Hej hej from Sweden! (So far that’s just about the most important thing I’ve learned so far… if you know nothing else to say, just say “hej hej” to a Swede in passing by). I’m Abby and I’m spending my semester in Stockholm, Sweden, studying with DIS and living with a wonderful host family. I grew up in Boston, and attend college in California, and am so excited to now make Sweden my home too, even if it means my first cold winter in quite a while.
The Swedish culture and lifestyle has always interested me, and with some Nordic ancestry on my dad’s side of the family, Stockholm sounded like the perfect place to spend a semester abroad with new people and understand what it’s like to live like a Swede. I thought there would be no better way to dive into the culture than to give my best shot at learning the language and speaking with Swedes, so I enrolled in the double-credit intensive Swedish Language and Culture class. Did you know that Swedes get at least 25 vacation days, not including weekends, per year?! That’s more than 5 weeks total! Djina, our teacher, is always giving us fun facts about Sweden and good phrases to know, even though our grammar and pronunciation is still so embarassingly bad. It’s been my favorite class so far, and definitely the most helpful in terms of making it through a day in the city without my host mom as a translator!
I’ve been here for almost three weeks now, and it finally feels like I am settling into a routine. I have learned about enough Swedish to order coffee and a kardemummabullar without having to admit I am from America (more on Swedish “fika” later… This is by far the best cultural tradition I have ever experienced and plan to take full advantage of this while I am here). That being said, I should probably admit that I am a bit of a foodie. This blog will likely contain a lot of food pictures (shoutout to #hangrygail) and recommendations for my new favorite places to eat in Sweden. Thankfully, my host family is quite active, and we have done lots of walking and exploring – there is a huge lake and tons of awesome trails, which is perfect given how much I have been eating so far…
Top 8 Foods/Meals that I have experienced so far in Sweden…
5. Cloudberry Jam (berries hand-picked and jam made by my host siblings!)
8. “Taco Friday” with my host family 🙂
Expect to hear more about Kräftskiva in a later post – it’s a traditional August tradition for Swedes to get together and celebrate by having a big party with crayfish, an amazing cheese pie thing (see: “västerbottenost pie”) and of course, snaps! I was so excited that I got to attend a kräftskiva with my host family during my first weekend in Stockholm.
Anyways, enough about the food…
I am so excited to be blogging and sharing what has been (so far) a busy, active, interesting, and very fun experience in Sweden. Next week, we travel to Gothenburg with my core course for our short study tour during Core Course Week, so look for lots of updates after that.