I also met my Swedish soulmate. I was waiting to weigh my produce and the woman in front of me started talking to me. She was about my age. Maybe a tad older. I apologized that I do not speak Swedish so she launched into English. She explained to me that she was making a ginger based drink as gifts. She recited the recipe and told me that you must not grate it, but use a spoon or it "f@*ks" it all up. Uh . . . oh, ok. Her command of English surprises me but also makes me giggle a bit. Then she tells me it is great in the morning to wake you up but it is "f@*king amazing" with vodka. I laughed, gave her a hug, told her she was a women after my own heart and wished her God Jul (Merry Christmas).
Normally in every Swedish establishment there is a machine to take a number and a display showing which number is next. I dutifully got my number only to realize there was no display. I panic a little as I don't know what the Swedish numbers sound like and I have no way to know when my number will be called. I tapped on the shoulder of the gentleman in front of me. I politely explained that I do not speak Swedish and I asked him how to say 81 in Swedish so that I would know when my number was called. Another elderly man standing off to the side interjected "Learn to speak Swedish! You are in Sweden." Apparently there is Swedish Grinch too. "I plan to," I said, "however, I've only been here since September and the classes were all full so I am waiting to get in." "Ignore him" the other 2 men say. We went on to having a nice conversation where they told me how to pronounce God Jul and Malmö correctly. They explained to me that "ö" is a word all its own which means island and malm means ore. Malmö means Ore Island. I was confused as Malmö is not an island. They explained that there was an island a little bit off shore that produces iron ore. Interesting. I noticed that everyone was buying these tall white meringue looking things. I asked what they are.They are called spettekaka and are a traditional Swedish dessert. My 2 new friends, however, told me not to bother. They told me that you see them at every Swedish party but no one eats them because they don't taste good. I am glad that they forewarned me as I would have bought one. They were very pretty to look.
Swedish folks also strictly follow the parking rules too. Parking fines are steep and parking rules are enforced. One can get a ticket for parking too close to the curb (the parking attendants actually have a tape measure and measure the distance), for parking with one tire on the curb or for parking in the wrong direction. Today at the supermarket parking lot, there was a line of cars patiently waiting in a car queue for someone to leave. The car behind me went around everyone, went the wrong direction in traffic and he zipped backwards into a parking spot. Oh the others were outraged. Lots of shouting ensued.
Then as I was leaving the parking lot the entire street was blocked as two cars were fighting over a parking spot. Both were trying to get into the spot from the wrong way. No one could move until one of them acquiesced.
Again, it was a bit refreshing to see that passions run high all over the world.
I got all my tasks done, met some lovely folks long the way and now I am settling in for some serious baking and cooking.
God Jul alla! Buon Natale tutti! Merry Christmas everyone!