Monday, March 05, 2007

More Interesting Swedish Things and a Translation

And......English once again, much to the delight of everyone. Should you care enough and want a translation of last week's attempt at "På Svenska," please see the bottom of this blog entry (and thank you for indulging my weeklong linguistical vanity--it won't happen again anytime soon, I assure you).

More "Interesting Swedish Things Not Interesting Enough For an Entire Blog Entry" (see October 2, 2006 for the first edition of this entry theme):

  • You've always thought the sky is blue, the Pope is Catholic and the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. But you, my friend, have never been to Sweden. Up here, during the dark months, the sun rises in the south and sets in the southwest. We have just come through the darkest period and are already seeing the sun rise at 7:00 and set at 18:00 ("6pm" for most of you). And yes, the sky is blue and Pope Catholic in Sweden, too.

  • The Driving Under the Influence laws are extremely strict in Sweden. While some people, including me, can have one drink and be under the legal limit, there seems to be a social norm that, if you're driving any time soon, you really just shouldn't touch alcohol. Yes, a good social norm and only increases the bike and public transportation usage in Linköping.

  • For the continuing education of American readers, I was going to do a whole blog on "the average Swede." Alas, The Local, an online Sweden newspaper in English, beat me to it with an article: Check it out (for dollars, divide the average income in Swedish Krowns by 7, e.g., 350,000 SEK average income = $50,000):

  • Every country has its sports heroes. The LeBron James, Tom Brady and Derek Jeter of Sweden is Henrik Larsson (fotboll), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (fotboll), Anja Pärsson (downhill skiing) and Peter Forsberg (NHL and Olympic Gold Medal in '06). Swedes adore these sports icons.

  • There are no Starbucks anywhere in Scandinavia. Many Swedes who've been to America say it's just not good (read: "strong") enough for the experienced coffee culture up here. However, there is a Tully's in Stockholm. Go figure.

  • "Fika" is not just a noun, but also a verb: "Jag fikar" (I fika), "Jag fikade" (I fikaed), "Jag har fikat" (I have fikaed) and "Jag ska fika" (I will fika). Jättekul!

  • I tried a very unique sport the other day, one created and loved by Swedes: "Innebandy" or "floor ball." Think ice hockey on a court with a ball. Also, think leagues of all levels and ages throughout Sweden. Plus, "innebandy" is just fun to say!

  • Perhaps Swedes can help me with this one, but there is a political movement in Sweden, established for the purpose of erasing the monarchy, that recently proposed putting Pippi "Långstrump" on the coin. I don't know for sure, but assume, this was just a gimmick to bring attention to their cause, but you can decide for yourself: Regardless, this is one more evidence of the fact that Pippi rules Sweden.

  • The Swedish traditions continue to surprise, fascinate, entertain and usually fill me up. The tradition of "Semla" is no different. As seen in a picture above, semla or multiple semla ("semlor") is a rich, tasty, fattening pastry treat available just about everywhere leading up to Fat Tuesday and the Lenten season. Most people agree that it's a good thing Swedes only choose to bring out the semlor one month a year....

  • Pictures above:

1. A picture from the small town of Vadstena on Lake Vattern about a 45-minute drive from Linköping. I love this picture because it captures Sweden's historical grandeur (castle) and playful charm ("barn" on a playground) all in one.

2. The Domkyrkan at night.

3. Semlor, enough said.

4. The Stockholm skyline in winter from Skansen Outdoor Museum.

5. The Vasa with my friends, Judith and Stine. The Vasa sank in the 1600s, was raised in the 1950s and now sits in a museum in Stockholm. The oldest preserved ship in all of Europe is a stunning sight and the premiere museum attraction in Stockholm.

And without further ado:

"My Dad Comes To Linköping"

If you have been reading this blog since last August, then you have already met my Dad, John. Last November, I traveled to Prague to see him and his new home. He teaches English in Prague. My blog entry from Prague is one of my favorites.This weekend, my Dad arrived to the Central Train Station on Friday at 9:00pm and left today, Sunday, at 1:00pm. Yes, a short weekend, but a good weekend for two Americans in Linköping.

