Tag Archives: Svenskt / Sverige

Det Vackraste – Music in Swedish on Valentine’s Day

 

It is Valentine’s Day – alla hjärtans dag – today, and what could be more appropriate than posting a link to a beautiful song of love.

It you are learning Swedish this is a perfect song – Cecilia sings in a clear voice, fairly slow which makes it easier to follow. The link is to Spotify; if you don’t have it you can check Youtube ( I did not post a link since I could not find a version where there were no spelling mistakes …)  Be sure to use TuneWiki to see the words in writing, if you use Spotify.

Cecilia Vennersten – Det Vackraste

 

 

Do you understand the news in Swedish?

Listening to the radio you probably can’t avoid the news. The news are usually read in a fast pace, and what I find after having returned to Sweden, contain a lot of slang words that didn’t use to belong there. Only the other day I heard them use the Swenglish word “hosta” as in “to host” talking about a major sports event on the news.

If you are learning Swedish you might want to try to listen to Klartext. Klartext is a news program by the Swedish Radio channel P4. The news is easier to follow than regular news since the pace is slower and the words used are easier to understand.

You can either listen to the radio (18-18.10 on weekdays), via the web page, as a podcast or via an app on your phone. The app is called SR Play. Listening to Klartext is a good way of practicing your understanding of spoken Swedish, perhaps in addition to your Swedish classes.

You can also read their news on the website.

Visit Klartext’s website to practice your Swedish! You will find links to the news, the app and pod casts here, as well as the written news.

For English info on Klartext go here.

Please leave a comment – have you tried it? Did you find it difficult?

Why I love my coffee cold.

This time of the year us Swedes grab our mugs,

sit outside on a bench,

wrapped in blankets,

faces turned to the sun like sunflowers,

enjoying the first warm rays of light.

We are all probably side by side in a row,

pressed against a house wall sheltering us from the wind.

The coffee is long cold.

It doesn’t matter,

as long as we can take our fika outside we are happy!

Soon the grill will be out too.

20130316-111914.jpg

What are your biggest struggles learning Swedish?

What are your major struggles learning Swedish?

Replies to this question via twitter and IRL include trying to actually speak it. Most people in Sweden are fairly happy to speak English which makes it easy to avoid using Swedish in every situation that holds the opportunity.

Another common answer is the prononciation of “sje-ljudet”.

Fitting Swedish classes in in a busy schedule, or having babies and young children at home all day also make it difficult to study. Here Skype works well – no time wasted on travelling to class and you can do it with babies and toddlers at home. Want to learn more?

 

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!

 

20130305-223845.jpg

 

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

Fredagsmys for non-Swedes

Say the word Fredagsmys and every Swede knows what you are talking about. An easy Friday evening get-together, to mark the end of the work/school week and the beginning of the weekend. Family or friends, easy cooking, snack and a TV-screen are ususally involved. Tacos is a classic, as well as chips/crisps and dip; at least that´s what the commercials want us to believe. Fredagsmys is part of our modern culture, probably substituting the Sunday dinner family gathering.

The reality TV-show “Allt för Sverige”, brings “Swedish” Americans to Sweden for a chance to discover their roots. One of the episodes exposed the group to Fredagsmys.  http://bit.ly/YizCDAI
 

What do expat people miss from Sweden?

You don´t know what you´ve got until it is gone. Sometimes things are not even important to you until you can´t actually get it anymore. This happens when you relocate. All of a sudden those salty liquorice fish are to die for. You celebrate holidays like never before and order lucia-gowns in adult sizes. Frozen liver pâté and long johns from Polarn O. Pyret fill up the suitcases. And even though you hate queuing, you know it´s a rather blissful invention.

 

If you live abroad; besides family and friends – what do you miss from Sweden? Leave a comment! Click the bubble on the top right of the blog post to see what fellow expats – or “guest-Swedes” – miss!

If you are an expat living in Sweden; find out what people miss from Sweden – believe it or not? Will you miss the same? Not likely. Not all of it.

I have yet to miss the winter weather of Gothenburg though.