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Monthly Archives: October 2014

15 ways you know you’re a real Swedish ex-pat

October 22, 2014 | 1 Comment

1.    All other Swedes are your best friends when you meet them out on the town. Even that weird guy with the Viking tattoo who sings ‘Du Gamla Du Fria’ really slowly, with his eyes closed.

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2.    You go on and on and on about how A-MA-ZING Sweden is but don’t really know how to reply when people ask you why you left.

3.      You take three inter-connecting city buses AND a train on a Saturday afternoon just to get to Ikea so you can eat meatballs and sit in a sofa named after your home town.

4.  Fridays at 4 pm you start humming ‘Fredagsmys’ in the office and start thinking of dill chips.

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5.     You shake your head at everybody else’s snow problems. It’s just not like home. They just don’t understand ‘real’ snow.

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6.   You argue with your partner whether to watch Kalle Anka on Christmas eve Swedish time or local time (even though it’s on DVD and you’ve seen it every Christmas since 1982)

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7.   You correct other people’s pronunciation of IKEA. It’s just not right. Eee-kay-ah. Yes, really.

8.   You get real tears in your eyes when you see the first Julmust of the year.

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9.   You finally accept that Korv Stroganof is not the original version of Stroganof.

10.   You have a Spotify playlist entitled ‘Heja Sverige’.

11.  You suddenly realise you no longer know the name of your Prime Minister as you’ve been out of Sweden longer than you ever lived there.

12.   You happily label any non-Swede a coward for not eating fermented herring – despite there being no chance in hell you’ll ever eat it yourself.

13.   You are no longer surprised when Non-Swedes tell you they don’t actually use a cheese slicer.

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14.    Severe liquorice withdrawal symptoms, resulting in hour long trips across cities just to get hold of some ‘really good stuff

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15.   And when you go back home to Sweden, things seem sort of just… different.

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17 Little ways to annoy a Scandinavian person

October 16, 2014 | 49 Comments

So, if you happen to work next to one of us and we have irritated you by borrowing your stapler one too many times, here are little ways you can get back at us.

1. Claim that Sweden, Norway and Denmark is all the same

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Scandinavia is Denmark, Sweden and Norway. That’s it. Different countries, different languages, different cultures with some similarities. Finland is sometimes included, but officially, it’s not really Scandinavia.

And no, it’s not because we are small countries, either – you can fit the UK into Scandinavia about five times. So why do you still insist on telling us we’re all the same?

2. When you don’t remove your shoes before entering our house

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Because we don’t like dirt being dragged all over the house. Except when there’s a party (although, please ask first and never wear heels on our nice wooden floors).

When you go to a Scandinavian house, expect to remove your shoes in the hallway. It will happen, unless we’re feeling too polite to mention it (unlikely: we’re quite direct, if you hadn’t noticed).

3. What? You don’t like COFFEE?

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We drink more coffee than anyone else in the whole world. More than the Italians, more than the French… More than anyone. By quite a massive stretch, too.

We drink tons of it. Strong, delicious filter coffee. And we don’t understand why you can only have one cup a day when our veins are constantly pumping like a bad Basshunter tune. In short, we’re wired from morning to night.

4. Insist Danes are Dutch

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Far, far away. Not even neighbours.

5. …and Swedes are Swiss

(wait, Switzerland is next to Norway, right?)

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Switzerland is Central Europe. They speak 5 languages, none of which are even close to Swedish. Nothing to do with ABBA or Volvo or blondes.

6. Enter into a discussion with us about mixer taps versus single taps.

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We will win that discussion. Even if you fight it, we will win it – passionately. There is no way you can win an argument with about the benefit of single taps. We invented Ikea, we are the kings of common sense design.

And don’t start on the carpet in the bathroom…

7. Tell a Norwegian that KitKats are better than KvikkLunsj

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This is such an important point, even though it only really affects Norway. KitKats are so not even close to Kvikklunsj. Don’t compare them, don’t tell us KitKats are superior. Don’t go there.

