Question of the day.

When was the last time you went on a family holiday? Was it good? Bad? Ugly?

My answer:

We don’t go on holidays that very often. The last proper family holiday we had, I mean a really long and faraway one, was the trip to Stockholm a few years ago and that was terrific albeit exhausting. If you can call something much smaller a family holiday as well, I’d say that my last one was last July. We went to Masuria – me and my parents –
quite spontaneously, it was my Dad’s idea. Due to many things, including poor planning and that my Dad is a really bad travel companion, and my Mum and me feel just as well, if not better, at home, this trip was ultra short and most of it was spent in the car, going back and forth, and then Dad looking around for a battery for his camera, which he never used in the end. 😀 He was also super irritable and irritating all that time. Oh well! I don’t feel the need to go for a holiday every year, I don’t think I lack anything particularly much where I am, and those things I do feel lack of in my life, I won’t suddenly get just because of the change of location most likely.

You? 🙂

Question of the day (18th October).

Hi guys. 🙂

Let’s have some holiday/travel related questions of the day for a while.

What is the furthest you’ve ever been from home?

My answer:

Stockholm, Sweden. And the nearby areas. That was such an awesome holiday! I stayed there for a week.

You? 🙂

Friday nights in Sweden = ‘Fredagsmys’!

Funny that I only heard about a similar thing in Denmark, from a friend who used to live there, – don’t know how they call it there but he told me they like to have it hygge at Friday evenings, eating yummy food and watching the telly – but never knew it’s a thing in Sweden too! What a powerful thing for marketing it must be! But even though, it really sounds good to me to have such a nice and cosy end of the working week and start to the weekend. What do you think. Shouldn’t fredagsmys be introduced to other countries too? 🙂 I’m all for it! It somehow appeals to me despite I am usually not too crazy on all those newly invented traditions created mainly for marketing reasons as I feel like they are often a little artificial.

Watching the Swedes

fredagsmys2

I was just in my local supermarket doing a quick bit of food shopping. Although the place was relatively empty at that time of day,  I noticed that a few of the aisles were the most popular. Throngs of people gathered in the TexMex aisle, the soft drinks aisle and the aisle displaying crisps.

Of course, I thought! It’s Friday! And in Sweden, that means Fredagsmys!

‘Fredagsmys’ is loosely translated as ‘Friday Cosying’, and it is a relatively modern ritual in Sweden established in the 90’s. Prevalent up and down the country, ‘fredagsmys’ is when friends and families gather together to mark the end of the working week. it’s mostly associated with families and children and traditions differ family to family. However,  one common denominator seems to be that food should be easy and quick to make. In other words, Friday night is a huge night for tacos and pizza in Sweden.

Gathering around food for cosy…

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Reasons why I’m learning Swedish.

Hey hey people! 🙂

Do any of you who were already around here a year ago remember my post

Reasons Why I’m Learning Welsh?

Well I got an impression that it got quite a lot of reaction, at least more than I’d suppose it could on not even a month-old blog, and it seemed like people were interested, and some time before I published that post on my Polish blog where even though I had only a couple of readers it also got quite a lot of attention and more that I initially expected. It was also lots of fun for me, so let’s see how it goes with Swedish this year. I actually should write the Swedish post earlier since I started learning Swedish earlier than Welsh, but who cares about chronology nonsense. Not me anyway hahaha.

I’m going to refer to some reasons I posted in the Welsh post because some of the reasons for learning both languages are the same for me. Also they are in no particular order, just as they come to my mind, and I don’t have any particular number that I’m aspiring to, we’ll see how many I can come up with.

1.

Because I just plain like it. What better reason can you have? I like Swedish language, I like Swedish culture, I like Swedes, (even though I don’t always agree with them or support them in all that they do and in all that is going on in their country but I don’t have to, and diversity of views, opinions and ways of doing things is in my opinion, among others, one of things that makes this world interesting 🙂 ). I love the sound of Swedish. My first contact with Swedish was when I was a very little child, we lived in the countryside, on a bit of a hill, so that when there was good weather, or after the storm, and you went upstairs, you could find Swedish radiostations in the radio. And sometimes I listened to them, absolutely hypnotised by the sound of swedish. I didn’t even know for sure whether it’s Swedish,I asked my parents what it is and they said maybe Swedish, maybe Norwegian, maybe Danish, or maybe something else. But I liked to think it was Swedish, and it was Swedish. I could listen to it for hours, and I still can. After some time I watched “The Six Children Of Bullerby” with my Mum. I always loved the book and Mum read it to me countless times before watching that film. She read the subtitles to me so that I knew what they were saying, but I remember that I didn’t really care about it, I didn’t care about what was going on in the film, I just listened to the language and nothing else interested me, it was so beautiful. So then my obsession with Swedish developed fully and when I was 10 years old, Mum found a teacher for me. I was at the integration school back then for two years, not the boarding school, so it was possible for me to learn Swedish at home which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, we had to face the fact that integration was not for me, and there were also some external factors involved, so I had to go back to the boarding school,which meant there was no point in continuing my swedish lessons as they would be rare and very irregular, and when I was home from school I didn’t really feel like learning anything. I yearned for Swedish terribly though, so had to sort of suppress it, put it deep inside my brain to not have to think about the fact that I can’t learn Swedish to be able to accept it. I succeeded at it, only when I happened to hear something in or about swedish, my brain exploded with longing all over again. But I was able to restart my Swedish when I got out from there. Swedish is one of my most favourite languages, in case of which I feel some sort of pressuring need to be in contact with them, use them, explore them, just be in touch with them as much as possible. It’s a bit strange and hard to explain for someone who doesn’t have, it, it feels like some sort of a strange calling. 😀

