Category Archives: Humor

We may have a Christmas goat, but Austria has Krampus

On this very special Christmas podcast episode, Clara from Austria compares some Swedish and Austrian Christmas traditions, we talk about the strange quirk Swedes have about not taking the last of anything, and we learn a bit more about growing up Austrian under the shadow of Krampus.

https://iceandsnow.se/podcast/7-we-may-have-a-christmas-goat-but-austria-has-krampus/

or anywhere you get your podcast- Just type in “Life in the Land of the Ice and Snow.”

Weihnachtsbaum mit roten Kerzen

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Not enough variety of restaurants

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It’s the same way I feel about potatoes.

Wax on, wax off

Yesterday was Lucia day here in Sweden, the holiday where we celebrate St. Lucia and the light in the darkness this time of year.

Two things fascinate me about this holiday:

1. The major fire hazard

2. How does the Lucia get all that wax out of her hair?

Well, the answer to number one is that there is always somebody nearby with a bucket of water (this was my job last year). And yesterday, I found out the answer to number two when I talked to the girl who was Lucia at a concert I went to. She kindly allowed me to take a picture of the wax in her hair (most of which had already fallen out), and I was able to touch some and found that in fact, it did crumble and come out right away. I always figured the Lucia went to the hairdresser to cut everything off on December 14, but I am glad to know now that the wax does come out.

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#6 Lucia Day has Major Health and Safety Issues

Rachel, from the UK, discusses her hatred of saffron buns and Lucia, why you can’t name your kid Ikea here, and lots of talk about stabbing!

All on this week’s podcast episode of “Life in the Land of the Ice and Snow.” Hope you enjoy it!

https://iceandsnow.se/podcast/6-lucia-day-has-major-health-and-safety-issues/

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A very Swedish bartering system

On the neighborhood forum today:

Translation:

Shoe Rack. 50 kr or will trade for two packages of oatmeal drinks. 

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#5 Julbord and Dog Sledding

The latest episode of the podcast is up! I talk to Melanie from Michigan who is competing to enter a dog sledding race! We also discuss Christmas markets and Swedish julbord (the big Swedish Christmas dinner). Take a listen. Hope you enjoy!

iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/se/podcast/5-julbord-and-dog-sledding/id1440431070?i=1000425085098&l=en&mt=2

Main page – https://iceandsnow.se/podcast/5-julbord-and-dog-sledding/

Spotify –

https://open.spotify.com/episode/1DagYlCQRSqcyycK6eXir9?si=5d2ppUNvSUuejQC9CoYKaA

or

just look up “Life in the Land of the Ice and Snow” wherever you get your podcast!

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Life is a Highway, but not on park trails

I got pulled over for the first time in Sweden this past weekend. Ok, I MAY have been driving on a bike trail, but I had a very good reason. (I had to load very heavy music equipment by the forest, because that’s what you do when your husband wants to make a music video in the forest. We’ve all been there, right?)

But anyway, someone reported the car, so right when I got on the main road, the police were just arriving.

Luckily, in Sweden, the police aren’t looking to make quotas. They are smart and reasonable and more focused on serious crimes. We explained the situation and were simply told not to do it again. And of course they were right, and no, I will not be doing that again.

But what my husband thought was funny was when the officer said, “You can’t make a music video in the forest.”  And my husband asked why not. I agree and I did check the sign in the nature reserve and it does not say you can’t record music videos in the forest.

The officer said, “umm…. well, you’re disturbing the animals.”

I think my husband said something like, “Well how do we know they don’t enjoy synth music?”

And I’d like to back up that argument with a photo that I totally took in the forest and did not steal from a synthesizer ad I found on Google.

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What to do when the Queue Machine is Broken

New episode of the podcast is up! As you can see from the title, we tackle a question that many Swedes struggle with – what to do when the queue machine is broken.

This week’s guest is Sharmala from Malaysia, so we get to see moving to Sweden from a different point of view. We also learn a bit about Malaysia in the process (did you know they elect a king every 5 years?)

Take a listen as we discuss why Sweden should not have Black Friday and why Malaysia is “truly Asia.”

