5 Ways Living in Sweden Has Changed Me

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The random ways Sweden has affected this American.

I’ve been in Sweden since October 2018 and I’ve definitely started to notice some differences in my habits since moving here.

  1. I Drink Less – Since moving to Sweden my alcohol consumption has gone way down, especially in comparison to living in Bend, OR – the craft beer capital of America. In Sweden, drinking is expensive and…difficult. The cost of a drink out here is equivalent to drinking in Los Angeles – you’ll be paying $15 for a cocktail and $8 for a beer. The problem is the salaries are easily 50% less here than in Los Angeles, making the cost of the drink feel twice as expensive. Alcohol is also state regulated here (as are spirits in Oregon) so anything you purchase at a grocery store is under 3.5% ABV, or pretty weak. If you want the good stuff of any kind, then you have to go to a System Bolaget which are state-run and have super limited hours (we are talking closed Sunday and open for three hours on Saturday). But, these strict regulations have been healthy for both my mind, body, and wallet.
  2. I Walk More – Being that Nick and I don’t have a car here, we end up walking a ton. Although Malmö is the third largest city in Sweden, it is pretty compact and very easy to bike from one side to the other in under 20 minutes. We each pay $25 a year to have access to the wonderful shared bike service here Malmö by Bike. The bike lanes are clear and often protected, there are beautiful walking paths through the many parks here, and the bus and train system is highly developed and efficient. It is a total win.
  3. I Use More Plastic – I’ve mentioned this before, but so much of the produce in Sweden is wrapped in plastic (remember those turnips I was ranting about?!). It is because the bulk of it is imported [Won’t it be interesting to see what climate change will do to these northern climates?! But that is a post for another time.] While living in Oregon, Nick and I were deep into a a zero plastic lifestyle and it has been really hard making those compromises as we try to source the produce want to maintain a healthy diet. While our trash production remains really low here (yay!), we are confronted daily with how much recycling we produce as we now have to empty our small under-the-counter recycling bin way more than we ever had to put our large blue can on the curb.
  4. I Eat More Sugar – There are two Swedish traditions that revolve around sugar: fika and Lördagsgodis. Fika, or coffee and a sweet treat with friends, happens multiple times a day at a national level here, typically at 9am and 3pm. Lördagsgodis, or Saturday’s candy are the perfect compliment to your Saturday night Netflix bing. I am totally pro both traditions, but I’ve seen negative repercussions as my body craves sugar more and more.
  5. I Wear Way More Layers – It can get pretty cold up here at the 60th parallel. This has been my uniform all winter: 

img_1061What has this Los Angeleno gotten herself into?!

It is funny the things that change when you move across the world. Of course, I’ve learned a lot about myself on a deeper level along the way (those blog posts are coming), but it was fun to explore some of the more random ways moving to a new country has affected me. Thanks for tuning in.

-TM

How does your geographical location affect your habits? Let us know below.

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