   2.

Because one of my music crushes – Cornelis Vreeswijk – lived in Sweden, created music and poems in Swedish, and I usually tend to love my crushes’ languages, since my languages are my fetishes, yeah it might sound crazy but I’ve just had to accept it hahaha. I actually feel like in a way I owe my reunion with the Swedish language to Cornelis. It was in my last year of being in the boarding school, I was at home for some short break, working on some project for school. And in my mind I was hearing a song which my swedish teacher showed to me years ago which we used for learning some new words. I memorised it back then but I didn’t think I could remember it after all those years of not thinking about it, but turns out I did and quite clearly. The song was called “Balladen Om Herr Fredrik Åkare Och Den Söta Fröken Cecilia Lind” (The Ballad About Fredrik Åkare And The Sweet Miss cecilia Lind), which surprisingly I also remember despite the long title, and was a real brainworm, but I didn’t know who did it so I just googled it. And so it was my first conscious contact with Vreeswijk’s music, and I slowly started to get this strange crush despite that actually he wasn’t really my style. If I have a crush, I’m very nosey and want to know everything possible about them, their music, their life, their personality, likes, dislikes, views, whatever. Vreeswijk was quite easy to get a lot of info about, as he was quite (in)famous in his time and still lots of Swedes love him or hate him and he’s well known, but in order to get that info, I had to understand at least basic Swedish. So I had to learn really quickly to quench my thirst, both for Swedish and for knowledge about my crush. And, despite at the beginning before I left school I really suffered for lack of resources, it was speedy, almost miraculous! I could amost feel the words I learned before and forgot coming back to my brain, and the more I listened to Vreeswijk’s music, read and worked on it, the more intense this process of language recovery felt, and it felt gorgeous! Summer holidays came, and passed away, and surprisingly and very dynamically my life changed diametrically and I got out of that school, that’s another story, and quite a yucky one despite a happy ending so I won’t write much about it here. But that paradoxically opened new possibilities before me, and because I had individual education for the next year which was less absorbing, time consuming and anxiety provoking than normally going to school, I had a lot of time to devote myself to my Swedish studies. By sheer luck and a very weird and funny accident my Mum got in touch with my former Swedish teacher so we could start all over again. Well not really all over again, because to huge surprise and amazement of both of us it turned out that my Swedish is actually a bit better and more communicative than those six years ago. 😀 Funny innit? He said that I had to literally skip some stages of development of my Swedish. With time I learned more about Vreeswijk, among others that he migrated to Sweden with his family at the age of 12, with no Swedish at all, but managed to start attending a normal, mainstream Swedish school after a year of learning. And I suddenly felt very competitive. Because wow, he learned Swedish in a year enough to communicate in it properly, and then was fluent like a native as an adult. I want to be like this too! I’m gonna do this! I guess his task was easier than mine as he lived in Sweden, didn’t have much choice about it, and Dutch is much more similar to Swedish than Polish, he was also younger than me which I guess does make a difference. But I guess i accomplished this goal really well. I still am not fully satisfied with my Swedish, but I think I would manage in a Swedish school if I had to. My crush on Vreeswijk has faded, which means that I still have it but it got dominated by my newer crush from Wales – Gwilym Bowen Rhys –  but my crush is my crush so I’m loyal to them all. Vreeswijk was a socialist and had quite controversial views on lots of things, which I most often don’t agree with him about, but I love his lyrics and poems that don’t regard politics and other stuff like that, and my dream is to translate them to Polish. Don’t know how realistic it is, and how realistic and successful could be introducing him to Polish people, but I’d like to try, and I’m still trying, very strenuously, even just for myself.

3.

Because I wanted to read “The Six Bullerby Children” in Swedish. I did. A few times. 🙂

 4.

Because of other Swedish language music. I feel like Welsh music speaks much more to me than Swedish, but they still have loads of great music.

5.