8. Insist that Eurovision is crap, when we know that it clearly is one of the highlights of the year – alongside Christmas and Midsummer.

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Without Eurovision, you’d have no songs to dance to at the office party. No Dancing Queen, no Mamma Mia, no Money Money Money. Don’t knock it: We gave cheese to you guys. Be grateful.

9. Do you have polar bears in Oslo?

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Yes, of course we do. And also roaming the streets of Copenhagen. Some of us keep them as pets, next to our penguins.

10. When you sing the Swedish Chef song from Muppets.

Just don’t.

Say ‘bork, bork, bork’ and we die a little bit inside.

11. Well, you don’t LOOK Swedish/Norwegian/Danish…

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I don’t? And you don’t look Welsh, either.

12. “You’re Swedish? I used to have a Danish girlfriend once…”

Wonderful. Read point one.

13. Schedule conference calls at 11 a.m. (our lunchtime)

We have lunch between 11 am and midday, if you let us. We just do.

Try not to interfere with our weirdness about breaks. This also includes trying to interfere with our need for coffee breaks (fika breaks) at least twice a day: One must make time for cake & coffee breaks.

14. Ask us ‘How are you’ and don’t wait for our answer.

Because, trust us, we WILL answer. In great detail and we don’t understand how to read your polite British nods of evil as we explain about our dodgy knee.

You don’t want to know about out knee? Don’t ask us, we won’t mind. It will remove a lot of social awkwardness for us if we just skip  the ‘how are you’ bit.

15. Be late. We hate lateness. Be on time, every time.

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16. You’re cold? But you’re Scandinavian!

Yes, and we feel cold. Just like you. Our veins are not made of ice, they are filled with hot Basshunter coffee, remember?

17. Scandinavian? Do you eat herring, like, all the time?

Every day, all the time, breakfast, lunch and dinner.

(Just kidding: we only eat herring for lunch).

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Great Scandinavian idioms

October 7, 2014 | 68 Comments

Great Scandinavian idioms is something we’ve been meaning to write about for ages. Thank you to all those who shared their favourite idiom on Facebook the other day – we laughed so hard we cried at some of these.

We also realised we frequently use some of the expressions and idioms when we’re speaking English in the shop – and no wonder people look at us as if we’re a bit weird when we say things like ‘no cows on the ice’.

Enjoy the list.

The Kitchen People

 

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‘Låtsas som att det regnar’ (Pretend that it’s raining) (Swedish)

Meaning: To act normally, so as not to attract any attention

 

Finns det hjärterum så finns det stjärterum (If there’s room in heart there’s room for the arse) (Swedish)

Meaning: Everybody can fit in here)

 

Skägget i brevlådan – Caught with your beard in the mailbox (Swedish)

Meaning: “To be caught with your pants down.”

 

Näytän sulle, mistä kana pissii  – Let me show you where a chicken pees from (Finnish)

Meaning ‘Let me show you how it’s done’.

 

At træde i spinaten –  “to step in the spinach” (Danish)

Meaning: To make a mistake

 

Jeg er kold i røven – I’m cold in the ass (Danish)

Meaning: I don’t care

 

Dra dit pepperen gror – Go where the pepper grows (Swedish)

Meaning: Go to hell.

 

Även små grytor har öron – even small saucepans have ears (Swedish)

Meaning: the kids might hear

Det ligger en hund begraven här” –  there is a dog buried here (Swedish)

Meaning: there’s something fishy going on.

 

 

Det blæser en halv pelican – Its blowing half a pelican (Danish)

Meaning: It’s really windy

 

Født bak en brunost –  born behind a brown cheese (Norwegian)

Meaning: the person is a bit slow

 

Hej hopp i blåbärsskogen! – Hello jump in the blueberry forest!

