Mamma's School

Home Education Adventure

Category: Living abroad (Page 1 of 9)

Sweden – 15 Things I Have Learnt Living Here

We have lived in Sweden for 1 year now, and throughout that year I have been on a very steep learning curve.¬† I thought I would share with you the 15 main things I have learnt along the way so far ūüôā

1. Everything takes time:¬† The Swedes are very laid back and they rarely hurry.¬† This might be over a break at work (fika at work is very important), or installing a phone line and wi-fi (I think this took around 3-4 months after we moved in).¬† So, to avoid frustration, adapt quickly, chill out, and go with the flow….it’ll happen one day.

2. You can’t buy Marmite or spray furniture polish here:¬† Plan in advance and get visitors flying out to see you to bring it, in bulk preferably, whether you need it or not.¬† Then you can guarantee an ongoing supply.

3. All food is delicious, but you will eat your own body weight in cinnamon buns within weeks of arriving here, and you will still want more.

4. Candy:  This is very important here in Sweden, especially on a Saturday (lördagsgodis).  To integrate fully here you need to take a bag at the pick and mix, and fill it every Saturday.

5. The seasons are all amazing, but they can change rapidly Рovernight!  One day you will be wearing your shorts, the next day autumn will have arrived, with no gradual run up to it.

6. The people are really friendly.¬† They want to help you, and you will need their help too in order to navigate some of the systems in Sweden.¬† For example, booking a doctor’s appointment or how to repaint your wooden home.

7. EVERYONE speaks English.¬† This is good when you are struggling with Swedish, but hard to learn if you are a little lazy.¬† They speak it very well too, but will apologise for not finding one word in a sentence, when I can’t even remember what I was going to say at all in English!!¬† They are very good at it.

8. Google translate will be your best friend.¬† You will have the app on your phone to read parking signs, help with the grocery shopping, and so that you stand a chance at doing your child’s reading homework.¬† You will use it on your computer to translate all the school emails, and other emails that come your way from various places.

9. Predictive text will become your enemy, as your phone doesn’t know what the hell you are trying to write, and what language you are trying to type in. Until, that is, it starts memorising Swedish words along the way (no one wants to type out “F√∂rs√§kringskassan” or “L√§nsf√∂rs√§kringar” more than necessary!).

10. Hard cash is surplus to requirements (unless you need a trolley – 10 SEK coin, or a swim locker – 10 SEK coin).¬† EVERYTHING is done either by card or phone.¬† There is none of this 50p charge for under ¬£5.¬† If you by a 1 SEK sweet (about 10p) you don’t need cash.

11. Hot dogs (korv med br√∂d) are a staple in your diet in Sweden.¬† Sunny day on the beach?¬† You make hot dogs.¬† End of school term?¬† You meet and cook hot dogs.¬† The Prime Minister visits the island?¬† Free hot dogs. You go out on a hike? You cook hot dogs.¬† You get the idea?!!¬† You always need an emergency stash in the freezer, it’s prevented me being caught out a few times now!

12. You need to bulk buy your alcohol.¬† The state run off licenses, Systembolaget, (the only place you can purchase it) are only in certain places (our nearest is about 20km away) so there is no “just popping out for a bottle of wine”.¬† They’re also closed a lot, especially at weekends and holidays….so stock up, or as I do, make your own!

13. Send all your children’s clothes to school (and more!).¬† They will need standard clothes for the day, they will need outdoor gear (I mean proper stuff, like full sets of waterproofs, or complete snow gear etc).¬† They WILL be going outdoors – both for play and lessons.¬† There are dryer cupboards, but it is helpful for them to have complete spare sets too…..and I mean complete…gloves (they get very wet through in the winter, even ski gloves with little people), socks….you get the picture! You will be taking a lot of clothes backwards and forwards, oh and boots!!

14. Fika:¬† This is very important in Sweden.¬† It’s a chance to just enjoy each other’s company, but does usually involve coffee and a sweet treat.

