Use Rivstart Book to Learn Swedish

In my previous post, I had said that our teachers did not use a specific textbook. They just gave random copies coming from different sources. So I decided to get a text book on my own so I could progress somehow with organization. I was hoping to build a strong foundation in learning Swedish (of which I don’t think I have right now). Anyway, I got this book from the library called “RIVSTART”.


Rivstart Integration

Rivstart is an SFI book which uses the method of integration. That is the reason why I like this book. The book is designed to integrate all the language skills in one chapter. For instance, one chapter has listening, speaking, writing, comprehension that is based on one topic. As a teacher myself, I believe in the integration method and I quite use in often when I teach. I still believe in the method although at times, it is not applicable, but most of the time it is evert effective. The good thing about this integrated book is organization especially if you are doing self-study. I used it for self study so that means the conversation or speaking skill could not be executed. The other skills –listening, writing, reading and comprehension is tapped. Very good!



As what language textbooks should be, Rivstart also follows the “thematic” contents. I just appreciate this! This was very helpful for me because of the randomness of material I get from SFI. Can you imagine today they give us something to read about a woman who wanted to jump off the window and the next day, without any association, we read another story of the buying a house. So I go to school and I have no idea what we will read or talk about on that day! It was too random but this book helped me because of the organized theme.


Theme : Food

Reading:  Conversation on Ordering a Restaurant

Listening:  Couples deciding which restaurant to eat.

Vocabulary : Useful phrases in restaurant situations

Pic from Google

Pic from Google

So this book does not SHOCK the students. It did not shock me! It does not go out of the topic. The topics too are very practical — restaurant, work, free time and ect. This plus grammar points are direct.

So I would recommend this book. Highly. I am almost done with this book but I am planning to do a review. This also comes with a workbook but I have not looked at it yet.

I Passed SFI Exam!

Oh dear! I am finally saying goodbye to my classmates. I am quite proud to finish way ahead of them although learning is never a race. I just felt like I really have to finish SFI soon. It is mainly because I am already so bored with class these past weeks and I could not find the motivation to go. I go to school because I have to and I felt like I am no longer learning the way I used to. It was no longer so “fun” after seven of us accelerated to the D class. What exactly happened was, seven of us were chosen to take the C test. We all passed so we were moved up to the D class. I was moved to afternoon class to which they asked me if its okay, I agreed. There were two us in the afternoon class. But because of work, she changed her time to the morning class (where the other 5 students were) so I was left alone in the class. I had new classmates, new teacher, and new school time. So I exerted less effort socially.

My D class was also a mixture of students. It was not like there were “new” here. Some of them have lived here 4 years but they were just on and off school. Some nearly two years. Some have worked here and there. So along the way they were able to absorb more Swedish compared to me. I was the only one in class who has lived here in Sweden the shortest. Yes, some of them were really good at Swedish already, they just needed to take the test that is why they are in D class. It was quite stressful when someone who has lived here 4 years talks to the teacher while I was still trying to construct a good sentence in my head. (Hahaha) But it was a bit fun because some of them corrected me in my Swedish. Somehow, they have already mastered the basic after long stay.

I think I should make a separate post about SFI because it is the most common concern of somebody new in Sweden. I have read some blogs about it and I find it helpful. However, although the entire program of SFI is centralized by the Swedish government, each Kommun has their way of implenting the program. For instance, the required books, whether is free or not, or the schedule of the classes. These factors are not definite and not exclusive. It depends on the Kommun’s decision.

One example is our school also does not have a prescribed book. Our teachers just gave us random materials from random resources. The teacher decides what she gives us. So it all depends on the teacher what she wants. I find it very confusing because sometimes they give us too easy, and sometimes too difficult material. And the topics were very random. One day this, the next day that. One hour the topic is this and after the break the topic is that. There was less association of the topics. But we all adapted to it.

Another example is, in my Kommun, I have to take the National Prov C before I accelerate to D. I heard from my teacher and friends that in other Kommun, there is no such thing. They go immediately to take D test but in equation they do have Chapter tests from their lessons which in my case, we had no tests. Ever. We just kept on studying and studying and studying. Then the teacher decides who can take the moving up test. I was one of the first set of the “chosen ones’ to take the C test and I passed. I went to D and the teacher chose me to take the D test after maybe 2 months and I passed. So, some of my batch now are still in D class, while some are still in C. As of this moment, among my bacth, there were only two of us who “graduated” from SFI.

I passed and I am just waiting for the next step KOMVUX  — GRUND and SAS.

