Monthly Archives: January 2012

Life in Sweden, as usual? | The Expat Blog

When I think about the events of 2012 so far, what strikes me most is how normal it all feels. A friend asked me recently when you stop being an expat and start being something else. I’m not sure that I have a good answer to that yet, but I think I’m on my way to whatever that is.

Everyday life doesn’t feel weird anymore. I have a full time job, friends (both Swedish and international), and a family, if not the one I was born to. I speak passable Swedish. I eat weird Swedish snacks, like leverpastej on Wasa crackers, without thinking twice.

When I think about my life here, I don’t measure successes and failures in terms of whether the move to Sweden “was worth it” anymore. It just is that way now.

Read the full post on the Expat Blog at

Biggest news of 2012 so far: the arrival of little Luna to our friends Sofie and Adam.

Luna is so adorable that after a couple of hours in her presence, I *almost* wanted a baby of my own. For the meantime, though, being Aunt Kate is perfect.

No Shoes Indoors! | The Expat Blog

To read the whole post, check out “No Shoes Indoors” on The Expat Blog at

Finally, you arrive in Sweden.

Maybe you’re meeting someone—maybe an old friend. A friend who could be more than a friend. A lover.

You’re welcomed at the airport, and on the trip towards his or her home, you’re almost shaking. It could be the tiredness, the effects of the long flight, the rough-edged emotions that can’t be quieted at this particular moment.

You recognize these feelings. Excited. Nervous. Overjoyed. You’ve felt them before, but never like this.

Then you arrive, your friend helping you carry your bags up the stairs and over the threshold. You stumble through the door and into the living room, eager to see the pristine white walls and Ikea-dominated apartment you’ve heard so much about.

And then you hear your friend’s voice, but it sounds different—harsher than before.

Where the hell do you think you’re going with your shoes on?

To read the whole post, check out “No Shoes Indoors” on The Expat Blog at


Balmy Wintertime Malmö

I’ve been saying that the weather has been pretty mild here, and now I have proof. All you naysayers who were like, Kate has finally lost her marbles once and for all, poor thing thinks that it’s warm in Sweden during the winter. Next thing you know, she’ll be telling us that there aren’t any polar bears there, either. 

Proof, I tell you! PROOF!

I took this photo on Malmö’s main shopping street, Södra Förstadsgatan, during the period between Christmas and New Year—conveniently called the “mellandagar,” or “in-between days,” in Swedish. The picture was taken at 17:04:44, give or take a few milliseconds. Not really the warmest part of the day, and yet, and yet…

Against all odds, one brave coffee shop had set up outdoor seating, and people were flocking to it, plopping themselves down in the cold, damp, overcast weather, out with their coffees and coats on. Unbelievable.

A mellandagar miracle. 

“American Soda”

Simon and I went for a quick grocery run on our way home today and came across this at the ICA Malmborgs in Lund. Simon pointed out that the list of American sodas should probably be a lot longer than this, but I guess Vanilla Coke and Mountain Dew are extra-American.

American Soda ("Amerikansk Läsk") according to ICA: Vanilla Coke and Mountain Dew.

Speaking of which, does anyone still drink Vanilla Coke? I feel like that was a fad for a hot second in high school that died once we realized that it’s disgusting. Mountain Dew, though… that stuff is gross but powerful. Every once in a while (road trips, all-nighters), you’ve just got to Do the Dew.

5 things that are already making my 2012 fantastic | The Expat Blog

Click here to read the whole article on the Expat Blog at

I love the idea of New Year’s resolutions. Keeping them is another thing altogether.

I don’t think I’ve ever kept a New Year’s resolution that has been life-changing… or kept one at all, if we’re being honest. I’m much better with Lenten promises. It’s really hard to forget what you promised to do in just 40 days.

This year is going to be different, though. I swear. I have only two resolutions, and I’ve got a plan for at least one of them. The plan for resolution #2 is still in the works, but I fully intend to create a plan and work on it. Immediately, if not sooner.

My first resolution for 2012 is to cultivate more contentment in my life. I have a tendency to obsess about where I want to be six months, a year, and five years from now, and sometimes I realize that I forget to enjoy the here and now. I’m not giving up on being all my goal-setting and crazy ambition, but I’m going to try to temper all that forward-thinking with more satisfaction with what I have now.

To that end, I’m going to start practicing deliberate gratitude on a regular basis. Numerous internet experts say that gratitude has amazing benefits on your health and well-being, and if an internet expert says it, it has to be true. Right?

At the very least, the New York Times said, “Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners.”

I can’t really argue with that. So to start the year off right, here are 5 things that are already making my 2012 fantastic.

Click here to read the whole article on the Expat Blog at

Sunshine is playing a big role in the awesomeness of 2012. Can you believe that this is what Lund and Malmö looked like on January 6th??

Click here to read the whole article on the Expat Blog at

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas…

Yesterday, I was featured on the Displaced Nation’s series on expat writers around the world. What an honor!

You can check out my interview here: 12 NOMADS OF CHRISTMAS: Kate Reuterswärd, American expat in Sweden (12/12)

The Displaced Nation is an online blog/magazine dedicated to writing by “expats, global nomads, armchair travelers and the like.” The whole series has been really awesome and I have discovered a lot of great expat bloggers and writers! You can check out the whole series here.

Thanks again to the Displaced Nation for including me in their 12 Nomads of Christmas series!

Awesome-o! Read the full article here: 12 NOMADS OF CHRISTMAS: Kate Reuterswärd, American expat in Sweden (12/12)