Moving to Sweden part 3

We made our way into the flat, even though the flat was barren it felt nice stepping into a warm place. I knew there and then that we made the right decision in moving to sweden. I also knew we had a long and hard journey ahead. We reached Gävle around 9 pm and by then my two daughters were exhausted, so I put the madrass we bought on the floor, made it as cosy as we could, got some of our essentials unpacked, got ready for bed and shortly after they were both sleeping. I don’t remember much of that night except realizing how internet connection is vital for survival specially in the winter months, and specially when you just moved to a new country, a new place you have yet to call home, you desperately want to watch something so you can lie your head down and feel comfortable and just rewind. And so our new journey began, the next morning we woke up to our girls checking out the new place. We all got dressed in layers of winter clothes and stepped out for the first time to buy some breakfast and lunch to bring home. We quickly realized we underestimated the snow and the below zero degree, it was cutting your skin cold and the snow came up to our knees. It was all overwhelming with two young children but we got thought it. Imagine how our breakfast tasted after coming home with it, we felt like real life Vikings. If we could survive this, we could survive anything.

Moving to Sweden part 2

 

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We landed in Stockholm Arlanda at approximately 4pm in the afternoon. It was already dark and the only thing lighting up the streets were the white packed snow. There were not many people around in comparison to the bustling Munich Airport.

After eating an early dinner at Max Burger place we made our way to our new place we would come to call home. After driving for hours through the Swedish landscape which was filled with endless woods and stunning views we made it.

I had rented a temporary 2 bedroom flat and it was empty apart from a kitchen table left in the corner of the kitchen. Time has passed beyond the regular bedtime for my two sleepy daughters…
… to be continued

6 ways moving to Sweden changed me

1. Fika

Before I arrived in Sweden I never had a cup coffee in my entire life!!! As a newbie to Sweden I quickly learned that fika (coffee breaks) is an important part of Swedish work culture. This is where you get to socialise with your colleagues and catch up on office news in an informal way. It is a great concept. The real challenge of office fika is gauging what is a “lagom” amount of time to spend at this compulsory activity.

2. Fewer the friends, the better

I was used to being surrounded by tens of ‘friends’ in Germany. Hanging out, talking, gossiping & helping if one is in trouble. Moving to Sweden not knowing many people, one learns to pick the ones that you gel with and not just anyone to hang out with. Spending quality time is more important than just being with random people you can’t connect with.

3. Lagom

The Swedish-English dictionary defines lagom as “enough, sufficient, adequate, just right”. Lagom is also widely translated as “in moderation” or “in balance”. Lagom is a Swedish word meaning just the right amount. It’s also widely translated as in moderation, in balance and perfect-simple. It’s an important concept to understand as it is applied to just about every aspect of life in Sweden from dress sense to work performance. Lagom is the stamp of approval; too much or too little usually gets the thumbs down.

4. Patience

I used to get angry and impatient while standing in a queue and the people in front of me take their time to do take out their wallet when I arrived in Sweden, people staring, made me lose my cool. Maybe it has to do with the lifestyle, but since everybody here maintains patience while standing in a queue, crossing the road, at the tax office, almost everywhere that one goes, I am much more tolerant. Seeing all of this taught me a lesson or two and made me much calmer.

5. Enjoy your Summer, it won’t last long!

Coming from a country where you often have four seasons in one day and where snow is rare, proper winters and distinct seasons were both a novelty and a challenge. It is hard to beat the simple thrill of walking across frozen water or tobogganing or skiing down a hill at speed for the first time. Good weather days are few and far between and so is the sun. Since good weather is a blessing, I have learned to value its importance more than ever and relish it while it is around.

6. Compassion
Growing up what now a days can be called conservative, I have always been taught to help the elders, stand up to offer my seat, great them and carry their shopping. Yet we are quick to judge others and even too long hair on a men can be seen as undeacend. Swedes have compassion is built within the society. They treat every human equal and never judge anyone.

Moving to Sweden part 1

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My story

I was born and bread in Bavaria (Germany). As a little boy I use to think of Sweden as this fascinating Viking land, far up north. I didn’t really know anything beyond what I saw depicted in those Astrid Lindgren series such as Pippi Longstocking. Some of my best childhood memories were with my grandparents (Oma & Opa), eating breakfast and watching cartoons together. My grandpa often expressed his deep love for Sweden and the fact that if he could live in any other country beside Germany, it would have been Sweden. That has always stayed with me, but I never thought I would move and live here, in best case scenario visiting Sweden seemed more realistic.

Living like a nomad

After living in England , making a move back to Germany, packing our belogings only to move away to Egypt for the second time in my life. Only to, ones again return back to Germany few months later. We were nomads to say the least, searching for sanctuary, a place where we could call home and settle down for ones. I realize now, whatever I was searching for, I had yet to find in any of those places. Don’t get me wrong, every where we moved to had many great benefits but it always seemed to be outwaited by whatever it lacked.

