Tag Archives: expat problem

Any point in making friends with expats who leave?

In my last post I very briefly talked about summer time as the time when expat friends leave. You can read it here. A reaction I received was that it can be quite exhausting with the constant effort of making new friends, and the sadness when people leave. I agree; it is. Of course it is. But it doesn’t make it not worth it.

When I was about to move the last time, two new expatriate families moved into the village where I had been living for 3,5 years (with no other expats with young kids – how’s that for timing!). We met a few times but there was really not time or energy enough to bond properly before we left.

On the other hand I have met people last minute at other expat locations with whom I have kept contact through the years.

You never know, do you? So, grab the chances, but cut yourself some slack – if you believe timing is way off then be okay with not trying too hard.

Here is a link discussing the point of making friends with people who leave. Click!!


Are merry-go-rounds culturally different?

The other day I learnt that merry-go-rounds in Sweden, as well as in the rest of Europe, generally turn clockwise whereas they in North America run counter-clockwise! A search on Google confirms this. Reality? Even though I’ve been an expatriate in both locations I must admit I don’t know; I never thought about it. What are your experiences? Comments please – let’s solve this expat problem!

En karusell (a carousel)

Moms’ expat disco

When I moved to Zurich I had made a few contacts in advance (thank you dear Internet). Nothing that lasted though. I knew I needed to make contact with people, to find friends but also information. On location I called a woman mentioned in a resource for expats-book just to ask where I could find playgrounds. I called my relocation agent and asked where I could find a super market – don’t know why she found that a strange question; how would I know?? I called moms that I had met only once at Gymboree or at the Swedish church. Some of them are still dear friends. I joined playgroups and applied (yes that’s right – applied) for membership in a Swedish one. I spoke to people everywhere; mostly expatriates due to the initial language barrier. I hungered for contacts, new friends, acquaintances. I still think it is a shame that my husband’s company did not provide any of this. A coffee morning was promised but nothing happened. Such an easy thing to do.

I joined the WAC in Uster where I came to spend a lot of my time; not only enrolling kids in the pre school but also on my own with new friends, or at family activities with the growing family. Not to mention working with finances and new arrivals. It’s such a wonderful place if you want to find activities and friends. One relocation agent called us a “lifesaver” for expat women.

Once we had a moms’ disco. I swear. Just us moms who wanted some time on our own but were to tired or too attached to a nursing schedule to be able to make it downtown to a real club late at night. We had a blast. Luckily this was before Vine and Instagram. 😉

We were all home by 10 pm by the way.

Har du nånsin luktat skunk eller?

For English version

Jag vaknade med en tyngande huvudvärk. Persiennerna framför fönstren i vår amerikanska lägenhet släppte in ljus och avslöjade att det redan var morgon. Huvudet kändes som att jag inte sovit alls. Men det var något annat som egentligen väckt mig. Stanken. En tung lukt som inte borde vara där. Lite svavel, lite gas, nästan gummi. Som när killarna i 8:an öppnade gaskranarna på kemilektionerna. Lägenheten låg i bottenplanet och när jag drog upp persiennerna möttes jag av buskaget i rabatten utanför, och – i kanten av det gröna – en gasbehållare. Det tog inte många sekunder att göra kopplingen till gasläcka. Imponerande snabbt med tanke på tyngden i skallen.

Jag ringde gasbolaget och förklarade. Och undrade försiktigt, som svenskar gör. Det lät inte alls bra tyckte man, och lovade skicka över någon omgående. Gasläckor var inte att leka med.

Det dröjde inte länge förrän jag hade en serviceminded amerikansk maintenance guy på terassen. Men det dröjde inte heller länge förrän han skrattade hjärtligt.

“Seriously??” sa han. “Have you never ever smelled a skunk before??”

Nej, tänkte jag lättat men aningen förorättat. Vi har inga skunkar i Sverige.

Jag tackade mannen och fyllde på listan med nya erfarenheter man skaffar sig som boende i ett annat land.

Du som utlandsvensk har säkerligen varit med om något oväntat – på grund av olika kulturer, referensramar och normer. Berätta!! Lämna en kommentar! Minst lika kul om du som är inflyttad till Sverige berättar din historia om tokiga svenskheter.

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.