Life in Sweden, Snippets of life

Early 2020 Journal: Coronavirus, Mild Winter, and Book Recommendations

Wow, hello.

Things have been a bit quiet here, and I can’t believe we’re halfway through March already. There’s been so much happening in the world in the last few weeks, and Sweden, which usually remains unaffected by events in the world or mainland Europe, has seen the impacts as well. Here are a few things about 2020 for the journal.

Coronavirus, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2

There’s no bigger news than coronavirus this year, which is getting more and more alarming as time goes by, with the exponential increase in the number of cases all over the world. We had an impromptu meeting last week at the office to decide on the communication plan around this subject, with all tasks being given high priority (and thanks this task, I’ve learned the right name for this: COVID-19 is the disease, SARS-CoV-2 is the virus). Several companies here have encouraged their employees to work from home or take their laptop home every day just in case they need to close the office suddenly.

I’ve seen empty aisles in the shops as well, mainly for products like hand sanitizers, soaps, toilet rolls, pasta, and dry foods. But in general, things are still business as usual. Schools and restaurants remain open, and apart from the empty aisles in some shops, there’s nothing to show something extraordinary.

I’ve met some people who downplay the situation, which irritates me to no end. The kind of people who say things like ‘overreaction’ and ‘the world has gone mad’ when they hear the news of places in lockdown or events canceled. I’m sorry, but I’d rather be extra cautious and ‘overreacting’ than compromising the health of mine, my family, and those at risk. Stop being a twat and just do your best to protect your community, ffs.

Winter or no winter, that’s the question

This winter has been a lot milder than usual. February has seen everything but snow: gales, hail, sleet, rain… name every bad weather, and Gothenburg has had it. Daffodils and snowdrops have bloomed much earlier than usual, which makes me scared rather than hopeful. Before, their arrivals marked the beginning of spring, but now it’s another sign of global warming.

We had a little bit of snow in March, which stayed for a day before it was gone. Then there were 2 days with 10-minute snowfall, but other than that, the weather has just been grey, rainy, and windy (and I’m so, so sick of this).

While we’re talking about bad weather, allow me to indulge myself in a pent-up irritation about the saying that Swedes love: There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. I get what they’re trying to say, which is basically, ‘Don’t blame the weather, dress appropriately (and if you’re cold, well, that’s your fault).’ Excuse me, but there is such thing as bad weather. Those hail, gales, rain with gusts up til 45 km/h? Yes, you can dress up in layers with a waterproof jacket and windbreaker, but there’s a limit of what those clothes can do. If I hear this one more time, I swear I’ll just snap and tell that person to go take a hike.

TV series and book recommendations

Thanks to this weather, I’ve been indoors and consuming more entertainment than ever, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites (and also, to close this post by something more positive).

TV series

Modern Love

With 8 episodes, this series made me laugh, cry, and feel wistful. Some stories are common, others are extraordinary. Some are romantic and heartwarming, and some are devastating (to the point that I had tears running down my cheeks for the entire episodes), and a story in particular hit close to home. What I love is that even in the stories that seem banal, it punch you in the gut because it’s so relatable. Highly recommended.


It’s funny, outrageous, brilliant, and just heartbreaking. I wasn’t convinced in the first episode, but then I got addicted. Season 2 was my ultimate favorite (and also, hello hot priest!!!), and the ending left me reeling even weeks after I finished watching it. I bought Fleabag: The Scriptures in the midst of my obsession, and I’ve been really enjoying it.


Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

After reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, I was

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

One of the two winners of the 2019 Booker Prize, this book follows the stories of 12 different women and the struggles that come with being ethnic minorities in the UK. It’s raw, personal, and eye-opening.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

A dive into slavery in America, told in several points-of-view. It’s gripping, shocking, and uncomfortable at times, but it provides a deep insight into the atrocities at that time.

If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

It’s got all the cliches and predictable ending, but it’s cute and comforting, and honestly, that’s all I ask from a chicklit novel. Of all books by Mhairi McFarlane, this one is my favorite.

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  • Reply nyonyawhitfield

    Love love love both your TV recommendations! Which episode of Modern Love is your favorite?

    March 16, 2020 at 6:11 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Episode 2, no question! Which one is yours?

      March 19, 2020 at 1:49 pm

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