creative with food! Even the littles ones joining us could make cookie-spiders out of dark Ballerina (Oreos work too) and black string liquorice.

Halloween food

Leave our pancakes alone!

As I´m making pancakes for dinner I think about how this is one of the easy dishes that has followed us around the world. No matter where we have lived there has always been milk, flour and eggs for pancakes. We almost always make the thin ones. Sometimes a thick version in the oven, and occasionally American with baking powder. You say the word and everyone has their own perception of the dish in their mind. In Switzerland I remember inviting an American family over for an afternoon playdate. I made pancakes. Oh, the disappointment in the eyes of the visiting boys as we sat down to eat. Their mother tried desperately to explain how exciting it would be to try Swedish pancakes. But no. It just wasn´t their kind of pancake. To them the relocation to Europe was probably enough at the time. “Leave our pancakes alone!”  #TCK

Do you know we use pancake in some Swedish idiomatic expressions ? Literal translations follows.

Luxury pancakes

Upp som en sol ner som en pannkaka – Up like a sun down like a pancake

Himmel och pannkaka – Heaven and pancake

Det blir bara pannkaka av alltihop – It will all just be pancake

Marsch pannkaka! – Off you go, pancake!

 

 

Falling for fall

Fall is here. The beautiful, rich colors and the crispy air. And, oh yes, the rain. But let´s just forget about the rain for now.  It doesn´t go with the picture. The leaves are turning my garden into an explosion of nuances. It´s like a firework leaving confetti to nurture eye and soul, as well as the lawn. The last brave rosebuds stand strong in the wind, and the blueberries … well, why haven´t they been picked by now?!

Indoors the colors tend to follow the nature´s. Summery shades and patterns are replaced with warm orange and deep reds. Burgundy. Candles, textiles and decorative items add to the luxury of warming up in front of the fire place after a forest walk. A glass of red. Memories from expatriate postings come to life with tiny crafted hedgehogs, autumnal recipe books from overseas and … ahem; the inflatable pumpkin.