Sweden

We moved to Sweden on the coldest And darkest month of the year. Life was nothing but easy, it’s hard not to be enthusiastic when you have children who are happy and content with whatever situation they might be in. With that, our journey to settle down in Sweden began.

To be continued…

 

 

 

Winter is coming…

Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only person who contemplates the idea of moving to a warm country every year as summer comes to an end. This thought has been a reacuring scenario in the past decade of my life.

As summer comes to an end I feel a part of the warmt in our personality goes with it. The icy cold weather and the darkness bring out the sadness hidden deep in our soul to the surface, making us into zombies in battle to survive the cold and darkness that shackle us to melancholy.

If you live as up north as me (Scandinavia) creating cosy moments in everyday situation will be the strategy or distraction to get you through the darkness winter covers us with. The Danish call this hygge which means creating an atmosphere of wellness, contentment and cosyness in everyday situation.

The Swedes have mastered this, and I have become accustomed to it now, and I wonder how I ever survived any winter without fika or just creating cosy moments.

5 Differences between Germans and Swedes – funny –

Hey friends, i was thinking of creating a fun fact article and i hope you all like it! =)

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Drinking
Germans can have a beer for lunch & a glass of wine after Diner. Many of us have one (or more) beer every day. Coming from Bavaria i grew up drinking Radler (a beer mixed with a soft drink) from the age of 12 at special occasions.
Prost!
Swedes think kind this is alcoholism. Which is why they drink almost nothing during the week, but do their best to catch up on during the weekends. Let’s keep it short: Swedes are like a bottle of vodka: from the outside they look unexcited, calm, pure like water, colorless. But once they open up…
… you will probably detect a slight smell of alcohol.
Skål!

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Bortzeit – Smorging
Germans use a “normal” knife to spread butter on a slice of bread. In Germany, bread is more than just food – it is a part of the German culture we have 300 different bread varieties.
Swedes have come up with a genius idea. They invented the smörkniv, a wooden butter knife, whose sole purpose is to spread butter on things. Loving their Crisp bread -Knäckebröd – it is served at breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Football
Germans are very proud of our world cup wins in 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014.
Swedes can talk for hours about the friendly match vs. England in 2012 and the outrageous Zlatan Ibrahimovic overhead kick from 35 yards.


Swedes are peaceful
Germans lets just say we have contributed to the last few wars the world has seen.
Swedes live in peace for more than 200 years. They stayed in their red wooden houses, thinking, “njää, let the others do.”


Aspirin and co.
Germans work even if they are sick. We take two Aspirin and carry on. If we really get sick, we go to see a Doctor (Yes in Germany you can see a Doctor whenever YOU want)
Swedes panic when they hear someone sneezing. They take Alvedon or Ipren whenever they (believe they) have any kind of illness. This is mostly due to the fact, that if they call a Doctor, a nurse will answer and say: “If Alvedon or Ipren didn’t help, please call us again in four weeks…”

5 things that surprised me about Sweden

Hej allihop! Jag reflekterade över de saker som förvånade mig mest om Sverige när jag flyttade hit för nästan 3 år sedan. Vill gärna veta vad ni tycker om den listan jag skrev? Finns det saker jag glömde nämna? Lämna gärna era synpunkter.
Hello friends! I have been reflecting about the things that surprised me the most about Sweden, when I moved here almost 3 years ago. Let me know what you guys think about the list I wrote, and if there are things I forgot to mention.

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1.Vi tar inte pengar !!!!
Till skillnad från Sverige, så kan man inte anta att varje restaurang accepterar betalning med kreditkort i Tyskland . Väldigt få tyska livsmedelsbutiker, vanligtvis i täta turistmål, accepterar kreditkort betalning (leta efter ett tecken med vanliga logotyper). Om du kommer ur turistorter och befinner dig vanliga städer runt om i Tyskland behöver du förmodligen pengar för att betala för tjänster eller när du äter ute. Tvärt emot är det här i Sverige där kreditkort är det vanliga sättet att betala för allt, oavsett om du köper kaffe, möbler eller betalar för aktiviteter. Chansen är att om du planerar att besöka Sverige, se till att du har ditt bankkort på dig.
1.We don’t take cash!!!!
Unlike in Sweden, in Germany dont assume that every restaurant will accept credit card payment. Very few German grocery stores, usually in high tourism spots, will accept credit cards (look for a sign with the usual logos). If you get out of tourist places and visit regular cities, you will most likely need money to pay for services or when eating out. On the other hand in Sweden paying with your credit card is the standard way of making a transaction whether you’re buying a coffee, furniture or paying for activities. Chances are if you’re planning on moving about in Sweden, make sure you got your bank card on you.

