I’ve been living in Sweden as an au pair for 4 months now. My emotions have gone from elation to melancholy and everything in between. The most fascinating feelings I’ve had have been feelings of ambivalence regarding certain issues.
For example, I love the fact that the quality of life is very good here, with the majority of people living way above the poverty line. The sense of independence is truly admirable. Even more admirable is how charitable many people are. However, sometimes I yearn for the empathy, deep compassion and community spirit that certain communities display back home. Perhaps the longer I stay here, the more I will see that.
I think the most mixed feeling I’ve experienced have come from the weather. I arrived here in winter and it was a pleasure to see how beautiful everything looked with a blanket of snow over it and how the snow glistened like diamonds during sunny weather. However, the physical sensation of the bitter cold and the sadness that came with winter made me feel confused about my overall feelings about it. Fortunately, I learned to dress appropriately, take vitamin D pills and just have fun in the snow!
Just when I was getting used to the cold season, spring started flirting with us and it was delightful. Experiencing new season was something I took for granted back home because our change of seasons aren’t as extreme as they are here. It was so fascinating to see how spring totally changed the face of the already beautiful landscape. It almost feels like Sweden wears different garments during each season. From white, grey and brown in winter to bright, lively and flamboyant colours in spring. To see our local lake, which had been totally frozen in winter, transformed into a beautiful flowing body of water with ducks and swans, surrounded by lush vegetation, was a very special feeling.
As much as I love this country during all seasons, spring certainly brings out the best in it. The beautiful colours that cover the landscape, the cheerful spirit of the people and the way you will many people sprawled on grassy areas, absorbing the warm rays of the sun. This really breathes more life into the country. I’ve seen many friends drop whatever they are doing as soon as they see the sun shining so they can spend the day outdoors. I must admit that I myself have also turned into a sun worshipper.
Enough about the weather. You can’t talk about Sweden without talking about Fika. Fika is when you take a break from whatever you’re doing and drink a beverage with some cake or some other goodies. My favourite fika snacks are below.
I take a fika break at least twice a day. It’s really something I look forward to because it usually means I’m meeting a friend in a cosy café or in some scenic place outdoors, or I get to enjoy some alone time with my book. Another thing I look forward to is my weekly trip to the local store on Fridays to buy my ‘Lordagsgodis’ (Saturday candy). They have a designated day when kids can indulge in candy which happens on Saturdays. I always feel like a big kid when ever I go to the store because the variety of candy, the setup of the candy stand and the fact that you can fill up your bag with whatever you choose makes me so happy.
There is honestly too much I love about this country! I love how environmentally friendly, family friendly and woman friendly this country is. I’ve learnt so much about interior decorating just from observing the beautifully decorated and cozy homes that Swedes own.
I am so thrilled that I get to spend 6 more months here in Sweden. I will certainly take advantage of this opportunity and discover what else this country has to offer, learn more about Swedish culture and improve my Swedish.