Basic Dinner Etiquette in Sweden

We all know table etiquettes vary from culture to culture. From where I am from, eating by hand is a common practice although it is not so accepted in formal formal ocassions. But at home, between friends,  families and friends it is not a question of validity.

Way back, I read a book on etiquette written By Emily Post. Yes, I would recommend that on the sides. Here now in Sweden,  there are still those little practices in dining I need to learn. Less than one year here, I just learn some.
Here are some of it.

When you are invited for a dinner do:

*come on time, send or call a message when it you are coming late; but it is really better to come on time.

*do not bring your shoes inside the house; it is their practice of which I do not know why. I asked my husband about it and he said it has something to do with hygiene and cleanliness.

*do bring a bouquet of flower or a bottle of wine. For the flower,  if you are invited as a couple, it is better that the woman should hand it. But I feel it is not a strict practice because at time my husband hands it, not me.

*do remove the paper wrapper of the bouquet of flower before handing it.

*do not eat yet until the host had said the magic word “Varsågod! “. It, by context means “Welcome to eat!”.

*do say “Tack för matten!” after eating. It literally means “Thank you for the food!”.  Add it with “Det är jättegott.” meaning “It is delicious.”

*a few days after you were invited do send a message or call and say “Tack för senast”. Literally it means “Thank you for last/previous/before”. I am trying my best to give the best word compatible. But to make it easier, by context it means “Thank for inviting us before.” That is by linguistic context.


Hoping this helps your new life in Sweden. I have made some mistakes around the table but my Swedish friends did not really care because they knew I was new. Living here long term, I felt the obligation to learn the basics as quickly as possible.  The basics are easy anyway.

Easy Breakfast, Too Tired to Fix a Real One

Today, I am just eating whatever is on the fridge kind of breakfast.  I am quite tired from yesterday’s Nationella Prov (National Test), Curse D. That is the last test of SFI -Swedish For Immigrants. OH.. I am drained but I still have speaking test today but I do not want to think about it.
I have many listed topics to write but I have no energy. Perhaps on weekend. I would like to write about SFI more too.

Meanwhile, I will recharge with salty crackers, feta cheese and soya Milk.
As they say here in Sweden.. “TA DE LUGNT” or Take it easy….


The Funny World of Toilet in Sweden

We have to accept the fact that we do this privately — reading while doing “that” thing. This is the best example of multi-tasking! Before Ipads were invented, Sweden had already had its own way of entertaining oneself inside the poo room in the form of a certain book called “dassboken”.

Being new in Sweden, I find it very surprising that they actually make a specific book to be read while sitting on the throne! All these years, I thought newspapers and magazines were sufficient, but not in Sweden. 🙂

DASSBOKEN is a book intended for this purpose. It is a compilation of jokes and funny short stories. This book really makes sense because you can stop anytime depending on how much time you you actually need. Unlike magazines and newspapers, the entire story needs longer time to finish. Certainly not Dassboken. It just enough!

The book also comes with string. You know what to do with it!
Inside, you see drawings of toilet papers. This is just funny! And the front cover tells you what the book is all about. It is very motivational.

Here are my Dassboken:
Forgive the picture, I just want to share how efficient the string is…



And I am going to translate an entry (first paragraph only) to see how amusing the book is…


Two northern men were talking.
The first man said:
— We shopped a toilet brush yesterday.

The second replied:
— What do you think about it? Was it good?
The first man replied:
— I think that it is still better to use tissue.


So okay. Just do not forget to flush.

Duck Feeding: A Cheap Way to Kill the Time

Because of the skyrocketing taxes in Sweden, everything cost much. They say everything here is expensive. And because Sweden has a limited population it is normal for people to have few circle of friends and if you are new, it is not easy to make new a new circle as well. However, there are several things that can be done on your own. That is one thing I like about this country. Most of the people do things on their own. People jog alone. People shop alone. People walk alone on their own time.

I am still in the stage of exploration this freezing country. I have found a way to kill the time, the cheaper way. That is duck feeding. In the town I live in, they have small lakes inhabited by ducks. Theses ducks live there from summer to winter. I find them very amusing. If you are on  a tight budget in Sweden, duck feeding is a very good way to entertain yourself. I like it very much. All you need are bread left overs, crackers and bits of food at home. The moment they see you pulling a plastic, the ducks approached me immediately. Yeah, they know it! They are no longer innocent of the human kindness. And after they are done eating, they just leave right away. They are just scared. Apparently, the ducks have smaller brains than humans so we have to understand them, their behavior and their etiquette. They are not being rude, they just do not understand that they have to say thank you after eating. Let’s them that way. We have been cruel to animals than they are to us anyway.

