This post is a part of the writing project called Stories from the West that I started with Christa. We’re both currently living on the west coasts (Christa in the US, me in Sweden), hence the name of the project. We want to share our experiences living as immigrants, and every month we’ll write a post each with the same topic. The topic for this month is ‘favorite things about the adopted country‘. Don’t forget to read Christa’s post, 5 Favorite Things About the US.
To be completely honest, it’s hard to think about my favorite things about Sweden when it’s cold and gloomy outside, and the thought of enduring this weather for another 4-5 months looming at the back of my mind.
I was looking through my photo folders to look for inspiration when I thought, hang on a minute. I can just show it. And indeed, some of these pictures show the very best of Sweden that I love.
The archipelago. Scenery-wise, of course there are strong contenders from other parts of the world, but the ease of access and reliable schedules makes it a favorite of mine.
Allemansrätten, or the freedom to roam. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that beautiful forests, lakes and even islands are there to explore without charge. People here make the most of this, and they also respect all the rules (written and unwritten). Coming from a place where nature isn’t that accessible nor affordable (in some cases), this is a luxuryn for me.
The summer days, when everything in the city seems to come to life. Restaurants and bars extend their outdoor seatings, people do picnics and barbecue in the parks or around the lakes, and everyone is a lot more cheerful. The 3 months of glorious summer is my lifeline; it’s the thought of summer that keeps me going during the colder, darker days.
Fika, the coffee break (no coffee in the picture above, sadly, just the sweet stuff). Swedes know how to take a break and enjoy their coffee, and I’m here for this.
The winter wonderland. Yes, the winter is long and depressing, but on the rare days that the snow falls and stays for a while before turning into brown slush and causing chaos all over the city, it’s stunning. Winter wonderland right at your backyard.
The cozy winter. Probably another good thing about winter here is that Swedes know how to make it cozy. Come December (or maybe November), candles and string lights are out, and so are thick blankets, as well as comforting food and drinks. Walk into any cafe or restaurant, and you’ll get this cozy feeling. I guess this is a way to survive the cold season.
The peace and quiet. Sweden feels a lot less crowded and dense than other places I’ve lived here before, and I’m loving it.
The red houses. Maybe this is not a big thing, but seeing these picturesque red houses/cottages never fails to put a smile on my face. It looks good, in real life and in pictures, and in any season.
Some other favorites, not pictured:
- The welfare system
- The queuing system. They do it everywhere, and they do it best
- The work-life balance
- Some design and interior brands: Designtorget, Hemtex, Lagerhaus, JYSK. Nobody does minimalist Scandinavian style better than Sweden.
- Not all, but some food, namely: prinskorv, Janssons frestelse (a casserole dish made of potato, sprat, and cream), and pannkakor (pancakes)
- Can I say also IKEA, H&M, & Other Stories, and Spotify? Let’s put in ABBA and Roxette as well.
Are you living abroad? What’s your favorite thing about your adopted country? I’d love it if you share in the comments below 🙂