Cultural Habits and Language.

It goes without saying that we are going through a huge learning curve with both language and with the way the Swedish behave.  It is clear we are going to have to get rid of some of our British habits.  One of them is saying “Hej!” (hi) to everyone you walk/drive past.  In the UK, especially children, we walk past people in the street without saying anything.  We teach our children never to speak to strangers.  Here, however, it is very different, and the other day our little lady was scowled at for not saying “hej” to a passing lady who had said “hej” to her.  It’s not her fault, we have taught her not to talk to people she doesn’t know, but over here life is a lot safer, more friendly, and much less cynical.  So, for example, chopping our hedge that borders on the road was very slow due to the fact that every child who cycled past, every old lady who hobbled past, and every other person in between, said “hej!!”, so I had to reply 🙂  Another thing we have noticed is you can’t rush….no one rushes anything, time is taken over everything, so don’t leave anything until the last minute!  This will suit us fine once we adjust better to the pace of life, but it might take a while.  As for the language, this is slow going at the moment.  I am trying to work out which words are the same as in Norwegian and get confidence in going for it, and the children need to be immersed in it at school and pre-school to start making progress.  However, today I saw a little bit of progress.  Mini man no.1, who is quite loud anyway, has started earnestly and loudly proclaiming “Ja” (yes) to anything that needs a yes!  What’s more, he’s enjoying doing it.  I suppose I should be grateful it’s not a “nej”!! And on leaving a shop today, mini man no.2 ran back to the cashier to say “hej då” (bye), which was very cute.

Things have been going OK in general, but 2 nights ago I did have my first sense of humour failure since the start of packing up and the beginning of the whole move.  Every evening when the children have gone to bed there is a lot of admin to work through.  Getting our personal numbers generates a lot of mail communication from health and dental care, to banks, to schools.  A lot of this arrives in Swedish and so needs to be painstakingly worked through.  The internet wasn’t behaving itself, and I needed to rebook a medical screening appointment and order the boys something for their birthday, amongst a whole heap of other things.  I went to bed having achieved one thing from the list, knowing the rest would be heaped onto the next day’s tasks, and so I had a little huff and puff about it all.  It can be frustrating dealing with everything when you’ve moved abroad, and having all three at home 24/7 gives you very little time to do anything, until they are in bed and you are pooped!!


Today has been a better day, and we’ve had a good one (despite the food shop being in there which I HATE doing with them!).  The first task of the day was for me to drive an estate car rammed with hedge cuttings to the correct recycling centre, and then leave it all in the right place!!  I managed to work out the system and feel very please about this little achievement….anything that used to be a simple job in the UK can take much longer here (as it is usually a drive away, and then once there, a pregnant pause as I hold up my phone to various signs while Google Translate’s camera feature furiously tries to decrypt various signs from Swedish to ‘Genglish’….a kind of psuedo Google-English that it comes up with!).  The children actually behaved during the food shop, and after lunch they played fantastically for nearly 3 hours in the garden, while I tackled the rest of that hedgerow I started yesterday and the first half of the next one!  Last thing today we did some “cabbage painting” from the Whizz Pop Bang magazine.  We made purple paint by soaking red cabbage in boiling water, and then completely painted a piece of white paper.  We then used vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda solutions to paint over the top.  If the solution was acidic, the colour turned pink, if it was alkaline it turned green.  All three were fascinated by this magic painting with cabbages!!  Can’t get them to eat the stuff, but they love painting with it all the same!!


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