Masthead header
  • Swedish vs. American Culture

    Sven is Swedish, I'm American. Here's where you'll find a compilation of our biggest culture clashes and interesting observations about each other's countrymen. Have one you'd like to suggest? I'd love to hear it, message me!

Category Archives: Swedish vs. American

Eat to live or live to eat?

Sven and I are back to reality after our wonderful week in Kauai. It really is one of the most gorgeous places we’ve ever visited, and highly recommend it (seriously, send me a message if you want to know more)! We loved the active lifestyle and shared so many fun adventures like hiking an 8 […]

Read full post »

I want to be a Swedish baby

So far, I’ve started 2016 with a week of the flu, followed by a week of pneumonia, which I’m still currently nursing. This means I’ve been in the office exactly 1.75 days this year and inside my 500 square foot apartment for about 8.25…and counting. It’s freezing outside, and I barely have the energy to […]

Read full post »

Every high school sophomore in Sweden got this book

One week ago, the Swedish translation of We Should All Be Feminists by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was distributed to every high school sophomore in Sweden. Adichie’s 2013 TED talk of the same title garnered millions of views as she called for a globally gender-equal society. Beyonce referenced this speech in her song “Flawless,” […]

Read full post »

Swedish vs. American (and Filipino!) foods

Being in an intercultural relationship certainly has its pros (world travel, learning new perspectives) and its cons (culture clashes, language barriers), and I think that cuisine serves as a fun microcosm for that. In the eleven years since Sven and I first met, we’ve introduced new delicious foods into each others’ diets, yet there are […]

Read full post »

Maria & Jani’s So-Called Perfect “Marriage”

This month’s so-called perfect couple is not actually married, but by Swedish standards, they basically are. It’s the norm (not just common, but actually the norm) to not get married in Sweden and raise a family just as if you are. Imagine a country full of Goldie Hawns and Kurt Russells with their ridiculously good-looking babies. Americans are […]

Read full post »

Swedish vs. American strawberries

Summer is finally here! I love the fresh produce of summer, especially juicy, ripe watermelon on a hot summer day. And fresh watermelon juice is my favorite…I actually get sad when the stores stop selling it in the fall! Another one of my favorite summer fruits are strawberries. But Sven doesn’t care for American strawberries […]

Read full post »

What’s up with American girls and pillows?

The other night, I had a girlfriend over, and she raved about our pillows. Sven asked her if she had as many pillows in her apartment. “Of course,” she said. “You’re not going to win this one. The pillows are a must. I love pillows!” An hour later, another girlfriend came over. She, too, raved […]

Read full post »

Americanisms Sven can’t relate to: Super Bowl edition

Of all American sports, football is the only one that Sven has gotten into since moving here eight years ago. His favorite team is the Giants, because they won the Super Bowl the year he moved to New York, so he jumped right on that bandwagon. Unfortunately (on multiple levels), my favorite team is the […]

Read full post »

2014 Roundup!

I don’t think there’s ever been a year where I said, “this was the longest year ever.” It always seems that the holidays creep up on us, and we’re amazed at how quickly the year has gone by. This year is no exception – it doesn’t seem like it’s been a full year since my blog […]

Read full post »

Does being in a happy relationship make you less ambitious?

Regardless of how much I may have accomplished by the age of 31, I feel constantly – even obsessively – pressured by the things I haven’t done. (See: Writing my first novel, starting a business, developing passive income streams so I no longer have to work, turning this blog into a book/movie/internet sensation.) There’s this […]

Read full post »

What’s up with Americans and their man caves?

It’s been a while since I’ve heard Sven say, “What’s up with Americans and their [fill in the blank]?” Probably because he’s basically becoming American himself. However, since we recently bought a house that requires extensive renovations, we’ve been watching a lot of HGTV. For those of you unfamiliar with HGTV, it’s a channel that […]

Read full post »

What is a life you don’t need to escape from?

I don’t actually remember where I saw this sign. I think it was in an airport. Or in Sweden. Maybe at an airport in Sweden. Maybe it was somewhere else entirely, but really it doesn’t matter. It’s the message that stuck with me. I’m always thinking about/researching/planning/dreaming of ways to improve my lifestyle. I’m also a […]

Read full post »

Country Boy, City Boy: 5 Things I Never Thought I’d Hear Sven Say

My husband Sven moved to New York City in the beginning of 2007 – almost eight years ago! After two years in a long-distance relationship, Sven completed his masters’ program in Sweden and moved here so we could finally be together full-time. While we had no issues sharing space in our tiny little apartment, outside […]

Read full post »

What were Scandinavians like in 1966?