15. Throughout December it is perfectly fine and normal to drink mulled wine (gl√∂gg) and eat thin ginger biscuits (pepparkakor) every day…..perfect and my idea of a cosy December!!

I hope you have enjoyed those facts, and learning a little more about Sweden ūüôā

Sweden-15 Things I Have Learnt Living Here, Living in Sweden, Swedish habits, Swedish customs, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Living In Sweden – A Year After Our Dream Move

Today sees us celebrating one year since I flew all three children, myself, 3 car seats, and four overweight suitcases, over to join Dadda to start our new lives together living in Sweden.  It seems a good time as any to weigh up the pros and cons of this move, and to look at whether we feel we are here for good (hopefully, barring any silly Brexit shenanigans!).

First off, living in Sweden, we gained 4 seasons!! ¬†The photos depict us losing/gaining various layers as the year progresses! ¬†We love being outdoors, and immersed in nature, and now we have the chance to experience all the seasons fully. ¬†It also makes you appreciate the summer quite a bit more. ¬†When the cold and snow came, life needed a little more planning (like digging the car out), but living in Sweden it does continue (unlike back in the UK where it stops just because it “might” snow!). ¬†The children have embraced everything that has been thrown at them weather wise, and we live with the motto “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”….we have a whole outdoor shop’s supply of outdoor gear now ūüôā

The great outdoors, and the Swedish ethos of outdoor living, was a huge attraction for us and for living in Sweden. ¬†Don’t get me wrong, we did live in a beautiful part of the UK, but over here it is all much more natural, wild, and rugged. ¬†Being a larger country, with fewer people in, the natural spaces and wildlife are left well alone and thrive without such a heavy presence of mankind. ¬†There is wildlife and space all around you. ¬†You know that while you are sleeping, the local √§lg (moose) are checking out the golf course up the road, or the deer are stealing the carrots from your children’s snowmen in the garden! ¬†The public right of access allows everyone to roam freely, as long as they respect the land and nature. We have got to grips with outdoor fires, and enjoy using the regularly placed outdoor fire pits on our hikes. ¬†The beautiful landscapes, the freedom to roam where we want to adventure, and the provision of fire pits in the wild, have definitely fulfilled this reason for moving here. ¬†I think it is fair to say we have been taking full advantage of it all so far!

Let children be children!!  I need to let them run, climb, and explore.  In the UK, this got me a lot of frowns (especially in parks) when I deliberately made a choice not to helicopter parent any of them, as well as letting them use apparatus how they wanted to (provided no one else was affected!).  Plus in the UK there are a lot of expectations of how children should behave, often making them suppress a lot of their childhood instinctive behaviours, and in turn dampen down their spirit, curiosity, and excitement about life.  Over here it is a lot different.  Children are expected to want to make a noise, run around, and climb.  It’s quite common for my little lady to climb the trees in her playground, or twin 2 to be found dangling upside down precariously from a high bar, whereas in the UK those were a definite no no.  They are outdoors in all weathers, not cooped up because of some wind and rain.  The Swedes have clocked onto the fact that children don’t want to, and won’t sit still like statues, but instead they expect them to be moving.  The best bit….no one’s looking at your parenting skills or your child and seeming to be criticising them, when children are just being children.

Living in Sweden we have all left lovely close friends behind.¬† Only yesterday I opened a lovely parcel for the family from some close friends in the UK that made me a little weepy…..of the happy sort!¬† A year on though and we have met some very special people here who have helped us to settle in and go out of their way to help us. ¬†They have become very good friends. ¬†Also, our summer was very busy with close friends from the UK visiting, and the whole year has seen many friends and family coming.¬† There are five more sets of visitors booked for the next four months already!¬† It was hard leaving family and friends behind, and we do miss them a lot, but we are so grateful for those who have offered us friendship here¬† in Sweden ūüôā

Having left a pressure cooker education system behind that has children exhausted, in tears, and feeling a failure, we are more than happy to embrace the Swedish positive approach to learning.¬†¬†School is important to us here as a place for the children to meet others their age and learn the language, coming from an English speaking household, so it serves us well too. ¬†It‚Äôs such a lovely environment‚Ķ.oh, apart from the no shoes indoors policy‚Ķ.I have to keep a better eye out for the holes in the socks situation! ¬†But on the flip side they love running and sliding down the corridors ūüôā ¬†The lovely island school has turned out to be just what we wanted for our trio, and more.

