Aussies in Sweden
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422 reasons and going strong!

Wild Strawberries, Stockholm

This seems to be an almost bottomless list. If you can think of any others, please email me at and I'll happily add them in.

1. You rummage through your plastic bag collection to see which ones you can keep to take to the shop and which ones can be sacrificed for rubbish.

2. You no longer snigger when you see grown women walking around with their hair in plaits.

3. The first thing you do upon entering a bank/post office/chemist etc. is to look for the queue number machine.

4. You accept that you will have to queue to take a queue number.

5. When a stranger on the street smiles at you, you assume:
a: he is drunk
b: he is insane
c: he's an American

6. You don't think twice about putting the wet dishes away in the cupboard to dry.

7. A friend asks about your holiday plans and you answer "Oh, I'm going to Europe!" meaning any other Western European country outside of Sweden.

8. You no longer crunch up or fold your paper money. You always put your money in your wallet.

9. You see a student taking a front row seat on the bus and wonder "Who does he think he is?"

10. Silence is fun.

11. The reason you take the ferry to Finland is:
a: duty free vodka
b: duty free beer
c: to party hearty. .. no need to get off the boat in Helsinki, just turn around and do it again on the way back to Sweden.

12. Your coffee consumption exceeds 6 cups a day and coffee is too weak if there is less than 10 scoops per pot.

13. You pass a supermarket and think "Wow, it is open, I had better go in an buy something!"

14. A sharp intake of breath has become part of your vocabulary, as has the sound "Jah hahh"

15. Your native language has seriously deteriorated, now you begin to "eat medicine", "open the television", "close the lights off", "take a beer", "look upon everything" and tell someone to "follow with me" or "you needn't to!" You start to say "for 2 years ago" and expressions like "Don't panic" creep into your everyday language.

16. You associate pea soup with Thursday.

17. Your idea of unforgivable behaviour now includes walking across the street when the light is red and there is no WALK symbol, even though there are no cars in sight.

18. Your notion of street life is reduced to the few teenagers hanging out in front of the railway station on Friday nights.

19. Your bad mood becomes your good mood.

20. Sundays no longer seem dull with all the shops closed, and begin to feel restful instead.

21. "No comment" becomes a conversation strategy.

22. You have only two facial expressions - smiling or blank. Also your arms are just hanging down when you chat with other people.

23. The fact that all of the "v's" and the "w's" are together in the phone directory seems right.

24. Your old habit of being "fashionably late" is no longer acceptable. You are always on time.

25. Hugging is reserved for sexual foreplay

26. You begin to understand Johan Tornberg's broadcast of the hockey game.

27. You refuse to wear a hat, even in minus 20 degree weather.

28. You hear loud-talking passengers on the train. You immediately assume:> a: they are drunk
b: they are Finnish
c: they are American
d: all of the above

29. You give up on trying to find fat-free food and pile on the butter, cream and sugar.

30. You know how to fix herring in 105 different ways.

31. You eat herring in 105 ways.

32. You no longer look at sports pants as casual wear, but recognise them as semi-formal wear.

33. Your front step is beginning to resemble a shoe shop.

34. You are no longer scared of Volvos and Volvo drivers

35. You have undergone a transformation
a: you accept blodkorv as food
b: you accept surstromming as food
c: you accept alcohol as food
d: you accept

