I rarely touch any political issues here at Skimbaco Lifestyle, but I can’t resist bringing you this week a few posts related to President Obama’s visit to Sweden. President Obama is coming to Sweden tomorrow, and I wanted to give him a few tips what he could help to bring for the Swedes.
I love NY T-shirts Anything that says any American city or has the USA flag on it.
Swedes are quite obsessed with American culture, and it even shows in their clothing and home decorating choices. Yes, it might surprise you, but Swedes love the stars and stripes, and nothing says more that you are a good hipster than a T-shirt that says Brooklyn in it, even if you have never actually been to the entire state of New York. The USA-obsession just starts with the hipsters. The kids get their cheap USA-tees from the malls, and the rich buy the pillows with USA-flags from expensive boutiques. Sadly, most of the USA obsessive products are manufactured and sold by Swedish companies, and don’t come directly from the USA. Maybe Obama could bring some real American products for the Swedes. Oh wait, I guess they are all made in China anyways…
According to the quality-of-life-index, the quality of life in Sweden is the 5th best in the entire world (United States ranking 13th, right after Finland). One thing that explains the quality of life is the long vacations compared to many other countries, everyone gets 25 days of vacation per year (that’s five weeks!), plus take off around 11 additional national holidays, and often the eves of them, or “squeeze-days” meaning the day between a weekend and a holiday making it a long weekend. One holiday that the Swedes don’t celebrate is Thanksgiving. Maybe Obama could bring some cold facts about the vacation times the Americans have, and suggest the Swedes dedicating a day off just to be thankful for what they have.
3. Southern Manners
In general Swedes are this happy singing and dancing nation, but Swedes have a higher sense of what’s wrong and right, and they tend to do the rudest things just on terms of “being right.” Walking slowly to get the number from a ticketing system when you are lining at bank (and every place has a number system in Sweden, just you, know it’s fair to everyone)? A Swede will just start walking faster to get his number, and pass you right before you push the button to get your number. Longer arms pretty much win here. In case you are lining up at ATM that is one of the rare places that doesn’t have a number-system, and you leave some space in between you and the person waiting in the front of you, a Swede will wedge himself in-between you two, because technically you were not in the line if you are not almost touching the person in the front of you. There is no concept of “personal space” in Sweden, nor a word that directly translates to “please.” Obama could teach some basic manners how to interact with people, even if it’s shallow, and oh, so, American to actually say “Good morning” when entering the store on the morning, and wishing “have a great day” when leaving. Don’t even get me started with “excuse me.”
Dear Mr. President, I hope you are prepared to eat some pickled herring during your visit. Also, you are in luck, the moose-hunting season just kicked in, and perhaps you will get some moose-meatballs with chanterelle mushrooms. The Swedish culinary world focuses in local food, and it’s quite trendy at the moment with simple techniques and fresh ingredients. However, Swedes like to travel and it has increased the demand for international foods. It’s easy to find fixings for many popular Thai- and Indian dishes from regular grocery stores. Americans in Sweden can find peanut butter from the store, and we loved finding Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce for our 4th of July ribs, made the American way. However, Obama could maybe enlist former President George W. Bush to come with him to teach Swedes some Tex-Mex food culture and give some taco-education. In Sweden all Tex-Mex food is called “tacos” and you never know whether you are getting a hard shell or soft shell taco, a burrito, or perhaps a fajita. “Tacos” are so popular that they are seen in lunch restaurants, schools and restaurants all over Sweden, and there is a real opportunity to bring some real Tex-Mex food to Sweden. Oh, and while you are at it – maybe tell them that there is no such thing as “Texas-style meatballs” in Texas?
5. American Tourists
Despite the fact I am making fun of the dear Swedes, Sweden is a beautiful country, and Mr. President should bring some American tourists with him to experience this Nordic nation. It’s one of the most modern societies where traditional culture and vast history meet with modern day technology every day in perfect harmony. Most Swedes speak fluent English, I already established they love the USA, and they will greet Americans with high enthusiasm. The excellent public transportation makes it easy to travel anywhere in the country and I highly recommend experiencing the Swedish country side, and, of course, the city of Stockholm is one my favorite cities in the world. In my humble opinion Stockholm should apply to become a host for the TBEX travel blogging conference and attract a global blogging audience to see the country and spread the word. You know, just in case Mr. President is too busy to give any travel details from his trip this week.
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