Monthly Archives: October 2011

Halloween in Sweden in Photos

My coworker Lloyd and his lady, Charlotte, threw an awesome Halloween party last Saturday, one of the best I’ve ever been to. People really went all out with the costumes. I only caught a small portion of the costumes there because I was having too much fun to wander around with my camera.

Together, Simon, Steve, and I dressed up as Americans on Spring Break. Sarah and Marie (top photo, left to right) were “Incognito” and Clark Kent, respectively. Sarah switched her mustache about once every hour so that she would remain Incognito. The second photo from the top is Incognito Sarah again and Sarah the wolf.

The charming she-man was our host, Lloyd. He was a bearded lady. He even shaved one of his armpits to round out the character. So great. That’s Simon with his trophy belt in the top right vertical picture, and the bottom left vertical picture is a new friend, Nick, dressed up as Tintin.

There were a lot of people there that I hadn’t met before, so I’m not sure who the guy below was… super creepy costume, though.

Happy Halloween to you, wherever you are! Send in photos if you dare. :)

An American Bachelorette in Sweden | The Expat Blog

I’m not one to talk about my life as though it’s the most exciting thing around but I’M GETTING MARRIED IN TWO WEEKS so, you know, it is. At least for the moment. (At least for me.)

From what I’ve seen so far, one of the biggest differences between a Swedish wedding and an American wedding has nothing to do with the wedding itself—it’s the way Swedes take on the all-important bachelor and bachelorette party.



Here’s a little sneak peek, but there are a lot more photos in the full version.

One of my favorite parts of the day.

Happy Halloween in Sweden!

I’m supposedly busy, working on a bunch of blog posts for my other blog and trying to get moving on some big proofreading jobs, but last night I celebrated Halloween with Steve, Simon, a bunch of my coworkers from my day job, and a lot of people I had never met before but were really interesting, awesome people.

More photos to follow soon, but for now, a little taste of what’s to come…

Bringing the land of the free, home of the brave to a living room near you.

Steve, Simon, and I went as Americans on SPRING BREAK ABROAD!!! Definitely the most comfortable clothing I’ve ever worn to a party, and Simon was very proud of his trophy belt. (I hope that doesn’t become a regular fixture at parties.)

Someone took a photo of the three of us together, but it wasn’t on my camera, so I’ll have to track it down. Steve was wearing a wife beater and was looking extremely sexxxy.

Right, Steve? Right.


Frank the Sheep Speaks Swedish

Every single time I see this commercial on TV, I want to die laughing.

First of all, a little back story.

Frank the Sheep. Photo from Tele2's website.

Frank is a black sheep. He never felt like he fit in, so he left the flock. Eventually, he ended up at a telecom company, where realized he was born to be cheap. Bliss! He’s a street smart, tell-it-like-it-is kind of dude.

Frank the Sheep, born to be cheap. Image from Resume magazine.


So, Frank is not from Sweden, and he doesn’t really speak Swedish. He gives it a try, though, in the following commercial.


I’ve been in Sweden for awhile now, so I’ve seen a number of these commercials. This one is definitely one of the best, though.

So now, thanks to Frank, you have a little insight into what it’s like to try to start speaking Swedish. The grammar? Not so hard. The words? Yeah, you have to learn them. The sounds? Totally and completely incomprehensible to me.

(As a sidenote, what a testament to Swedes’ abilities with English that they can follow and enjoy a commercial campaign in English for three years, and it motivates them to buy the service! Crazy.)

You gotta love it.

If you know Swedish or have been trying to learn it, you might want to check out these blog posts I wrote on funny Swedish words and phrases!

14 Swedish words that give me the giggles

25 More Swedish words (and phrases) that give me the giggles

Two more Frank the Sheep commercials (because I just can’t resist)

Summer Paradise in Stockholm

I was looking through photos the other day and came across the folder with all my photos from my first trip to Sweden in June 2008. The pictures of sunny Stockholm and my memories of the warm weather are making me extremely nostalgic for all the glory of a Swedish summer.

If you ever get the chance to have Midsummer in Sweden—especially in Stockholm’s archipelago—do it! It’s one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had and definitely one of the top ten experiences I’ve had in Sweden.

A Midsummer paradise in Stockholm.

Ugh, paradise. Why must you always be lost??? Maybe I’ll get to do this again some day in the future. In the meantime, it’s back to wool tights and ski socks and wedding planning!