Sometimes a blog post just falls into your lap…or onto your desk. A colleague of mine found this book The Scandinavians – A perceptive and intriguing investigation of the nations whose people are – or perhaps not – the best-off in the world by Donald S. Connery. He plopped it on my desk and told me it was […]

Read full post »

Work

Hope all of my American friends had a great Labor Day weekend! (And that you didn’t have to work!) For my foreign friends who aren’t familiar with Labor Day, it’s a holiday that celebrates the achievements of American workers, and is the unofficial end of summer/start of football season/last day of the year it’s acceptable […]

Read full post »

People Sven didn’t know before coming to America

Sven has been living in the United States for over seven years now, but every once in a while, I will bring up a famous American that he’s never heard of. I usually end up first in shock, then frustrated that Sven will not be able to enjoy or relate to whatever I was going […]

Read full post »

Three weddings and an anniversary

First things first, I’m taking a blog-cation and won’t be posting for two weeks. Sven and I are attending three weddings on three consecutive weekends, one in Chicago and two in Sweden, so it might be tough to find time to write! I know you’ll miss me, but on the bright side, I’m in Sweden […]

Read full post »

Americans, Welcome to Sweden

Swedish television is coming to American TV. Maybe you’ve already seen the ads on NBC for a new sitcom, Welcome to Sweden premiering on July 10th, starring Greg Poehler – yes that would be Amy Poehler’s brother. (Is Amy Poehler a mega-famous comedienne in Sweden, too?) Turns out that like me, Mr. Poehler fell in love […]

Read full post »

I found another Swedish lad…The Swedish Lad

I have to share this series of YouTube videos I stumbled upon by The Swedish Lad. He’s something of a quirky language instructor that makes short videos about Swedish words in English. He actually has his own YouTube channel with a weekly “10 Swedish words” segment. I’m just amazed that there’s actually an audience for […]

Read full post »

My Top Ten Favorite Things About Swedish People

What’s not to love about Swedish people? After all, I’m married to one, and I love him very much! After two-and-a-half years of blogging about random Swedish quirks I’ve encountered, like their singing before meals, cold breakfasts, and obsession with Converse, I guess it’s about time to share all of the things I love about […]

Read full post »

Hot vs. Cold

I’ve posted before about the difficulties of preparing healthy, easy, low-cost meals when Sven and I don’t eat the same food. Breakfast is no exception: I love my hot American breakfasts – scrambled eggs with avocado and bacon, sunny-side up eggs with steak, or even benedict-style poached eggs with ham. My perfect breakfast looks something […]

Read full post »

Five signs your Swede has become Americanized

Ten years ago, I met a proud Swede who wholeheartedly believed that his country was the greatest in the world. Everything (except the weather) was better in Sweden: healthcare, fish, home design, etc. Seven years ago, my Swede moved to the greatest city in the world, New York City, and gradually got used to all […]

Read full post »

Swedish vs. American Fictional Characters

I get a kick out of finding out the Swedish counterparts to some of my favorite childhood characters. Now that Sven has four nieces under the age of 7, this topic actually comes up more frequently than you might think, as we’re always getting requests to make American toy purchases for every birthday and Christmas […]

Read full post »

What’s up with Sweden’s “double” beds?

Have you ever been to Sweden and stayed in a real double (queen size) bed? If so, congratulations, you have accomplished a rare feat. Such beds are hard to find in Sweden, and even Sven doesn’t know why. Most double beds in Sweden are actually two twin beds pushed together. Sven has childhood memories of climbing […]

Read full post »

What’s up with you Americans? Winter Olympics version.

This is a follow-up to my post from two years ago during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The biggest difference is that the Winter Olympics are a lot less exciting for me and a lot more exciting for Sven. The Swedish aren’t regular contenders in any Summer Olympic sports, but they dominate in a […]

Read full post »

The funniest Swedish words

This post was inspired by one of my friends who makes me come up with a new funny Swedish word to share with him every time I see him. Without further ado, the funniest Swedish words I can think of, in no particular order:

Bröstvårta (pronounced breast-vorta) – This means nipple. Not only does it sound way less cute than nipple, it also literally translates to “breast wart.” How grossly unsexy is that?!

Read full post »

Swedish men don’t take care of their women

Because they don’t have to. At least, they don’t think they have to, because they believe that women can and should take care of themselves. The modern Swedish man is a feminist, according to the tourism site visitsweden.se. Sweden has one of the world’s most gender-egalitarian societies, offering equal maternity/paternity leave, childrens’ books featuring characters in unisex clothing, and even a gender-neutral pronoun…

Read full post »

Scenes from a Swedish Christmas

Happy Holidays! Sven and I just got back from our first Christmas in Sweden in seven years. We usually do our annual pilgrimage to Sven’s motherland in the summertime, but this year we decided to change it up. Since it had been so long, for me it was like experiencing Swedish Christmas for the very […]

Read full post »

What’s up with you Americans and nagging wife commercials?

