CARNETS DESCARTES

A little more about Swedes

An article about Sweden wasn't enough, so let's talk about Swedes now ! I don't like to generalize so I will try to give you my own feelings about the people that I've met here !

The first thing that I have noticed when I came here is the fact that Swedes seemed to be very close to nature. During the first week, when I was walking around my neighbourhood which is a quite chic one, I noticed that they had really huge gardens and lawns and that they were all perfectly maintained. (I felt as an inhabitant of Wisteria Lane in Desperate Housewives !) They are also really into picking mushrooms during the autumn : my landlord is a specialist of it, she picks up so many mushrooms and she does amazing soups with them : a real delight ! There isn't enough mushrooms for all the Swedes so they don't tell each others which are the best places around to find some ! I have also noticed during my different walks around the city that nature is everywere : if you check on Google Earth, you will see a lot of lakes and forests directly inside the city and all over it. A lot of hiking trails are maintained by the municipality and also a lot of places to have a barbecue : in the forest or by the lakes ! I think that it's a really cool thing ! Finally, Swedes seem really into dogs : it is the case of my landlord but she isn't the only one that I see taking her dressep up dogs for a walk...

 

The automatic lawn mower !

The automatic and silent lawn mower !

Another thing really important in Swedes' everyday life is the light ! Because they are used to long and dark winter, it is really inevitable for them to stay in contact with the light in different ways ! If you walk in the streets at night, you will notice that on almost each windowsill there is a lamp that is turned on. Most of the houses are huge so it's really beautiful to see all those lights in the night ! It is also common at night to see some candles on the pavement in front of restaurants. During the winter, when we are approaching Christmas, the Swedes put away their lamps and they replace them by illimunated paper stars that hang at their windows or by Christmas candlesticks put on the windowsill ! I really like to walk around at night because it's so pleasant to see all those lights in the city which is quite boring after 4 p.m. otherwise ! Not really ecological for the so-called leading country in that domain... They let the lights turned on all night long !
 

Lights by the windows !

 

Another particularity is the fact that Swedes have a very different way of living than ours when it comes to schedule. They start their work earlier (around 7.30/8 a.m) and they also finish earlier (around 3/4 p.m.) so everything is moved earlier. They have lunch quite early and they can have dinner from 4 p.m. which is really strange from my point of view. Sometimes, when I finish school at 4 p.m., almost all the shops are already closed (except the supermarkets) and I see some people who are having dinner at the restaurant ! It is actually really rare than we finish our classes after 4 p.m. and the university is almost desert by that time ! It is the same with parties. When we were invited to parties organised by Swedes at the university, they were starting very early (at 5 p.m. sometimes) and were also finishing really early : 1 a.m. is the maximum ! Even clubs close at 2 p.m. (in Borås) ! If you are looking for huge parties, try to organize them at your place and be aware of the fact that you can only get "strong" alcohol from Systembolaget which closes really early too most of the time ! It is quite surprising at the beginning but it can be understable because of the fact that the sun sets down really early most of the year !

 

Here are some other bulk facts about Swedes :

- They take off their shoes when they enter a house and they can have a special little room to store them in the entry

- In families, it is almost unconceivable that the mother cooks for everyone : as soon as the children are old enough to cook their own food, every member of the family eat at the time that he wants to and it is rare that they all sit together to enjoy a meal...

- They always slow down for the pedestrians at the crosswalks

- They really care about interior design/decoration

- They don't use as much courtesy as we do : it is really rare to say goodbye in shops, there is no equivalent for the "vouvoiement" in Swedish, they don't have any word for please... But it's really normal here and they are not rude people ;) My landlord is always making fun of me because she thinks that I'm too polite when I say please or thank you like we would all do ... I would call that the Scandinavian efficiency : they go straight to the point in a lot of domains !

And those were my main feelings about Swedes !

Berenice Castellier

Berenice Castellier

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A propos de moi

Je m'appelle Bérénice et je suis étudiante en licence professionnelle Métiers de l'édition spécialité Bibliothèques à l'IUT Paris Descartes ! J'effectue mon premier semestre à l'université de Borås...