One year down

18 Aug
2008

I am about to fall asleep but before I start typing a bunch of nonsense, some exciting news. This blog is one year old, it survived! I survived writing it! Who would have ever thought. =)

In light of this special occasion, I would like to ask all of you a few questions for the upcoming posts during year two.

What questions do you have about the Swedes?

What topics would you like me cover (can be anything)?

Would you be interested in authoring a post if it related to dating Swedes (you can be a guy or girl)?

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14 Responses to One year down

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Daniel Lampinen

August 19th, 2008 at 01:36

About rudeness:

The casheer persons in the supermarkets says this in these countries:

USA: Hi, how are you doing?
Sweden: Hi
Denmark: (nothing), they just start to scan the items.

I’m a Swede who prefer the Danish approach.

What’s the deal with Americans who don’t even seem to think about this subject for five seconds? You SHOULD be nice to me, otherwise you are RUDE, which seems to be the worst one can be.

Isn’t it better never expecting other people to hold doors for me? Why on earth should I talk with my chair neighbours on the train just because they happened to get the seat next to me? Does that mean that we got something in common?

If somone experience a lower level of “friendliness” than one is used to, the first reaction is to get shocked. The second step could be to think about how those other persons think. What if my seat neighbour wants to spend time with himself?

We Swedes should be proud of not being so damaged by the small talk phenomenon.

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Raiha

August 19th, 2008 at 22:44

Happy birthday to your blog :-) Looking forward to another year of solid entertainment. I have plenty of questions about Swedes, but perhaps it’s best that I keep those to myself!

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Jaqueline

August 21st, 2008 at 16:39

Congrats on the blog ;)

I was wondering if you could touch on the subject of homosexuality in Sweden. It seems as though most of the Swedish men I’ve met have had encounters with other men, yet say they are not gay. Being an American, every time we here of a guy with a guy we assume that he is gay. Just wanted to know if experimenting was normal in Sweden. Also am curious to know the females perspective, and if making out with other girls is as novel there as it is here.

Thanks,

Love the BLOG!!!!

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Sapphire

August 21st, 2008 at 17:01

@ Jaqueline- THAT is a really good question that I have no answer to. Will have to ask around.

@Raiha- Thank you =)

@Daniel- Very interesting points you raise. How much do you think the Swedes have changed due to the ‘small talk’ phenomenon?

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Daniel Lampinen

August 21st, 2008 at 18:32

I don’t know how much, we are in small talk too, but not as much as Americans.

But, really, who should change themselves, the ones who don’t hold doors or the ones who feel bad when someone else doesn’t hold a door?

I really don’t want people to hold doors for me, I want to be independent. If someone hold a door for me, I have to hurry so they don’t have to stand there for so long, and then I have to pretend that I am grateful.

What if I didn’t even was going to get through the door, but some other door? Then it really gets stupid and unneccessary.

I’m extreme, but I dare to say that many Swedes think like this. We want to walk by ourselves, think for ourselves and not having to open our mouths for no reason.

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MIchael

August 23rd, 2008 at 03:02

Hi Daniel,

If you visit Japan and get bowed to, are you just going to bow back? or get upset because you think it’s a stupid and unnecessary custom? It’s much the same. As silly and unnecessary as it may seem, Americans have a “nicety” custom.

Much of it probably came about similar to your first example: stores. Often, you find 2 or 3 stores in very close proximity. If they have the same items that you need, the same price, the same quality… which do you shop at? Most people gravitate to whichever one makes them feel the most welcome, and to many people that is the store with cashiers who say things like, “Hi, how are you today?” instead of just beginning to scan items.

I think that somewhat leaked into everyday life and many times, people just try to “be nice” to other people by holding doors, asking how they are, etc just because it is what is accepted there. It’s their way of trying to make other people feel more comfortable, but I can understand how someone not used to it would be very thrown off by it. When someone grows up with it around them at all times, it’s a completely different story though.

It definitely doesn’t happen everywhere in America though. It tends to happen more in smaller towns instead of bigger cities. I doubt you run into anyone in a larger city in America who is really going to go out of their way to try to make you feel comfortable.

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kanojo

August 23rd, 2008 at 12:15

Congratulations and best wishes for a fantastic 2nd year.
I am interested in the challenges you might have encountered with regards to cooking in a different country. Have you found that some ingredients you like to use are difficult to find, etc.
Also, does the striving for gender equality extend to the kitchen?

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Daniel Lampinen

August 23rd, 2008 at 23:35

I really hate when salespersons approach me in a store. If I want help, I will ask for it. Doing it like that, much time will be saved for all parts. (And that is how it works in many upscale clothing stores in Sweden.)

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Erik

August 24th, 2008 at 09:21

@Daniel:

After being in California for a year and a half (moved there from sweden), I really prefer the nice approach. It’s better having salespersons approach and ask than to have to go around looking for someone for 5 minutes. It’s better to have people saying Hi than to get a look like “what the f* are you doing in this store”. When you go to a restaurant or a nightclub in sweden, a lot of times people (waiters, bouncers) acts like you’re wasting their time coming there and you should be happy that they bother to take care of you at all.

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Daniel Lampinen

August 24th, 2008 at 16:39

Erik:

So I guess you are a real Swede – a one who always seems to prefer the UNswedish alternative.

Sweden is one of few countries where “unswedish” is considered a good thing. (Swedish comedian Fredrik Lindström has made people aware of that, saying “In Denmark an undanish person is a fcuking idiot”.)

Real Swedes are the ones who is taking pride in being unswedish. That means that Swedes is…slippery, in some way, there’s always something ELSE that is the best.

If someone not saying anything to you when you get in to a store, there’s possible to get hurt, OR to try to think about that person’s reasons for behaving like that.

Sweden has come a longer way in basic philosophy than USA. Many people even try to figure out some reasonable reasons why some people (who is consider EVIL by others) murder. If there is some reason (except evilness) to why people murder, there’s certainly a good reason to why salespersons ignore you when you get in to a store (they’ve had a long week, or the might think you WANT it that way, etc).

I was in Shanghai. There the store staff ignore you a lot more than in Sweden. First I got surprised, then I started to like it.

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Mo

August 25th, 2008 at 14:31

i never thought it would be a problem but “my swede” is living with me and my family for about 2 months now and we have the hardest time finding the good ingredients for his recipes..it’s a shame..cause he’s a great cook. I really didn’t think there were so much difference between a supermarket in France and in Sweden…globalization yeah right ! ;-) bon anniversaire blog!

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Anuj Maskey

June 15th, 2012 at 12:38

Hi,
im from a small south asian country in asia, Nepal(Mt. Everest)…Had to clear that out cuz people hardly know about nepal unless one speaks of mt. everest.aneways, my wife is planning on applying for a college in stockholm, Hammersmith management college sweden and i will be accompanying her as a dependent.i read some of your articles on sweden and it really freaked me out. Could you help me a bit more on accomodations, transportations, getting a job etc. cuz i really dont have anybody else to look up to in sweden.Thanks for your articles bytheway, it was really helpful.
hoping to hear from you soon.

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Anuj Maskey

June 15th, 2012 at 12:43

bytheway, we spent 2 years in UK (london and yorkshire) and we had an awesome time there.we were kinda hoping sweden would be as good as UK but after i read your articles, i think i am having second thoughts about it. :)

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Sapphire

June 18th, 2012 at 13:29

@Anuj – You’ll be fine. It’s not the same at all as the UK and life isn’t as convienient as in the UK or Nepal, food and living are very expensive but you will be fine.

You should read the rest of the blog for tips on accommodation, jobs, etc, I cover it all.

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