Today's word is one that believe you'll find useful. Or at least interesting. I thought that we'd work on some contrasts today, contrasts between the Swedish culture and our American culture. As a child of both cultures, I'm grateful that unlike Spock, I didn't have to choose one and forever leave the other behind. I've got the blessing of knowing at least two different ways of doing many things. You've read about family traditions, about holiday celebrations, but that's not what I'm referring to today. Today is about everyday life. About what's different between Sweden and the US. What is ovanligt.
owe-vaughn-lit as in “I need to repay Vince for the lighter he just let me borrow.”
Definition? Unusual, in contrast to what is regular. I'm going to just do bullet points, otherwise you'd have me going for a long time. It's fun to do that. I've done that. I met up with a childhood friend during my 1996 trip “home” and she and her boyfriend and another friend of theirs took me out on the town. We ended up at a bar which had a street-side seating area. It was late, and the last bus home to my Farmor's apartment left at midnight, but it was a night to remember. It didn't get dark, so that was ovanligt from what I'm used to. Our conversation consisted entirely of the differences between what we do in America and what they do in Sweden.
It's ovanligt in Sweden:
for people to move from town to town as they grow up and then later as they get jobs. Most plant themselves where they are, dig their roots down deep, and stay.
for families to own more than one car, if they have a car. Public transportation is amazingly well organized and easy to use, and very cheap.
to eat out as much as we do. They have their share of restaurants, of course, but they tend to be high-end priced, or inexpensive sidewalk cafes and sandwich bars which can be found all over the place. There's not a lot of middle ground places, or chain restaurants, as we have here.
bring a school lunch. Everyone eats lunch in the cafeteria. For free. We had fish twice a week, and once every three weeks we had my favorite – rice pudding.
to get married before living together. In a very large percentage of families, the parents never marry. I don't know why, or what the tax implications there are, but this is confirmed by The Swede, so it must be true ;-)
And now I'm leaving you. Just found out that my baby brother and his wife just had their first child! Too much excitement for me to concentrate on writing!
To those of you who read this and are Swedish, PLEASE correct anything that I got wrong. These points are from my memory, my perceptions and observations, and could very well be wrong by now. Don't hesitate to say so.