Monthly Archives: June 2012

Train ride to and from Stockholm

Even though all of southern Sweden had terrible rain throughout Midsummer weekend, Stockholm was bright and sunny, as was the trip there. Thanks to Facebook, we got to witness the misery of our friends fending off the predictable Midsummer deluge from a distance.

Those poor guys, we said, clucking and shaking our heads.

The train ride back was equally beautiful until we reached Hässleholm, where Skåne welcomed us back with driving wind and rain. As usual.

Oh well.

For tips on how to save money while traveling in Sweden, check out my Top 5 Money-Saving Tips for Traveling in Sweden from the Expat Blog at The weather might be extreme, but your budget doesn’t have to be.

Fika with Farmor and Midsummer in Stockholm

Our Midsummer in Stockholm was really fun and far from the typical! I’m still working on the post for my blog at, but you can get a little advance peek at the Photo Blog because we met up with Lola and her family for a picnic just outside of Skansen!

Follow the link to see Scenes from Midsummer at Skansen.

Besides Simon’s successful interview at the US Embassy and a lovely Midsummer at Skansen, we had the chance to really spend time with Simon’s relatives in Stockholm, most of whom I’ve only met a few times. We stayed with Simon’s aunt and his grandmother came over twice while we were there to spend time with us over a fika.

Simon and his farmor (grandmother).

Simon’s grandmother is the kindest and most loving person I’ve ever met. No matter what we told her, her reaction was to praise us for how smart and capable we were, or how brave, or how exciting, or how wonderful… She would interrupt a thought to look at one of us and send us a kiss.

Simon said it best when he said that she is an Astrid Lindgren mother and grandmother.

Internationally, Astrid Lindgren is best known as the author of Pippi Longstocking and other children’s books, but she was also an activist for children’s rights and animal rights as well as against corporeal punishment and nuclear energy, plus an active participant in social critique through stories she published in prominent Swedish newspapers.

In Sweden, Astrid Lindgren is revered as the paradigm of unconditional motherly love. This particular quotation seems like a pretty good encapsulation of both her philosophy and Simon’s grandmother’s:

“Give the children love, more love and still more love – and the common sense will come by itself.”

Astrid Lindgren’s comment in a debate concerning children’s rights

I think we’ll get to see Simon’s grandmother again soon at the family’s summer cottage, and I’m really glad. I’ve married into a fantastic family, and the opportunities to hang out with the Stockholm residents come too far and few between.

Early Morning Breakfast Buffet at Carotte in Stockholm

Surprise, surprise. We are in STOCKHOLM!!

Thanks to either the US State Department or the US Embassy being totally disorganized (not sure which agency deserves the credit), Simon’s interview at the Embassy got moved to TODAY instead of July 23. We’re working on getting our marriage recognized by the US, among other things, and it is a
l-o-n-g and disorganized process.

In any case, two days ago we found out that Simon could do his interview today instead of in a month, so we jumped on the chance to get it over with and (dun dun dun) celebrate Midsummer in Stockholm.

We arrived late last night, and by 7:30 this morning we were chasing after a bus to take us to the embassy area. Simon wasn’t allowed to take his phone into the embassy, so I waited for him at a cafe.

The view from my spot at the window.

Fortunately, we found a really great cafe in right next to the Radiohuset bus stop where we got off. It’s in a pretty strange area of Stockholm that I hadn’t really been to before. There were lots of tall, kind of ominous-looking office buildings — none of either the classic, old-style architecture you expect in Östermalm and none of the glassy, super-modern buildings that make up the other end of the spectrum.

In any case, Carotte Butiken on Karlavägen is a total win in an otherwise odd part of town. They had a small but delicious breakfast buffet, an array of breakfast sandwiches to order a la carte, very good espresso drinks, and an assortment of gourmet bread and pantry goods.

After surfing around on their website for a bit, I found out that Carotte is really just one of many locations serviced by Carotte Catering. Even better — you can get a taste of their food all over the city. Yum! Keep your eyes open for them.

Carotte Butik's breakfast sandwich buffet - the classic Swedish breakfast!

