Falling in Love with Sweden

If you’ve been reading my blog or have been following me on my social media accounts, you’re probably tired of me saying I love Sweden. But, seriously, I love Sweden! It’s just so different from the Philippines. Although, I’m still living in my own bubble here; I’m excited to see more – whether good or bad – of Sweden.

I enjoy being alone here. It doesn’t matter to me if I go out on weekends or not. I grew tired of not being home most of the time back in the Philippines, so I’m taking this chance to just stay home and do nothing. One problem is when I start using my laptop in the morning, I don’t keep track of time which makes it difficult for me to go out. And, I’m too lazy to commute sometimes!

Anyway, people have been asking me a lot about how I think of Sweden. I don’t know what to say or how to react. Usually, I say “I like it here.” But, they want to know more. As I’ve mentioned, I’m still living in my own bubble here. I can’t put into words about how much I love Sweden, so I’m going to try it in this post.

Of course, there are struggles. I’d be lying if I say there are no problems here. From my previous post, My First Week in Sweden, I mentioned the language barrier. I can pick up a few Swedish words now, but I haven’t given myself enough time to focus on studying Swedish. Since I cannot enroll myself to SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) for now, I’m learning Swedish through Duolingo or Learning Swedish, a free online course.

9 Reasons Why I Love Sweden

1. People

One thing I love the most about Sweden is people respect your privacy. I’ve read a lot about how hard it will be to make friends here since most people are reserved or aloof. People here won’t talk to a stranger all of a sudden. I also noticed that some don’t like small talk, so they try to avoid eye contact as much as possible. It’s funny because I’m like that too. I get uncomfortable when people start a small-talk conversation, so I just try to be busy with my phone. Usually, I just smile when I pass by an acquaintance or someone I met before. But, if you are in a small-talk conversation, it’s better to talk about the weather, food or vacation.

Also, people are open-minded and they mind their own business. I love how you could talk to each other despite the differences in beliefs without belittling one another. That’s something that I always look forward to because it’s rare to have a decent conversation nowadays especially about sensitive topics.

I was told before that it’s not typical to greet your neighbors. I read about it before as well. That’s why I was surprised when my neighbors greet me whenever we pass by each other.

2. You do things on your own

3. Recycling

Whenever you buy items or products here, you will see a label “Förpackningar” at the back of its packaging. This indicates how you will sort it: metal, plastic, paper or glass. I only learned how to separate my wastes accordingly when I moved here. As much as possible, I want to reduce my waste and plastic usage. I’m still not there, but whenever I have plastics, I try to reuse it as much as I can.

It’s not difficult to recycle since there are available bins nearby. In fact, there are machines outside grocery stores where you can put cans and bottles. You’ll get at least 1 SEK each, which encourages people to recycle more.

4. Public transportation

Back in the Philippines, I don’t often use trains. It’s crowded and sometimes unreliable. Riding a bus there is difficult as well. People love to push each other just to get on the bus. Although there are places where you can commute in peace. Here in Sweden, it’s different. People know how to queue and let others alight the train or bus. I love the discipline of the people!

Commuting is an option. People don’t often use cars because they have reliable public transportation already. You can walk home peacefully and comfortably because it’s safe.

5. Work-life balance

I cannot remember how much I tweeted about the work-life balance in Sweden. I was lucky enough to have worked in companies that allow you to go home on time in the Philippines. I don’t like the mentality of staying at work longer means you are working hard.

Sometimes, I go to work between 8 – 9 in the morning. My coworkers leave by 5 more often, and the office is usually empty by 5:30 or later. I remember a coworker asked me why I’m still at work. I’m confused because I know I have to work 8 hours per day. Not necessarily, but you can work anyhow you want as long as it’s 40 hours per week.

You don’t have to make yourself miserable to be successful. It’s natural to look back and mythologize the long nights and manic moments of genius, but success isn’t about working hard, it’s about working smart.

Andrew Wilkinson, founder of MetaLab

6. Nature

7. It has a modern society

Going back to number 1, I love Sweden because of the people. Everyone thinks that everybody is equal and should be given the same opportunities. Companies believe that diversity is key, as well as gender equality. They don’t stereotype. Don’t get me wrong, I know racism and inequality are still there.

8. It’s a developed country

9. Fika culture

I don’t think there is a rough translation for fika. Basically, fika is a coffee-with-sweets break. You probably already know that Swedes love coffee, but fika is not only about drinking coffee. It’s this time when people socialize with each other over coffee.

The closest thing that I could think of is when we have merienda in the Philippines where we eat snacks and drink coffee in the afternoon.

There are so many reasons to love Sweden. I’m sure I would have more to say once I get to experience Sweden more. I’ve only been living here for almost 5 months, so I don’t have much to say. I try not to compare Sweden and the Philippines, but there are so many differences and similarities at the same time. You could say that I’m culture-shocked, but that’s how I feel. Do I want to live here for good? If given the chance to, yes. Definitely!

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