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2.Vad är Systembolaget?
I Tyskland kan du köpa vin, öl och sprit i vanliga mataffär. I Sverige är alkoholhaltiga drycker statskontrollerade och säljs inte i vanliga butiker.
Sverige har ett system där, vanliga livsmedelbutiker kan endast sälja alkoholhaltig dryck med låg alkohol halt, så som lätt öl m.m “Systembolaget har reglerade öppettider och är stängt på helger och helgdagar. Den delen påverkar mig inte alls, för jag dricker inte alls. Men alkohol fri öl, ja tack 😊
2.What is Systembolaget?
In Germany, you can buy wine, beer and hard liquor at any grocery store.
Sweden has an alcoholic beverage control system that allows only state-owned liquor stores to sell any alcoholic beverage other than the low-alcohol “near-beer” sold in grocery stores. “Systembolaget” stores sell normal beer, wine, and hard liquor and are only open during normal business hours, and are closed on weekends and holidays. Avoid Systembolaget store on a Friday afternoon! There will be crowds stocking up for the weekend. Im not a drinker so this doesn’t really effect me.

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3.Water is for free?
If you want a glass of water in a German restaurant, you have to order (and pay for) a bottle of Sprudelwasser (carbonated water) or stilles Wasser (plain water). Swedish restaurants, on the other hand, are more like those in America. You get a bottle of tap water with drink glasses, usually set at your table. Of course, you can order something else to drink, but the water is free. That’s not the case in Germany in my experience.
3.Vatten är gratis?
Om du vill ha ett glas vatten i en tysk restaurang måste du beställa (och betala för) en flaska Sprudelwasser (kolsyrade vatten) eller stilles Wasser (vanligt vatten). Svenska restauranger, å andra sidan så får man en flaska kranvatten med drinkglas, vanligtvis vid bordet. Naturligtvis kan du beställa något annat att dricka, men vattnet är gratis. Det kan låta som något lite men det är väldigt najs att inte behöva betala för vatten varje gång man går ut för att äta.

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4.Likheter i språk
Som tysk talande, känner jag igen många ord och uttryck på svenska. Tyska Ausgang (utgång) är utgång på svenska. Eingang (entré) är ingång, men också entré på svenska. Tyska Königliches Schloss (Royal Palace) heter på Svenska kungliga slottet, Platz (torg, plaza) är plats, och så vidare. Det finns några liknande ord som inte delar samma mening alls. På tyska är Öl olja; öl på svenska är betydligt närmare engelska “ale” än germansk bier / öl. Ja är ja på båda språken, men nein (nej) är nej (nej) på svenska. Guten Tag (hej god dag) är god dag och guten Morgen = god morgon (god morron). Som du kan se är många saker liknade i skriftlig form. Vad jag försöker säga är att om du vill lära dig svenska, kan dina kunskaper i tyska vara till hjälp.
4.Germanic Languages
As a german speaker I recognize many words and expressions in Swedish. German Ausgang (exit) is utgång in Swedish. Eingang (entrance) is ingång, but also entré in Swedish. German königliches Schloss (royal palace) is called in Swedish kungliga slottet, Platz (square, plaza) is plats, and so on. There are some similar words that don’t share the same meaning at all. In german Öl is oil; in swedish öl means beer, closer to English “ale” than Germanic Bier/beer. Yes is ja in both languages, but nein (no) is nej (nay) in Swedish. Guten Tag (hello, good day) is god dag (pron. good daag); guten Morgen = god morgon (good morron). As you can see many things are similar in written form. My point is, if you want to learn Swedish, knowing German may be helpful.

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5.Stockholm är dyrt!
Jag gör inte en detaljerad jämförelse, men mitt personliga intryck är att Stockholm är mycket dyrare än Regensburg, en stad i Bavaria. Restauranger, matvaror, hotell, taxibilar och andra föremål kostar mer i Stockholm än i Tyskland. När det gäller livsmedelsbutiker har tyskland mer låga budged livsmedelsbutiker tillgängliga. Lidl, Norma, Aldi, Pennymarkt är bara några av de mest kända. I Sverige är valet av lågbudade butiker få och inte lika tillgängliga. Vilket bidrar till är det blir dyrare att handla mat i Sverige.

5.Stockholm is expensive!
I did not conduct a detailed comparison, but my personal impression is that Stockholm is far more expensive than Regensburg. Restaurants, groceries, hotels, taxis and other items cost more in Stockholm than in Germany. When it comes to grocery shopping germany has far more low budged grocery shops available. Lidl, Norma, Aldi, Pennymarkt are just some of the most known. I Sweden the choice of low budged shops are few and not as accessible.
Hej allihop!