36. You can actually drink the coffee.

37. You no longer have to search for the flushing mechanism.

38. You no longer see any problem wearing white socks with sandals.

39. Indoors you wear sandals with socks, regardless of the season.

40. You no longer correct people who say MAC Donald's.

41. You just love Jaffa.

42. You've come to expect Sunday morning sidewalk vomit dodging.

43. You know that religious holiday means let's get pissed.

44. You enjoy the taste of surströmming and lutfisk.

45. You know that "men's public bathroom" is another phrase for footpath.

46. You know that more than three channels means cable.

47. You get all the Finnish and Norwegians jokes.

48. When you're hungry you can peel a boiled potato like lightning.

49. You eat jam with savoury dishes

50. You've become lactose intolerant.

60. Someone calls you a "good moron" first thing in the morning and you smile acknowledgement.

61. It's acceptable to eat lunch at 11.00.

62. Julmust starts to taste good.

63. You associate Friday afternoon with a trip to systembolaget.

64. You think nothing of paying $50 for a bottle of 'cheap' spirits at systembolaget

65. You know all of the "telephone times" by heart.

66. It seems sensible that the age limit at Stockholm night clubs is 25.

67. You actually care who wins 'Expedition: Robinson'

68. You have your own innebandy club.

69. You find yourself debating the politics of the social democrats.

70. You use 'mmmm' as a conversation filler.

71. You have only two facial expressions, smiling or blank.

72. You think it's more fun to stay at home and drink then go out.

73. You wear warm clothing when it's 25 degrees plus in April - because it's April.

74. You wear shorts and t-shirt when it's barely 10 degrees in July - because it's July.

75. You get extremely annoyed when the bus is two minutes late.

76. You think women are more than equal than men and deserve to have better positions in the work place.

77. Your wife watches TV while you look after the kids.

78. You become a punctuality freak and dump your friends for being late more than once.

79. You spend the week's entertainment budget on a pack of cigarettes and a drink in Gamla Stan.

80. When a stranger asks you a question in the streets, you think it's normal to just keep walking, saying nothing.

81. You've been engaged for four years and don't have any plans to get married.

82. Americans start to look entertaining, witty and fun, and you just want to go to the U.S.A., travelling across country on a greyhound, because it's "romantic."

83. You and your friends know exactly the same information, and have the same attitudes and beliefs in the value of Social Democracy.

84. You lose any artistic talent whatsoever.

85. You think that if you smoke a joint you will wind up in an insane asylum. [or become a habitual criminal]

86. You jot down 'fisk fingrar' on your shopping list.

87. You no longer look for Vegemite on supermarket shelves, even if it's your first time in that particular shop.

90. You think black rimmed glasses are cool. Your wardrobe now consists of 20 different shades of black and grey.

89. You stop explaining to people what Christmas Crackers are and accept that they aren't - at least in Sweden

90. You have an uncontrollable urge to mail this list and point out the numbering is incorrect!

91. It doesn't feel like lunch unless it's a hot, full course meal drenched in gravy.

92. You eat unlimited amounts of sausage products without worrying about your nitrate intake.

93. You think that an unripe wedge of tomato on a limp leaf of iceberg lettuce can be called a salad.

94. You don't question the concept of 'telephone time'. It seems reasonable that no business can be conducted on Friday afternoons. [or the entire month of July]

95. You assume that anyone who apologises after bumping into you is a tourist.

96. You feel discomfort if you can't find the nummerlap machine.

97. You reach for your pocket 20 times a day as mobile phones ring all around you.

98. You actually care if your mobile phone meets the fashion standard - and so do your new Swedish friends.

99. It seems reasonable that even those begging for money at T-centralen reach for their pocket as the melodic music of the Swedish mobile phone resounds.

100. You get into a Mercedes taxi cab and think nothing of it

101. Paying $6 for a cup of coffee seems reasonable.

102. You understand that when a colleague asks you out for "a drink," it will probably be a long night with a severe hangover the next day.

103. You start to think that having a sauna in the nude with a bunch of strangers is a necessary part of daily life ... and a necessary part of business.

104. You start to differentiate between types of snow.

105. You get offended if, at a dinner party, someone fails to look you in the eyes after raising their glass for a toast

106. Seeing a young woman with lit candles stuck to her head no longer disturbs you.

107. You become extremely skilled at assembling pre-packaged furniture kits.

108. "Candles" are a permanent fixture on your weekly shopping list.

109. You get to the movies early so that you can watch the commercials.

110. Most of your friends have the same names and you must use both names to distinguish between them.

111. You manage to convince yourself that you really enjoy eating potatoes, tuna, pasta and sausages and it's not just because that's all you can afford to eat here.

112. You accept you must walk 2 kilometres to collect your book/tape from the Post Office, because they don't deliver small packages (or large ones)

113. You finally accept that the milkman isn't going to roll up - ever- and you have to go out in the snow to the shop to buy your milk.

114. Your shed becomes the first stage in the recycling process and you can't get in it for bags of paper/cardboard/bottles, refundable glass/plastic, recyclable glass/plastic/ containers/etc.

115. You accept that you will never again wear your beautiful stiletto heels because:> a: there's snow everywhere and even if you did then,> b: you still have to take them off at the door which instantly ruins the hitherto glamorous line of whatever you were wearing as you drop, 10cm, onto your flat feet in your short and sexy little black dress. Not the same effect at all.