Because so many people think it’s difficult. OK I can agree with you on Welsh, Celtic languages can feel a little abstractive at times, though I am also pretty sure there are more difficult languages. But Swedish isn’t difficult at all. It’s childishly simple. It has some annoying grammar quirks and a few sounds that might be a little challenging, but that’s all. Just because you don’t hear it as often as English, doesn’t mean it’s difficult. I’d risk a statement that it’s easier than English, well my ENglish is better than my Swedish at the moment, but I think overall Swedish is easier.

6.

As I already wrote in reason #1, I like Swedes, I like all of the nations that speak my favourite languages/dialects/accents, and I feel a strange sense of bond with them. Obviously my Polish people are closest to me than any other but I feel really close to all of them. I also want to connect with my people via my languages

7.

To show Swedes that their language is beautiful. I don’t know for sure and I know I shouldn’t generalise but it feels to me like many of them don’t fully appreciate their language, even though Swedish is not like Welsh almost on the verge of extinction. I think we all often take our own mother tongues for granted. All Swedish people speak English, or almost all but I’ve never come across anyone who wouldn’t. It happened to me countless times with Swedes with whom I initiated contact online that I wrote them in Swedish and they wrote to me in English. I know it’s just their kindness and they want to adjust to me (or maybe my Swedish is still so shitty hahaha), but it always sort of frustrated me because it felt like they didn’t want to give me a chance to practice, or maybe felt like Swedish is something exclusive, I don’t know. They were of course happy with it when I told them they can write to me in Swedish, but it felt weird. Same when I was in Stockholm, whenever I couldn’t find a word and automatically used an English one, they would respond to me in English. Ughhhhh. Maybe it’s a little incomprehensible to me because many people in Poland wouldn’t do it. I think I wouldn’t either if I saw a foreigner here and realised that he can speak at least basic Polish. And maybe Swedes just got used to speaking to all non Swedes in English by default because of so many imigrants that are in Sweden who can’t speak Swedish. So I want to show them that their language is also beautiful and worth learning, not so very difficult that a foreigner can’t learn it, and it’s not them who have to make all the effort, the other side can do something too to make the communication easier. If they can learn English, why can’t we learn Swedish.

8.

Because people wouldn’t treat me seriously if I only learned some endangered languages on the verge of extinction about which most people don’t even have the slightest idea. My Dad still thinks I’m making up this whole Welsh learning thing even if I talk to him in Welsh. But Swedish, yes! Swedish is a serious language! You can earn a lot of money in Sweden, you can translate crime novels, you can work in transport or in embassy! Swedish is well respected and recognised. In Welsh post I said that my learning Welsh is a good conversation starter ’cause people always ask either why or what it is or how it sounds. With Swedish, they always say: “Aww, that must be difficult. But you can do lots of things with it.”

9.

Don’t know how anywhere else, but in Poland people really dislike German language. All the WWII associations aside, they just think it’s an ugly, harsh language. And for some stupid reason they think Swedish is as well. Especially older people for some reason. But it’s not. It’s maybe not as softy as French or Italian, it has a character and is, as I like to put it, al dente, but it’s definitely not harsh.

10.

To scare my grandma. Yes I put it already in the welsh post. No my grandma doesn’t really believe that Swedes are pagans too like Welshies, but she has very conservative views and is slightly obsessed with religious matters, and constantly worries about the whole world like Filly-Jonk from “The Moomins”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a rightist and a Christian as well, but she is a little extreme and, oh well, I just like to make fun of people, even of my tribe. So, any time she sees me and conversation is focused on me/my languages, she asks me what I see in Swedish. “Sweden is such a cold, lawless, self-devastating country of lonely people! Why do you like them so much?” She is very intelligent but can’t comprehend why I like them so much. We often talk about Swedish politics, she asks me whether I know what’s going on there. I’m not always up to date and while I do care about politics, I don’t trace it all the time and for all my favourite countries, but I try to update my knowledge at least once in a while and with Sweden it’s rather easy. So I tell her about some spicier things that I’ve heard, often colourising it, and relish her utter fright.

11.

To develop my brain. For more details on my brain wellness obsession see the Welsh post.

12.

TO scribble in Swedish in my diary. I like my scribbles to be private and in my household no one else speaks Swedish, so I can have a guarantee that if I write in Swedish no one here will get it even if they would find my diary and figure out how to get to it. Also, for me, all of my languages correspond with particular feelings. As I wrote in the Welsh post, for Welsh main ones are anger, enthusiasm, longing and joy. For Swedish it’s happiness, (not like euphoria but just calm, stable, peaceful happiness, contentment and strong pleasure), amusement, surprise, serenity and disappointment/grief/apathy. So I feel particularly inclined to write in Swedish when feeling any of those things. Also, when my crush on Vreeswijk was at its best, I tended to even write to him. You know, if someone is dead, it’s different than when they are alive and don’t know you and don’t care about you. I believe that if there is an afterlife, which I believe there is, those who passed away can know what’s going on on Earth. I was sure that he must know me, and liked to think that he would be proud of me because of my Swedish and all that, and that he likes me. So I took an example from my Mum, who also wrote her diary in form of letters and wrote letters to Cornelis, in Swedish. 😀

13.

