Tag Archives: expat in Gothenburg

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?

Easter witches

20130329-161516.jpg

Last year I remember we had a very vivid discussion in my expat network about the Swedish tradition of dressing up as an Easter witch. People were appalled by the thought of it; seeing Easter witches as something dark and scary. It can be hard to understand and accept other culture’s traditions and it can be equally hard for a person familiar to them to get why they can be provoking or upsetting. We are usually so caught up with and used to the traditions (hence the word) that we don’t really think about the whys and hows and what it can possible look like to an outsider.

I tried to explain that the Easter dressing up is like Halloween – kids knock on doors, sometimes leaving a homemade Easter card and hope for candy in return. But we all have different references to witches (come on, we do!) and it wasn’t until I googled pictures of cute little Easter witches that we all agreed that it wasn’t such a bad thing after all! Boys and girls dress up in long colorful skirts and headscarves (the most important attribute) and red colored cheeks and lots of freckles. Lately we also see little Easter Men and Bunnies.

The word “påskkärring” actually does not even mean Easter witch but rather “Easter Old Woman”. There is very little in common with the witches people believed in during the 17th Century – also people did not drink coffee in Sweden at the time, and a dressed up kid usually carries a coffee pot around accompanying the broomstick; sometimes even a black cat.

So, when can you expect them to arrive – the kids, not the witches? On the West coast of Sweden it is mostly common to be visited by påskkärringar during Easter Saturday, whereas Thursday is more common in the rest of the country.

#worldcolors Green

If you’ve followed my blog you know I like photography. That’s why I immediately joined #worldcolors when I stumbled upon Naomi’s blog post. According to it March is all about Green! But is it really? Well, in my part of the world it is fairly grey right now; cold, winter and no snow at all. If you read my blog post the other day you know I’m more than ready to welcome spring and green colors into my world again.

For the photo project #worldcolors I first planned to go through old photos to find the lush green ones, filled with memories from all over the world. Then on Friday I spent a few hours outside in the biting cold and decided to make #worldcolors Green a real challenge. I would look for green objects to shoot during the day – outside. And yes it was quite a challenge, but a fun one! Below are my green finds! Please feel free to join the #worldcolors! You still have a couple of weeks to find your take on green!

20130317-105856.jpg

20130317-105950.jpg

20130317-110030.jpg

20130317-110127.jpg

20130317-110217.jpg

20130317-110229.jpg

20130317-110239.jpg

20130317-110301.jpg

20130317-110322.jpg

20130317-110338.jpg

20130317-110347.jpg

10 Quick tips on how to plan your stay when living abroad or traveling

Living abroad or traveling – tips for exploring and sightseeing

When I arrive in a new place I’m always eager to explore the surroundings. Sometimes I already know what I would like to see, sometimes I don’t have a clue. One thing I know though is that I don’t want to leave feeling I have missed out on places and things to discover simply because it “just didn’t happen”. This is an advice I always share with expats getting ready to leave for a new destination; do not go back without stories to tell, and memories to savor!  We all know that time flies so start planning your stay abroad! Below I’m sharing some of my tips to help exploring a new location. They are not only valid for living abroad but work for traveling and vacation too!

10 Quick tips on how not to miss out on places to go when living abroad or traveling

Here are a few tips for your inspiration
on planning what you want to experience in your adopted country and to get you going!

  • Start right away
  • Try apps such as Stuck on Earth or let Google World Wonders Project inspire you.
  • Stock up on guide books – still my favorite source for inspiration, and excellent to save as memories. Notes in them makes it more personal!
  • Ask people for tips – in person or on internet forums.
  • Local papers – ads and what-to-dos sections can provide ideas even if you don’t master the language.
  • Don’t limit yourself to searching the Internet – there are lots of accounts on
    Twitter providing tips on cities and regions. Facebook and Google+ works too! Instagram needless to say offers travel eye candy!
  • Take into account how long your expatriate / travel adventure is planned to last.
  • Make a list of want-to-sees, top priorities first.
  • Schedule trips and visits for your stay. Actual dates are great but “in May”, “by end of summer” and “3 things off the list in a month” works well!
  • Be realistic! Don’t overdo it but make sure you do do it! Happy discovering when living abroad!tips for expats on living abroad and traveling

International women #IWD

20130308-092851.jpg

Accompanying spouses need to take on many new roles. Let me introduce to you

  • the Moving Queen
  • the Relo Expert
  • the Resilience Champion
  • the No. 1 Assignment Glue

Many employers and relocation organizations count on them. What about acknowledgement? I once heard of a spouse that received a “thank you” from her husbands employer. She said it was easily done but meant a lot to her.

What are your experiences?

Networking for expats – you just have to do it!

Networking is important, especially if you move – abroad or within a country. As an accompanying spouse you need to get new friends, contacts and information. This is not the time to be shy or to procrastinate. On the contrary, a little bit of aggressiveness can be useful – in a nice way.

These days we have the Internet to search for playgroups, women’s clubs and activities. There are online forums to find potential friends and advice. Make contact! Call! Visit! It doesn’t always work out but it might lead to something else. If there is nothing organized try to set something up as soon as you bump in to someone in a similar situation! Coffee morning, museum group, book club or toddler time are good examples!

Postman never rings twice. Or even once.

Another thing that I had put on my list of first impressions moving to Sweden was the mail and parcel service. Abroad I had parcels and boxes delivered to my door, by the mail company. The postman would ring the doorbell, I would open and scribble my signature on some electronic gadget and I would get my stuff. The Kavat shoes for the kids! The handbag that I had had to return since the shop assistant had neglected to remove the alarm device. The DVD player. The contact lenses ordered from Sweden (yes – cheaper than buying on location). Here there is a slip in the mailbox urging me to go to the grocery store to pick it up, or a text message. Few people are at home during the day in Sweden. People can’t open the door to the mailman.

Save your first repatriation impressions

Repatriation impressions

When I moved back “home” I wrote down my first impressions. I have moved and settled quite a few times and I know that sooner or later many of the first impressions will fade away. What you find astonishing, weird, beautiful or just different might become everyday and taken for granted. I’m not saying all of it will, but first impressions are simply not just called first impressions without a reason.

I moved back to the same little town I had once left. It was all familiar yet quite different. I was looking upon the village with different eyes. The very first thing that struck me was how coastal it all looked. Lots of wooden houses in different pale colors, the older ones with gingerbread work. It was a dark winter evening but yet I felt the presence of the sea without actually seeing it – all due to the building style of the houses. Today I don’t see that anymore. But sometimes when I pass a certain house I think about this first impression I had returning from expat life, and try to get the feeling back. It would have been lost without my notes.

Why saving first repatriation impressions?

I am so happy I saved these first images and thoughts. I have even written on top of the paper that I expected to not find any of it peculiar after a while. Some things I can still see why I wrote down, others are a complete surprise to me today. It is really amusing. It is also something to reflect upon; how quickly do we adapt? Do we ever fully integrate and accept things? When repatriating; do we go back to the same values? It is also a reminder of what we found marvelous in the beginning and that we just take for granted by now; a reminder to still appreciate it.

My advice to you is to write things down if you are in a new place or situation. I did the same thing each time I had a baby. I kept a tiny notebook by the bed and tried to scribble down a few lines about the new life. These memories are golden. Save them!

Pls share or comment! I love to hear from you!

If you wonder why I quoted “home” – find out why 😉

20130214-235002.jpg