Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sweden likes and dislikes after 1.5 weeks.

Alright, I've been in Sweden now for about 1.5 weeks and I've realized a couple things that are absolutely stupid about Sweden.

1. This whole 'dual' duvet for big beds. I went to Ikea with Fredrik this weekend, and I saw 1 duvet that fit a larger bed. What the hell is up with this 2 duvet thing? I'm sorry, I know you Swedes are used to it, but really...but 1. Why buy 2 and deal with 2, and wash 2, have to find 2, match 2, where you could buy...1. Single. Solitary duvet and duvet cover. For being socially progressive I did find it a *tad* neo-1950s. Seriously. How are you supposed to cuddle with your partner if you are holed up into your own personal duvet? Hmm? What a crazy mess that would make in the mornings. You don't have to make 1 bed, but might as well be making 2. Twice the work. Twice the hassle. One big duvet, Sweden. Let's get with the program here.

2. Tampons. Fredrik and I went to the massive ICA this weekend, and I remembered that I should buy a box of tampax for my upcoming week of misery. In drugstores, gas stations, any where really, in America I have a healthy selection of Tampons. Do I want plastic or cardboard applicators? Travel size? Teen, Lite, Regular, Super or Super-Plus? (Yes, Sweden, in case you weren't aware of this, the women of the world have different feminine needs depending on their maturity and birth control intake. One single tampon option will not cut it!) And what's up with the crazy pad selection? Is the Swedish government and/or grocery chains being bought out by Always? Happy Period, my arse. (Glasgow will always affect me in some way...) Maybe It's ridiculous, and frankly cruel to only give me 2 tampon options, because, Ob is not an option. Ok. Please work on this, I don't want to have to deal with this delimma again.

Alright, those are my 2 major beefs with Sweden. Now for the thing I like.

1. Bicycles! I am always humming the Queen song in my head when I am (finally) going on my bike. As most of you know, I am not great on a bicycle...not even really that good. I'm getting better, it's true, but I'm obviously someone who really knows what they are doing on a bicycle. I ususally have a false start when I'm trying to get on, or get moving from a complete stop at a light, but I am improving. I have not wrecked or fallen off, I have gone great distances, and worked my legs a great deal. I hope my thighs are even better toned after this stint in Sweden. I dig it, I really do. Especially the lack of cars on the roads and the ample huge pretty bike paths that actually seem to cut time away from travel. Just like Fredrik said that America was geared to travelling by car, Sweden is geared to travelling by bike. You always get there quickly, just as quick as with a car really. You never have to worry about finding a close parking spot, because you just put your bike where ever you want and no one will bother it. And I challenge you to find a really fat person on a bicycle. It's difficult, and I would argue that the said fat person is not actually a regular bike rider, but pursuing an attempt to lose some weight....or their car is not driveable. So yes. I am also wondering the difference in celluite from bicycle riders vs. non bicycle riders...I feel mine deminishing as we speak (or after I crawl up 3 flights of stairs after a power bike up hill back home from Ikea).

2. Dairy Products. I also would like to see a study of American women vs. Swedish women and the regularity of osteoperosis in these women. The amount of dairy products in Sweden seems to be fairly common subject of banter amongst the internet crowds, but it really is astonishing once you're in a grocery. Cheese, Yoghurt, Milk, Creams, that strange sour milk product, and other stuff. It's just. Wow. And EVERYONE is about the milk product here. In Fredrik's flat I doubt there is never someone who is not eating something that has dairy as a main ingredient.

3. Stripes. Like dairy, every one (mostly girls) wear stripes of some nature. I guess because they are all so skinny from their bicycles that horizontal stripes are easy to get away with. However, there are some mistakes to this truth. Here is my first major fashion no-no. I don't know what this girl's problem is. You can tell she's Swedish by what she's wearing. Khakis, and stripes. She's blonde and at a student party. Here's the problem...and I really don't want to be cruel, but I have to be honest...she's not skinny like normal Swedish women. Alright, I'm not trying to pass judgement on body types and sizes, I don't know this girl's story. However, what she is wearing is unexcusable. Please, everyone, for the sake of simplicity, when buying the new 'retro' look clothes that channel the horrid 70s and 80s please keep one thing in mind. Pleated Pants Are Not Flattering. This is even more true if you have a tummy. To make matters worse, if you have a tummy do not, I repeat, do not Tuck In a horizontally striped shirt into the pleated pants. Why? Because that is what you look like. A Fashion Victim in a drunken train wreck. (I barred out her eyes...not that you can really see her face anyways. She totally saw me take a picture of her too....not sorry. I couldn't stop staring, for all the wrong reasons).

4. These coverall parties. I'll just post some pictures so you can see the fun Fredrik and I had my first weekend here. It was fun. :) I like pretending to be a student...though I am technically an 'adult' now. Even Fredrik (cough cough 25) stated this weekend at a student bar, 'I think I'm getting too old for this....I don't recognize anyone' Which is true. What I find oddly funny is that at 25, in America, people would be shocked he wasn't married, with a carrier, and a kid really. Nope, my boyfriend refuses to grow up in some aspects, the good ones I guess. He's an adult when it comes to laundry though...but that's a different story.. Anyways, here are some pictures for your enjoyment.

This final picture is of a square in the city centre of Linköping. I think it's a beautiful city.

Overall, I really like Sweden so far. I am starting to pick up on some may-jah cultural difference, but I think that it's a really amazing country with a cool mindset. So, we'll see how the rest of my 90 days go...



Anonymous said...

those are not swedish problems, those are european problems (perhaps not UK problems). tampons without applicators is something you just have to learn to deal with love. need to chat soon. i'm interested as to how your weekend turned out. luv ya~ Laura

Abby said...

yeah the UK had plenty of tampon options.

what the hell...with the no applicator thing. It's cardboard. It's recyclable. It's stupid Laura. stupid. Love you too. :)

sapphire said...

Agree with you on the dislike. I got myself a nice big duvet (not a king size but a queen size) that i share with the boy. We are too lazy to wash 2, buy 2, etc etc as you said.

As for the tampons, welcome to Sweden. I remember France having a slightly better selection but barely. I buy my pads (no tampons) from the US when I'm back home visiting. Best use of $5 in my life. Hopefully someone can ship you a box the next time around.

Abby said...

Sapphire- Where did you get this duvet? I fought with Fredrik last night for ours most of the night. Its just stupid. I don't get it.. I just don't get it...

As for the tampon situation- the UK was just as good as America. It's just...blargh. I am definitely keeping it in mind when I come back in the summer. This OB and Always chokehold on the female monthly needs selection is just unacceptable. :)