After a very confusing experience at the ICA, a grocery chain here in Stockholm, I ran home and promptly switched into the Swedish Language and Culture class.

When I was greeted with a very enthusiastic “HEY!” while checking out at the grocery store, I didn’t think twice before returning the enthusiasm. The next day I will learn that the nice cashier at ICA was not greeting me with a casual “hey,” but was politely saying “hej”, which is “hello” in Swedish. Already overwhelmed by not being able to differentiate between 8 kinds of milk (is “veggie milk” soy? Is it almond milk?), I also grabbed two plastic shopping bags without paying for them.

In my first 24 hours in Stockholm, I was already a criminal!!! Needless to say, I tossed and turned in my sleep that night.

Emma and Kyle, who are both in my Medical Practice & Policy Program!

Before I continue to ramble – my name is Mai, and I hail from NYC. I study Biology at Tufts University in Medford, MA and am in the Medical Practice and Policy here at DIS. To prospective students, parents, my fellow DIS students – whoever may sporadically come across my weekly updates, I only hope to give you a good chuckle and a little insight on Stockholm from the eyes of a totally un-Swedish girl.

A grocery store is definitely a place that you will find yourself stumbling into within the first week of arriving, so I decided to compile a list of thoughts that I had. Tips for navigating the grocery store?! How helpful! – you are thinking. I deeply apologize. These are not tips. I will probably not be able to provide any sort of tips until my very last day here in Sweden, if even! I am going to go right ahead and direct you to for the time being 🙂

Squeezable Food Products

Refer to the image below.

NOT toothpaste.

Caviar in a tube, some kind of caviar mayonnaise in a tube, squeezable CHORIZO in a tube – this stuff is revolutionary! When I work up the courage to pick one up and spread it on a cracker, I will make sure to let you all know.

Old El Paso

There is an entire aisle dedicated to Old El Paso products. Old El Paso, for those of you who don’t know, offers a wide range of Tex-Mex style foods. The ICA boasts a whole ROW of taco stands and 10 different salsas. Why?! Do Swedish families love taco dinner kits?! A true mystery.

The American Section

Consists of marshmallow fluff and Shop Rite brand mac & cheese. Not much more to say about that. I still shamefully purchased a box of mac & cheese.

Bags: They are not free!!! Pay for them!!!

Not much more to say about that also. They are found in a pile before you pay for anything at the register, you estimate how many you will need and place them on the belt with your groceries. I will not be running into that problem again as I got a reusable bag like a good eco-friendly swede 🙂

Happy grocery shopping!

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