Wow, it's been awhile! Sorry!
1. In Sweden, the table etiquette is not even parallel to that of which we use in the US. They use the knife in the right hand, fork in the left (upside down style). Unlike us Americans who rarely use a knife, and if we do, we switch it back and forth, not able to hold a knife and fork at the same time. I have adopted this method of eating and it's so simple, you take much smaller bites, and really...it looks much more elegant! But often, to my surprise, napkins aren't present at the table as much as you would expect. I'm very used to having a napkin and putting it in my lap right away.
2. Movies in Sweden are expensive and that price is based on the length of the movie! Also, seats are assigned. No going early to get the seat in the middle with the rail in front so you can prop your feet up! The worst part about this is, if you buy you tickets well in advance and DO get that great seat, there is a high chance that somebody will be sitting in your seat hoping you won't show up! Ugh, it's so annoying!
3. They subtitle everything! Dubbing can be quite common in certain childrens shows, as the children aren't developed in English enough to understand the text or the actual spoken language. But if something is in English, it will always be subtitled. I find myself reading the subtitles and sometimes will exclaim "that isn't what they said!", so often, the subtitles are a lose translation of what the dialogue is really saying. Hmm...But with that, Swedes are really great at speaking English, and most aren't shy about it at all! I love it! :)
4. Name days. Here in Sweden everybody with a fairly traditional name has a "namnsdagen". There is usually a male and a female for each day. Sadly, I don't have a name day. :(
5. The boy wears a wedding band during the engagement, as some of you might have noticed, Fredrik is wearing a band. At first, I didn't really like this idea, but now I think it's nice. I'm not the only one feeling all happy and new with my new ring. Fredrik (as much as a boy can) gets to feel happy and new with me! Equality equality equality! That's the Swedes moto! :)
6. You have to pay to park EVERYWHERE! The movie theater, the mall, the liquor store! It's crazy to me! But Swedes patiently and ever so willing abide by this rule. And it's usually quite expensive to pay! And maybe, coming from a smaller town, I'm just used to not having to pay and in a larger city is necessary, but man, it's a real drag getting out of the car, going to get your ticket from the machine, then going back to your car to put the little paper in your window. Small things, small things. :)
7. Swedes love curtains and window dressings, but more often than not, they serve no real purpose, other than to look pretty. Now with the sun going down around 4:30, the houses are very well lit up, but walking around outside you start to notice you can see right into everybody's houses! There is no attempt to hide your living room or kitchen from the outside world! You can walk by a house and look into a kitchen and nearly see what they are cooking for dinner! Don't get me wrong, the curtains are usually really nice looking and match the motif of the house, but they serve no purpose!
8. Swedes love candles and lights and lamps. Back home, I'm used to the overhead lighting system, here it's more of a lamp and candles everywhere system. It's really nice and for me, seems more like a romantic looking setting, but is definitely less invasive than a huge overhead light overwhelming the entire room. This is particularily nice when you are having your after dinner "fika" and the lights are low and you are eating a nice piece of sugar cake and drinking a coffee..mmm. :)
With this time of year, I'm sure I will be finding many more new traditions and customes and fun new facts I can update you all on. I'm looking forward to seeing how Christmas goes around here! I already found out they celebrate on December 24th, and on the 25th, when we are all celebrating, they are recovering! And obviously, they do not celebrate Thanksgiving, so we will see how they like my Thanksgiving celebration!
The Swedish word of the day is "ljus" which means "candle" or "light" and is pronounced "yus".
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