Basic Everyday Info for Recently Moved Newbie*

Lately, I’ve been receiving questions from some people who are going to move to Sweden, either for work or study in my website and Instagram. And some of the questions are actually really simple, about everyday info, which I didn’t consider important before. At least I used to take it for granted.

But I think that was just because I’m lucky. My husband moved to Sweden eight months earlier than I did so he’s kind of paves the path for me. But not all people have the same experience. So here I compile the basic information of everyday life in Sweden for recently moved newbie.

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Third Year Reflection*

As the year-end is approaching, I would like to use this blog post as a medium of reflection. A look back to where it all started three years ago. This month in 2016, I moved to Sweden from my home country. Time has passed by and many things have happened ever since, including having an additional member in the family. So it just feels right to see how it was and how it has been as a newbie living in Sweden.

And here are some random facts about Sweden that I learnt during my first three years of living in the country:

Sweden is a good place to raise kid

From free education to nearly free healthcare, Sweden is one of a few places I can think of when it comes to a “family friendly” country. Yes, the system is bit frustrating sometimes and requires lots of things to do—filling out forms, queuing, making calls to name a few. But once you got in, the safety net is always there.

Sweden also seems to care about and is willing to take part in children development. One tiny example is when my baby turned 6 months old, she received a free choice book from Lund’s state library. From what I understand, it’s a part of the program to encourage reading and literacy (such important skills for kids to have indeed).

Apart from those, generous parental leave, celebrated equality and recognition of universal values are the things that Sweden offers. And those are the list I would love to tick as a parent. Anyway, read more about the rights as parents in Sweden here.

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Hang Out Ideas for Newbie Parents*

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I often say to myself, when you’re a parent, life is what happened between fresh brewed coffee in the morning and reheated coffee in the afternoon: you barely have time to enjoy your coffee, decently 😀 Especially when you live away from home, far from the supporting system called family, the struggle is real.

Luckily in Sweden, there are some hang out places that are designed and dedicated for parents so parenting can still be fun. Here are the highlights:

Local library

If you’re new in Sweden and not sure where to go for a day-out with your baby, a library could be a good starting point. The state library in Lund has special section for kids of all ages. There’s this small play area where you can read books with your children and also meet other fellow parents.The library also has baby café and book-reading events for kid in various languages (read more about the events here). The book reading is held in the reading “closet” which is set up nicely and comfy for the parents and the kids.

 

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Swedish Sayings I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Sweden*

Like many other countries, Sweden has plenty of expressions, idioms and sayings rooted in history and tradition. Some of them can be found in other languages, or at least share similar meaning like “Beat around the bush” and “Gå som katten kring het gröt” (English: walks like the cat around hot porridge). Some others are quite exceptional.

Despite its hilarious literal meanings, these sayings are actually relatable to everyday life in Sweden. Personally, I found some sayings are helpful in understanding Swedish values, and for that reason I wish I knew them earlier 😀

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Where to shop second-hand stuff in Lund?*

As a country that is eager to create a zero waste society, second-hand items are highly valued in Sweden. It goes beyond lifestyle and has become an essential part of Swedish everyday life. Swedes have been said to have a deeply rooted habit of selling and donating old things, which means there are plenty of second-hand items to buy throughout the country. Where to find them in Lund?

Erikshjälpen

Erikshjälpen is one of the most popular second-hand shops in Lund. It has two branches: one in Stora Södergatan 25, not too far from Botulfsplatsen bus station and the other one is located in Öresundsvägen 16, a little bit outside the city centrum. Selling almost everything you need for your home, Erikshjälpen is like the second-hand version of IKEA and even better because it sells other brands too.

Here you can find various items, from a set of antique spoons to books in English to bulky furniture.

The Öresundsvägen branch is bigger than the one in Lund city. However, it has limited opening hours. It only opens on Tuesday, Thursday (11.00-18.00) and Saturday (10.00-16.00). Expect a large crowd when you come on Saturday, as it seems to be the favourite day for the customer. Here in the Öresundsvägen branch, you can also treat yourself with fika because it has a mini café inside the store.

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Learning about Sweden from Popular Culture*

For many years, Sweden has been frequently represented in popular media, especially in the US. Ranging from typical references such us Swedish blonde girls in American Horror Story: Hotel to the Swedish chef with a thick accent on The Muppets Movie, Sweden is often narrowly depicted as anything that other countries are not.

Media representation can be too stereotypical and misleading sometimes, but as an expat living in Sweden, I found that popular culture about Sweden helps me to understand the country and its culture better. But, I prefer the “local” ones, which contain more “insider perspectives” than Hollywood productions. These are my personal favourites:

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Giving Birth in Sweden: A Personal Story*

Monday, 3rd of December 2018, I woke up with severe pain in my abdomen and my lower back. ”This is it. Labor had begun,” I thought. But I wasn’t entirely correct. The contractions started but it took two weeks for my baby to arrive. What a journey it was. These are the highlights of my giving birth journey in Sweden:

Hospital visits over and over again

As my first contraction was way before the due date (14 days before, to be precise), I was a bit uncertain about when to go to the hospital. In Lund, the procedure is to call the Kvinnokliniken first, talk to the midwife and they will asses if you need to go to the hospital right away or later.

My first call was on Monday (3/12) afternoon. The midwife said I’m not in active labor yet so it’s unnecessary to go to the hospital at that stage. Besides, the labor ward was full so even if I insisted to come, I would need to go to the hospital in Malmö or Helsingborg. So I agreed to wait at home.

However, in the middle of the night, the pain got stronger so I ringed them again and they allowed me to come. I rushed to the hospital and met the midwife and the nurse. They checked the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions interval and…

I wasn’t in active labour!

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