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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The “This is Sweden” moment

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Photo by Zaki Habibi

Daisy Goodwin, an English writer once said: “Marriage is like living in a foreign country as an adult: You can become fluent in the language, you can step yourself in the culture, you can know all three verses of the national anthem; but no matter how hard you have worked to assimilate yourself, there will always be a joke you don’t get, a children’s TV star you don’t recognize, a word whose inner core of meaning still eludes you. Unless you were born there, you can never wholly belong (101 Poems to help You Understand Men (and Women))

Don’t worry. I’m not going to talk about marriage 😀 .

The underline is about living in a foreign country as an adult.

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How to Save (a little bit of) Money in Sweden*

It’s a common knowledge, I think, that living in Sweden is not cheap. According to a data from Numbeo (2018), “Cost of living in Sweden (rent is excluded), is 15.47% higher than in United States.” However, thanks to the Swedish ways of life, there are some things that we can do to save a little bit of money. Here is the list based on my personal experience:

  1. Shop “home brand”

When you shop at Swedish supermarkets, you’d better check their home brand first for comparison, as their price could be much cheaper. Some of these home brands use the supermarket’s name like ICA; some others use totally different names because they have cooperation with certain suppliers, like Garant and Eldorado. But, you can tell which ones those are from their simple, plain and usually duo-tone colours packaging since that’s how they keep the prices low. The quality of these home brand products is okay especially when you need to save money for the rainy days. 🙂

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5 Apps You Should Have When in Sweden*

When it comes to technology, Sweden is among the top countries to make the most of it. No wonder the country is getting more and more tech savvy every day. Therefore, acting like the real millennial generation (who relies on mobile application quite a lot) is one of the reasonable options when living in Sweden. Here is the list of mobile apps you should have to help you catch up with the Swedish millennial wave 🙂 .

  1. Language Apps

It is unarguably important to have language apps when you live in a country in which English is not the first language (and you don’t speak the language either). There are plenty options for these kind of apps, ranging from translation based apps like Google Translate and SayHi, to learning based apps like Duolingo and Babbel. So far, I am happy with Google Translate (although sometimes it translate words way too literally) and Duolingo (because it’s fun and gives me sense of accomplishment) but you can always make comparison, take the trials if necessary then decide which one meets your preference.

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5W+1H of My First Midsummer in Sweden

Who

Me. An Indonesian who is still drowning in the novelty of life abroad in Sweden. Ha!

What

Midsummer. All I knew about midsummer, before I moved to Sweden, was a name of perfume series from Oriflame, the Swedish cosmetic brand. Haha. It used to be my favorite. I didn’t know that midsummer was one of the most important days in the Swedish Calendar. Turns out, midsummer is really a big deal in Sweden (and any other Nordic countries actually). According to Routes North, Midsummer tradition in Sweden is rooted in the pagan sun-worshipping cultures long before the Christian era. It was believed that the time of year around the summer solstice, when the darkness of night is replaced by a magical twilight, would have held special significance for people in northern climes. Now, in secular Sweden, midsummer is more a social event to be close to nature and spend quality time with family and friends.

When

Midsummer is originally celebrated in every June, 24. But, in 1952, when the Swedish Parliament decided that Midsummer should always be celebrated on a weekend, the observance of Midsummer now varies between June 20 and 26. This year, the Midsummer Eve is on Friday, 23rd of June, while the Midsummer Day is on Saturday, 24th of June. So the celebration is usually started from Friday afternoon till Saturday morning non stop since the day is so long (even in northern Sweden the sun isn’t really set in midsummer) and Swedes wants to make the most of it.

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