116. When offered a bottle of beer the first thing you look at is the alcoholic percentage.

117. You take every opportunity to raise an enormous flag in your garden.

118. You can't contemplate actually doing anything until you've first had a 'fika' (with coffee AND cake).

119. You think it entirely reasonable to pay $40 for a five minute chat with the doctor.

120. You use the alcohol percentage-per-kroner standard for measuring the quality of beer and wine.

121. You think it is normal EVERYTHING is regulated and you obey the rules voluntarily.

122. You no longer snigger when your kids ask for a Plopp when you're out shopping

123. You think it's normal to park your car only on the right hand side of the street and are quite happy to move it elsewhere on Thursday evening because the street is being cleaned

124. You accept that you will get parking tickets regularly and stop caring that you have no idea what was wrong with your parking.

125. You don't eat the jacket on your potato.

126. Nobody fights to get the "parsons nose".

127. People keep showing you print outs of this list on the bus.

128. Hearing the words f*ck and shag on daytime TV seems perfectly normal.

129. You think Australia is wrong to drive on the left hand side of the road.

130. You mutter "oy,oy,oy" continually to yourself even though you are the only one in the room.

131. You understand why there is a Green, Red and Blue underground.

132. You understand why the underground does not only operate underground.

133. Even you can hear your own accent.

134. When someone asks you for "sex" you assume they mean half-a-dozen.

135. All winter you dream of what you will do in summer, and summer is the warmest day of the year

136. You wear a dress or skirt over your trousers and combine them with training shoes (this is especially problematic if you are male)

137. You expect to find the glove you dropped in February hanging on a post in June

138. Bringing dead sticks indoors at Easter and hanging coloured feathers on them seems a good way to celebrate spring.

139. Pigs say "nerf nerf", frogs say "kvack, kvack" and roosters say "kuckeliku"

130. You mutter "oy,oy,oy" continually to yourself even though you are the only one in the room.

131. You understand why there is a Green, Red and Blue underground.

132. You understand why the underground does not only operate underground.

133. Even you can hear your own accent.

134. When someone asks you for "sex" you assume they mean half-a-dozen.

135. All winter you dream of what you will do in summer, and summer is the warmest day of the year

136. You wear a dress or skirt over your trousers and combine them with training shoes (this is especially problematic if you are male)

137. You expect to find the glove you dropped in February hanging on a post in June

138. Bringing dead sticks indoors at Easter and hanging coloured feathers on them seems a good way to celebrate spring.

139. Pigs say "nerf nerf", frogs say "kvack, kvack" and roosters say "kuckeliku"

140. You immediately think that a bottle of wine contains 75cl, and a carton of cream is 3dl. And you can't for the life of you remember just what 500ml is in dl or cl.

141. "It's 5 degrees outside" does not necessarily mean PLUS 5, it could mean minus 5.

142. You talk of 10C as "10 degrees cold", when in Australia +10C would be considered cold. And who else calls +1C, "one degree warm"!

