Hej hej ! I experiment Swedish life since 15 days now, from my point of view there are a lot of things to tell. Living in a country as a volunteer is definitely a good opportunity to immerse itself in a culture. I went around Växjö to discover the city with Giulia, my flatmate. There are so many people who ride bikes, that bike’s parks are always full. We drank a cappuccino to Condeco, a nice café where you can have excellent Fika with nice pastries, and I took a look inside the huge library. We went around the lake, where you can find some wild places not so far from the city center, and I saw this space sculpture, the disco ball, which seemed to float on water. I tried to imagine disco party in this place.
I enjoyed discovering Fika times, which is a Swedish coffee break in a more social way. You can have a coffee break alone, but it doesn’t make sense to have a Fika alone. Indeed, during Fika, people gather around a drink and some typical Swedish pastries to have a break and a social time. At work, it is a really good way to meet people and to know more about them and their work. I have to say that Swedish people are experts in baking. A tasted some of them.
Kanelbulles are cinnamon-flavored rolled up brioches. Chokladbollars are chocolate balls rolled-up in coconut, cacao or nuts. Liten Mummas are delicious cakes stuffed with almond paste and cardamom. Kladdkaka is a chocolate cake. I don’t know yet what is different from the chocolate cake that I know, but every people I asked told me Kladdkaka has nothing to do with chocolate cake
Let me tell you, I’ve never eat so much sweet food than here. Because in addition to Swedish pastries, I also discovered donuts – I could see them everywhere in the city.
Don’t imagine mountains of pastries everyday with my coffee. In fact, in Sweden, I also experienced Lagom’s culture. Lagom is an untranslatable Swedish word which means “neither too much, nor too little”. It can be used in the everyday life to talk about the quantity of food or the temperature of the coffee, but it has before all a cultural meaning much deeper which spread through some Swedish people. Parsimony is the key word, and the respect of your neighbor is an important rule.
Cars are really careful in the street, and stop at the zebra crossings to leave pedestrians cross the street.
In a Lagom point of view, attract attention is not well regarded, and in fact I found the shops, the supermarkets and the public places much more quiet. Lagom is really unusual for me. I’m used to live with quirky and without self-discipline people! But I’m getting used to it. It doesn’t prevent people to enjoy parties, and to know how to dance in an oddball way in night clubs.
One thing I’m not getting used is the weather. I discovered here some weather forecast’s symbols I had never seen before, like the freezing rain, a kind of liquid snow really cold. But I also could enjoy three full days of snow, which is really magic and unusual for me.
On the contrary of the place where I live, Vaxjö doesn’t stop the whole city when it’s snowing. Bus and cars, schools, even bikes, they make do. Twenty centimeter of snow doesn’t stop Swedish people.
In spite of the weather, motivation isn’t go down, and I keep working on my projects. I met a lot of people during these days, volunteers who live an experience abroad as well, and also people who live in Vaxjö. We organized a language meeting during whom volunteers of different countries gave languages lessons: Ukrainian, Portuguese, Italian, Swedish, Arabic, German, Spanish and French! I was surprised to chat in French with a Swedish workmate who’d never told me that she speaks very good French before this event. Swedish people are full of surprises. Cultural and language exchanges are so inspiring. And next week end an important event is organized in the city, which is the Earth Hour. I joined the organizers’ team to help preparing that day, I can’t wait for it ! À bientôt !