To talk to Misha or myself in another language. It was actually my Swedish teacher who suggested to me talking to Misha in Swedish because his point of view was that cats understand every language.

14.

It’s useful! If you can speak Swedish, you can understand at least to some degree Norwegian, especially Bokmål, and even Danish though personally I find Danish rather hard to understand while listening but if I read it I can get at least the mere context. Icelandic is related though not closely enough, but it happens that I also understand some interesting bits and pieces and it’s always nice. Recently I listened to an Icelandic song and understood that “The ocean is cold”, yay for me! 😀 It’s not much definitely but, hey, if I didn’t speak Swedish, I wouldn’t have a clue about it otherwise. One of my favourite languages is Faroese and while it seems to be even further related to Swedish than Icelandic, I believe that once I start learning it, I’m going to be very grateful for my Swedish. I also plan to learn Dutch which is of course not a Scandinavian language but shares some similarities and I can already see it very clearly.

15.

It’s useful not only with Germanic languages. I strongly hope that when it will be the time for me to learn Sami and Finnish, my Swedish will help me, as English helps me with Welsh because all resources are in it. Swedish is always close to Finnish than Polish because of Sweden and Finland being neighbours and influencing each other, and there is a Finnish minority in Sweden and Swedish-speaking Finns in Finland, and the Sami are also a minority in Sweden.

16.

Because “Swenglish” accent is cute, sexy and crasily amasing! I want to know why and how it is the way it is, and what better way could be than learning Swedish, figuring out its phonetics and putting myself in the same position as Swedes.

17.

TO be able to understand what they talk about in those radiostations I was so amazed with as a kid. 😀

18.

To read Swedish books, not only Astrid Lindgren’s. My vocabulary in Swedish is still a bit limited so it takes me a lot of time and effort to read something as long as a book and focus on it and enjoy it, but I try sometimes. I still haven’t read all the Swedish books I’ve got for myself during my trip to Stockholm. Not just because of the language but uhhh scanning sucks and is boring.

19.

TO scare strangers. See the Welsh post for details.

20.

To help me with my anxieties, depression and generally my freaky brain.

21.

Because every language you know gives you a different perspective on different things.

22.

Because if not my Swedish, I wouldn’t go to Stockholm and have so much fun there. I wouldn’t realise that although my anxieties including social anxiety can be really crippling and debilitating, my love for languages is stronger. And because if not Swedish, I would miss some other cool things in life too. Like I wouldn’t meet my friend Jacek from Helsinki. My friendship with him, although a bit stormy and weird, as he was stormy and weird, was also one of the most unusual and interesting things that happened to me, and now that he’s no longer on Earth, Swedish reminds me of his spirit and charisma.

23.

Because I like vikings and Norse mythology. I can like them without learning Swedish but this way it’s more fun. 😀

24.

Because I hope that indeed it will help me in future in some way.

   25.

Because Swedish is so uncomplicated in terms of expressing yourself. I consider myself quite a complex person, with lots of complicated feelings, ideas and complicated things going on, and sometimes I find it difficult and annoying that I can’t seem to be able to express myself properly and adequately, meaning that I can say exactly what I want and how I feel, not have to say that something is either black or white, sounding naturally and not too sublime and sophisticated or silly on the other hand. But in a way I love this trait of Swedish, because sometimes when I feel that my brain goes too complex and I get trapped in it, I like to just sit down and think it through in swedish. Things usually look much simpler then.

Oh my, I wouldn’t think that there will be more reasons than for Welsh! It’s a lot, isn’t it? So i can be sure that it’s worth it! 😍

 

22 Swedish farts

🤣 🤣 🤣 Well oh gosh, what a fart-obsessed country. As a non native English speaker I sometimes wondered a little what Anglophones in Sweden must think of all those farts and sluts and others being so prevalent everywhere and about Swedes being so uninhibited and open about their farting habits, but never analysed it so closely. It’s ridiculous hahahaha. 😀

Watching the Swedes

outfart or infart dr heckle funny wtf signs

One of the fun things about learning a foreign language are the words that are rude, or funny in your own language.

Swedish has a few of them: slut, kräpp, plopp, kock, spurt

But the funniest one is probably the most purile; it is the ever prevailing ‘fart’, especially when you see it on street signs. This is the word that has most visitors to Sweden holding their sides with laughter.

Even after all these years, I can still have a little giggle when I think about the word ‘fart’ and its various usages in Swedish. In Swedish, ‘fart’ can mean a lot of things such as speed, drive, route, pace, spirit, vivacity, rate. But it is when it is put together with another word that it becomes amusing. Childish, I know…but here we go…

  1. utfart – ‘out fart’ – exit from a building
  2. uppfart – ‘up fart’ – driveway

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The National Day of the Sweden Finns

Wow! :O I didn’t know they have their special day too. 🙂 How great! Happy National Day to all Sweden Finns out there in the world! I love both Sweden and Finland, so both these nations and both these languages are dear to me, and I find the Finnish Swedish accent very endearing and cute, one of my favourite Swedish accents or dialects actually.