With three children, life can easily start feeling like a hectic race from the moment you get out of bed, until the moment you collapse into it at the end of the day.  A huge reason for moving here was to slow right down, and commit to a much simpler way of living.  It just seems a lot easier to do here.  We have moved to a small island community, you can’t just pop to the shops to spend frivolously (the nearest are about a 30 minute drive), and there are no other material distractions, so life is lived at a more leisurely pace.  We’re no longer sucked into things like a weekend chocca full of children’s parties, activities, or shopping.  Instead it is full of family time, hiking, exploring, and lots of play!

The language is another harder aspect of living abroad. ¬†Our trio are now immersed in it during the week at school, but they are still on a very steep learning curve. ¬†Dadda and I are trying to teach ourselves. ¬†We are making a little headway, understand a lot more than we used to, and can make ourselves understood…albeit with a lot of gesticulation too. ¬†It’s hard learning a new language, but we try and at least begin to speak to the locals in Swedish (we’re lucky that so many are great at speaking English).¬† The trouble starts when people then respond in Swedish, and we sometimes lose the thread of the conversation, but at least we have made some baby steps. ¬†With this comes other things that are very hard…school homework, when it does come home, takes twice as long as we have to understand it before we can help her with it. ¬†Everything takes longer due to translating along the way (very slowly) and sometimes this can be very frustrating. ¬†Something that is usually an easy task can seem to take forever.

Learning to drive on the other side of the road, in a car set up the opposite way, was another challenge too. ¬†You’d think a year on we’d be OK, but the other night I drove about 500m on the wrong side before realising, so some habits are hard to kick.

There has been a huge downside though, and that is the lack of grown up time for Dadda and I.¬† There are no baby sitters here (yet, cross my fingers!), and we have moved abroad knowing there would be no one-night escapes to get a yearly lie in, or no time alone without the presence of our three cheeky monkeys.¬† As much as I know the younger years fly past in the blink of an eye, I wouldn’t ever say no to some peaceful calm time together, enjoying something as a couple outside of our four home walls.¬† However, for now, we will have to take the evenings collapsed on the sofa once we’ve tucked the trio up in bed.

If this family adventure does end up with us returning to the UK, at least there will be no ‚Äúwhat ifs‚ÄĚ, and so no regrets. ¬†We will have tried living in Sweden, and given it a go. ¬†The children will have experienced the world classroom, and a different culture, language, and lifestyle.¬† Although I really hope we are here to stay now, as this was how we planned it.¬† I think we have all adapted pretty well so far. ¬†We seem to be integrating a little. ¬†I can‚Äôt say enough though about how much we love living here, and I feel that maybe we have found our place in the world that we can call home¬†🙂

living in sweden, living abroad, moving to sweden, moving abroad, Sweden, www,mammasschool.co.uk

Chokladbollens dag – Chocolate Ball Day

Thursday 11th May (torsdag elfte maj) was chokladbollens dag….yes, that’s right, they have a whole day dedicated to eating chocolate balls! ¬†The longer I live here, the more I feel this country is the perfect place for my sweet tooth to have taken residence. ¬†It seems there is always a yummy treat to spend a day officially celebrating! ¬†So, in order to show we were integrating well into Swedish culture and life, we whizzed up a batch of these no-bake treats (like we really needed a reason!!).

So what do you need to make this gooey treat for chokladbollens dag?

250g soft butter

400g rolled oats

175g caster sugar

4 tbs cocoa powder

4 tbs strong cooled coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

desiccated coconut.