After my Dad arrived on Friday, we walked around the Linköping City Center and decided to have dinner at Afrodite, a Greek restaurant on Nygatan (New street). This restaurant is a favorite for my company and the food is really good, so it was a perfect beginning to our weekend.

On Saturday, we went to Linköping University and Colonia. Then, Gamla Linköping, but it was closed! Bad. Gamla Linköping opens at 12:00 and we were there at 11:00. Sorry, Dad. No chocolate for you today. We took pictures, then left for the Domkyrkan (The Church) and palace.

My Dad and I both like history, so the Domkrykan, the palace and the city hall were very good. We walked around the historical area of Linköping, but soon we need to have a break….that’s right. We needed to eat cinnamon buns and drink coffee. That’s right. It was time for my Dad’s first fika!

We walked to Wayne’s Coffee and he met my friends at Wayne’s. Then, we saw many people and friends who were walking around the city center. My Dad thinks that I know everyone in Linköping now, because he met a lot of people on Saturday. I showed him the state-run liquor store, Norin’s Cheese shop and the big square and other places in the city center. Then we left for the Cloetta Center and ice hockey between the Linköping Hockey Club and Malmö.

It was a good game. At the beginning of the third period, no one had a goal. Then, Linköping scored a goal, then a second, then a third and then one more was really fun. Linköping won 4 – 0. Really exciting.

The pictures at the top are of my Dad and three friends who are students at Linköping University, Cecilia, Hampus and Vaclav. Cecilia and Hampus live at Colonia and Vaclav is from Prague, so he and my Dad talked a lot about Prague, Czechs and beer from Prague. Really cool.

After the game, we walked to the Bishop’s Arms British Pub on Ågatan and saw people from my Swedish language class. Today, my Dad and I walked to Ryttargårds Church and sang in Swedish. My Dad was singing in Swedish. I was laughing, just like you are laughing at my first blog in Swedish. I already have a teacher for Swedish, so I don’t need any more. I will not approve any comments that show all of my problems in Swedish. Thanks for your help, everyone.

And my Mom, Dianne, will come to Linköping in April. We’ll see you for fika in Linköping.


Anonymous said...

Hello Sean,
it's lovely to see Judith and Stine at Vasa museum! I'm Judith's mum and enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for your enlightning impressions of Swedish country, cities, monuments, traditions, people etc.

Caroline said...

I'm not sure that the Put Pippi On Coins Thing was a gimmick, actually. Of course it was a tad extreme, and surely meant to catch people's attentions, but I think that they were pretty serious.

Can't be too sure though.

charlotte said...

semlor är gott :)

Todd said...

Sean - Your periodic discoveries of Swedish fun facts are entertaining, however, as always, I have a few observations:

1. Actually, this is more of a warning than an observation. Since you won't find Sean driving a car after drinking (always a good thing!), be on the lookout for a tall American biker steering wildly throughout the streets of Linkoping. You'll see this between the hours of 22:00 and 4:00 after the viewing of ANY and ALL American sports at O'Leary's.

2. Of course there are no Starbucks in Sweden. Everyone knows the best coffee comes from Ikea.

3. Sean, we have Semlor in the U.S. They're called cream puffs and we have them all year long.

4. It's truly amazing how much blog mileage you have gotten out of FIKA. Here's an editorial challenge....write 3 blogs without mentioning Fika.

5. I'm not really sure who Pippi Långstrump is, but it would probably make more sense to put Pippi Longstocking on a coin. (By the way, is everyone named Pippi in Sweden?)

Just a few thoughts....

Anonymous said...

To Todd.

Pippi Långstrump is equal to Pippi Longstocking ;-)

Anonymous said...

haha! Todd you're really funny =) I can't name more than one Pippi from Sweden, and that's Pippi Långstrump (=Longstocking). It's really amusing to see how people from other places react and think about typical swedish things.
By the way - i'm afraid IKEA's coffe is not that good.

keep blogging Sean :D