Swedish Citizenship Test | The Expat Blog

To read this post in its entirety (and to see if you qualify for Swedish citizenship according to my rubrik!), click here to read the rest of the post on the Expat Blog at

Between deciding to tie the knot with my Swedish gentleman friend and uproar over Malmö mayor Ilmar Reepalu’s suggestion that immigrants get a two-year “probationary” citizenship before they are given protection against deportation, the question of Swedish citizenship has been on my mind lately.

I’m not eligible for Swedish citizenship (yet) because I don’t have a permanent residence permit (yet), although I am currently eligible to apply for permanent residence. To become a citizen, I’d have to first spend more time living in Sweden and then tackle the paperwork. I’m sure there will be a lot of forms to fill out, but it seems relatively uncomplicated.

If only getting Swedish citizenship were as easy as riding a Dala horse. Photo: Kate Wiseman

Denmark, on the other hand, has a very different way of validating the spouses of Danish citizens for even a simple residence permit. After proving that the marriage or registered partnership is real, the spouses in question get points for different qualifications they have—40 points if you’ve been employed for 2.5 out of the last 3 years, 10 points if you’ve done volunteer work for an approved humanitarian organization for at least one year, 20 points if you can prove that you don’t live in (and I quote) a “marginalized housing area (ghettos)”, and so on for language skills, work experience, and educational achievements.

Some might criticize the Danish point system as a way of weeding out the “undesirable” immigrants and giving preferential treatment to the already rich and well-educated, but it also made me think. What if we could come up with a similar point system for Swedish citizenship, but based on criteria that would illustrate an individual’s true love for Sweden and Swedish culture?

That’s how the Expat Blog’s Swedish Citizenship Test was born. 

To take the test and see if you qualify for Swedish citizenship (according to my rubrik!), click here to read the rest of the post on the Expat Blog at

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

Don’t you love when things you feel are true turn out to be true?

I’m putting together a lesson plan for one of my Business English courses, and I came across the Wikipedia page for the Dunning-Kruger Effect. This is probably going to become my new favorite quasi-scientific explanation for the world.

From Wikipedia:

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled people make poor decisions and reach erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the metacognitive ability to recognize their mistakes. The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their ability as above average, much higher than it actually is, while the highly skilled underrate their own abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority.

Actual competence may weaken self-confidence, as competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. As Kruger and Dunning conclude, “the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.” The effect is about paradoxical defects in cognitive ability, both in oneself and as one compares oneself to others.

Even though Dunning and Kruger wrote an entire scientific study about this effect, they gave credit where credit is due.

Although the Dunning–Kruger effect was put forward in 1999, David Dunning and Justin Kruger have quoted Charles Darwin (“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge“) and Bertrand Russell (“One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision“) as authors who have recognised the phenomenon.

Anyway, you should read the whole Wikipedia page at the source because it’s both short and fabulous. For bonus points, the title of their report is “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments.”

Science! It’s very truthy.

Swedish Pizza

Someday I’m going to write a realm, in-depth treatise on the art of the Swedish pizza. In the meantime, let this photo give you a little sneak peek into why this is a phenomenon worth writing about.


Among the primary ingredients for this pizza: pepperoni and Bearnaise sauce, obviously.

Yes, that is Bearnaise sauce on a pizza. For more information, check out a post I did last year, “Don’t call this Swedish” Pizza Salad (from Sweden). Mmmhmmm.

Delicious lunch at “Smith I” at Hansacompagniet in Malmö

In the center of downtown Malmö, there is a shopping center called “Hansacompagniet,” or the Hansa Company. It’s got a fairly standard array of shops and restaurants with some upscale options mixed in among the rest, plus the all-important Systembolaget (hello, liquor store!).

One thing I discovered, however, when shopping with Simon and his mom last Saturday (and taking in the demonstrations against the Sweden Democrats), is that there is a really nice lunch and fika spot tucked in the glass pedestrian bridge that links the shopping mall to the parking structure. It’s called “Smith I,” and while it’s not cheap, it’s not that much more expensive than a fika at Espresso House or regular lunch at a restaurant. Plus, you get to sit in the glass bridge overlooking the street… pretty cool.

Simon had a chicken Caesar salad that he thought was really good, and I had this amazing cured salmon salad with sweet teriyaki dressing, pickled onions, pickled ginger, shaved carrots, and crisp romaine lettuce. MMM! I’m not normally a big teriyaki fan, but the sweet and sour and salty and crispy combination was amazing.

