So Swedish

So, this was the hot lunch at work the other day:

A fish fillet, curried potatoes, peas, and a sour cream/creme fresh/dill sauce that Jen makes all the time. What I thought was interesting is that the dill sauce was really salty. I think you have been making it wrong @jennifer! ;-). Kidding – I didn’t like it that salty – it was a bit too much.

Donuts

Yeah, so I am not really proud of this, but I had donuts for breakfast this morning. I went to poor the milk for my coffee and it came out in lumps. Needed milk (what I get for going into the office to enjoy the free coffee there). At the store, there was your basic bakery cabinet with some donuts. I was weak. Donuts came home with me.

So, managed expectations for grocery store donuts aside, the sugar raised one was actually quite good. Very light and airy. The chocolate one … there is a weird taste to lots of Swedish chocolate to me (at least much of what I have had). I don’t think it is bad, just weird. So, I did not enjoy the chocolate one as much. I have not seen anything like a fancy donut place here, like a Bogarts.

Dumplings!

You know when somebody tells you about a “hole in the wall” place? Well, check this out! This is Fengssons (yes, a fun Swed-ification of a Chinese name). And it is down that cellar entrance.

Inside is a tiny little Chinese dumpling joint:

And, OMFG, those dumplings were good! Not just “good for Sweden” (which is how I have to qualify lots of food here), but legit good. Yum!

Day 34 – Easter Sunday – Påsk

Today is Easter Sunday, and there’s not much going on. I did find out about a thing that I thought was interesting – Easter Witches or påskkärringar. There’s a nice Radio Sweden bit on them here.

Around Easter, Good Friday and Easter Monday are both national holidays, so this is a 4 day weekend. Woohoo! Some colleagues noticed that I am flying solo in a hotel room, and decided to invite me over.

So, Friday, I had dinner with a lovely family that are from Britain, but have lived in Sweden since 1999. So, they speak English like Brits, but good Swedish. They have 3 kids around my kids ages, which is great. Had a great evening with them and even got a lift home. They live in Bjärred, so easy visiting distance. And their eldest kid attends Katedralskolan in Lund.

Then on Saturday, another colleague really got me for the whole day. They picked me up from the hotel, and took me to a nature refuge where we went for a really nice hike in some classic northern forests – Järavallen. After that, we went to their house in Ödåkra and had a lovely afternoon just hanging out and talking over fika, then dinner, then desert. I was very full when I went home!

I am starting to meet people, and even had a Swedish family invite me over for the day!

Day 14 – Tisdag

So, yeah, I forgot to blog yesterday. The problem with remote working is that you work a lot more. Day 14, of course, means that I’ve been in country for 2 weeks. This is Day 7 of working, however. Tomorrow is payday. I get paid once a month, around the 25th, so that there’s time for the money to land before you pay all your monthly bills at the beginning of the next month. Actually, pretty smart. I have direct deposit all set up to my Swedish bank account, where I will be paid in Kronor, and taxed like a Swede (almost). Between my UT card and my personnummer, I’m a fully legit Schengen EU resident. Weird.

Anyway, I went and looked at a house today. Quite a nice place. A little far from town, and a little pricey, but oodles of room for guests. Very modern and a super-nice family that was renting it out. I will go look at the other one on Friday (I think). Hopefully can pick something soon.

Also, for the record, when there’s a package of cheese in Sweden that is labeled “Texmex” don’t believe it. Unless by “Texmex” you mean a mixture of Gouda, Jarlsberg, and other Nordic-y cheeses. Bless their hearts, they have no freakin’ clue.

Day 11 – Lördag

Nice clear, sunny Saturday today. So I decided to take a little trip out to Lomma. Lomma is a little seaside town about 10 km (6 miles) from Lund. I was going to bike it, and then decided I was lazy, so I took the bus.

But first I had to get to the bus stop, and that took me past Broder Jakob. Oh, darn.

The 139 shuttles between Lund Central and Lomma Central, with some local stops along the way. Total ride was about 15 min on the same Skånetrafiken app-based ticket that I use for the train. The bus was actually quite nice! Dropped me of in the center of Lomma, which is by the Library and the marina.