Watching the Swedes

In Sweden, you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting somebody Finnish or of Finnish heritage. Almost everybody knows somebody with a Finnish connection. In fact, there are so many Finns living in Sweden that they have their own commemorative day. And today is that day.

Today, 24th February is ‘Sverigefinnarnas’ Day, (Sweden Finns Day) – the day that celebrates the roughly half million people who live in Sweden and have Finnish as their mother tongue.

So why are there so many Finns in Sweden?

There has been a long history of emigration between the two countries, especially in the border regions of the north. However, a larger emigration happened when 70,000 young Finnish children were evacuated to Sweden during WW2. 15,000 are believed to have stayed and an unknown number to have returned as adults.

Then, in the 1950s and 1960s the migration from Finland to Sweden was considerable, chiefly…

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Yum Yum Sweden!

Which of these delicious Swedish words you like most? It’s so cool they have so many of them! I think my most favourite is mumsig.
I was only for a week in Sweden, so probably don’t have that much experience with Swedish cuisine as I’d like to, but what I can say is that it seems like there is lots of Swedish food I like, and lots of it that I dislike – I’m not a big fan of fish and some of other strange tastes Swedes like, but some are really interesting.
I got to eat absolutely smarrig ice cream during my stay in Stockholm, I guess I’ve never eaten such fabulous ice cream, and my family seems to think just the same! I also love pepparkakor (Swedish gingerbreads), and Swedish chocolate, I don’t know how it’s called but it has big hazelnuts in it and is just so very chocolatey, which you can’t say about every chocolate in the world, right? I got it here in Poland in Ikea. ANd I love those famous kötbullar (meatballs). Jätte smaskiga!
Have any of you, my lovely readers, tasted some Swedish foods? What were your impressions? Curious to hear. 🙂

Watching the Swedes

Working with many non-Swedes, I often hear the complaint that Swedish food is bland, boring and tasteless. But the truth is that Sweden prides itself on its good food and its number of top-notch, often experimental, restaurants.

The Scandinavian kitchen is full of mouthwatering delights such as warm-smoked salmon, creamed dill potatoes and shellfish by the bucket load. No surprise then that there’s a lot of expressions in the Swedish language for food being delish. When we in English might say ‘yum, yum’ or ‘scrummy’, the Swedes also have a plethora of words to use. Here are a few:

  • Smaskens
  • Smaskig
  • Läcker
  • Mumsig
  • Namnam
  • Gött
  • Smarrig
  • Delikat
  • Skitgott
  • Utsökt

So many foreigners might not think that Swedish food is great – but it’s clear that the Swedes do!

Let me know what Swedish food you think is ‘smarrig’!

Follow me on Instagram #watchingtheswedes

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National day of the Sami – Sweden’s indigenous people

Happy National Day to you, all the great Sami people in Sweden! Any Sami people out there in the blogosphere? I love all the Sami languages, Sami culture, Sami music, I admire the Sami for being so determined and fighting for their own rights and their language(s) still surviving despite all that they’ve been through. So today I’m celebrating with them, and listening to lots of Sami music. And sharing this post so that you all can learn a little bit more about these people. I’m glad that Sami people also have their special day.

Watching the Swedes

Today is theNational Day of Sweden’s indigenous people – the Sami. So I thought I would share this blog again that I posted last year.

Did you know that Sweden has an indigenous people? I know, isn’t that cool?!

Just like Australia has the Aborigine and China has the Pamiri – Sweden has the Sami. For about 5000 years, the Sami people have lived way up in the arctic north of Sweden in thehomeland they call’Sapmi’. Today Sapmi actually covers not only Sweden, but also Norway, Finland and Russia. Historically, the Sami werereferred to as Lapps, but today this is deemed a derogatory term.

Today,February 6th,is the National Day of the Sami. Today,the Sami flag should be flown and the Sami national anthemis sung in the local Sami language.The first time this day was celebrated was in 1993 in Jokkmokk, Sweden.

The Sami are the only indigenous people in…

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The most popular names in Sweden

Yaay! My curiosity has been quenched! Swedish ranking of most popular names in 2018 has just been released a little while ago! And so I reblog the post from Watching The Swedes about most popular of them. It seems like William and Alice are ruling again. Which ones out of all these mentioned here do you like the most? Off to look up the whole statistics now. 😀

Watching the Swedes

Oliver was the most popular name for male newborns in the UK last year. And Olivia was the most popular female name. In London, it was Amelia and Mohammed and in Ireland it was Jack and Emily.