I had the breakfast buffet and a cappucino. I had to sit there for a couple of hours waiting for Simon, so I had basically everything on the buffet: a sandwich on their homemade sourdough bread, fresh fil (sour yogurt) with nuts, seeds, and muesli, and a smoothie. All of it was top-notch, possibly with the exception of the fil, which was good for what it is but a little sour for my taste in general.

The toppings for yogurt are in the small bowls.The blue towels are hiding the freshly-baked bread, and the three pitchers on the left contain some sort of berry smoothie, filmjölk, and orange juice.


For more info:

Carotte’s website with info on all their locations (in Swedish):

The Carotte Butik that I went to is located at Karlavägen 110 and is open Monday to Friday, 7:30 am to 6:00 pm.

There’s another Carotte Butik at Tegeluddsvägen 92, and it is open Monday to Friday, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm.

Carotte Catering also serves a wide variety of restaurants, galleries, workplaces, and events… keep your eyes open for them!

Carotte Butik's breakfast buffet

Visa större karta

Drinking, carousing, and making merry: The Insider’s Guide to Midsummer in Sweden | the Expat Blog

It’s the day before the day before the day before Midsummer and all through the house, not a creature is stirring, not even a little frog that wants to hop around a very large fertility symbol.

This year, Midsummer has totally snuck up on me. What?! Midsummer?! Since when?!?!

If nothing else, the sun has been a gentle reminder that the summer solstice is on its way. I wake up every morning now to birds chirping and sunlight streaming in through the slats of of our bedroom curtains, feeling totally alert and ready to take on the day.

Then I look at the clock and realize that it’s 4:15 am. And then I curse my ineffective blinds.

For the full post, check out Drinking, carousing, and making merry: The Insider’s Guide to Midsummer in Sweden on the Expat Blog at

My friend Malin and her fantastic strawberry layer cake.

Making akvavit and blackcurrant liquor.

Pick seven kinds of flowers in total silence, dream of your future husband.

Making flower head wreaths for the celebration.

Wheelbarrow races - part of the "friendly competition" part of the day.

To read more about Midsummer (and for recipes and instructions for pickled herring, aquavit, bål, and flower head wreaths), check out these posts on!

And that’s how I ended up skinning a kilo of herring. [Expat blog]

Oh, snap(s)… it’s Midsummer. [Expat blog]

How to Make Your Own Midsummer’s Head Wreath in 5 Easy Steps [Expat blog]


Happy Midsummer! [Expat blog]

Very Superstitious [Expat blog]

Poached cold salmon with dill mayonnaise [Food blog]

Classic Swedish Midsummer Cake [Food blog]

Celebrating Midsummer at Farsta Gård  [Photo blog]

From Kalas to Cookout

Friday was a whirlwind, and then it was followed by a weekend of traveling and relaxing. I have a huge backlog of photos and stories, so I’ll start with Friday…

I had only a few things planned at the beginning of the day, but between a last-minute invitation to an exciting networking event and making a mistake in ordering plane tickets, it got a little frenetic there at the end.

The first thing I had planned was finishing a new blog post–HEJA SVERIGE: 101 Swedish Words You NEED to Know to Watch a Soccer Game in Sweden–for the Expat Blog at, which took me a few hours of writing and researching and photographing.

Unfortunately, equipping the expats of Sweden with the correct terminology for cheering on the team didn’t really make a difference for the poor, beleaguered Swedes. They’re out of the running now, regardless of the fact that they have one more match left. Fyyyyfan!

Can't believe we let down this little guy! (min älskade systerson) Photo: Kate Reuterswärd

Then… drumroll please… I bought tickets for our trip to Italy in July!!

I have been wanting to go back to Italy for a long time and until now we haven’t really had a good opportunity. We’ll be there for 16 days and get to travel around with different friends before meeting up with my relatives in Genova. But then, of course, disaster struck.

We found a really good deal on Norwegian Air for the trip there and on SAS for the trip back. In my hurry to book the tickets on both sites before the prices changed, howeverrrrrrr, I booked my ticket there as Kate Reuterswärd and back as Kate Wiseman.

