About

Many a time have I heard Sweden accused of being a mini America. That is, of importing everything from the promised land. Swedish TV channels show more American programs than they do Swedish. We have our own Swedish version of Idol, of Biggest Loser. We've got a Mac Donald's in every street corner. Swedes are generally considered very proficient English speakers. The stereotypes from high school movies are quite familiar to us. There's the Internet and cheap plane tickets and university dorms with lots of exchange students. Sweden is so globalized you easily forget that you're there.

That point of view will change when you actually find yourself on the other side of the looking glass. At least it did for me. Yes, it's more similar than, say, India (not that I've been there... would love to go). But it's less similar than, say, England (where I have been, and would love to go back).

At first glance, it seems pretty similar. People speak English, just like they do in 90 % of the movies we watch and the music we listen to. They drive on the right side of the road. They watch Desperate Housewives, shop at H&M, drink beer, go to college. It all seems pretty much like the same deal.

But there are subtle differences, and they make a bigger deal than you might think. Like the coffee. Like the eggs. Like the (lack of) recycling, like the door knobs, the toilets, and the measuring system. And then there are the big things, the ones that aren't the slightest bit subtle yet you do not notice them in your normal day to day life. They're the things that could end up ruining everything all of a sudden. Like health care, guns and immigration laws.

For the most part, this blog will be about the light differences. My shallow first impressions. Transatlantic impressions.

Disclaimer: It might seem like I'm being very negative about the US. I'm not. I'm just incapable of not commenting on everything that's different, because I find the differences, big and small, ridiculously interesting.