Monthly Archives: November 2011

Swedish Drinking Songs for Beer

I came across these beer-specific drinking songs while doing research for another project, and they are just cracking me up. Beer in Sweden does not have the greatest reputation (they’re better at the strong stuff), so maybe they need the drinking songs just to muster the courage to bring lips to glass.

Apparently the Vikings drank ale and mead, and when I visited the Viking Village in Foteviken with my friend Steve, I tried a Viking beer from Ystad’s Brewery (Bryggeriet in Swedish). It was terrible, but probably not a good representation of Swedish beer standards. The three dominant brands in Sweden, in case you’re curious, are Spendrups, Falcon, and Pripps. I cannot speak for or against them.

Viking beer. Mmmm. So authentic. And not that tasty.

My dad and Simon had a Swedish beer called St. Erik’s Pilsner when we were all in Stockholm, though, and the feedback was good. The menu described it as “a well-hopped brew from one of Sweden’s best brewers, Jessica Heidrich.” Tracking her down will clearly be a task for another day.

Without further ado, a few Swedish beer-specific drinking songs and my completely questionable unverified translations that may have to change once my in-house Swedish expert takes a look later today!

Ont i huvudet: “Headache” 

This drinking song is sung to the melody of “I have an old aunt” (“Jag har en gammal moster). I tried to find the song on YouTube, but no luck. You’ll just have to imagine a new tune all of your own or ask the nearest Swede.

Om du har ont i huvet                  If you have a headache
när du vaknar någon da´.          When you wake up one morning
Så häll en öl i håret                       Pour a beer over your hair 
och låt den stå och dra´.           And let it soak in 
Och känns det inte bättre          And if that doesn’t make your headache feel better
så skyll inte på oss.                      Don’t even think of blaming us
Att hälla öl i huvet                        Pouring a beer over your hair
är inte smart förståss.                 Isn’t smart at all, you know. 


Var nöjd med ölen: “Be Satisfied with Beer” 

This drinking song is sung to the tune of the Jungle Book’s “Bare Necessities“, or in Swedish, “Be satisfied with all that life gives” (Var nojd med allt som livet ger).

Var nöjd med allt som ölen ger                          Be satisfied with all beer gives 
och även om du dubbelt ser.                                  Even if you’re seeing double
Glöm bort bekymmer sorger och besvär.       You’ll soon forget your worries and your cares! 
Var glad och nöjd för vet du vad                      Be happy and satisfied because, you know,
en folköl gör ju ingen glad.                                    A low alcohol beer doesn’t make anyone happy! 
Var nöjd med ölen som vi dricker här.          Be satisfied with the beer that we drink here. 

Öl av dig: “A Beer From You” 

This drinking song is sung to the jazz classic, “All of Me.”

Öl av dig                                                        A beer from you… 
jag vill ha öl av dig                                I would like a beer from you. 
Skicka hit några kalla pilsner          Send a few cold pilsners my way.
Kärlek nej, jag vill ej ha det            Love? No. I don’t want that.
Gifta mej, det får nog va’ det          Marry me? I’ve had enough of that. 
Öl av dig                                                     Beer from you. 
Jag vill ha öl av dig                                 I would like a beer from you.
Kärlek nej, inga relationer                 Love? No. No relationships either.
vill du ha mig                                                 If you want me 
så säg inte nej                                                  Then don’t refuse me 
När jag ber om öl av dig.                     When I ask for a beer from you. 

The First Class Breakfast on SJ

When we took the train to Stockholm early, early, early Monday morning, we rode first class. Yes, we are high rollers. No, I will not sign your baby.

The real reason is that we realized that if we bought coach seats and then all bought breakfast, first class was only 40 crowns (about $5) more expensive per person, plus you get bigger seats, breakfast, unlimited coffee/tea, little snacks, and free internet. Yes, thank you. I will take it.

As soon as we got on the train, barely coherent due to tiredness, we received this little breakfast box. A bun, sandwich fillings, orange juice, and drinkable yogurt, plus my coffee. Too cute! We all perked up for about an hour or so until we passed Hässleholm, and then it was back to a tired stupor.