Oddly enough, they are both technically correct. I took my husband’s name in Sweden but the change hasn’t been implemented in the United States. Consequently, all my Swedish information (ID card, bank card, etc) is as Kate Reuterswärd while my US passport is as Kate Wiseman. Very strange.

In any case, 30 minutes on the phone with Norwegian Air and it was all sorted out. Great customer service–no fees for fixing the mistake! Way to go, Norwegian.

Immediately after that was resolved, though, I had to run to the bus to meet Simon in the center before taking off for the networking event in Malmö. I was going to a barbecue with friends immediately after, so I carried a bottle of wine and a package of sausages in my purse like it was no big deal for the hour I was at the event.

The event was the inauguration of Media Evolution City’s new building, and it was fantastic. It was a really amazing space, interesting companies, and not least of all, these little gems:

Little wedges of Brie cheese in salted caramel dipping sauce. It was such a strange concept–here! have some cheese! and then dip it in sugar!!–but it was ridiculously good.

Plus, there was free wine, and that never happens in Sweden. Niiice.

After that, it was yet another long trek out to the other side of Malmö to the beach, where my former colleagues were having a grill party.

I’ll tell you what, though. The sun was up and everyone was feeling good when we parked ourselves in a good spot by the beach, but by the time our disposable grills were hot enough to cook the sausage that we had all brought along, the wind was picking up and it was getting c-o-l-d.

The Sweden-England soccer game started at 8:45, so once we were all stuffed, we headed a little farther down the beach to where there was a big screen and some bleachers. About half an hour in, it was seriously windy, slightly rainy, and then a seagull pooped splat in the middle of our friend’s forehead.

So that was that. I packed up the wine bottle and the one remaining sausage and waddled myself home.

The next morning, I was up at 4:30 and on the go again…

Meeting and greeting in Malmö

My breakfast meeting yesterday morning on Social Media for Social Business was interesting. There were only about 10-15 people there, and the man giving the presentation was knowledgeable and good at targeting his information to the participants around the table.

The meeting was also an opportunity for me to think about what kind of social media platforms might be best suited to my new communications consulting business. There’s a lot of buzz around Pinterest, for example, but I don’t think it makes sense for me because my teaching is not image-driven.

On the other hand, thinking about how to create Youtube videos or podcasts might be a great way to serve clients who don’t particularly enjoy reading. A few weeks ago, I met up with Heidi Forbes Öste, another American expat in Sweden (also married to a Swede, also running her own business). She is totally inspiring to me — has a family, runs her company, operates in both Swedish and English, and, on top of all that, is getting her PhD.

One of the tools she’s working with now is graphic facilitation, which can be used for both documentation and strategy-planning. Moving into a visual paradigm instead of a text-based format can stimulate creative thinking and draw out different strengths from group participants.

The video below from RSA Animate is an example of using graphic facilitation to illustrate rather than transcribe a concept. I saw this video for the first time more than a year ago and still haven’t forgotten it. If that isn’t proof of effectiveness, I don’t know what is.

Today, I had yet another meeting, this time with a former client who owns a recruiting company. I had her for two courses during summer and fall of 2011, but I haven’t seen her since then. It was really nice to have a chance to catch up with her as well as to run some ideas by her. We’ll see if anything comes of it!

We had lunch at Cafe Feed (that’s apparently its name regardless of the sign that says “Fed”). I can’t believe I haven’t discovered this place before — it’s just around the corner from my old office!

Good food, really nice environment, and one of the best cappuccinos I’ve had in a long time. (I hardly ever drink coffee anymore, so I’m becoming more discriminating.) Helmfeltsgatan 9, open 9 am to 4 pm. Can definitely recommend for lunch.


Besides that, it’s been more meetings as well as lots of solo work trying to get the content together for my new website. Every time I meet with people, I get so many new ideas for services to offer to people who need to improve their business communication in English… and then I have to go home and flesh it all out in writing!

If anything, I’m working more, not less, but being in charge of my own destiny (or, more prosaically, my day-to-day schedule) makes me so happy. It feel like the days are just rushing by in a haze of creativity and work and play and work.

