Hi there folks! Welcome to my little cyberspace. Now that I've actually "done it", ie. gone and got myself a blog, I'm lost for words. uhmmmm...Gone are the days when I'd say to myself, "See, if you had a blog, you could ramble on about this or that or the other thing". And here I am, an official "blogger" with no ideas for a blog post. Cripes (slang for "Christ" where I come from and obviously a better choice of word, kinda like "frig" is to the dreaded F word).
Yup, still here and still devoid of inspiration. I guess I understimated the responsibility that comes with being a blogger. Like going to your hubby's office party for the first time. All you keep thinking about is making that ultimate first impression. You try on a zillion different outfits, practice your smile, handshake and opening line. Promise yourself you're only gonna have 1 glass of wine. You wonder what people think of you. Are you the prettiest wife there? You better be! Then you get there and feel completely unprepared or wonder what you were so worried about in the first place as you down your 5th glass of wine....
Nobody needs to know someone's entire life story on a first encounter, do they? So instead of giving you the 411 on who I am, what makes me tick, my religious beliefs and my favourite flavour of ice cream, why not start off somewhere in the middle. Here's a post I wrote for my Facebook "fans" awhile back. We'll start here and go back to the beginning some other day:
No, I didn’t write this list in one shot. I’ve been updating it every day for the past little while and decided to post it now for fear it got even longer. More updates of an Expats Life in Sweden to come so stay tuned.
- My favourite candy like EVER. And nope, there’s no such thing here.
- And the “Swedish massage”? Sorry men. That was made up to conjure fantasies of gorgeous blondes rubbing you down. A myth. They laugh when you mention it.
- But the Swedish meatball? Yup, it exists, they’re delicious but here, you eat them with lingonberry jam...ewww.
- Ok, so I found furniture polish...it’s the cream variety. I miss Pledge. Update: Found Pledge!
- I thought my dishwasher broke down. Hubby turned some water diverter valve thingy. I am so smart, I figured it out.
- I thought my dryer was broke. Friend came over. She’s better than any man. Apparently, it fills up with water in this dispenser type thingy and you have to empty it. Everything is powered by hot water here. She also figured out that I do in fact have a lightbulb in my fridge...hidden of course.
- Traffic lights? Nope. It’s all about the “roundabout”. For all you Haligonians, think about the dreaded “Armdale rotary” which screws everyone up. Times that by a million and you have smooth flowing traffic.
- DO NOT SPEED. They will take away your license. Period.
- All I have to do is come within 20 feet of a crosswalk and the cars slow down and stop. It’s a Christmas miracle.
- Son is watching Swedish Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Little Einsteins, etc. No English channels . Talk about learning fast.
- You know that sound you make when you’re surprised by some news...you take in a quick breath? News like a friend won the lottery or your Great Aunt Harriet died? They make that noise constantly when they’re chatting away on their mobiles. I keep waiting to hear some exciting/dreadful news when they hang up. Apparently it means “ok” or the Swedish equivalent to the Canadian “eh”. I can let the air out of my lungs now.
- "Claudia has BASKET today” means “Claudia has basketball today”. Basket is short for Basketball in Swedish. We use the “ball”.
- You go for a cup of coffee around 2pm and realize it’s the same pot you brewed at 8am. That’s what their coffee always tastes like. Take the amount of grounds you put in your machine and times that by 3.
- Caviar is the Swede’s peanut butter. Though it’s not classy. It’s bright orange and comes in a tube. You squeeze it out like toothpaste. I love it.
- Some smarty pants invented a little plastic thing that acts as a quarter for the shopping carts. How many times have you gone to the store and realized you don’t have a quarter for the shopping cart? Take along this plastic thing and never worry about bumming change from strangers again (unless of course you forget the plastic thing).
- Remember in high school we had “Days”? Like today is Day 4 which means I have History, French and Math? Well this entire country functions on a DAY system that has little to do with days of the week or dates. I still haven’t figured it out. When I asked the clerk at IKEA when they would have what I wanted in stock she said, “Day 27”. Uh..what?! We musn’t forget RED DAYS...those are national holidays..they have A LOT of them.
- Unless you go to some fast food joint for lunch, ALL restaurants serve a lunch buffet. You can’t order off a menu and have to serve yourself cafeteria-style. It’s weird. Did I mention that everyone and I mean EVERYONE owns and drives a bicycle, everywhere?!
- I made my first trip to the liquor store and boy was it a TRIP. I just came from a country where you could buy alcohol anywhere (from grocery stores to kiosks) to a Canada-like country where they have a liquor commission. Ok, so I’m used to that. The kicker is that I walk in and bottles of wine and spirits are displayed on the walls behind glass cases. I’m instantly confused. I stand back and observe. Ok, that guy just took a number from that machine. Take a number from the machine. The number on the big board has changed to 217 and the man walks up, talks to the lady behind the counter, she goes out back and produces a few bottles. He pays. He leaves. The number changes to 218. I walk up to the lady. Ah, so I must tell her what I want! I do. She comes back with it. We do the exchange. She asks me if I want a bag (which I must pay for). She HANDS me the bag and I must pack my own liquor. Inneresting. Hubby says it’s like the olden days in Canada. Caveat: Not ALL liquor stores in Sweden are like this. They are starting to transform into LCBO-like mega stores. Thank God. I felt such shame in there.
- Turn up the heat people! Oh wait, you CAN’T. Is it too much to ask to be WARM in your own home? Everyone here has the same heating system. It’s hot water pumped into your house to power your radiators in every room. It’s cool, it’s energy efficient. The problem? It only goes up to 3! I’ll pay the bill. Just give me a knob that goes up to 10! My feet are always cold and I have to wear sweaters in my house. This is not cool.
- The stores here close early. Friend said it’s their labour laws. Need Internet support? Better call before 9pm (even earlier on weekends). The local grocery store closes at 8pm and they advertise, “Open Late”!