So what about Sweden in 2018? Just-released information from Sweden’s office of statistics give us the following answer.

The most popular top 5 names for male newborns were:

  1. William
  2. Liam
  3. Noah
  4. Lucas
  5. Oliver

In fact, there are 44010 males in Sweden with the name William. And 58 females!

And for newborn girls it was:

  1. Alice
  2. Maja
  3. Lilly
  4. Ella
  5. Wilma

Interestingly, there are 38957 females called Alice in Sweden. And 22 men!

The names Ture, Lias and Amir are the fastest climbing names in the list of boys’ names. And for girls, Hailey och Bianca. The names Sebastian, Neo, Simon, Emelie, Ellinor, Idun and Noomi have left the top 20 list.

If you want…

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Ice, ice baby: 15 Swedish words for ice

I didn’t even know that!… And I thought I can speak Swedish! 😶 It’s fascinating for me, especially that I’ve always been so fascinated with ice!

Watching the Swedes

Currently in the depths of winter, the Swedish landscape is covered in snow and ice.

I previously published a blog about 50 Swedish words for snow. So I became curious about how many words are there to describe ice.

I was surprised to find an enormous number of words. I guess it’s not so surprising for a Nordic country with so many lakes, rivers and waterways that there are many words to describe the different stages and shapes of frozen water.

Here are 15 of the words I found: 15 words for ice.

  1. Is – the standard word for ice
  2. Blankis – ice that shines like a mirror
  3. Nyis – ice that’s only a couple of centimeters thick and transparent
  4. Fast is – thick ice, often not transparent
  5. Issörja – when the air is cold but the water is moving, a kind of ice slop forms
  6. Tallrikis – plates of…

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Question of the day.

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?

My answer:

The most beautiful? Hmmm… I’m sure I’ve been to many beautiful places, although it’s hard to recall them now. I consider Stockholm very beautiful, because I just love Sweden, even that little piece of Sweden I’ve been to. Also when I think of beautiful places I think about one of the beaches we’ve been to, it’s in one of national parks and it’s really beautiful there. The village is called Smołdzino, and it is a very small, poor village, but very clean and quiet, and the sea and the beach seems cleaner than anywhere else I’ve been to, even though it’s the same sea as anywhere else in Poland. It was a very nice place. I also consider my room a beautiful place simply because it’s a safe space for me. It’s a bit messy though so I guess I’m not objective. 😀

How about you? 🙂

Why Swedes celebrate their names

I’ve always been curious why actually Swedes celebrate names, since they are mostly protestants, and now I finally know! 😀 As Poland is a Catholic country, we also have this tradition here, although I have an impression it’s generally better organised in Sweden, because we don’t really have a universal calendar and even a single calendar can be very repetitive and some names may have multiple days while others are mentioned hardly anywhere despite being used and sometimes it can lead to quite funny situations, or just to a bit of a chaos. As both a Christian and a name geek , I think in a way celebrating your name’s day can be even more fun than birthday. And I was quite surprised to see that Emilia’s nameday in Sweden is 14 November, when in Poland it’s Emil’s day. Though it makes more sense than making separate days for Emil and Emilia. If you aren’t familiar with this tradition, or like me, love Sweden, or names, I highly recommend you reading this post. 🙂

Watching the Swedes

Today is Svea’s Name’s Day. And October 8th is my Name’s Day. Well, not quite….but almost. It is Nils. And since I’m called Neil, well, I take Nils as my day.

Some of you might be wondering what the hell I’m talking about. What is a ‘Name’s Day’? Well, it’s like this. In Sweden, every day has a name, sometimes two. And if your name happens to be represented in this way in the calender, then you can celebrate your day. Strange? Maybe. Unusual? Not really.

A Name’s Day is actually a tradition in lots of countries such as Bulgaria, Croatia and Ukraine. According to Wiki, the custom originated with the Christian calendar of saints: believers named after a saint would celebrate that saint’s feast day. In Sweden, however, there is no longer any explicit connection to Christianity. It’s been a tradition since the Middle Ages and started…

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Let the light in – Lucia morning in Sweden

I’ve always thought that st. Lucia day celebrations in sweden are such a beautiful and interesting tradition, I think we should steal it and have in Poland too! Anyway, I thought I’d reblog this post for you my readers so that those of you who might not know about this holiday could learn a bit about it. We don’t have any particular celebrations of saint Lucia here in Poland as I said, although she is quite well known as a patron saint of the blind. And we do have gingerbreads at many homes at this time of year because Christmas is coming, but we are more restrained than Swedes and no one eats them yet. 😀

Watching the Swedes

A Chinese proverb says this,

‘It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness’.

Never was this more true than today. Lucia day. At the darkest time of the year, when we all are drained by the black mornings and afternoons in Sweden, Lucia pays us a visit. With candles in her hair and surrounded by her handmaidens and boys in a procession, Lucia shines light into the dark depths of our spirits. And slowly, slowly, the day awakens.

