It’s always fun to go to the local grocery stores when you’re on vacation in another country. I make sure to bring my camera each time. On the most recent Italian trip, I noticed the names of food in the pet aisle. It’s always interesting to see what other countries use as names for cat food. Here were 2 of my favorites:
Of course, I have yet to find a country to beat the greatest Swedish cat food name of all:
(Side note: Unfortunately, by the time we got a cat, the company became aware and changed its name.)
For the first time ever, I read about an expat to Sweden who thinks Swedes are “too friendly!”
In our local paper’s letter section, a person identifying themselves as having a foreign background states:
Staff at stores, I am not your friend! Quit saying hello to me when I come up to the cash register. I am not obliged to speak to you and I don’t appreciate it. Just scan my groceries and don’t speak to me!
For the record, that’s really all they say to you at the store in Sweden. They aren’t like Americans who try to upsale or feel a need to comment on your purchases. Here in Sweden, they just acknowledge you with a hello and then tell you the total. That’s all.
Generally, all fellow foreigners I talk to complain about how cold and unfriendly Swedes can often seem. So my question is, what country is this person from where they think that a cashier saying “hello” is crossing the friendship line?
I was at the grocery store this morning when I noticed a new display with butternut squash. After years of seeing so many American recipes using butternut squash, it was amazing to find it for the first time in Sweden. Butternut squash is such a rare thing here that there isn’t even a translation for it. I immediately grabbed some and took it up to the counter. I don’t know why I expected things to go smoothly. My first clue should have been that I found the butternut squash display in the beer and soda section. The check-out woman had no idea what it was or how much it cost. She kept asking me what it was and I kept saying, “Butternut squash! Butternut squash! That’s what your sign says. There is no translation!” She had to ask another employee walking by who also had no idea what it was. Luckily this all worked to my advantage because he said, “oh just charge her 10 kr for it (about a dollar),” and I’m pretty sure it should have been 30 kr or more.
But this made me think about how many things I can get now in Sweden that I wasn’t able to get when I moved here ten years ago.
– Dr. Pepper – Although I’m told they tried to market it earlier, it was not succesful and didn’t show up again until 2001 and it was hard to find. Now it’s in every store, though I have never seen one piece of advertising for it.
– Pumpkins – My first couple of Halloweens, I remember it being almost impossible to find a pumpkin. I think there was one place in Stockholm where you could find a few but no one else carried them. Now all of the grocery stores carry them in October.
– Ben & Jerry’s ice cream – I think that only showed up about 5 years ago in the grocery stores and a scoop shop just opened last year. We’re spoiled now.
At the moment we’re all waiting to get our first Starbucks. They plan on opening it sometime soon at the airport. Now the airport is a bit too far to travel without a car, but hopefully this will lead to other Starbucks closer to town.
Now if they could just get some beef jerkey, rotel and velveeta, I would be all set.
7:30 – 8:30 am – Feed kids. Dress them in super arctic daycare gear. Realize 5 year old forgot to go to bathroom. Take off all super artic daycare gear and replace 5 minutes later.
8:45 am– Drop kids off at daycare. Carry empty purse so it looks like I’m going to work or somewhere important. Must convince daycare staff that I have things to do and am not going home to watch t.v. and drink hot chocolate.
9 am– 3 pm- Watch t.v.. Drink hot chocolate.
3pm – Wear different coat and hat to daycare to try to fool staff into thinking I’m a different parent. Don’t want to hear what my kids did wrong today. Grab kids, sneak out gate.
3:15 pm- Take kids to grocery store. Direct their attention to animatronic monkeys in the banana section while I grab some ice cream and chocolate. If kids discover ice cream and chocolate, I tell them it’s a present for someone else.
5 pm – Convince children that watching their mother play video games is fun for the whole family. Ease my conscience by pointing out names of things on screen and believing that to be educational.
6 pm – Fix dinner. Place pieces of food on ground like garbage and tell 2-year old not to touch. This is the only way to get him to eat his fruits and vegetables.
7 pm – 8 pm – Check email while husband convinces kids that watching their father play video games is fun and educational. Write family and friends back home about exciting and adventerous life in Europe.
9 pm – Put kids to bed with relaxing 50s Rockabilly music. Fall asleep on couch at 9:15.