Something Swedish


Delish Fish Quiche

Wanted to show off this new app called pic frame which is really fun to mess around with and easy to use. You can adjust all the sizes, colors, frame width, frame style – great for showing off a collage of 2-4 photos on the blog without taking up too much room!

Made this fish quiche two nights ago- what a fun thing to say “Fish Quiche,” much better than  “Seafood Quiche.” It’s shrimp, salmon, and  crab meat over a pastry covered with cheese and a creamy batter.

Anyway, the quiche came out really delish… “Delish Fish Quiche!?” Try saying that three times fast. Got the recipe from here. Followed it exactly except that I added mushrooms to the mix (I add mushrooms to almost everything and have trouble not messing with recipes apparently!) Made enough for three 2-person servings and my husband is crazy about it even though he is not a huge fan of seafood. I almost skipped the crab meat because I couldn’t find it, it would not have been nearly as good without it though. Thought it would be difficult to make but it wasn’t, will certainly become a staple dish.

Going to start keeping a recipe book- pretty excited about it but I need to find the right type of book or binder (And get neater hand writing). The pic frame app also reminded me that I need to finish my wedding scrapbook. I need to start making time for old hobby’s and interests again like scrap booking and card making, (Although I never cooked before so I do have a new interest as well). Hard to balance everything even though I feel like I’m often not doing anything at all. Guess it’s more of a mental block than a time issue.



I do not understand: “Jag förstår inte”

I could feel my eyes widen as a tall man in his 50’s with glasses and gray hair politely pointed at the fruits and tried to make conversation with me in Swedish. I’m not sure I even tried to understand the words that were coming out of his mouth, as it took a few seconds just to understand that I should be listening because he was talking to me. I had just picked up a pack of dried apricots as I stood in line, and this man was also looking at the fruit, I assumed by his gestures that he was talking about the apricots and figs. I can guess, after it happened that maybe he was thinking the same as when I saw them, surprised that they were the same price, unsure if they were overpriced. He said only a sentence or two, and the tone seemed friendly enough, but then it was obviously time for me to reply and I was still frozen in place.

I knew what to say. I knew how to say it. I’ve practiced it in my head before,  “Forlat, min Svenska ar inte bra” or “Jag förstår inte.” (“Sorry, my Swedish is not good” or “I do not understand”) It was my chance and before I knew it my mind and my mouth had missed that connection and I blurted out, “sorry.” It was like a slap in the face, why can’t I do it? The words might not have been at the tip of my tongue, more like the back of my throat, you know that feeling when you are about to vomit? They were there, being uncomfortable and embarrassing. And so I swallowed the small amount of Swedish I could have conjured up and burped out a simple “sorry” to which the man smiled and nodded and moved on leaving me feeling rejected. I was annoyed with myself for missing the opportunity, and even more annoyed when the cashier rang me up in English. I’m not sure if he heard the exchange or if he has begun to recognize me. I need to start wearing a less identifiable hat, maybe. Either way I was pretty bummed by the whole thing. The last thing I want or need is for one of my regular cashiers to stop speaking Swedish to me. Even though I know that down the road I will be able to switch it back to Swedish when I am ready and able, but I need the practice now, even if it’s only hearing a few numbers and needing to understand them.

It’s certainly not the first I’ve said “sorry” to change the conversation to English (and it won’t be the last), I just wish I could muster up the courage to switch over to English in a way that indicates that I am learning Swedish and trying, which means…actually speaking a few simple words of Swedish. I know it’s an anxiety hurdle I have (and also had when learning Spanish) but I have been more and more angry with it over the past week or two, knowing that my Swedish classes hopefully start in about two weeks. This knot in my chest needs to go, I always figured it would be easier to blurt out a crappy Swedish phrase in front of strangers, but it’s still the same amount of scary.


Adjustment: “Justering”

It’s official! I have been living in Sweden for exactly one month!

Reflecting upon this I think its appropriate to list some things that I have already, or need to in the future, adjust to. This applies to a few different things: being in a new country, being “on my own” for the first time, becoming a wife.

  • Language: I’m currently waiting to be allowed to take my SFI (Svenskundervisning för invandrare: Swedish for Immigrants) classes. Its easy to live and survive in Sweden without knowing the language. But why? I want to stop missing out on conversations, be able to socialize easily, grasp the culture better, and I don’t want to be “That ignorant American”
  • Money: I’m finally getting the hang of converting Kronor (SEK) (Krona is the singular, which translates to “crown”) to the equivalent amount in Dollars (USD), which is very helpful in understanding how much I’m spending on things, especially in relation to what I’m used to paying for them in NY. However, there is a step beyond this. I think I’m beginning to be less dependent on that relationship, I am learning the prices of things in correlation to other Swedish things instead of American equivalents. I’m getting the hang of judging if something is too expensive compared to Swedish prices of the object or if i can find it in another store for less.
  • Shopping: This is obviously directly related to money, plus some additional factors. Sweden has a 25% tax. Having said that, naturally things are in general more expensive than I’m used to. It’s a different economy which would of course mean that prices are different anywhere you travel. (I have read many forum threads of people complaining and crying about high prices which is so rude!) The tax is calculated into the price. I love this, but it did take some period of “Oh…right!” There is no surprise at the end when the cashier gives you the total. There is no calculating the wrong amount of money. A lot of Swedish stores charges for bags. I’m pretty sure there are a few areas in the U.S that has started doing this recently, but it was very strange to me at first. I think its great, actually, but I am still adjusting to remembering it. It is usually 2 Kronor for a (sturdy) plastic bag, that’s the equivalent to about a quarter (25 cents). Instead of using 4 bags, its easy to pack everything into 2, or use bags from other stores you already have on you. The thing is you have to remember to place the bag on the conveyer belt or you don’t get one. Or in other stores (like clothing stores) they ask if you would like to buy one. Which, while I have learned my numbers and I can understand how much I am paying at check out, I still have to ask what they said so I don’t miss out on a bag. Take a number. A lot of stores use the ticket system instead of waiting on line, it’s usually only enforced and used if the store is rather busy, but I am still not used to looking for the ticket machine.
  • Grocery Shopping: I’ve always enjoyed grocery shopping, more than shopping for clothes, even. However, I’ll be the first to admit that I did not do it that often, living at home meant I was not the one doing all the shopping. So yes, part of this adjustment is getting used to being the one who does a lot of the shopping (maybe most), which is part of being “on my own” and being a wife. The other part of this adjustment is cultural and the language boundary. Its aggravating not being able to recognize the food you are looking for, or looking at. Sometimes its the packaging that is not what I’m used to and sometimes I just can’t read or figure out the name because its in Swedish.
  • Cooking & Cleaning: No, its not an adjustment because cooking and cleaning is different in Sweden, I’m just doing more of it. So, part of my adjusting this month is keeping our apartment clean, doing laundry, dishes, and cooking. I actually do enjoy it, its pretty relaxing and keeps me busy and entertained since I am not currently working. Thankfully I have a great husband who helps with any of this whenever he can (Willingly, without being asked!) And who likes to cook. Score!
  • Co-Existing: I’ve never lived with anyone aside from my family.  It is going excellent  and I think we are both pretty easy to live with, but moving in with someone is always an adjustment!
  • Being Without: Its easy to get used to the things you do, the things you eat, and the things you buy and use on a daily basis. Some of those things don’t exist here or are very expensive, which is fine, I am not complaining, but it is worth mentioning along the lines of adjusting.
  • Missing Friends and Family: I think this goes without being said and doesn’t even need an explanation.

Over all its been a great month and it will only get better once the adjustments are easier to handle. One day at a time.