Photoblog: Stockholm’s Chocolate Factory

While wandering Södermalm with my parents, Simon guided us straight to my new chocolate paradise: The Chocolate Factory.

See that second-to-last photo, the one with the pipe? That is an actual flowing stream of liquid chocolate. I swoon. Hundreds of what looked like amazing-looking chocolate truffles were in process… or at least I think so. Maybe it was something I had never seen or heard of before!

They have a web shop in case you want to browse through their products. (Warning: you might start drooling.)

They have three locations in Stockholm: one on Södermalm, which is where we were, one in the city center, and one in Östermalm.

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My Danish language breakthrough

Thank goodness Simon turned out to be from this side of the Öresund because let me tell you—Danish seems like the hardest and strangest of the Scandinavian languages to learn. I’m pretty darn good at Swedish now, so I have no problem getting the gist of things when I try to read a Danish newspaper that’s been left on the train. When they’re speaking, though, I have absolutely no clue what’s going on. In fact, I like to pretend to speak Danish to Simon, who actually can, just to make him crack up. I would describe the overall sound I’m shooting for as something like the Swedish chef, but on drugs. Maybe that’s why Danes have more fun…?

I had a real breakthrough last week though. I helped out at the Nordic Translation Industry Forum for a couple hours on Thursday and was checking people in at the front desk. With my blond highlights and my fancy new last name, I can pass as a Swede until I open my mouth, so up comes this very imperious Danish lady and starts speaking Danish to me. I spoke to her in English, hoping she’d switch over, but she just kept charging on in Danish. And what do you know… I actually understood a few words! Craziness!!

If you want a real insider’s look at the difficulties posed by Danish, check out the video below. I first saw it several months ago at the Scandinavian Kitchen’s blog, so all credit to them, but it is a hilarious, hilarious clip.


This time last year…

Tomorrow is the first day of Advent, a word which is used far more often and with a more secular meaning here than in the United States. In the US, Advent is a pretty Christian way of referring to the four weeks before Christmas. Here, it’s used as an expression of time.

Four candles for the four weeks of advent!

The big news with it being the beginning of Advent is that all the Christmas Markets (Julmarknad) are opening if they haven’t already. Lund’s outdoor museum, Kulturen, hosts a giant one with tons of food stands, handmade crafts, and Christmas decorations.

A traditional Swedish decoration: the "Julbock," or "Christmas goat."

Another funny thing about Sweden’s approach to Christmas is, as you might have noticed, that it uses all the language and imagery of Christianity even though very few people identify as religious or will be going to church. In the US, it’s de rigeur to refer to the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s as “the holiday season,” meaning Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Islamic holidays if they fall in the right time period (Islamic holidays are based on the lunar calendar, so they change dates relative to the Western solar-based calendar).

One thing I'm definitely looking forward to... another personalized gingerbread piggy all of my own.

At exactly this time last year, we threw a huge Thanksgiving party late into the night on Saturday and then woke up bright and early on Sunday to meet first Simon’s mom and then a bunch of our friends at Kulturen’s Julmarknad. I was so tired and worn out from Thanksgiving, but we stayed there in the miserable cold for something like five hours anyway. Then we ran into a friend’s parents, who invited us over for a glögg party (spiced wine party, who loves Scandinavia, oh wait it’s me!). Don’t mind if we do.

One of the houses at Kulturen had these shutters, which I immediately fell in love with. I don't care which country we end up living in long term, but I will have these shutters.

As many of you know, trying to speak a foreign language can be pretty difficult when you’re tired, but our friend’s dad also happened to speak the fastest, most clipped Swedish of all time. (Or at least, that’s how I remember it.) I felt like a total idiot. I haven’t met them again since them and I want to so badly in order to redeem myself. Maybe this weekend will be it, finally…

If you’re in Skåne, it’s well worth a visit. I couldn’t quite find the opening hours on their website, but my best guess is that it’s open from 11 am to 5 pm. You can find it right in central Lund, about a 5-10 minutes walk from the train station.

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A Very Expat Thanksgiving | the Expat Blog

To read the whole post, follow this link to A Very Expat Thanksgiving on the Expat Blog at

In my opinion, it’s all about the stuffing.

Actually, it’s all about the stuffing in most Americans’ opinions and yet, paradoxically, the stuffing is the part that is least appreciated and/or understood by the Swedes I’ve shared Thanksgiving with.

You put it where? Really?! Why?

Yes, we put it there.

To read the whole post, follow this link to A Very Expat Thanksgiving on the Expat Blog at

Thanksgiving Greetings from Japan!

Beth, my youngest sister, is studying abroad in Japan right now, and she sent me a video of appropriate holiday phrases in Japanese. It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle!!!

As she wrote:

happii sankusu gibingu! ima, toukyou de ito izu chauu taimu desu! dakara, motto pai kudasai!
happy thanksgiving! now, toukyou-in ‘it is chow time’ is! so, more pie please!

I got it all except the toukyo-in part. So cool!

I miss you, Beth!!! Stora kramar från Sverige!!! xoxoxoxo

The Thanksgiving Phone Call

My parents called and I got to talk to them, two of my cousins, and my aunt. I would have gotten to talk to my middle sister, but she was sleeping… she’s a Teach for America teacher, so I think that’s what she generally does when she’s home. Although my parents said that she made them some ridic whole wheat pancakes with buttermilk and nutmeg as well as an apple cider hot toddy last night, so it could be the exertion from cooking as well.

I have to give Silvia and Daisy, my two little cousins in the picture below, because they’re totally taking the pressure off me to have kids (not that there was any pressure in the first place, but still…). This still captures the moment at which my mom has just wrapped up a story recounting how the girls said she looks old because she has lines on her face and my dad looks old because he has a bald spot! The girls were giggling madly throughout the whole story. My dad (as you can see) retreated to a happy place. Probably one with sailboats.

All joking aside, my mom said that the girls have been totally helpful in the kitchen, so let that stand on record. And my parents seemed pretty amused by their straight talking.

Happy Thanksgiving to my wonderful family!! I wish I could be there, but having seen my parents so recently really takes the sting out of what would otherwise be a pretty sad day without my family. LOVE YOU GUYS!!!

It’s A Wonderful Life…

Technically, this is a Christmas movie, but when I lived in the United States I used to watch it every Thanksgiving when it came on after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This is my favorite holiday movie of all time. There’s no beating it in terms of either heart-warming or tear-jerking ability. I will not tolerate dissent on this matter.

Here’s the ending… Clarence! Mr. Bank Examiner! Zuzu!!

Just for the record, even just a YouTube clip of this movie makes me cry. Here I am, finally done with work, finally getting around to blogging, and just tearing up like a little baby. So embarrassing. I’m sitting in a glass-walled office and one of the other teachers just walked by… I had to put up my hand against my face and lean into the screen to pretend I was really absorbed in whatever’s on my computer. LOL.

43 Things I Love About Sweden | The Expat Blog

Follow this link to read the 43 things I love (tangible and intangible) about life in Sweden from the Expat Blog at

Thanks to the wedding, my parents were here in Sweden for the first time, and I got to  show off my new home to two pairs of captive eyes and ears. Poor people… there are so many fun things to see and do (and eat) that I might have been totally exhausting them. I think they enjoyed it anyway.

Besides touring all the tourist sites and cafes in the country, though, I found myself peppering them with a constant stream of facts about life in Sweden. When we got off the train in Lund from Stockholm, I found myself suddenly emotional about how much I love this country that has become home to me.

Being at one with nature and foraging: two things to love about Sweden.

Follow this link to read the 43 things I love (tangible and intangible) about life in Sweden from the Expat Blog at

Swedish bread: one of many things to love.

Follow this link to read the 43 things I love (tangible and intangible) about life in Sweden from the Expat Blog at