Tuesday, February 17, 2009

You know you are from Sweden when...

Helsingborg, Sweden 2006 ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn

My children are preparing for next week's International Week at their school. The Swedish blue and yellow soccer t-shirts are already laid out, I'm preparing to bake kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) and the Dala Horse is parked by the door, ready to make his journey to school again like every year when my family "represents Sweden". All this nationalistic hubris made me feel like posting something Swedish today. I belong to a Facebook group called "You know you are from Sweden when...". There are currently almost 40,000 members (should be 9 million, that's how many Swedes they/we are) and I laugh myself silly whenever I look at the list of postings that members have written, it's so completely true!!! And even though I'm only half Swedish and moved there when I was 18 I seem to have morphed into the perfect Swede because I recognize myself in much of this "typically Swedish behavior". Drives my husband crazy...

Here's a sample of what's on the list of over 500 entries. You don't have to join Facebook to read the list, visit the "Sweden of course" website

1. You don’t rely on weather forecasts unless presented by John Pohlman.
2. You know it’s a sin lifting the top layer in the Aladdin chocolate box before it’s empty.
3. You find people from other cultures generally being rather loud. With the exception of the Finish.
4. You wouldn’t even consider buying electrical items unless they are “S”-marked.
5. You get guilty conscience from throwing things in the dustbin that could have been recycled.
6. You don’t consider a congregation of trees being a “real” forest unless it takes at least 20 minutes to drive through it.
7. You use the metric system and really don’t get why there are people out there who don’t.
8. You consider Denmark and the Danish “pretty continental”.
9. You are obsessed with health issues.
10. You find the idea of carpets in bathrooms and toilets simply appalling.
11. You thought carpets was a concept of the past or the ferrys to Finland/Estonia/Germany/Denmark. Then you went abroad and realized that you were wrong.
12. You consider yourself as Scandinavian, not European.
13. A good nights sleep only counts if it consists of 8 consecutive hours. 10 hours would be considered too much.
14. You don’t really consider silence a problem in social situations.
15. The question “how are you?” is a question that needs to be answered with a honest and thorough explanation of your mental health. Therefore, you don’t understand why Non-Swedes give you one word answers.
16. You think people that don’t send their kids to nursery school (”dagis”) are strange.
17. You feel bad if you’re not outside on a sunny day.
18. You know that individuality vs. conformity is the eternal Swedish conflict.
19. You unfortunately find it embarrassing and a bit uncool to be “too” Swedish.
20. You find it normal that the most serious debates between the political leaders of the country broadcasted on TV are held in charming and homey milieus, including flowered curtains, blond wood, colorful pillows, pastries and coffee.
21. You consider Volvo and Saab the ultimate family cars.
22. You ONLY eat sweets on Saturdays.
23. You think it’s a BIG THING to have a drivers license before you’re approaching your thirties.
24. You can actually see the logic of “klämdagar”.
25. You think thats its ridiculous to build houses from bricks. Wood is the real deal!
26. You refuse to believe that snuff or “snus” is harmful.
Since snuff “isn’t harmful”, you can’t understand why no one except the Scandinavians use it.
27. You don’t think a farmhouse is actually a farmhouse unless it is red or yellow with white trim.
28. You don’t find “bananer i pyjamas” to be a bit sexual.
29. You realize that five ants are more than four elephants
30. You hate keyboards without “å, ä, ö” with a passion.
31. You think it’s perfectly normal and not offending at all when Frank Zappa’s song “Bobby Brown goes down” is played at a disco for 9-year olds
32. You know they are the same, but you just don’t trust ibuprofen and paracetamol the way you trust Ipren and Alvedon
33. You, in pure disgust try to tell your fellow peers that it’s basic human behavior to shower after PE and they look at you like you come from a different planet.
34. You can’t believe that you have to pay for your disgusting school lunch.
35. You don’t consider Starbucks a proper café, since a real cafe is a atmospheric, groovy, cosy place not at all as brightly lit and multi national as Starbucks.

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