143. You know that "Extrapris" goods are cheaper, even though your English mind translates the word as "extra price"

144. You will squeeze past somebody rather than say excuse me.

145. When returning to "civilisation" you hear yourself saying TACK all the time.

146. The first thing you do in the morning is to switch on your car heater.

147. Drinking spirits can only be accompanied by formal singing from song sheets and vice versa.

148. You accept that adverts for houses do not include the price of the house.

149. You accept that Job adverts do not include the salary scale.

150. A fun way for people to pass a wintry afternoon is to watch a Bandy match outdoors when it's minus 20 degrees.

151. Everybody has an outdoor thermometer at home and they all compare temperatures when they get to work.

152. You start eating egg and bacon instead of bacon and eggs.

153. You ringed somebody yesterday instead of you rang them.

154. Your husband is very long instead of being very tall

155. You think coffee is supposed to look and taste like mud, complete with a mouthful of coffee ground sediment.

156. You pay the TV-avgift because you think you're getting your money's worth watching SVT.

157. You start looking at socialbidrag (welfare) less as an absolutely desperate last resort and more as a way of life.

158. You pour filmjölk (soured milk) on your Kellogg's Frosties.

159. You put tomato sauce (as in Heinz Big Red) on your macaroni. Just tomato sauce. And love it.

160. Your preferred pancake topping is lingonsylt.

161. You begin thinking that you're going to actually miss blood pudding for breakfast while you're visiting Australia

162. You don't want a cold glass of Coke with ice on hot summer days but rather a nice steaming cup of coffee.

163. You start to think that smoking is really not that bad, even for 13 year olds.

164. You stop searching for a T-Bone steak.

165. You start believing that good service is overrated.

166. You can't remember the words to the theme of Gilligan's Island.

167. You accept and take for granted that you will just have to suffer through a cold.

168. You take two hour naps at work and the idea of losing your job never crosses your mind.

169. You don't even get surprised when the doctor, not only can't help you, he/she can't even diagnose you.

170. You take it as a given that your wife/husband will get so wasted on Midsommar that he/she will end up in bed with someone other than yourself.

171. You tailgate people who are driving 120 on the freeway.

172. You think Australian coffee tastes like water.

173. You don't get disgusted by the little balls of discarded snus (chewing tobacco) at your feet at every bus stop.

174. You don't even get disgusted by seeing people spit, constantly.

175. You start talking to yourself in Swedish.

176. You think nothing of spending all day at IKEA looking for a piece of furniture and then spending the whole next day putting it together.

177. You wonder how you ever lived with wall to wall carpeting

178. You take your shoes off when entering a house while visiting your family in Australia.

179. You can't throw a plastic bottle away with out having a guilty conscience.

180. You think an hour and a half cycle on your washing machine is a quick wash;.

181. You not only order a pizza with asparagus, banana and bernaise sauce on it, but you actually like it and wonder why they don't offer it back in Australia.

182. You think of where you will be going in terms of the shoes that you will wear. Your favourite pair of "Barbie" shoes keep getting buried further and further back in the wardrobe.

183. You find yourself munching on Kalles Kaviar and hardbrod at 3 A.M.

184. You get used to hotdogs being called sausage and you eat them as the "meat" part of a meal without a bun.

185. You find yourself wobbling home from the pub on your bicycle.

186. You know how to take care of a toddler, a pram with baby, a shopping trolley (that needs to be returned for the coin), paying for and bagging all your own groceries, without ever once expecting anyone to offer to help you.

187. You hide 5 or 6 bottles of spirits in your suitcase, one or two in your backpack, and put just one in the duty free shopping bag.

188. You think horse meat is a totally acceptable sandwich topping.

189. You think there is nothing wrong with planning Christmas around Kalle Anka (Donald Duck).

190. You don't even think about what you are saying when you are off to the shop to buy your favourite brand of cat food, and you say, "Be right back love, I'm just gonna go get some Pussi"

191. You start calling Coke "cola".

192. You get up for a cigarette at 2 AM in July and put on your sunglasses first.

193. You have 53 different recipes for strömming and you're about ready to clip number 54 from Dagens Nyheter.

194. You start thinking dance bands and Tom Jones are kind of cool.

195. You think that people who wear other colours apart from black, grey, white or blue are exhibitionists.

196. You start to miss falukorv when you go on vacation

197. You know the words to more than one 'snapsvisa' and sing them without difficulty.

198. You can deal with the idea that the week starts on Monday.

199. You would never ever even consider using a metal knife on the butter.

200. You are no longer offended by the fact that you are a Swedish size XL when at "home" you are a medium.

201. "Godis" and "glass" become daily necessities.

202. When visiting others you try to go in first. If it's locked THEN you ring the doorbell.

203. While visiting England someone gives you directions and says, "It's about 5 miles down the road." You in turn ask, "Are you talking Swedish miles or English miles?"

204. You start spelling the days of the week in lowercase! monday, tuesday....

205. You find that you can't spell in English anymore. You now replace C with K. Like panik, automatik, seasik, arithmetik.... and you try to remember does papper/paper have one or two p's in English?

206. You no longer make appointments, but instead you book times.

207. You read text instead of sub-titles.

208. As a student, you accept and even enjoy getting dressed in formal wear to go to a candle-lit 3 course dinner where you will alternately bang on your table and stand on your chair singing songs in praise of alcohol each and every time you attempt to raise your fork to your mouth.

209. You have an Åhlgrens "Bilar" addiction.

210. You know all the Fanta and Marabou flavours.

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