I have a confession. I’m a green eyed monster. My wrath is directed towards people with blonde hair specifically. Don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are blondes, including my good looking partner, my gorgeous mother, my handsome brother and his super cute girlfriend. But there’s a chip on my shoulder which I attempt to hide with my dark brown hair. I’m pretty sure my eyes would still be green though even if I wasn’t jealous of their golden, shiny, light reflecting loveliness.
My partner Tomas is half Swedish. Did I tell you we got the chance to visit Sweden this September on our European holiday? Can you imagine my excitement? It was equaled by my trepidation. Visiting an entire country full of gorgeous Nordic superior beings sounds delightfully self-confidence shattering to me. Not only are they naturally physically enhanced, they’re super stylish too.
But as it turns out, not everyone in Sweden is blonde. (Gasp! Stereotypes aren’t always true?!) And despite my paranoia of thinking that everyone I pass on the street is looking down on me, assuming I’m an inferior immigrant outsider from an Arabian country, who’s come to Sweden to sponge off the welfare system and is diluting the traditional Aryan lifestyle with suspect morals, suspect values, suspect religious beliefs etc I had a lovely time there. My grasp of the Swedish language is rudimentary, to say the least, but they didn’t hold that (or any of my other imaginary defects) against me.
Because Sweden is awesome.
You may think of Sweden and think wealthy Scandinavian country, purveyor of Ikea, Volvo and Saab. You may think Abba, Ingmar Bergman, Astrid Lindgreen, massage, meatballs and vikings.
Those things, whilst worthy and notable, are not why I love Sweden though. Here’s my list of things I love about Sweden, complete with holiday snapshots. I do hope you enjoy them!
Films like Så som i Himmelen (As it is in heaven), Låt den rätte komma in (Let the right one in), Zozo, Fucking Amal (Show me Love) and Fröken Sverige (Miss Sweden). Seek them out if you haven’t seen them already. They’re ever so lovely and heartwarming. They may have nasty bullies in them (with super blonde hair, just like Draco Malfoy) but the underdog always comes out on top. You’ll love them, especially Zozo. I do love Zozo.
Sweet, sultry indie pop music by El Perro Del Mar, Lykki Li, Jen Lekman, Peter Bjorn and John.
Books like The Millenium Trilogy by Steig Larsson. So trashy, so much gratuitous violence, yet completely unputdownable. It’s not high literature or anything, but you know, it doesn’t have to have won a Booker Prize to be a good read, does it! That intriguing Lisbeth Salander, that Kalle Blomkvist, they sucked me right in.
Artists like Camilla Engman. She’s amazing. Her art is darling and her happy snaps are so beautiful. She created my igoogle skin and she just shared this lovely desktop wallpaper too. My computer is always ‘Engmanned’ and as a result I’m always whimsically inspired!
Bloggers like Chez Larson. What a crafty, organised women she is! Swedish houses are ever so clean and organised, I can only dream of being that tidy.
Fashion and interiors by Gudren Sjoden. She’s richly colourful with lots of lovely embroidery that reminds me of Vietnam, Frida Kahlo and folk festivals. Being Scandinavian means she’s also way out of my price range. Sigh…
Food like Jansens temptation, brun kol, sil salad, lingonberry jam, elderberry cordial, kalles kaviar and meetballs that my father-in-law Janne makes. Pretty much everything we have to eat every Christmas Eve! I’ll share some of that in a few weeks time.
And Stockholm! It’s such a beautiful city. Elegant buildings, beautiful parks, cobblestone streets and lots of sparkling water.
And Skåne, the region down south where my Swedish family comes from, with lovely cities like Malmö, Lund and sleepy villages like Klippan.
And of course, the best thing to come out of Sweden is my love…and like Thor the God of Thunder, he refuses to smile in photos.
Do you love Sweden? Please tell me what Swedish things, people and places I should look out for!