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Lessons from a Month in Sweden
Old 02-24-2017, 10:35 AM   #1
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Lessons from a Month in Sweden

Just got back from Sweden. We went for the funeral of Lena's mom, who died at eighty-nine. We stayed for a month to investigate whether we'd want to move to Sweden.

We actually had a wonderful time, despite two colds and two twenty-five-hour, four-plane airplane trips.



Here are two tips based on my experience:

1. Declutter now.

Lena, her brother, her sister and I spent many hours throwing and giving away stuff from her mom's house (her dad died a few years ago). Here are Lena and her sister sorting photos (I scanned in hundreds).



Lots of interesting photos, such as my notes for the speech I gave at our wedding in 1981 (in Swedish) and this picture of Lena from long ago:



Some of the things they had were 100+ years old. We made over eight trips to the dump/återvinning center. There are still many things left in the house.

2. Keep Your Passport Current

For some reason, until our departure date was three weeks away, both Lena and I forgot that my passport had expired. So, instead of a trip to the local post office and a $60 fee, I had to make an emergency trip to San Fran.

There were catch-22s such as I didn't want to make the reservations until I knew I'd be able to renew my passport, and I couldn't get an expedited passport until I had reservations.

With airfare and other expenses, it cost $700 to get my passport renewed.

--------------

I've posted annotated photos of the trip here.

Check out this video of a typical four-language (English, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian) dinner at Lena's brother's house.

I'll be posting more musings and info about the trip in my author newsletter. Click here to subscribe (you can cancel at any time).
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Old 02-24-2017, 11:23 AM   #2
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Sorry to hear about Lena's mom.

What was your conclusion about moving to Sweden?
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Old 02-24-2017, 11:32 AM   #3
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Condolences to you and Lena.
The pictures are great. DH family is from Sweden, and we would like to travel there in the next year or two.
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Old 02-24-2017, 12:20 PM   #4
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I can empathize with the comments about decluttering. A couple of years ago my Mum died and I had to clean out the family home back in the UK. My mum saved everything! She kept the house very clean and tidy, but it was packed. She still had my school books from the 1960s and 70s. I made lots of trips to the recycling center, took stuff to the charity shop and tried to distribute the furniture to the family. It was a lot of work.
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Old 02-24-2017, 01:03 PM   #5
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What was your conclusion about moving to Sweden?
I concluded that I could very well live in Sweden. I enjoyed working on my latest book. I usually commuted to the wonderful library (30 minute walk) so as to stay out of the way while the siblings made decisions.





I really enjoyed the winter weather, but it could get tiring. Because of an unusual lack of snow, the whole place was a skating rink.




And we always had to wear studded shoe coverings:





And it was a bother to always have to put those on or take them off when going in or out.

Then it finally snowed, and the snow would pack around the studs, and, with the ice underneath, all friction disappeared. One day I fell twice, and almost fell about six times. It made the news that the ERs were full of falling injuries that day.

But I loved the snow, and I always had a Christmasy feeling when outside. Every day was a snow day!

https://goo.gl/photos/Ji6CkHdiHxXBULDz5

Eating low-carb was harder in Sweden.

Buying things on Amazon is not easy. The Post Office doesn't deliver packages even though they are open 7 days a week, 9 AM - 10 PM.

The showstopper, however, is taxes. It seems that I'd have a lot of paperwork related to taxes, and would possibly have to pay tax twice on some stuff.

Lena pretty much does NOT want to move to Sweden.

Bottom line, it's an option, but we probably won't do it.
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Old 02-25-2017, 06:58 AM   #6
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That picture makes you look like William H. Macy.
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Old 02-25-2017, 09:36 AM   #7
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It's interesting that eating low carb is harder in Sweden. I thought low carb has been popular there for years.

https://healthimpactnews.com/2013/sw...fat-nutrition/
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Old 02-25-2017, 01:47 PM   #8
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That picture makes you look like William H. Macy.


Hope Al's not trying to negotiate a kidnapping.

Welcome back Al.
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Old 02-25-2017, 03:01 PM   #9
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Al, By the looks of some of the pics, you probably could have gone places on ice skates instead of the studded shoe covers.
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Little Mermaid?
Old 02-25-2017, 07:54 PM   #10
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Little Mermaid?