My cured salmon salad.

As usual, Simon gave me the tomatoes from his dish, but it was really hard to move from my Asian dish to his more garlicky one, so I didn’t really eat much. He thought it was really good, though.

Simon's chicken Caesar salad.

Both were served with the world’s crispiest crisp bread. When I was eating it, it felt and sounded like I was chewing through concrete. It was strangely tasty, though.

I should add that Simon’s mom had what looked like the richest, fudgiest chocolate cake of all time, and she was very happy with it. For some reason, it disappeared before I managed to get a picture.

You can find Smith I in the Hansacompagniet shopping center, which is right by Gustav Adolfs Torg and just off the main pedestrian shopping street. Besides the salads above, they had sandwiches, warm dishes (like salmon and vegetables or beef and potatoes), plus a good assortment of delicious-looking cakes. Besides the typical coffee bar drinks, they also had a lot of specialty sodas, including a Blood Orange Pellegrino soda. Yum.

Here’s where it is: 

Visa större karta

Opening Hours

Monday-Friday: 10 am-7 pm

Saturday: 10 am-5 pm

Sundays: Noon-5 pm

Website (in Swedish)

Demonstrations in Malmö

Last Saturday was a big day for the Malmö police—so big, they had to call in reinforcements from Stockholm, Gothenburg, and the rest of the country’s riot police squads. Part of the reason was a rematch between two soccer teams: Malmö FF and Djurgården, a Stockholm team. The match was originally supposed to be a month or so ago, but it had to be called off only a few minutes into the game because people were throwing firecrackers onto the field. Not good.

The other reason was that the Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden Democrats, or SD for short) were holding a march in central Malmö. It’s a “nationalistic” (read: far right) party which, sadly, has a stronghold in southern Sweden, right where I live. You know Anders Breivik, the terrorist behind the attacks in Oslo and Utøya? If you understand where he’s coming from, you’ve already got a basic grip on the Sweden Democrats’ political platform. (One notable exception to this comparison: Breivik believes that many of the weaknesses of modern Western society are related to the advancement of women, while Sweden Democrats base some of their anti-Arab/anti-Muslim rhetoric on claims that they degrade women’s rights. )

In any case, the Sweden Democrats got more than 4% of the vote in the 2010 elections, which gave them a seat in Parliament and some political legitimacy. Their main goal is to greatly limit immigration policies, including the ones that this girl has benefited from (see The Skinny on the Sambo Visa, The Low Down on the Love Visa, etc.) because, you know, immigrants are bad. And dangerous. And very, very scary.

Saturday’s demonstration was, however, more notable for the protests of the Malmö inhabitants against the Sweden Democrats. There were far, far more people behind the barriers than there were marching within them, and their boos drowned out the Sweden Democrats’ chanting.

Demonstrations in Malmö: Gustav Adolfs Torg, protesters, and high-speed riot police caravans.

On one hand, I found the protests inspiring. Living in Lund, I knew that they were going on but had forgotten about them. I just happened to be walking by at the right time. I was glad to see people caring so much about their ideals (especially ideals I agree with) to protest a group they find hateful.

At the same time, the protests were kind of scary. There were explosions going off, and at one point, people were just running away from the square and then turning back. It felt like things could easily get out of hand and become chaos. I’ve never seen protests like this in my life. People waving signs and sleeping outside the White House, yes. People screaming and shouting and pushing and firecrackers going off? That I haven’t seen before.

I didn’t spend much time in the midst of the demonstrations, but I watched from above through the windows of a nearby building. I was with my boyfriend and his mom, who just broke her elbow and still has it in a cast and a sling, so we weren’t taking any chances that she would get pushed or shoved. It was a very interesting thing to see in what is normally a quite calm city.

One funny thing is that as we were driving out, I was saying that they should have outsourced the riot cops’ jobs to the Danish police. Simon and I watch a TV show that is basically like Danish cops, and let me tell you: Danish cops are way tougher than Swedish cops. About thirty seconds later, we drove by this van:


Sure enough, it was a Danish police van of some sort! (Swedes say “Polis,” Danes say “Politi.”) Awesoooome.

For more pictures of the demonstration and the protests against it, check out the slideshow in Sydsvenskan. The text is in Swedish, but there are lots of good, big, high-quality pictures that’ll give you a better sense of what it looked like.