“Time flies and eventually all good things come to an end”, they say. Two years ago, I left Karlskrona leaving behind all my new friends, my favorite places, and the Swedish nature. Karlskrona, also known as the sunniest city in Sweden, had been my second home during the exchange period at BTH.
Two years later I am back. Back to “K-town” where everything is, more or less, unchanged. Sometimes I have the feeling that time has stood still here. Even though I am already quite familiar with the Swedish lifestyle, my new colleagues, Andrea and Susanna, the “newbies”, remind me a lot of my first months in Sweden struggling to understand how everything works. Here are a couple of insights I have learned along the way so far:
FIKA [²fiːka] is the perfect opportunity to get together and to enjoy a good cup of coffee while talking to friends, coworkers, and other new people. The talk always includes a short conversation about the weather, of course. On average, Swedes drink 3.2 cups of coffee every day!
FREDAGSMYS & TACOKVÄLL, translated as “Friday coziness & Taco evening”, represents the perfect occasion that brings together families (and friends) on Friday evening after a long week of work. Surprisingly, TACOS are one of the main dishes that are served during these gatherings.
LÖRDAGSGODIS: Everybody likes candy, right? Well, if you live in Sweden, then Saturday is a very special day to you, especially if you are a kid. It is not ok to eat sweets during the week days, of course adults cheat, but kids are encouraged to wait, preferably, until Saturday. Swedes have actually the highest candy consumption in the world according to statistics: 18 kg/ capita (including pastry).
CASH FREE: Yes, that’s right. Among others, banks are also cash free in Sweden. Unless you need a locker in the gym or a trolley in the supermarket (10 kr coin) everything else can be paid by card.
SMALL TALK: whether you are at the bus station waiting for the bus or having fika with a friend, the conversation will, in most of the times, start with a short introduction about the weather.
NUMMERLAPP or, in other words, “the queue ticket” is a crucial element in the daily life. Whether you want to rent a flat or just want to buy something in the pharmacy, there is always a queue that you have to respect.
CANDLES & LAMPS IN THE WINDOWS are everywhere! In Scandinavia, most of the people have a lamp in the window that brings a little bit of light in the darkness both for them and for the people passing by their house.
COMMON LAUNDRY ROOMS. If you live in an apartment house it is most likely that you will have to do your laundry in a common room. Of course, you need to book time in advance. Sometimes “I have laundry time” is the most common excuse I have heard so far from people trying to avoid social activities.
EKOLOGISK: For some it is just a trend but for most of the Swedes the ecological label is the confirmation that their food was responsibly produced.
KÖTTBULLAR & LINGONSYLT: Or the so-called Swedish meatballs and cranberry jam. So delicious!
SMÖRGÅSTÅRTA: is a celebratory “sandwich-cake”. Literally, THE sandwich usually eaten at different occasions including Midsommar or birthdays. It consists of many layers of bread and the filling is just a matter of the chef’s imagination.
SURSTRÖMMING: Last but equally important is the Swedish fermented herring. Yes, fermented! It’s usually served on a thin layer of flat bread together with almond potatoes and diced onion. I have not tried it so far but it is indeed on my ‘one day I will do it’ list.