The picture of your wife on the rocks recalls the famous Danish Mermaid statue, was it intentional?

Sorry for your loss.
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Old 02-28-2017, 03:26 PM   #11
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It's interesting that eating low carb is harder in Sweden. I thought low carb has been popular there for years.

https://healthimpactnews.com/2013/sw...fat-nutrition/
Yeah, that's what I expected. One place had an LCHF menu, and we found LCHF "semlor" at one bakery, but other than that it seemed that most things had even more sugar than here. When I asked for no mashed potatoes at one restaurant, the server was dumbfounded.

Semlor:

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Old 02-28-2017, 06:19 PM   #12
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The picture of your wife on the rocks recalls the famous Danish Mermaid statue, was it intentional?
She says no, not intentional. That picture was taken in Italy, by the way.
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Old 02-28-2017, 06:25 PM   #13
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Al, By the looks of some of the pics, you probably could have gone places on ice skates instead of the studded shoe covers.
Absolutely.

I passed this schoolyard when I walked to the library. The kids were out at recess even when the temps were around 0 degrees F.

You might think they're playing hockey here, but no, they were playing soccer.



They had much less snow than usual, but luckily we had a good snowfall a few days before we left. I really loved that. It gave me a nostalgic, Christmasy feeling.

https://goo.gl/photos/wb86PKyJRpYZBjpy9


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Old 02-28-2017, 07:20 PM   #14
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Yeah, that's what I expected. One place had an LCHF menu, and we found LCHF "semlor" at one bakery, but other than that it seemed that most things had even more sugar than here. When I asked for no mashed potatoes at one restaurant, the server was dumbfounded.
Interesting!

I just googled and found this article which says that while 74.1% of U.S. adults are overweight, only 49.7% of Swedish adults are overweight. I assume that is attributed to a more active lifestyle? If so, then if you lived there and adopted their more active lifestyle, along with your bicycling and so on, then maybe you could eat all those sugary foods and still have not much problem keeping your weight down.

OK, pardon my rambling but it sure sounds like heaven to me.
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Old 02-28-2017, 08:03 PM   #15
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Maybe it is something else. Only about 55% of adults in Seattle are overweight, which is closer to Sweden. Maybe the USA just has some heavier parts.
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Old 02-28-2017, 08:08 PM   #16
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Maybe it is something else. Only about 55% of adults in Seattle are overweight, which is closer to Sweden. Maybe the USA just has some heavier parts.
There is a gravitational anomaly under North America particularly in the South and Central portions that explains 97.5% of the overweight issue
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Old 02-28-2017, 08:23 PM   #17
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There is a gravitational anomaly under North America particularly in the South and Central portions that explains 97.5% of the overweight issue
Or possibly just that southern cooking uses a lot of butter and is just really damn good!
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Old 02-28-2017, 08:28 PM   #18
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Maybe it is something else. Only about 55% of adults in Seattle are overweight, which is closer to Sweden. Maybe the USA just has some heavier parts.
Guess that comparative percentages for one wealthy city vs an entire nation depend on who did the statistics and their methodology, assumptions, and so on. Either way, my point still holds so I'll repeat it.

Just think! If you moved to Sweden and adopted their more active lifestyle, maybe you in Seattle could eat all their sugary foods with lesser consequences too.
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Old 02-28-2017, 08:30 PM   #19
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There is a gravitational anomaly under North America particularly in the South and Central portions that explains 97.5% of the overweight issue
That is because everybody on the east and west coast is working 25 hours/day trying to pay the rent! They don't have time to eat.
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Or possibly just that southern cooking uses a lot of butter and is just really damn good!
Your fish up there in Seattle is really good too, yum, and maybe less butter although I wouldn't bet the farm on it.
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Old 02-28-2017, 09:22 PM   #20
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Interesting!
I just googled and found this article which says that while 74.1% of U.S. adults are overweight, only 49.7% of Swedish adults are overweight. I assume that is attributed to a more active lifestyle? If so, then if you lived there and adopted their more active lifestyle, along with your bicycling and so on, then maybe you could eat all those sugary foods and still have not much problem keeping your weight down.
I'm sure an active lifestyle helps and not having a group of junk fast food restaurants on every major street corner also probably helps.
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