This made around 30 balls, but I think it should easily reach 40-50 if you don’t have a 9 year old chocoholic deciding the size of them ūüôā

Whizz all the ingredients together, apart from the coconut, and then pop into the fridge to allow it to go a little firmer. ¬†Once firm, roll into small balls, and then roll each ball into the desiccated coconut to cover it. ¬†They should keep in the fridge for around a week….ahem….if you haven’t got me living with you!!

These are very easy and quick to make, and perfect for little people who enjoy “helping” in the kitchen. ¬†Although to be fair my little lady is actually a help now rather than a hindrance. ¬†As for the twins……….!!!!

 

chokladbollens dag, chocolate balls day, sweden www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Twin Mummy and Daddy

Leaving Family and Friends Behind to Follow Your Dreams

Leaving family and friends behind to follow your dreams. Moving abroad. Moving away from family and friends. www.mammasschool.co.ukI have been umming and ahhhing about writing this post, as I don’t usually write about myself, and my blog is about the children and family life in general. ¬†However, this is a big topic relevant to us moving abroad, and the only down side I have stumbled upon so far. ¬†So, in the light of giving a balanced view on our move to Sweden and how it is working, this topic is something I feel needs to be written about. ¬†When we moved, I always knew we were also making the decision to leave our family and friends behind in order to pursue a long term dream of mine and Dadda’s. ¬†I don’t think I ever underestimated the enormity of this, but 6 months on, and after a recent trip to the UK, I am feeling it a little more than usual. ¬†Definitely no regrets about returning back to Sweden though after the UK visit.

It is very common now not to have your family around you for immediate support when bringing up your children, and I realise this. ¬†However, I did have a lovely group of friends from various eras and areas of my life. ¬†People have been amazingly friendly here in Sweden since we moved, and hugely helpful, but it takes time to build up the sort of relationships with family and friends that we left behind in the UK. ¬†As well as the relationships you leave behind, for a long while you are leaving behind the option of you and your partner heading out together for some quality time as there is no one to look after our mad trio just yet. Not only that, but when the going gets tough (which it has been with the trio recently), there is no back up, no one to give you a break, and no one to moan to that knows both you and your children properly just yet. ¬†I think that is why I am feeling it a little more recently, as the trio have been a little hot to handle in various ways, and being a stay at home mum, I am with them 24/7. ¬†If you are thinking of moving abroad, this is something to seriously consider…how you would cope leaving behind your family and friends. ¬†I am not saying I won’t make new friends here, I really hope I can and do, but you need to consider if you really can go it alone as a family unit, certainly for a good chunk of time near the beginning (perhaps one of the most stressful times too as everyone settles down into their new life). ¬†I will attempt to explain why I am missing these important people.

Back in the UK over Easter I met up with some of my closest friends for a catch up and a hug. ¬†The first one we met at Gatwick for breakfast. ¬†This lovely person has known me pre-children, pre-marriage, whilst I was working as a nurse, and we have shared drunken camping trips together. ¬†Then my little lady met her 2 BFF’s whose mums happen to be 2 of my BFF’s. ¬†We have been together since our girls were 4. ¬†They have known me with baby twins, they have helped me chase toddler twins on days out, they have never once judged my chaos, and we have supported each other through the ups and cliff dropping downs of life, as have our girls. ¬†Then there are my 2 close friends that are fellow twin mums. ¬†One supported me hugely when mine were newborns (she was a few years down the line, and could remember the calamity with clarity!), and the other one has twins a few months younger than mine. ¬†They know what it is to have young twins, and to try and carry on with the chaos that twins bring, and survive others’ judgements and often open comments and criticism! ¬†These lovely ladies know me as a person in my own right rather than just a Mamma and relocation planner! ¬†However, they also know our children too and my other half, and can easily offer help, advice, support, or even just a mummys’ night out. ¬†Being new in Sweden, and being a stay at home mum, means that I am struggling a little to make a groove for myself outside of being a Mamma and a wife. ¬†Whilst our little lady and mini men settle into their school/f√∂rskola friendships, and Dadda has headed out a few times now with his work colleagues, whose company he enjoys, I am floundering a little on the friendship front. ¬†I know it will all come as I have met some really lovely people that have made us all feel so welcome, and I know it will take time to build up relationships, and until then I’ve just got to settle in for the long haul, but it doesn’t make missing these special people that are family and friends any easier…..you know who you are, and I am so lucky to have you as my friends, and I look forward to welcoming you here over the summer ūüôā

Valborg – The Welcoming of Spring.