Meaning: A cheerful expression to be used when you are a bit surprised (Swedish)

 

Han har taget billeten – he has taken the ticket (Danish)

Meaning: He’s dead

 

Oma lehmä ojassa – Own cow in the ditch  (Finnish).

Meaning: Someone has an ulterior selfish motive behind an action

 

Nu har du skitit i det blå skåpet: Now you have shit in the blue cupboard (Swedish)

Meaning: When you really have made a fool out of yourself.

 

Att lägga lök på laxen – To put onion on the salmon (Swedish)

Meaning: To make things even worse…

 

Bæsje på leggen – poop on your calf (Norwegian)

Meaning: Make a mistake

 

Inte för allt smör i hela Småland – Not for all the butter in Småland (SW)

Meaning: Not for all the tea in China.

 

Å svelge noen kameler  – To swallow some camels (Norwegian)

Meaning: to give in

 

Ligeved og næsten slår ingen mand af hasten – almost and close doesn’t knock a man off his horse (Danish)

Meaning: Close, but no cigar

 

å være midt i smørøyet – To be in the middle of the butter melting in the porridge (Norwegian)

Meaning:  to be in a very favourable place or situation

 

kiertää kuin kissa kuumaa puuroa – To pace around hot porridge like a cat (Finnish)

Meaning: To beat about the bush

 

Under isen – meaning “Under the ice” (Swedish)
Meaning: feeling a bit depressed

 

At hoppe på limpinden – to jump on the Prittstick (Danish)

Meaning: To take the bait

 

Ingen fara på taket – no danger on the roof (Swedish)

Meaning: No worries

 

Han tog benene på nakken. He took his legs on the back of his neck (Danish)

Meaning: He hurried

 

Der er ingen ko på isen – There are no cows on the ice (Swedish, Danish)

Meaning: Nothing to worry about

 

Han har stillet træskoene – “He took off his clogs” (Danish).

Meaning: “He died”.

 

Du er helt ude og cycle – You’re completely out cycling (Danish)

Meaning: You’re completely wrong

 

Dra dit pepperen gror –  Go where the pepper grows (Swedish)

Meaning: Go to hell!

 

Du har virkeligt skudt papegøjen – you’ve really shot the parrot (Danish) Meaning:  You’ve been lucky

 

Ingenting att hänga i julgranen – Nothing to hang on the Christmas tree (Swedish)

Meaning: Not special enough

 

Han har roterende fis i kasketten –  He’s  got rotating crap in his cap (Danish)

Meaning: He’s not quite all there

 

Er det hestens fødselsdag? – Is it the horse’s birthday? (Danish)

Meaning: The rye bread is too thick on my open sandwich

 

Sånt är livet när kjolen är randig – That’s life when the skirt is striped (Swedish)

Meaning: Such is life

 

Jeg aner ugler I mosen – I suspect there are owls in the moss (Danish)

Something fishy going on

 

At være oppe på lakridserne – to be up on the liquorices (Danish)

Meaning to be very attentive or busy

 

 

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A selection of great Swedish signs

October 2, 2014 | Leave a comment

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The infamous warning for what happens if you take your bin

the wrong way into the lift. The end.

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This sign says: Laziness is not a disability.

(From the town of Marknaryd)

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A sign in the Swedish Coop saying: “We’ve stopped selling battery hen farm eggs… have a seat in your trolley and you’ll see why”.

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This is how we confuse each other. No, not everything in Sweden is logic.

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We are really not sure why this one was necessary,

but then again: Just don’t do it.

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Homemade sign in the country saying

“Chickens don’t have great traffic knowledge”

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Obvious warning at a bus stop in Sweden about the dangers

of what happens if you stand on the bench.

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It just means speed humps. Go on, snigger again…

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20% of all road accidents in Sweden involve an Elk. Fact.

Quite a useful sign.

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The people of Malmö do not like balloons.

Oh no, no balloons on central station, please.

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Do not crawl into the big mincer machine. Just don’t.

 

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