Wednesday, May 11, 2005

10 Things I Don't Understand About Swedes

1. Salty Licorice (holy ammonia chloride, Batman)

Salty Licorice is strong black licorice laced with ammonia chloride, the stuff you use to clean your bathroom. I'm not fucking kidding its hideous. But in my mind I can't stop eating it because my find is not prepared to deal with its reality. Eventually I'll probably get to like it. It costs about $.10 a kilo and Swedes will eat anything that's cheap.

2. Strange Fellowship with Berries

Swedes spend entire days picking them by the bucket. This obviously goes back to the day when Swedes were poor and didn't have supermarkets. I don't know why they still do it... but it must really annoy the birds and squirrels.

3. System Bolaget

All liquor stores here are owned by Mother Sweden. They are open from 9 to 5 and if you want spirits, wine, or beer over 3.5 percent alcohol you must go there. They are never open when you need them, and they are very sparsely located. The prices are designed to scare you sober. The cheapest bottle of vodka costs $30 and there are no six-packs. You have to pay full price for six separate beers. Being the lazy bastard I am, I buy the 3.5 beer from the supermarket. It's relatively cheap and 6 of them will give you a buzz.

4. Pancakes, bacon, and fried eggs are not breakfast foods.

A Swedish friend named Johan (what else) told me that English people are so ugly by the time they turn 40 because they eat sausages and grease for breakfast. Maybe he's right but at least they get sausages for breakfast.

5. Smoking is gross but snuff is de rigeur...

Smoking will be banned indoors from Sweden starting June 1st, 2005. Which is okay because no one smokes here... they all use snuff. Which my mom used to find in my pants pocket as a kid and I eventually stopped using in favor of smoking because girls thought it was gross. No one thinks it's gross here and everyone claims it's safer than smoking... and it gives you a buzz close to shooting a speedball. So I guess I'll get used to it.

6. No Fat Bastards

You can't buy pants larger than 34 inches in most stores. Even fat Swedes have little waists ans huge bellies. Thankfully I am losing weight due to the System Bolaget and constantly eating muesli instead of sausage for breakfast.

7. Mexican Food Sucks Here

Nachos here means ten corn chips with tomato sauce and creme fraiche poured on top. Expect to pay 70 kronors ($10) for this. If you complain they will think you are insane. Fajitas cost $30 and are not even half the normal American portion. So now I make Mexican at home. Negro Modelo is not to be found even in my closest System Bolaget.

8. Learning Swedish is Difficult

Nobody (except my sweetie Linda of course) will speak to me in Swedish once they find out I am American and hear my awful Swedish. How am I supposed to learn?

9. Free Language Lessons?

In Sweden its the right of all immigrants to get free language lessons. Most are in the daytime, although they don't pay you to take them so supposedly you're supposed to starve to death and live outside. Also, it's acceptable to start SFI classes six months after you get here. I'll know freakin Swedish by then.

10. Why am I living in Huvudsta?

Apartment rent prices in Stockholm are easily affordable... but there are exactly 0 apartments avaialble to rent in Stockholm. So if you want an apartment you have to live in another town, buy a place, or get a second-hand contract which you cost you twice as much as the apartment is supposed to cost.

Okay that was unfair and possibly unfunny. But next time I'm gonna do 10 Things I Don't Understand About Americans. That will be even more unfair and more unfunny.

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