So it was time for our next Swedish experience, Walpurgis Eve (in English), or Valborg (in Swedish), is the official welcoming of spring. ¬†It is traditional to light fires, enjoy each others company, and sing songs together, and happens on the last day of April. ¬†¬†Officially, spring has arrived when the daily average temperature tops zero degrees Celsius for seven days in a row here in Sweden….a tough one recently with snow falling not so long ago, but large parts of the country are now managing to confirm this has happened….at last! ¬†The Swedish are celebrating the end of the harsh winter (less harsh down here in the south, but still dark, cold, and long!), and looking forward to the summer sunshine….especially on our island where its nickname is Little Hawaii ūüôā ¬†This event is named after St. Walpurga (which is Valborg in Swedish), an English missionary who celebrated Christianity in other parts of Europe. ¬†These days, it is more to do with spring than Christianity. ¬†The King also happens to have his birthday on this day, but that is just a lovely coincidence. The larger cities take on more of an all day party feel, with students kicking off their day with champagne breakfasts, and the celebrations go from there. ¬†There are some huge bonfires too in the larger cities, with lots of other traditions going on as well. ¬†You may even be passed a warming hot cup of liquid as well……some lovely nettle soup as soon as the snow melts here they are springing up. ¬†A sure sign spring has arrived.

So what did we get up to on our lovely little island we call home?  In the harbour at the North West part of the island, there was a larger community bonfire.  We set off on our bikes to experience this celebration for the first time at this location.  On the way, we saw many relaxing with barbecues or their own fires, in the early spring sunshine (fully dressed in hats and gloves still!), with the boat houses open for the first time I have seen.  It was so lovely to see the island alive after the long winter.  There are always people out walking/running/cycling around the island, but there was just a more relaxed vibe about tonight, and whilst it was still cold, people were happy to sit outdoors and enjoy their food, rather then hunkering down back indoors.  A true feeling that spring is finally coming.  We decided this year to feed our tribe earlier, and just turn up and see what happens.  Next year I think we too will be grilling sausages along with everyone else.  As it was, our 5 year old twins were nearly collapsed with tiredness once we got home at the grand time of 8pm!!

The fire was lit and everyone had a little sing song, and after that was over people got back to just chilling with their drinks and food, or started their grilling and relaxing with their friends.  People who were not cooking were already drifting away back to their cosy homes and we followed soon after with our tired trio.  But we had thoroughly enjoyed out first Valborg in our new home.

With the sun setting, and the smoking embers of the bonfire in the distance, voices could be heard happily chattering away , enjoying each other’s company and cooking outdoors. ¬†As we cycled away it was like the island was on fire, there was so much smoke rising from it, from all the fires that had been lit in celebration. ¬†I am thinking I really like this celebration and its cosy feel, and whilst I don’t wish my little people to grow up too fast, I am looking forward to when the smaller 2 are a little older and we too can chill with them and some drink and food, instead of pedalling back home for bedtime ūüôā

Valborg - The Welcoming Of Spring, spring, start of spring, springtime www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Country Kids

Scouts Celebrate St.George’s Day at Sj√∂scouten.

Sunday was St. George’s Day. ¬†Lord Baden-Powell chose St.George as the Patron Saint of Scouting as the story of St.George shows him overcoming adversity.