10 pm now. The sun is still up, but I just might be ready for bed.

The early bird gets the worm

I had my alarm set to 5:35 this morning, but the birds started cheeping sometime before 4 and by quarter to 5 the sun was making our blinds seem totally irrelevant. At 5, I checked the time for the third time and realized that I might as well get up.

I’m up early today to head into Malmö for a breakfast meeting called Sociala medier gör socialen affärer, or “Social media makes social business.” I’m excited to meet other professionals in the Öresund region and hopefully learn more about how to use social media for my own business. It’s always a bit nerve-wracking for me to try to network in Swedish, but I’ve got to do it. Hope it goes well!

And that’s how I ended up skinning a kilo of herring

This is an excerpt from “And that’s how I ended up skinning a kilo of herring“ on the Expat Blog at Follow the link to read the whole story! 

The finished product: senapssill, Brantevikssill, and Leif's original sill recipe. Photos: Kate Reuterswärd

For National Day last week, my friend Steve decided we should do something really Swedish. Namely: pickling our own herring.

And that’s how I ended up skinning a kilo of herring.

Like most people in Sweden, Steve considers the Midsummer celebrations one of the highlights of the year.

Perhaps that’s why Steve decided that this year, store-bought herring would not be making the cut. Perhaps that’s why he decided that, in order to increase the authenticity factor, we (notice how I suddenly became involved) would be pickling our own herring for Midsummer.

Operation Midnight Pickle was a GO!

For the whole story, check out “And that’s how I ended up skinning a kilo of herring.”

Fiskehoddorna in Malmö. Photo: Kate Reuterswärd

Leif Mannerström, the pickled herring guru for Operation Midnight Pickle. Photo: Kate Reuterswärd

Offerings at the Saluhallen fish market in Lund: fresh fish and roe. Photos: Kate Reuterswärd

Freshly made sill at the Saluhallen in Lund. Photo: Kate Reuterswärd

This is an excerpt from “And that’s how I ended up skinning a kilo of herring“ on the Expat Blog at Follow the link to read the whole story! 

Related blog posts:

HOLY HERRING! Sweden’s secret lifeblood

Adventures in Skåne: A Trip to the Viking Reserve

Nostalgia, Hybridity, and the Zen of an American Brunch in Sweden

Expat Holidays: How to Create Holiday Spirit on the Cheap

Oh, snap(s)… it’s Midsummer. 

5 Steps to Making Your Own Midsummer’s Head Wreath

45 Swedish Words You Should Know Before Starting a Business in Sweden

It’s been a little while since I posted, and it’s because I’ve been very determinedly finishing up my last few weeks of work, blogging, and (drum roll, please) working on starting my own business!

It’s June 1, so welcome to the first day of action for Kate Reuterswärd Consulting!

In the next few weeks, there will be a lot of work going on behind the scenes to get everything up and running, but it’s not going to affect this blog. It will keep on running and serve as a more personal outlet for my writing projects. Pretty soon, however, I’ll also be managing, which will be my consulting-related web presence.

Exciting, exciting, exciting!!

In this process, I’ve discovered that while everything you need to start a business in Sweden is technically available in English, it is much easier to fill out forms and search websites for the right information if you’ve got a few key Swedish words up your sleeve.

One of Sweden’s main economic goals for the near future is to stimulate small business growth (pretty good for a so-called Socialist government), and because of that, there is a plethora of governmental agencies and non-profit organizations that exist for the sole purpose of helping potential and new business owners get on their feet.

I’ll be covering those resources and where to go to for help, but first—45 Swedish Words You Should Know Before Starting a Business in Sweden. 

(This post originally appeared on the Expat Blog at!)

The Start-Up Phase

Starta och driva: Starting and running your company. These two words are frequently used on websites to point out information and resources for new business owners.

Idé: Idea / concept. Hopefully you have one of these.

Företagare: Business owner. Because Swedish is an agglutinative language (i.e. adds different words together to make hybrid FRANKENSTEIN words), you’ll also find words like nyföretagare and småföretagare—new business owner and small business owner.