I love Lucia. Long live Lucia!

Lucia traditions are celebrated in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Malta, Bosnia, Bavaria, Croatia, Slovakia and St. Lucia, West Indies. But where does she come from and why is she one of the few Saint’s days celebrated in Sweden?

Santa Lucia is believed to have been a Sicilian saint who suffered a martyr’s death in Syracuse, Sicily around AD 310…

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Question of the day.

When was the last time you went on vacation? Where did you go?

My answer:

Oh, that was soo so brilliant! It was last year. Last summer, in July. I went to Stockholm. It was something that I dreamt of for years, and my Dad promised me many times that this time we’ll go to Sweden in summer for sure, and finally it came true last year. Sweden is among my favourite countries and I love Swedish language and Swedish people and so I’m always happy to speak Swedish to someone if I can practice, so I always wanted to go to Sweden. However, when it finally became a real and very close possibility, it started to feel also very scary. ‘Cause, you know, I’d have to be a translator for three people, in a way I’d have to be in charge of things ’cause I am the one in our family who speaks Swedish and English. And if you’re a sociophobic, it’s quite a scary prospect. Plus, I was also terrified about how we’re gonna get there. Because of my other anxieties, my labyrinthum not always working as it should and othere stuff, flying or sailing feels rather challenging, I get dizy and motion sickand stuff and it’s just tough. So, I think I was twice as scared as I was happy. What if it won’t go well? I wouldn’t like to have bad memories from one of my favourite places in the world. I felt like if my dreams are going to turn into a disappointment, if my anxieties will kick in, I’d better not go anywhere and just leave Sweden and all in the sphere of my dreams. But I still knew I’m gonna go there, because it felt even more awful if I missed on such a chance. And, yeah, it was tough. Very tough and exhausting. But it also was brilliant, as I said. And very, very rewarding. Sometimes as I think about it I wonder how I actually did it – all that talking and smalltalking to people, even very random people, but somehow I did. I’ve improved my Swedish, was able to use some English, and even my little rusty bits of Finnish, and get in some more Finnish, as I’ve met a woman from Finland. I’ve also fully realised something I’d only supposed before, that I’m that little bit more confident and comfortable talking to people when I do it in other languages, I guess because my willing to use it, to improve it and have contact with it is that little bit stronger than my anxiety. That’s weird, the more that Polish is also one of my favourite tongues obviously, but there’s nothing you can work on with your mother tongue, is there? And I’ve read somewhere recently that it’s common that people are more extroverted in their second, third, etc. language just because if they want to develop it, they need to communicate more.

I visited my crush Cornelis Vreeswijk’s grave, which was a very emotional event for me, we visited his park, we’d seen lots of beautiful views and historical places in the old town, ate yummy food, even tried salted caramel, which we didn’t like, but which was a funny experience. And man I’ve never eaten even half as yummy icecream as I did in the old town. I also visited a shop with minerals and extended my collection of gem stones with quite a few new ones from different countries around the world, and had a chat with the shop owner, even though he was from Scania, and I’m usually not that good at understanding the Scanian, but there’s always English, and somehow we got along. And I also have lots of other lovely souvenirs from Stockholm, like many books for children in Swedish – oh gosh I had so much scanning, I will think twice next time before I’ll ever again have a desire to buy a half of a bookshop. And the only thing I regret – well apart from those loads of scanning afterwards – is that we haven’t seen more of Sweden during that time, just Stockholm and nearby areas, and still not the whole Stockholm, we’d been there just for a week. I just enjoyed it so much. And, guess what? There is a slight chance I’ll go to Sweden this year too. There are always discounts on ferries to Sweden in summer so lots of people go even just for a little ferry trip to Karlskrona if nothing more. My feelings about that are very, very mixed, but deep down I know I’d love it.

How about your last vacation? Did you like it? 🙂

Question of the day.

Do you have plans to travel? Where do you want to go?

My answer:

We as a family don’t travel that much, our lifestyle or life circumstances or however you want to call it doesn’t really let us travel very often or far, and we are rather homebodies, at least most of us, but still we do like travels, especially my Dad who is a tank driver. Every time summer holidays are coming he tells us he wants to go there and there or tells us this year we’ll go there, but it doesn’t always come true. He even has been romising me for about seven years that this summer we’ll go to Sweden, but it happened just last year. It’s not like he didn’t want to make it true or like I have any claims about that, that’s just how the life goes and I’m glad we finally did it.