“All Scouts should know his story. ¬†St.George was typical of what a Scout should be. ¬†When he was faced by a difficulty or danger, however great it appeared, even in the shape of a dragon – he did not avoid it or fear it but went at it with all the power he could …That is exactly the way a Scout should face a difficulty or danger no matter how great or how terrifying it may appear. He should go at it boldly and confidently, using every power that he can to try and overcome it, and the probability is that he will succeed.” (Lord Baden-Powell).

So, with our little lady in the Sj√∂scouten (sea scouts), we headed off for a family afternoon doing something a little more English in its origin, and went to celebrate St.George’s day.

The first part of the afternoon saw us doing a little trail in the forest.  We were hunting down phrases that described what it meant to be a scout.  We then discussed them with our little scouts.  For us it was a little more intense as it was all in Swedish, but with the help of Google topping up our growing basic Swedish vocab, we made a good go of it for our little lady.  The trio thoroughly enjoyed trying to find the next tree trunk with a phrase stuck to it, and by the end I think our little lady had a good idea of what being a scout means.

As the rain started to fall harder, it was time to head inside and watch and listen to an indoor parade for the young scouts.  They held the Scouting flag, they raised the Swedish flag, and they all said their Scout promise one by one.  This was a real challenge for our little lady, as not only had she not been forewarned and so did not know the promise, but it was also in Swedish.  We could see her starting to well up and get flustered standing there waiting her fate, but her leader was so good with her.  She quietly broke it down into a few words at a time for her to repeat in Swedish.  Whilst my heart was in my mouth watching her a little unnerved prior to her go, I think it was the best thing for her.  She has been learning Swedish at school, will correct me when I am trying to speak it, but will not yet pluck up the courage to speak herself.  To be put in a situation with no warning and in an instant it be done with did her good, and she was pleased she did it after, but admitting to wanting to cry immediately prior to it.

With that part done, and huge sighs of relief all round, it was time for fika….the Swedish custom of being together and socialising, preferably in the presence of coffee and a sweet treat!! ¬†Of course this went down very well with the trio. ¬†Once consumed, the scouts had one more little parade, taking down the flag and saying goodbye, and it was time to head off. ¬†It was so lovely to have the whole family invited as we got to see what goes on and to see a little more of how the Swedes do things. ¬†It was a lovely afternoon.

 

Scouts Celebrate St.George's Day at Sjöscouten www.mammasschool.co.uk

Happy Swedish Cows – Watching the Cows Leave the Barn After a Winter Inside.

Have you ever experienced around 60 cows all running, dancing, and jumping out of the barn after 6 months indoors over the winter??  It is an amazing spectacle to watch.  We went along on Easter Day to Kosläpp 2017 at Björketorps Gård for our first experience of this phenomenon.  The happy Swedish cows did not disappoint either.  We were stood around the perimeter of a field with many hundreds of other people, awaiting what is a traditional marker for the end of winter, and the start of spring, with the release of the happy Swedish cows from their barn after being indoors for the harsh 6 months of winter.  However, yesterday the temperatures dropped here, and we had snow.  There was still a smattering on the ground, and we did wonder if the cows would turn around and go straight back indoors!!

The calm before the storm….ready, steady……..

I have never seen a herd of female cows so active and lively!! ¬†They were indeed very happy Swedish cows. ¬†With the barn doors opening they raced down the length of the field running, jumping, and dancing around…they have had all winter to practise their routines after all ūüėČ ¬†I have never seen a cow jump, and it is a little amusing. ¬†Not only were they jumping, but they were so feisty there was quite a lot of fight action going on too. ¬†They would stare each other out and lock heads, and push to and fro. ¬†Then there were other cows pawing the ground with their hooves, digging, as well as cows rubbing their noses along the ground (not unlike dogs when they find a smell they like), and one even rolling around the ground on its back (again not unlike a dog!). ¬†Watching all these guys racing towards you (even with a small wire fence between you and them) is a little unsettling!