Then it’s on iTunes, Spotify, etc. as usual.
 
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New pet… this one breathes!

We got a cat this week! The kids are overjoyed. They say it’s a lot more fun than their last pet, Rocky.

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Goat on Fire and weird pizza toppings

My latest podcast episode about living in Sweden is up – A discussion of weddings in Sweden, strange toppings on Swedish pizza and why setting a 43-foot tall straw goat on fire has become a yearly tradition.
Hope you enjoy it! http://iceandsnow.se
or Spotify- https://tinyurl.com/yc87ncn6
or iTunes – https://tinyurl.com/y6tvl63r

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Climbing Clown

On our recent trip to Estonia, I left my family in a small shop filled mostly with Russian souvenirs and trinkets, which went along well with the very Russian man running the shop.

While I was off trying to find cash so my son could buy a Russian hat, the proprietor started trying to sell things to my husband. Though there were no Christmas decorations anywhere in the store, there was a small mechanical Santa Claus that would climb up and down a chain near the cash register.

The man asked in a thick Russian accent, “You want buy Climbing Clown?” referring to the climbing Santa Claus.  “This Climbing Clown. You like? You buy!”

I guess he calls it Climbing Clown until December, because it just wouldn’t make sense to sell a Christmas item in November. Pretty clever guy. Luckily, I showed up just in time to substitute the hat for the “Climbing Clown” purchase.

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Smoked beaver? Anyone?

The menu at a Russian restaurant in Tallinn.
Smoked beaver on the appetizers…
Bear meat stroganoff on the main courses…
Bear meat dumplings..

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Root Beer is NOT Disgusting – episode 2

Another episode of my podcast is up. I talk with a friend from California. We discuss the new “Museum of Disgusting Food” in Sweden, which apparently includes root beer. I am not in agreement with this assesment and I think all that pickled herring must have messed up the taste buds of a lot of Swedish people. But you be the judge:

Direct link: https://iceandsnow.se/

Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/episode/65Zch4fCU3U2eNVtNtZDEb

iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/se/podcast/2-root-beer-is-not-disgusting/id1440431070?i=1000423445755&l=en&mt=2

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Booze Cruise

We took a short trip to Tallinn, Estonia this week on what some people call a “Booze cruise.” In Stockholm, there are several short trips you can take by ship to Helsinki, Tallinn and Riga. It’s 2 nights on the ship and one day in the city. The best part is that it’s insanely cheap! How is it so cheap?

They make all their money off the Duty Free shop!

While my family and I take advantage of these great deals to visit another city, there are many people in Sweden who simply go on these cruises to stock up on cheap alcohol.

For those who don’t know, the only place to buy alcohol in Sweden is at the government run Systembolaget stores. I think this is a great system, but that’s for another post. The reason why this is significant for this post is because the prices are a bit expensive. So people go on these cruises and stock up on alcohol once they get far enough out to sea, bringing it back in little trolley carts.

I snapped a few photos when we were disembarking this morning in Stockholm:

Our family, on the other hand, does everything we can to avoid buying anything on the ship. We brought our own food to eat in the cabin both ways, because the other way this ship makes money is from the overpriced restaurants. And when you are a family of 4, that can get very expensive.  We were quite happy with our meats and cheeses (with a glass of wine in a plastic bathroom cup for the adults).

It was a successful and cheap vacation. The only things that cost for us were lunch in Tallinn and the furry Russian hat my son wanted to buy.  Not bad!

Another tale of Swedish trick-or-treat

My son’s friend went trick-or-treating with his sister last weekend (because in Sweden, Halloween is 2 weeks for some reason).

The Swedes are still learning how Halloween works, which leads to some strange things ending up in the treat bag. On this occasion, the boy and his sister knocked on a door belonging to an old woman. She dug in her purse and dropped an old piece of money that is no longer valid and an aspirin.

Maybe the aspirin came in handy later for the parent who had to deal with sugar-hyped kids.

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I’ve got a podcast!

