You Know You’ve Been in Sweden Too Long When…

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I am coming up on my third winter in Sweden. Third winter!  For the past month, I have been more serious and thoughtful with my posts; especially controversial. Hell, who doesn’t love controversy and bashing? If I write about Swedish men singing, no one would comment. If it was a group of naked Swedish men with flatbreads dancing on TV, I might get more comments. Oh yea, and here’s the video of The Dance of the Crispbread:


To try not to fall into November depression and psych myself out for Christmas in Sweden, I found a list of “You know you’ve been in Sweden too long.” The current list is more than 400 items! And they are funny. Bat shit funny.

I extracted 100 points and added a few of my own. Grab your stor stark because you know you have been in Sweden too long if…

  1. Pagan and religious holidays are just a cover to get trashed.
  2. The first thing you do upon entering a bank/post office/chemist etc. is to look for the queue number machine.
  3. You accept that you will have to queue to take a queue number.
  4. You wonder how people afford beer.
  5. You are disturbed when no one gives you a bed sheet and bedding set when you crash on their couch.
  6. When a stranger on the street smiles at you, you assume:
  7. a: he is drunk
    b: he is insane
    c: he’s an American

  8. You don’t think twice about putting the wet dishes away in the cupboard to dry.
  9. A friend asks about your holiday plans and you answer “Oh, I’m going to Europe!” meaning any other Western European country outside of Sweden.
  10. Wearing black leggings with floral dresses is fashionable.
  11. You buy red pants for your sambo because it is fashionable.
  12. A sambo is not the same as a samba, särbo, or mambo.
  13. You can spot a stekare, a Swedo, because of his hair gel trail across Stureplan.
  14. You see a student taking a front row seat on the bus and wonder “Who does he think he is?”
  15. Silence is fun.
  16. The reason you take the ferry to Finland is:
  17. a: duty free vodka
    b: duty free beer
    c: to party hard. .. no need to get off the boat in Helsinki, just turn around and do it again on the way back to Sweden.

  18. Your coffee consumption exceeds 6 cups a day and coffee is too weak if there is less than 10 scoops per pot.
  19. You pass a supermarket and think “Wow, it is open, I had better go in an buy something!”
  20. A sharp intake of breath has become part of your vocabulary, as has the sound “Jah hahh”
  21. Your native language has seriously deteriorated. Now you begin to “eat medicine”, “open the television”, “close the lights off”, “take a beer”, “look upon everything” and tell someone to “follow with me” or “you needn’t to!” You start to say “for 2 years ago” and expressions like “Don’t panic” creep into your everyday language.
  22. Having someone go home from work early because the dog sitter left is not weird.
  23. Your notion of street life is reduced to the few teenagers hanging out in front of the railway station on Friday nights.
  24. Your bad mood becomes your good mood.
  25. Sundays no longer seem dull with all the shops closed, and begin to feel restful instead.
  26. “No comment” becomes a conversation strategy.
  27. Wearing anything else than black clothing during the wintertime would be sacrilegious.
  28. You have only two facial expressions – smiling or blank. Also your arms are just hanging down when you chat with other people.
  29. The fact that all of the “v’s” and the “w’s” are together in the phone directory seems right.
  30. Your old habit of being “fashionably late” is no longer acceptable. You are always on time.
  31. Hugging is reserved for sexual foreplay.
  32. You begin to understand Johan Tornberg’s broadcast of the hockey game.
  33. You wear scarves all the time; even in the summer.
  34. You hear loud-talking passengers on the train. You immediately assume:
  35. a: they are drunk
    b: they are Finnish
    c: they are American
    d: all of the above