After a lot of excitement and mooing, we headed off to explore the rest of the working farm, which was opened up for us to mooch around. ¬†It was so lovely, and a very open look into the workings, life, and smells of a dairy farm here in Sweden. ¬†First of all we headed into the cows’ barn, to see their home over the winter. ¬†The cows were free to wander in and out after their release into the field, so we saw some come into their private stable area for some food, others were being milked, and we got to see and smell life in the barn. ¬†After that we headed over to see a 2 day old calf with his mummy, and then some older calves as well. ¬†There were also pony rides to experience, tractor rides in a hay cart, food, ice creams (made with their own milk), and tractors to clamber all over.

We had a lovely day watching the happy Swedish cows see grass again after the winter, and will definitely be making this an annual tradition ūüôā

Happy Swedish cows, cows out after winter, cows released in spring, kosläpp, sweden, living abroad www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Country Kids

Easter In Sweden РPåsk i Sverige

We have just spent our first Easter in Sweden (P√•sk), and I would like to share with you a little about what Easter in Sweden is like compared to back in the UK, and whether or not we have fallen in love with yet another part of Sweden’s culture. ¬†Easter back in the UK for us, was always a mix of Scandinavian traditions and English ones, with me having my Norwegian background, so I was hoping we’d blend in OK with Easter in Sweden, and not find it too much of a culture shock!

 

First of all the decorating of our home. ¬†We have always hung little wooden, glass, or painted eggs onto branches around our home. ¬†This is a Norwegian tradition I have always done in our UK home, but has become increasingly more popular the past few years in the UK as well. ¬†I was delighted to find that it is no different at Easter in Sweden. ¬†They adorn their branches (specifically birch, although if you are like me you just chop what you have on hand in the garden!), and also very often add feathers onto the branches too. ¬†Originally they were too serve as a reminder of Christ’s suffering. ¬†We have them placed on our fireplace, our table, a nice big vase on the side, and then the children have theirs to decorate in their bedrooms too.

We also hang eggs in the windows, which are visible both from inside and from outside, and make the home look cosy and inviting.

The tradition of chocolate is slightly different too. ¬†There is definitely still plenty of it, but instead of masses of foil wrapped Easter eggs, here in Sweden you have a beautifully decorated paper shell of an egg (available in various sizes, but beware they hold a lot more than you think!) filled with candy. ¬†Although there is still a lot of candy available, I like this idea, as it is a lot more simple, and the children are less saturated with an abundance of chocolate Easter eggs, that you then spend the following months trying to let them eat without feeling guilty for them having so much chocolate! ¬†They are very pretty, and best of all reusable ūüėČ ¬†Of course, we had an Easter egg hunt in the garden too!

Eggs (the chicken variety) and fish feature heavily on the food side of the celebrations. ¬†Eggs for breakfast, eggs on open sandwiches, and various fish dishes including pickled herring (one of my mother’s favourites I’ve never quite been able to adopt!), all washed down with some good strong Swedish snaps. ¬†For us, although we had the eggs for breakfast, we celebrated with some lovely roast lamb. ¬†This was particularly special as we have a sheep farm here on the island, and the children are allowed to visit whenever they want to (the farmer is happy even if he is not there), and you can go into the barn and stroke the lambs and sheep. ¬†Our lamb meat was given to us as a gift from the farmer, and we can say it is so delicious. ¬†There is something really lovely about eating produce that is only a ten minute walk from our home too, and knowing how they lived and were reared (although I’m a wuss and don’t think too much about the gruesome bit, although we acknowledge it to the children).

Many children dress up as witches at Easter in Sweden, and on Maundy Thursday (sk√§rtorsdag), you’ll spot children with face paints on and broomsticks. Some will be knocking on doors asking for treats, a bit like in the UK at Halloween. ¬†We were in the UK for this day, so missed it, although I think my trio would have loved it. ¬†It’s also the first long weekend of the year, with potentially warmer weather, that people head out to their summer houses. ¬†We are lucky that our new home is in a place that people would consider is somewhere to have a summer house, so we can stay in the comfort of our home and enjoy our surroundings ūüôā

 

So, yes we have thoroughly enjoyed our first Easter in Sweden ūüôā ¬†Be sure to check out the adventure we went on for Easter Day, as it was very special, and very Swedish. ¬†It will follow tomorrow. ¬†We hope you enjoyed your Easter as much as we did!

