For the Sake Of Writing

It’s over a year since I opened this blog. I forgot what the password was as well as the username. In the beginning, I created this blog to write and document about my new life here in Sweden but it did not go as I wanted it to be. It was either I was lazy to keep updating or perhaps I had too many things on the table during my first years here in Sweden that this blog never became a priority. Whether it is an excuse or a reasonable reason, here I am anyway in front of the keyboards again with slightly different purpose of this blog. I want to improve the way I write and the way I communicate through writing.

Several things had happened. One of the things that left an impact was a realization how much I neglected writing in my whole life. If it weren’t for this Corona time, I would not have ignited my passion to write. My goal is not to write an entire novel nor publish a book of poetry but I simply just want to improve of whatever is there to start with. It could be as simple as finding the right word to what I want to say or arranging sentences properly for coherence.

I have recovered my password and my username so this probably means I am given a new beginning, a new chance to improve things. If you are reading this right now and is more experienced writer, please comment some writing tips down below. There is always a room for improvment that is why I welcome all comments. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear from fellow aspiring writers?

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.

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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….

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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…

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

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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.

Hahaha!

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.

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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!

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!

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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.