  36. You give up on trying to find fat-free food and pile on the butter, cream and sugar.
  37. You know how to fix herring in 105 different ways.
  38. You eat herring in 105 ways.
  39. Your front step is beginning to resemble a shoe shop.
  40. You start to differentiate between types of snow.
  41. You get offended if, at a dinner party, someone fails to look you in the eyes after raising their glass for a toast
  42. Seeing a young woman with lit candles stuck to her head no longer disturbs you.
  43. You become extremely skilled at assembling pre-packaged furniture kits.
  44. “Candles” are a permanent fixture on your weekly shopping list.
  45. You think being a rebel is crossing the street with a red walk man sign.
  46. You think it is normal EVERYTHING is regulated and you obey the rules voluntarily.
  47. When someone asks you for “sex” you assume they mean half-a-dozen.
  48. All winter you dream of what you will do in summer, and summer is the warmest day of the year
  49. Bringing dead sticks indoors at Easter and hanging coloured feathers on them seems a good way to celebrate spring.
  50. You start eating egg and bacon instead of bacon and eggs.
  51. You ringed somebody yesterday instead of you rang them.
  52. You look at the cracks and dog poop on the sidewalk instead of smiling at people.
  53. Your husband is very long instead of being very tall.
  54. You understand The Swedish Look.
  55. You think coffee is supposed to look and taste like mud, complete with a mouthful of coffee ground sediment.
  56. You pay the TV-avgift because you think you’re getting your money’s worth watching SVT.
  57. You start looking at socialbidrag (welfare) less as an absolutely desperate last resort and more as a way of life.
  58. When someone says “Cheers” you look at everyone in turn before drinking.
  59. You know that going for a coffee is a first date.
  60. You think there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
  61. You pour filmjölk (soured milk) on your Kellogg’s Frosties.
  62. You put tomato sauce (as in Heinz Big Red) on your macaroni. Just tomato sauce. And love it.
  63. Planning your day around buying alcohol is perfectly normal. Because everyone wants to spends their lunch hour in the queue at the alcohol store.
  64. You start believing that good service is overrated.
  65. You don’t even get surprised when the doctor, not only can’t help you, he/she can’t even diagnose you.
  66. You take it as a given that your wife/husband will get so wasted on Midsommar that he/she will end up in bed with someone other than yourself.
  67. You tailgate people who are driving 120 on the freeway.
  68. You hide 5 or 6 bottles of spirits in your suitcase, one or two in your backpack, and put just one in the duty free shopping bag.
  69. You think there is nothing wrong with planning Christmas around Kalle Anka (Donald Duck).
  70. You don’t even think about what you are saying when you are off to the shop to buy your favourite brand of cat food, and you say, “Be right back love, I’m just gonna go get some Pussi”
  71. You start to miss falukorv when you go on vacation
  72. You would never ever even consider using a metal knife on the butter.
  73. While visiting England someone gives you directions and says, “It’s about 5 miles down the road.” You in turn ask, “Are you talking Swedish miles or English miles?”
  74. You only leave the country to stockpile cheap alcohol.
  75. Drinking is the fundamental pillar of your social network, be it coffee or alcohol.
  76. You aimlessly chat using SMS.
  77. A “big strong one” is a beer.
  78. You find that you can’t spell in English anymore. You now replace C with K. Like panik, automatik, seasik, arithmetik…. and you try to remember does papper/paper have one or two p’s in English?
  79. You still wonder how people afford beer on the weekends. And weekdays too.
  80. You think that the 25kr ICA bonus cheque is generous after spending 2500kr in their shop.
  81. It seems normal to you that you’ve been bleeding in the emergency room at the hospital for four and a half hours when the three doctors walk by on their third coffee break since you got there.
  82. You know every Swedish brand and random fact.
  83. When someone cuts you off on the freeway and instead of giving them the finger, you simply mumble “eedeeyout” under your breath.
  84. You even lock your car to take a pee on the side of the road.
  85. You no longer think it odd that you talk to your kids in English and they answer in Swedish.
  86. You find it completely natural that otherwise sensible people dress up in silly hats on several occasions in August in order to eat crayfish and drink as much vodka as possible.
  87. You eat open faced sandwiches.
  88. Christmas has changed so much that you only associate it with rice porridge, lucia cats, and Donald Duck.
  89. You don’t think twice about calling someone in the next room using your mobile phone.
  90. People buy you a drink in November because they remember when you bought them one in March.
  91. Opening your Christmas presents on the 24th of December no longer seems like cheating.
  92. You eagerly await Eurovision and Melodiefestivaln during the wintertime.
  93. You can use bra, fart, and slut in the same sentence without giggling.
  94. You don’t understand why your friend from Mississipi took offence when you referred to him as a yankee.
  95. If you meet someone you haven’t seen in ages you just stay right where you are chatting away even if that happens to be in the doorway of a very busy department store.
  96. You stop thinking you’re being yelled at every time you hear “Hey!”
  97. You either run for the last pendeltåg at 1 am or choose to party on until 5 am when they start again rather than endure the horrific night bus home, as a taxi ride would require taking out a 2nd mortgage.
  98. ICA is not I.C.A – it’s eeka.
  99. Gift is not a present but it could be dangerous (whether it is poison or marriage)
  100. You know that “fan” is a swearword, and not an admirer or an air conditioner.
  101. You eat pizza with a knife and fork.
  102. The only thing in your quick memory is “Hej” and “Hej Hej” in swedish
  103. You think Sweden is big (because you always compare it to Finland, Norway or Iceland)
  104. You think is perfectly normal that people get in to nightclubs/restaurants with innerbandy stick and shopping bags.
  105. You think is perfectly normal that nobody talks on the bus, train or tunnelbana.
  106. You accept that people talk to you only when they are really drunk.
  107. You’ve won the lottery when you dive bomb into SystemBolaget 23 seconds after it officially closed.
  108. You accept that the best answer for a question is always “Jag vet inte” meaning “I don’t know”.
  109. You know the Swedish “Jo” sounds is like a “yo-yo” and when you pronounce Johan, it looks pretty funny – Yo-Juan!
  110. You are laughing because you know this is all painfully true.
  111. You buy an ( S ) sticker for your Volvo even if you are living outside the borders of Sweden.
  112. Reading this makes you wonder why the hell you moved to Sweden in the first place.

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