Easter in Sweden, Påsk i Sverige, Easter abroad, scandinavian easter, easter decorations www.mammasschool.co.uk

Våffeldagen РA Whole Day Dedicated to Eating Waffles!

V√•ffeldagen is a whole day in Sweden dedicated to eating waffles….nom nom! ¬†Saturday 25th March was the day this year. ¬†It is another way of celebrating the start of spring after the cold dark winter here in Sweden. ¬†The name originally comes from “V√•rfrudagen” meaning our lady’s day, which is on the same day, but said in a poorly articulated way , can be mistaken for V√•ffeldagen.

On Våffeldagen you make waffles and serve them with fruit jams, cream, cheese, or fresh fruit.  We have a special Scandinavian heart shaped waffle iron to make ours, and here is our recipe we use:

3 dl plain flour

2 x eggs

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

3 tsp butter

1 tsp cardamom

3 dl milk

We then serve them up while still warm. ¬†Coffee is very good with them, but due to the time of day we were eating ours, it was wine o’clock!!

våffeldagen in Sweden, waffle day, living in Sweden, Sweden www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Living Abroad-Reflections After Six Months in Sweden Part 4: Home is Where the Heart Is.

Living abroad in Sweden home is where the heart is www.mammasschool.co.ukLiving abroad in Sweden has given us a new home. ¬†Our home is another thing that is really working for us. ¬†Not only are we now the proud owners of a Swedish red wooden home, but it creates such a cosy atmosphere. ¬†With the long and cold winters though, this is really important in Sweden. ¬†Your home is your haven. ¬†We have lots of windows to help get more light into the place, as well as light walls and light wooden flooring. ¬†The whole of the living space is open plan, creating a more friendly atmosphere. ¬†We also follow the typical Swedish living space habit of having lots of cosy lamps rather then harsh overhead lights. ¬†Then there is our lovely wood burning stove. ¬†A necessity here in case of power cuts in storms, but a centre piece for our family’s living. ¬†The children have been known to just sit there and watch it, read books in front of it, and play games sat in front of it. ¬†Our home really is warm, cosy, and inviting ūüôā

So, you might ask, this living abroad has all been a bit one sided and too positive, there surely must be some downsides. ¬†Well there are a few, but definitely not deal breakers! ¬†You need to plan when you want an alcoholic tipple. ¬†These are only sold in government run¬†shops (called Systembolaget), in very few places, with limited opening hours. ¬†But, on the other hand it is normal to bulk buy alcohol and store it ūüôā Our nearest Systembolaget is a 30 minute drive, so there’s none of this “I just fancy a bottle of wine tonight”!! ¬†The language is another harder aspect of living abroad. ¬†Dadda works in an English speaking office, with people from all over the world, so is not exposed to the language daily. ¬†Our trio are now immersed in it during the week at school and pre-school, but they are still on a very steep learning curve. ¬†It probably affects our little lady the most in trying to build friendships and communicate with others her age. ¬†She has had quite a few friends back home after school, and has also been to someone else’s house, so whilst it frustrates her at times, she is making friends.

If this family adventure does end up being an expensive flop, at least there will be no “what ifs”, and so no regrets. ¬†We have tried and given it a go. ¬†The children will have experienced the world classroom, and a different culture, language, and lifestyle. ¬†I think we have all adapted pretty well so far. ¬†We seem to be integrating a little. ¬†We have even had 2 visits now by close relatives, that whilst it was sad to say goodbye to them at the end of their trips, there were no tears and outrage from the children directed at their parents decision to move them¬†to another country! ¬†I can’t say enough though about how much we love living here, and I feel that maybe we have found our place in the world that we can call home ūüôā








Living Abroad in Sweden Part 4 Making a home www.mammasschool.co.uk

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