Sven loves to ask me “Whats up with you Americans and fill-in-the-blank?” It’s like being an American backpacker abroad all the freaking time. Usually, I ignore or defend his sweeping generalizations of Americans, but sometimes, he totally has a point. Like: What’s up with you Americans and nagging wife commercials?  They’re everywhere! I’ve discussed the […]

Read full post »

The stress of having houseguests

My in-laws have been staying in our 600-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment for the past three weeks. They returned to Sweden yesterday, but there’s no restoring the peace just yet – one of Sven’s friends and his fiancee arrived yesterday and are staying for a week or two (we don’t know exactly how long because it’s dependent […]

Read full post »

Interracial Relations

I’ve had this blog for over a year and a half, and it’s never even once occurred to me to write about the fact that Sven and I are an interracial couple. So now I am. He’s white and Swedish, and I’m a second-generation Filipina-American. The truth is that Sven and I are very lucky […]

Read full post »

A visual commentary on 30’s social life

Here’s one way Swedes and Americans are actually similar…. Sven is a numbers and charts kind of guy. Last week, he sent me this graphical representation of activities people find fun throughout their lives. (It’s supposed to be a comic.) It’s in Swedish, so you’ll find the translation below: For my English-speaking friends: The graph […]

Read full post »

Merry Christmas / God Jul!

Merry Christmas!!! Or God Jul, as they say in Sweden! Hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas with family, friends, and lots of food! In honor of Sven’s and my first Christmas as husband and wife, I thought I’d share a few Christmas-themed cultural contrasts: While Americans generally celebrate Christmas on December 25, Swedes […]

Read full post »

Where to find a Julbord in New York City

This past weekend, Sven and I kicked off the Christmas season with a traditional Swedish julbord…in New York City. What’s a julbord, you ask? Literally, it translates to “Christmas table.” It’s basically a big feast, similar to an American Thanksgiving, featuring a smörgåsbord [Swedish loanword!] of staples such as pickled herring, baked ham, and a […]

Read full post »

Love and Politics

Is it possible to find forever love when you’re in a bipartisan relationship? Can a marriage withstand the tension that arises every four years, as the Presidential debates on television spill into the actual living room? Well, according to a Gallup poll conducted by match.com, 57% of respondents said that they would marry someone with […]

Read full post »

Converse

What’s up with Swedes and their Converse??? Swedes have an absolutely inexplicable obsession with Converse. Literally every single time we have Swedes visiting from out of town, the Converse store is a must-stop. And not just for one pair, but a pair for everyone they know. Seriously. They arrive bearing lists of Converse requests. And […]

Read full post »

What’s up with you Americans? Olympic version.

I love the Olympics. Especially the Summer Olympics. I love watching extremely talented, hardworking athletes fulfill their dreams. And, as a proud American, I suppose I’ve had the luxury of watching hundreds of my countrymen do so over the years. But these days, I live with a Swede who doesn’t quite have the same level […]

Read full post »

Why Sweden?

A lot of people have asked me: “Why Sweden?” I recognize the fact that it’s somewhat abnormal to have a wedding in the groom’s homeland, especially if it’s far away. As to be expected with destination weddings, I’ve heard it all: “Your wedding is really inconvenient,” “Oh, you’re one of those people that’s making your […]

Read full post »

My Sweden Faves!

A lot of people have been asking me lately what Sweden is like. What’s the weather like? Are there lots of trees and rolling hills? Are the people all really beautiful? Well, the weather is unpredictable, but when it is sunny, all of the beautiful people come outside to play (even if it’s only 45 […]

Read full post »

A jumbled mess of thoughts

If you haven’t yet noticed, I try to keep my blog focused on three main topics: [1] relationships (as pertaining to Sven and me), [2] my experiences in planning a Swedish-American wedding, and [3] Sven’s and my everyday life. Occasionally, I’ll dabble into discussing the in-laws or have a moment of self-reflection, and I’ve recently […]

Read full post »

Only in Sweden?

Sweden is a very progressive country, especially when it comes to gender equality. It’s the only country I’ve been to where I’ve seen female pilots, baggage handlers, and truck drivers – and they were, of course, attractive. Men and women get equal maternity/paternity leave, men have no problem taking their wife’s name, and Swedish guys […]

Read full post »

Only in Sweden: Elk Threesome

I often read The Local – Sweden’s News in English, you know, to keep up to date on the latest happenings in Sven’s home country. I find the society and culture pages the most interesting, to see the contrasts (and similarities) to what I experience here at home. Recently, I was scouring through the pages […]

Read full post »

Sven was right

Sven is a wise man. As much as I hate to admit this, there are times when he tells me something, I don’t listen, and then I figure out for myself that he was right. Especially when it comes to life. A few months ago, I was having the usual I should be doing something better with […]

Read full post »

Limitations of a Language Barrier

The most frustrating aspect of my relationship with Sven’s family is the language barrier, and I’m sure they probably feel the same way. Sven’s parents don’t speak very much English, and though I probably know more Swedish than most people expect, I am nowhere near good enough to have a meaningful conversation. Sven’s siblings speak […]

Read full post »

Swedish vs. American Wedding Planning

A question I get all the time is: What’s it like to plan a wedding in Sweden? While it’s actually really fun to plan a celebration that blends our two cultures, the cultural norms surrounding weddings could not be more different between the US and Sweden. First of all, Swedish people rarely even get married. In […]

Read full post »

UA-26579912-1