Much like my books, it’s about the funny things that happen as an expat living in Sweden. I interview a different fellow expat friend each week and we talk about the mysterious ways of the Swedes and all the various ways we’ve made embarassing mistakes here. Our humiliation is your entertainment!

Each episode is between 20-30 minutes. I hope you will check it out and enjoy it! It’s currently available on Spotify and on iTunes.

The direct link to the podcast page is: https://iceandsnow.se/

Spotify link is: https://open.spotify.com/show/4vT7b4qxzJvq7fqX9AcmRC?si=SeLxB74lQYS0TSkAr6hrmQ

iTunes link is: https://itunes.apple.com/se/podcast/life-in-the-land-of-the-ice-and-snow/id1440431070?l=en&mt=2

There will be a new episode every 2 weeks because…. wow, editing takes a lot of time!

The first episode is called, “What’s Scarier, Halloween or Surströmming?”

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Where’s my balloon?

Lots of people like to ask, “Hey, where’s my hoverboard?” in reference to what we thought our current lives would look like by the 2000s.

I stumbled across an interesting article on Mashable with illustrations of what people living in 1900 thought the world would look like by the year 2000. Apparently, walking on water was of large interest to them. Kind of odd as we’ve had boats for thousands of years and that’s worked out fine.

If you check out the article here, you can see some of the other ideas they had – many of them involve balloons. I’m not sure what to make of that.

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Thanks for the image, son.

After eating a bit too much curry at lunch, my son had to spend a long time in the bathroom yesterday evening. When he finally came out, he said:

“I thought I had dysentery! But not like Oregon Trail, more like Oregon ROAD!”

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Cinnamon Bun Day

It’s Cinnamon Bun Day in Sweden. Why do we celebrate? I don’t know. It’s so depressing heading toward winter so this is about all we have to look forward to this week. Maybe we need to eat a bunch of cinnamon buns to build up our warm layer of fat to get through the next warm months.

Sweden has a lot of food holidays. I thought I’d look up a few more. Here’s what I found just for the month of October, though I have to admit, these don’t seem to be as celebrated as today’s Cinnamon Bun Day. I’ve never seen advertisements at the bus stops for Shrimp Sandwich Day, but maybe I just didn’t notice.

  • October 7 is Gräddtåtans dag (Cream cake day)
  • October 14 is Shrimp Sandwich day. No thanks.
  • October 15 is apparently Feta Cheese day
  • October 18 is Chocolate Muffin day (Why isn’t this a bigger thing?!)
  • October 25 is World Pasta Day. I can get on board with that.

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Another insulting job hoop to jump through

When looking for jobs, I appreciate companies that can get to the point about what they want, ask for my résumé and a sample of my work and then an interview if they feel we match.

What I do NOT appreciate are companies that make you jump through unnecessary hoops that have nothing to do with the position. Most of the time, these companies have hired a recruiting service that gives out the same basic tests for all positions, whether you are applying to be a flight attendant or a gardener. How much money are these recruiting companies making off large corporations that have no idea of their methods?

Last year, after applying for a job as a writer, I was told I would have a job interview via video chat over the computer. I went over my résumé, dressed nicely and clicked the button to connect for my interview. Instead of an actual person, it was a recorded video with text that asked, “How would you make the perfect sandwich?” I simply said, “No, I’m not doing this,” and shut down the link. If a company is asking for someone to write text for their billing program, as this one was, then ask me about that particular subject and my work. I don’t have time for psychological mind games to test quirky personality traits.

Now I’ve applied for another writing job for an internet company. They were interested in my résumé and asked me to take an online test. The instructions were, “block off an hour of your time and be well-rested so you can concentrate on the test.” I wrongly assumed it would be a writing test with different case studies.

Nope.

It was not a writing test at all, but what I’m guessing must be some sort of “are you a psychopath” test after going through it. I took screenshots of some of the questions. Please tell me what this has to do with applying for a copywriting job:

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From these questions, I gather this job would be looking for a megalomaniac who’s been through some weird experiences and some weird food and plans to take over the world.

But when I applied with another company for the “take over the world” job, I only had to send a résumé and a cover letter, so I find it odd that the IT company writing job requires answers to these questions.

 

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