Bringing the learning home (Australian Learning & Teaching Council)

You know you’ve been in Sweden too long when…

I read this post in Australians Abroad, probably written by an Aussie in Sweden. It was really true, and I can really relate myself to it very much. Haha, if you want to more about Sweden, this is a cool stuff to read! As the writer said, the list is bottomless, I’m just listing some of the interesting ones here, and you can view the whole post via this link:



3. The first thing you do upon entering a bank/post office/chemist etc. is to look for the queue number machine.

4. You accept that you will have to queue to take a queue number.

5. When a stranger on the street smiles at you, you assume: a: he is drunk;  b: he is insane;  c: he’s an American

10. Silence is fun.

13. You pass a supermarket and think “Wow, it is open, I had better go in and buy something!”

15. Your native language has seriously deteriorated, now you begin to “eat medicine”, “open the television”, “close the lights off”, “take a beer”, “look upon everything” and tell someone to “follow with me” or “you needn’t to!” You start to say “for 2 years ago” and expressions like “Don’t panic” creep into your everyday language.

20. Sundays no longer seem dull with all the shops closed, and begin to feel restful instead.

21. “No comment” becomes a conversation strategy.

22. You have only two facial expressions – smiling or blank. Also your arms are just hanging down when you chat with other people.

25. Hugging is reserved for sexual foreplay.

27. You refuse to wear a hat, even in minus 20 degree weather.

32. You no longer look at sports pants as casual wear, but recognise them as semi-formal wear.

41. You just love Jaffa.

46. You know that more than three channels means cable.

49. You eat jam with savoury dishes.

56. You have conversations with people outside when it is –10C.

80. When a stranger asks you a question in the streets, you think it’s normal to just keep walking, saying nothing.

84. You lose any artistic talent whatsoever.

104. You start to differentiate between types of snow.

141. “It’s 5 degrees outside” does not necessarily mean PLUS 5, it could mean minus 5.

143. You know that “Extrapris” goods are cheaper, even though your English mind translates the word as “extra price”

144. You will squeeze past somebody rather than say excuse me.

169. You don’t even get surprised when the doctor, not only can’t help you, he/she can’t even diagnose you.

175. You start talking to yourself in Swedish.

180. You think an hour and a half cycle on your washing machine is a “quick wash”.

195. You think that people who wear other colours apart from black, grey, white or blue are exhibitionists.

205. You find that you can’t spell in English anymore. You now replace C with K. Like panik, automatik, seasik, arithmetik…. and you try to remember does papper/paper have one or two p’s in English?

206. You no longer make appointments, but instead you book times.

207. You read text instead of sub-titles.

216. It seems normal to you that you’ve been bleeding in the emergency room at the hospital for four and a half hours when the three doctors walk by on their third coffee break since you got there.

242. You refer to weeks by their number.

248. England, Scotland and Wales can all be called England.

249. You’ve come to accept that customer service departments don’t do anything to help customers.

263. It’s normal to have an entire pizza just for yourself.

276. You no longer feel it’s unbearable inside an over-heated shop wearing full winter gear.

277. You no longer look for toilets marked specifically male or female

279. It is your birthday YOU have to make the cake.

284. The most interesting report on the news is the weather.

286. When you say good bye to someone you depart by saying ‘Have it so good’

294. ICA is not I.C.A – it’s eeka.

295. The wash cottage is not a holiday resort but a very competitive environment, where the rules should never be broken and in particular never go over your time by even a minute or you risk a lot of sucking and muttering from the next in line.

[hell yea people line up and wait for 30 minutes on tht spot to use the machine, and everyone just staring at you when you come to collect your clothes..]]

314. You get excited when you hear someone speaking English.

315. You travel north on vacation instead of south.

320. You no longer eat yoghurt, you drink it.

327. Three for the price of two is the deal of a lifetime, regardless of what it is. Even 3 for the price of 2 1/2 surprises you.

348. When you stop converting Swedish crowns into your native currency.

352. You get used to seeing dogs tied up outside of supermarkets and you stop to pat them.

355. And paying $800,000 for a 3 room (living room, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen) house in a suburb of Stockholm seems cheap.

356. You accept that you pay bills at the post office, pick up packages from the grocery store, and you have to drive 5 miles to find a postbox to put your outgoing mail in.

357. You enjoy that postcards are the means of communication.

361. When you see that the time is 3.30 and you say it’s “half TO four” (halv fyra)

363. You think there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.

364. The only thing in your quick memory is “Hej” and “Hej Hej”

365. You think Sweden is big (because you always compare it to Finland, Norway or Iceland)

375. Your house is starting to look like the showcase to IKEA.

399. You start thinking about the weekend on Wednesday morning.

407. You know that twenty hundred is a year, not an hour.




2 responses

  1. Jan Gothard

    Hey Sharyn – I loved this! what you didn’t tell us is – how many of these things are happening to you?

    I would love to see a list of comments along the lines of’

    ‘you know you have been back in Australia too long when…’

    Maybe once you guys all get back you could collectively work on it? it would be a great comment on reverse culture shock and re-immersing in Australian ways.

    How is it all going? last post you said that your feelings about being in Sweden had changed since you wrote your first piece early in your sojourn – do you feel fully ‘acclimatised’ yet? What has been the most challenging thing you’ve faced so far?

    Keep the posts coming


    May 7, 2011 at 6:52 am

  2. Carole Rakotonirina

    Hi Sharyn,

    Thank you for sharing this with us!

    I’m sure this would make the Swedes at Murdoch smile. I believe they are in the midst of setting up a club, maybe you’d be interested to join when you come back.

    I love this kind of posts – I often receive them from friends who travelling around the world. While very humouristic, they contain very insightful and realistic observations about society and culture.

    Absolutely love it!

    Enjoy the rest of your stay 🙂

    Carole R.

    May 13, 2011 at 6:24 am

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