Infoträff / rådgivning: Informational meetings / advice. There are a lot of governmental agencies and other organizations (Drivhuset, Skatteverket, Nyföretagarcentrum) that offer free help to new business owners—look for these words to sign up!

Finansiering: Financing

Registrera: Register

Affärsplan: Business plan

Marknad: Market. Also frequently combined with other words—like arbetsmarknad (job market) and svartmarknad (black market).

Bransch: Field / line of work. This is also a good word to know because Swedes often get confused about it and use it incorrectly. If someone asks you what branch you’re in, they want to know what field you work in, not which office. (Note to any Swedes reading—branch means avdelningskontor.)

A resource on different places where you can get help starting a business in Malmö. Look at how happy these women are to be starting their own company! Amazing. Photo: Kate Reuterswärd

Empire building

Marknadsföring: Advertising/marketing

Nätverka: To network

Anställa: To employ

Varumärke: Brand

Tillväxt: Growth

Skydda: Protect

Death and Taxes (or just taxes)

Skatt: Tax. Skatt also means “treasure” or “hoard.” No wonder they love their taxes so much here…

Moms: Sales tax. (“VAT” for all the Brits out there.)

Skattedeklaration: Tax declaration

F-Skatt and FA-Skatt: F-Tax and FA-tax. Basically, if you want to work as a freelancer, you have to register as an enskild firma (sole trader) so that you can receive an F- or FA-tax number. You’ll need this number to be able to legally invoice clients.

As a freelancer, you’ll automatically receive an F-tax number unless you also work as an employee for another company, in which case you get an FA-tax number. (Here’s a link with a lot of great information from Skatteverket, the National Tax Agency.)

At my free info-träff, I got this free magazine as part of my goodie bag. Apparently owning your own company will also make you beautiful and give you glowing skin! (Clearly I haven't read the article yet.) Photo: Kate Reuterswärd


Kostnad: Cost

Vinst: Profit

Tillgång: Asset

Skuld: Debt. This word also means “guilt,” which is kind of menacing if you think about it. A simple question at the bank, “Do you have any debts?” becomes “DO YOU HAVE ANY GUILT?!”  AHH! Yes! I do!!  I’M SORRY!!

Avgift: Fee, charge, duty, dues. You have to pay an avgift, or fee, to register your business. If you want to join a networking group, you might have to pay a yearly avgift, or membership dues. If you own your own apartment, you’ll have to pay a monthly avgift, or charge, to the condominium association. It’s pretty much a catch-all word for something you don’t want to pay for.

Betalning: Payment

Faktura: Invoice

Bokföring: Bookkeeping

Redovisning: Auditing / accounting

Lån and lön: Loan and salary. Very similar looking… very different meanings when it comes to you and your business.

Offert / Anbud: Offers / tenders

Upphandling: Procurement

Even Skatteverket, the National Tax Agency, wants to help me. And I thought they were only there to make me suffer. Photo: Kate Reuterswärd

The Legal Stuff (Invest Sweden has a great resource here about setting up a business in Sweden.)

Tillstånd: Permission or license

Import / Export: Import / Export. I know. Surprise, surprise.

Enskild firma: Sole trader business. An enskild firma has just one owner who assumes all liability for the business’ debts. An enskild firma is not a legal entity; the owner is.

Aktiebolag: Joint-stock company, LLC (UK) or corporation (US). An aktiebolag has a board of directors, minimum capital of SEK 50,000 if it’s privately-owned, and the shareholders have limited liability.

Handelsbolag: Trade partnership company. There are at least two business partners in the company who are personally liable for the partnership’s agreements and debts.

Kommanditbolag: Limited partnership company. A kommanditbolag is a special form of a handelsbolag in that at least one of the business partners has limited liability and at least one has unlimited liability for the partnership’s agreements and debts.



Have questions? Curious about starting a business in Sweden? I’ll be following up on queries made in the comments! This post originally appeared on the Expat Blog at—you may want to check out the helpful comments being left there as well!