So yes, we do have plans to travel. But now it’s more my Mum who started them, not Dad. My Mum is at least as much knackered by this school year as I am, ’cause she has a double trouble, with me and my brother, as we are both finishing this year. Plus Zofijka’s school affairs and dramas aren’t helping. So she (my Mum, not Zofijka) is dreaming that finally when we’re finished, we’ll go somewhere far away, or at least will visit many places. She even suggested to me that we should both go to Wales straight after my exams, just we both, but for various reasons I don’t think this is going to happen this year, although I would love it to happen. Some of our realistic plans include going to some thermal pool. We visited one in Oravica in Slovenia years ago and we were chuffed, it was so brilliant. Then there is festival of minerals somewhere in Silesia where I’d like to go and my Mum proposed it to me. And at the end of August there is a whisky festival somewhere nearby and I’d like to go there too with my Mum, as we both like whisky and for me it is the only kind alcohol I accept, of course not like I don’t accept drinking other kinds of alcohol by other people around me or anything, just this is the only kind of alcohol I drink. 😀 I am not a big big enthusiast and actually now I drink very rarely because even after just a glass of any kind of alcohol drink I’ve ever had I can get nasty side effects and my Mum too so I guess we’re kind of allergic or something. Plus I don’t drink outside of the cosiness of my own home as it makes my anxiety higher. Anyway, the main reason I want to go there is I want to see if they have Welsh Penderyn, I’d love to taste Welsh whisky. My Welsh friend told me he’ll get me a bottle when he comes and visits me, but since sadly we aren’t in touch anymore it’s rather unlikely to happen. :// And I’d love to get some Grand MCNish to have it for some special occassions. Mmmmm… 🙂

As for where I want to go in general, like in some more distant future, there are countries speaking my favourite languages. Or dialects, or accents, whatever. I’d love to go to the UK. I like Britain very much in general as well as the British people and British accents and lots of other things about this country, I have quite a few pen pals from England and would love to meet with at least some of them. Then there is so many Celtic stuff in Great Britain. And there is Wales. So I could practice Welsh language, hear more of Welsh accents, and see how it is in the north, pick up some Wenglish. My Mum loves Great Britain and Wales too, because it’s beautiful, so she could see some of the views and castles and all. And there is my current crush, Gwilym Bowen Rhys. Don’t think I’d meet him, but anyway, he lives there, you know…

Then there is Scotland and all that Scottish stuff, Scottish whisky, Scottish accents (maybe I’d finally learn how to at least imitate it a bit more convincingly, I am an accent freak and like to mimick different accents and pick up the differences pretty quickly, but I feel like my Scottish accent is particularly poor). And oh gosh I’d love to go to the highlands, hear Scottish Gaelic, my Mum could see some more views. And there is Scots language as well. It’s funny, well I consider it funny for some reason, but it’s beautiful. And then there is Northern Ireland and all those Northern Irish accents and Ulster Scots language (I’m curious whether actually there is anyone using it there in Ulster) and Irish Gaelic and everything Celtic. Oh, I almost forgot! The Isle of Man. I’ve heard so little about it. People say it’s boring, but I think if it was under the influence of both Vikings and Celts… how can it be boring!? I definitely need to hear more Manx, get to know more Manx music. I don’t know much of it sadly. I want someone kind and competent to tell me what does the word “mish” mean in this mysterious language…

The next country I’d like to go to is Ireland. I love it too, for all the Celtic things they have there, and for Enya, who was my first crush, etc…

Another country I’d like to see are the Netherlands. This is the home to my last crush Cornelis Vreeswijk, I’d like to hear more of this fantastic language, to see the areas where Cornelis grew up. And there is Friesland and their underestimated, beautiful language.

Then I’d like to visit Finland. Their language is so fabulous. They are so fabulous people. I like their way of being and can relate to it at least as much as to Brits’. Swedish Finnish accent is so cute and funny, yes, that’s how I perceive it, 😀 if Finnish wasn’t so beautiful, I could talk to them only in Swedish, but as Finnish is so great, I’d at least try to use my poor Finnish skills and grab some more Finnish expressions, plus not everyone talks Swedish there, so English would be necessary as well. They have Lappland, I wan’t to see it too. And hear more of the Sami language. I’m sure it would be so exciting. Also I’d love to see how that Finnish harp – kantele – looks like. It sounds so different from “normal” harp, or Celtic harp(s), that I have an impression it must look very different.

And Faroe Islands. I wanna know, is it true what my uncle says, that actually there are so few people there that they are all family or know each other through their family members? My uncle is a saylor, his chief is Faroese and he often sails to Faroe Islands, but I don’t believe it. What a pity he isn’t more eloquent and more curious about the world so he could tell me more about this country. 😦 And Faroese language obviously. Plus, I love their singer, Eivor Palsdóttir. If everyone knows each other there at least through their family members, maybe I could meet her? 😀

And last, but not least. Sweden, again! I want to see more of Sweden, not only Stockholm and its neighbourhood. I wanna see Luleå. More of the places associated with Cornelis Vreeswijk (he migrated from Netherlands and lived in Sweden). I want to see more of their fabulous nature. There’s so much to see there!

So that’s the end of my list, I suppose.

How about your plans, for near or more distant future? 🙂