Today, I took several pictures of them. They are just beautiful and elegant. I would highly recomment if you are Sweden to do this simple activity once in a while. Perhaps, while jogging, pack along a loaf of bread and stop over with the ducks. These ducks are usually in the woods and the woods are the running tracks in Sweden. It just feels good to jog and see these ducks enjoying their life. Communing with nature has its way of healing stress and letting go of the not-so needed distractions in life so do not miss this.

 Here are some of the pictures.

Save the Ducks. Feed Them.

Save the Ducks. Feed Them.



IMG_3436 Sweden has a very good, well – presereved. Save the ducks. Feed them.

All you need are bread and crumbs and free yourself from boredom!

Second Day of Blogging – My Blog is My Pet

So the second day has come! The ultimate achievement of second day of blogging. I deserve a medal, an award, a Nobel Prize nomination for this. This is not the first time I blogged in my life. As a matter of fact, I was paid to blog for other people. That was very cool but having a blog that relates so much to how my own life revolves is quite something… unique. It is a  breathe a new life. It is not the blogging, it is the writing that awakened my overslept neurons.

My day ran the way it should be. School was there, window shopping, few short talks with classmates, cooked dinner and a whole day just had its way. There is one thing that was insistently bothering me in a good way — that is THIS blog! I like the feeling of it. I feel excited, happy and relieved having to write what runs in my mind. Because sometimes it just keeps on running and running I could no longer chase it! Where have all that thoughts gone? It feels good to scribble it down.  It feels like coming home and feeding a pet, nurturing one.

My blog is my pet. It can be compared to that. It has all the characteristics of a pet — it breathes, it gives excitement , gives joy, needs care, needs food and needs attention. That is how I see it. Strange but let’s all settle. This blog will be needing my attention, care, time and some intelectual properties. Surely, as I write, this blog continues to grow. Whether this blog will be successful or not, anyway, just like any other pet, they grow in size. I would like to limit the definition of growth for now with physical attributes. More words, blog grows. Life is too complicated to add more meaning for growth for now. Philisophy will come later…much later in my later posts. Second day of blogging should be meant for savoring “that” moment. Whatever that is or if anyone, not just me has really experienced this weird euphoria.

The second day of blogging caps itself with utmost gratitude to the first liker of my blog and the first comment! I do appreciate it with all my heart. I do not know when the next liker or commentor would be so I am awarding the “firsts” right now! (Award to you both). With or without an audience, I do hope to write more. Writing is self-expression above all. Like any other pet, all it needs is its owner to survive. Dog shows are for shows. It comes when it’s time. It comes when the dog is fully nurtured. Hurry not. Just feed the pet.

Book – Focus on Sweden

Fokus på Sverige

If you are learning Swedish like me, if you are still in SFI class or Komvux class,  I would recommend this book for self read. No this is a a book I would want to use as text book. There are exercises in it but I find in very entertaining and informative for someone who is still into the beginner’s level. It is an easy read book with easy to medium text. All text is comprehensible through context so there is no need for a dictionary. But if you do, there is a word list at the back part with English meaning. That is way so convenient!


The contents of this book is all about Sweden. It is written in summary of this and that so it handy to learn new topics for conversation. Especially if you have no idea what Sweden is. I had lots of “ahh” moments of realization even in the little things I just learned from this book.

I would post more later of the books that I read in Swedish. Most of it are in the category of “easy read”. That is currently my Swedish level now. No, I can’t read Steig Larsson yet.

First Post Hopefully Not Just First

Hej! Hi in English.

This is my very post. Someday I am going to read this and remind myself how it all started whether this blog would turn out to a success or fail. Nevertheless, as the Bible puts it “This is the day the Lord has made!” and I am grateful for this day writing this very first entry.

This isn’t my first blog. I have started several blogs in the past which I got tired of. I have made my own theories of why my blogs fail. I concluded several theories and one of them is because I do not enjoy it because I was more on writing for the sake of just writing and not mainly expressing my thoughts and basically what I had in mind. I hope I wont get tired of this blog though. But I would treat this differently mainly as an avenue of my life in Sweden and life itself.

There is nothing highly intellectual about the title “Sweden Diaries”. That is such a no brainer! As of right now, my neurons are pretty much drained from my SFI class so I could not think of any lucrative name for my blog. Hence the “diary”. But don’t we all started in elementary and highschool in our little diaries, didn’t we? My blog will be pretty much like it unless it would naturally mutate into something. Yet, misunderstand me not, this maybe simple but it is not trashy and i would treat it the way we treated our diaries when we were young — written on carefully, well thought and full of affection!

This blog will improve as time passes so for now this one entry would open up a whole new world in which Alladin can fly with his magic carpet.