Few days ago a co-worker brought candies to the office and left them on a table so everyone could take some. Several hours later I passed by the bag wanting to take one more but when I realised there was only one left I automatically walked by and made it to my desk without taking the last piece. As soon as I sat, a thought started haunting me immediately: am I becoming a Swede?! I didn’t take the last piece… a Swedish unspoken rule. They even have a word for that: trivselbit.
Am I already one of them? I have almost one year in this country and despite that my colourful backpack and bright yellow jacket give away that am from the Caribbean there’re other traits that I realised have grown in me. Making this Dominican slightly Scandinavian.
It makes sense, living in a foreign place requires some sort of logistic that goes beyond having a personal number and opening a bank account. In order to survive you intuitively adapt, “the last piece of candy, situation” was the first sign… here are nine more.
9 signs that I’m (perhaps) becoming a Swede:
- There’s definitely more black and grey in my wardrobe. Classy, versatile, scandinavian.
- I own a bike and rather use it over public transportation.
- I have happily worn tennis shoes to work (and to party), it’s just so comfortable!
- When we say we are going to meet at 20:00 I show up at 20:00 even if its just get together with friends, there’s no reason to be late. Oh, and I notice I also write the using the military way, 20:00 haha!
- I fully listen when people talk, and don’t interrupt until they finish (ok, this is not 100% true, but I’m getting better at it).
- “Fika” has become an important part of my vocabulary, and yes, it’s ok to drink coffee at 17:00.
- I’ve gain serious skills at reduce, reuse and recycle! I actually was upset when I realised that in my place at Stockholm I only have to recycle in 3 bins and not 6 as I was already used to do it in Helsingborg.
- I bring my own bags to the supermarket,
buy healthy food, use the self check-out system and then… pack everything myself.
- I talk about the weather, complain about the weather, base my plans on the weather, Oh… the weather.
And the verdict is….
Despite I’m happy that a little part of Scandinavia is now also part of me: Will I ever fully become a Swede? Unlikely. My strong Dominican traits are here to stay. Like the moment, I hear merengue, salsa or bachata music my hips start moving without even asking for my permission. I will never think 18C is “going for a swim” kind of weather and I’m still louder that the average swede. But that’s fine, diversity is also part of a Sweden being open to the world, it will be boring if we were all the same.
The key is being able to adapt, combining characteristics and ways of thinking. Sometimes it has certain advantage becoming a swede, like when I walked over melted-icy-snow during the winter and a lot of patience was required to slowly move calculating every step. Some other times it’s convenient being more Latina than Swede… like that last piece of candy, I should have taken it!