A short walk takes you past the marina and all the little shops that face it to the beach. Yup – “beach”. White sand that is shallow out for 100s of feet. Cool little breakwater and other stuff. I walked the whole beach north half way to Bjärred, and back. There’s a great little trail that runs along the whole south coast of Sweden, and this is a segment of it. You can also see Malmö from the beach pretty clearly, as well as the Öresund bridge that connects to Denmark. Here’s a small selection of pics.

Yes, I did stick my hand in the water. It was not as cold as I thought it would be, and also was not salty. Like, almost at all. Weird.

After checking out out the beach and watching a small regatta get set up, I got some coffee at this cafe and sat in the sun. Right where the arrow says so. Which was amaze-balls. Just saying. Also, you can sail up to the back of the library. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Bus back to Lund. At the hotel basically by noon, and I tipped over 16k steps. By noon. Now I’m going to sit on my butt and do some work.

Day 8

Whew – I’m caught up! These will probably drop off from daily after the first week of work is done … We’ll see.

Today was pretty basic work. I went into the office again. It’s dead there, so it’s easy to get and camp out in a conference room. IKEA calls all office buildings “meeting places”, and so I work in the Hubhult meeting place. People don’t have offices – even serious senior execs. They either camp out in a conference room, or float in the workspaces like everybody else. Hubhult is here:

I am in Lund (where we will live, blue dot) and Hubhult is on the south side of Malmö. It may seem like it’s a long ways from Lund (it’s about 20 miles) but the train that goes from Lund station to Hyllie station (which is only a mile from the office) often hits 90+mph. It really takes only a few minutes. There’s also an office meeting place in Helsingborg about 25 miles north of Lund that I’ll probably use as well. The train goes there as well.

Also, I’ve been buying groceries and “cooking” (making sandwiches or mackor) in my hotel room. I was sick of that, and decided to go out. I went to Spisen for a pretty nice dinner. It’s a nice place, and I had it to myself (except for one other group).

Even if it looks similar …

So, this box of cereal looks like ”Honey Nut Cheerios”. But, looking carefully (after having put the first spoonful in my mouth) reveals that it’s “Honey Cheerios”, which do NOT taste like “Honey Nut Cheerios”, and have a much stronger honey flavor than the HNC that I’m used to. Not bad, but def made for a double-take on the box. Also, I love how they felt the need to put the grains in the cereal (across the bowl in the picture) in Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish. Because, really, they are all so different. 🙂

Day 3

Actually opened a Swedish bank account today! And put some money in it! Woohoo! Now I have someplace to deposit my paycheck in Kronor!

So, about this COVID-19 thing. I came a long ways to start a job, only to have the world shut down on what was supposed to be my first week in the office. As it is, a person came by the hotel yesterday to drop off my computer and VPN info. In case everyone is asked to work from home. Or, in my case, work from hotel. I will go into the office for a bit on Monday to get badged and HR onboarded, and then who knows? Probably hang out for the fast office wifi in the empty office … I know this sounds like whining (because it is), and I’m not put out by having a little inconvenience during a global pandemic. My issue is a lot more pedestrian – I miss having people to talk to! I’m used to a day basically full of talking to people. And now I’ve gone most of a week with basically no social conversation outside the daily FaceTimes with my family (which are life-savers!).

Kind of related to the previous topic, the front-desk staff came by and dropped off a little welcome gift of pasta, basil, and pasta sauce. Something they do for all the long-stay guests, I gather. It’s very nice and I really appreciated it. But it was a 15 second conversation. So, it doesn’t really count as socializing.

On to something more fun! Today, I had lunch at a place called Korvhuset (which means The Sausage House) and they have an all-you-can-eat sausage buffet. I’ll repeat that so it’s clear – ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT SAUSAGE BUFFET. I did not try all the advertised “101 types of sausages”, but I had a few. Even comes with vegetables – mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. Needless to say, I think this is very Swedish – the world may be melting down, but there will always be an all-you-can-eat sausage buffet! The icing on the cake was the staff-person – a heavily tattooed muscle-y guy with Swedish death metal playing (at respectfully low volume) on a tinny little boombox behind the counter. And spoke flawless English.