Spending three days in a row with new friends really makes you realize that you are adjusting to your new life a lot easier and smoother. I know a lot of people would love the opportunity to help meld into a new culture and language without feeling so alienated and alone. On Thursday I was invited for some shopping and fika. We planned a small surprise birthday party for one of the girls, went searching for a present and talked about the plan over cups of coffees and tea. I asked if there would be decorations or something of the sort, not realizing it would only be the four of us. I felt included, like a part of the group. The next day we showed up at her door and surprised her with presents, wine, and cake. Knowing that they are all making a small sacrifice to their comfort level by needing to speak in their second language to accommodate when I am with them really makes me feel special to be involved. It also gives me an extra motivation to learn Swedish even faster. I love spending time and going out with the hubby but it’s also a great feeling to know I can comfortably socialize on my own so soon after moving to a new country.
It was a fun night out filled with chatting, drinking, & laughing. Hubby and I were invited along to go to Ikea the next day with the birthday girl and her fiance. (For those who aren’t aware, Ikea is actually Swedish, and if you are in the states its a decent place to get Swedish meatballs and lingonberry) The trip is an hour each way and we spent quite a few hours exploring the store (I’m a huge sucker for house items). It was pointed out to me that I didn’t take any photos of Ikea, and I explained that I was trying to behave and refrain from being an obnoxious blogger in front of new people. And so the photo here was taken in June of 2011, the first time “discovering” a Swedish Ikea, although we only ate lunch there and did not shop, unlike yesterday:
Along with two large bags of random things mostly for the kitchen, we bought a kitchen side table/counter/shelving unit named “Bekväm” which translates into “comfortable.” Reminds me of how confused people back home are when they pick out furniture from Ikea, not understanding what they are ordering, how to pronounce it, or why each item is named something so strange. When we were (finally) done in Ikea the four of us went to the food court in the mall near by and desperately searched for food. We found a food court and one of the choices caught my husbands eye:
Hubby has been on the hunt for a good tasting juicy burger in Sweden ever since he started coming to New York, so he will never pass up on a new place to try a new burger, especially if it claims to be American. He went for a double bacon cheese burger and I explored their version of pulled pork. The wait time for our food was the same as being in a real restaurant, so we thought the food would be of good quality. It was nothing special, edible and maybe “good” but not American by any standards. He said it was the same dry burger with the same seasonings as all other Swedish burgers. While eating I was asked something with a hint of hesitation, “Have you ever had…a…creme ball?” Realizing that the hesitation came from translating the name, I asked hubby and he confirmed that I have not. We all wandered to the store and “oooh’ed” and “aaahh’ed” at the selection. Turns out it is the first store dedicated to “Gräddbulle” in the world, hence the confusion over never seeing one before.
Depending on where in Sweden you are, these are otherise known as
“skumboll” (foamball). In Skåne, which is Southern Sweden, they are called Gräddbulle, which directly translates to creme bun but they are actually creme balls. Inside each chocolatey treat is a rich creamy and foamy whipped gelatin atop a biscuit base. This store, “Gräddbullerian” specializes in different flavors, such as banana, mint, popular Swedish candies, or white chocolate, where as the original is just cream covered with dark chocolate occasionally with coconut. According to Wiki they are from Denmark, first made in 1807. Very yummy, but maybe a bit too rich for me, perhaps it’s because I had just eaten though.
Another new Swedish treat I had for the first time this weekend was “Bilar.” These are a very popular classic Swedish candy in the shape of cars. These have been around since 1953 they are known as “the world’s most sold car,” which is certainly true if you are loose with your definition of “car.” This reminds me of a fact I was recently told about White Castle being the first fast food company to sell a billion hamburgers, which makes sense considering how tiny and almost bite sized each burger is. We have been munching on our bilar candy all day, they are basically car shaped marshmallows in white, green, and pink. Quite addictive, I can see why Swedes love them.
I watched the Melodifestivalen last night (Which was terrible for the most part, I am glad I watched it for the first time last week instead of this week) and decided to tweet about it as I watched, while reading all the other tweets being posted at the same time. Amazing how many people were posting about the show, most were in Swedish but a few were in English and I reached out to them, which was pretty neat. It’s the first time I used Twitter as a conversation, it felt a bit obnoxious but was pretty neat to feel in the loop with others doing the same thing.
And so after three days of socializing, and shopping we stayed home today, a lazy Sunday of playing video games and watching a movie. Hubby assembled our new piece of furniture which transformed our kitchen, giving us a lot of extra counter space and more shelving room, living up to it’s name and making us more Bekväm: