The move to Sweden was a big deal for me. I had lived away from home all through college, but it’s just college. And it was just Oregon. Moving to Sweden was different. Sweden was a ways away. I was going without a job. Without knowing many people. Without any set plan.
I jokingly tell people this has been my existential quarter-life crisis. Which I suppose is quite true. The beauty is I’ve managed to learn a few things along the way. Which is much better than my upcoming midlife crisis where I intend to make poor choices with women half my age and possibly buy a boat. Or I’ll just go skiing in New Zealand.
Until then though, I’ve got to live with lessons thus far learned.
I can’t make Swedish pancakes to save my life. Seriously. Early on in the move, I bought the proper fixins for Swedish pancakes; I even have a Swedish cook book so I don’t make any conversion mistakes. Swedish pancakes are supposed to be thin, kind of mottled, and delicious. Mine end up thick, kind of burned, and tasting like cement. Needless to say, I still have most of the fixins for Swedish pancakes.
Allemansrätten is probably the coolest right ever. Much better than that whole free speech thing in the US. That I can go essentially anywhere I want and camp as long as I don’t destroy anything, show respect to nature and whatever lucky landowner gets to have me on their property is something that still boggles my mind. And something that more people need to understand.
Swedish girls just aren’t as good looking as the stereotype will have you believe. Blonde big breasted Swedish women are not running up to me on the street. That being said, and this is a discussion I have had with plenty of friends, most productively with my little brother when he was studying here, the average Swedish woman is better looking than the average American woman. Probably because the average American woman is five feet three inches and 163 pounds. That is squat. And no one likes squat. The average Swedish woman? Five feet five inches and 142 pounds. That is less squat. It might also be demeaning and sexist, but I’m just not that into squat girls.
Never, ever, ever, leave spaghetti boiling, run to take a shower, then run out naked as you hear the spaghetti boiling everywhere. It’s just a bad idea. At least that’s what I’ve heard.
Sometimes you need to leave to find out where you belong. In the US, I have always been the Swedish guy. In Sweden, I have always been the American guy. This is confusing on a base level. Especially considering that I spent the majority of my life in the US. It is also, I’m convinced, the reason I am so intrigued by Swedishness. So in leaving the US, I was hoping to figure out where I belonged. After two and a half years in Sweden, I realize very clearly that I am an American. And I am quite pleased with that.
Welcome to Sweden. And my life lessons.