A list of random things I like in Sweden

1. Good bike paths everywhere.
2. This bread called Guldkorn that is sold in a loaf with NO END PIECES and every slice is the same exact uniform size. I didn't know how much this mattered to me until I found this bread.
3. The traffic lights turn red and yellow at the same time before they turn green. I know driving is not supposed to be a race, but my analogy is that in the States driving is like being in a race where you line up and someone suddenly just says "go". Here, it's like "ready, set, go", and it really relaxes those type A people like Rob and I who would make an analogy of racing to driving.
4. Open preschool - a parent accompanies their kid to this, but it is free. It's mostly just babies/toddlers playing around, and then a music-time, but there are open preschools all over and, yeah, it's free.
5. Pappaledighet - the right that fathers have to get paid leave from their job to take care of their baby. I don't know the exact laws around this, but together the father and mother get a sum total of 1.5 years paid leave from work (I think...). The clincher is that if the father does not take some of that time (like 3 months or something) then it is simply lost so then they don't get the full year and a half or whatever it is. At the open preschools I have gone to, it is pretty common to see more fathers there with their kid than mothers, which I think is quite the novelty that I just can't get over. (This is because it is common for the father to take over baby-duty when the kid is a year old, which also coincides with when a lot of people start going to open preschool.) I mean, what full-time-mother hasn't fantasized once or twice about trading places with their husband for a couple months?
6. Loooooong vacations. Many people take like 6 weeks vacation in the summer and the whole city changes, like a college town. (I think everyone is legally entitled to something like 5 weeks of vacation.)
7. Free bus rides if you are pushing a stroller.
8. Cheap balls of fresh mozzarella.
9. No one honks in traffic. Actually, this is love/hate, because sometimes someone really needs to be honked at like 5 cars ahead of you and no one will get the job done. But when you compare the peacefulness of it to DC drivers (angry honking haters), it is definitely worth the trade-off.
10. Entire school classes will go out on bike rides together. I once saw a class of grade schoolers out for a ride with their teacher giving them instruction about cycling. And the bike lots are overflowing at the schools.
11. I was reading the Swedish Book of Mormon the other day where it has the same passage as the Bible that says "And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council". I've never really known what that word "Raca" meant until now. The Swedish version essentially interprets it as "Dumbhead". So enlightening.
12. Brännboll - a nicer, friendlier version of baseball. There is no such thing as an out and even if you strike out you still get on base. Probably more like wiffleball than baseball, but nice for things like the family friendly picnic setting.  I played this for the first time with my church youth group last week, and I didn't quite understand it yet, and they must've thought I was a little crazy the first couple of times I was yelling "OUT!!!" at people before I realized there is no such thing in this game.
13. Non-competitive attitudes here, in general. As witnessed in too many occasions to count (for example, #12) Another recent example I noticed was in the Easter tradition of the egg-hunt. Here each kid gets just one giant egg, and once they find it they are done. Okay, so I think it isn't quite as exciting, but no kids are left in tears because they found 2 eggs while someone else got 18 eggs plus 4 chocolate bunnies.
14. Everyone exercises and eats well and does stuff outdoors. Okay, not everyone, but it sure seems that way. It is rare to see anyone overweight here.
15. A friend was making an argument for living a healthy lifestyle the other day, and it seemed that the pull for it isn't so much centered on "healthy = good for you", but more like "healthy = good for society". It seems the stronger argument is that things that make you unhealthy make you a burden on the system and others, so don't be that person. I'm positive I am way over generalizing here, but perhaps a thread of truth to that mentality.
16. Dogs are soooooo loved.
17. Kids who ride the bus to school use the public bus system, not a school bus. And they use the public bus and metro for things like field trips too.
18. Valborgmässafton - a holiday that was celebrated last night. From what I gather, it is basically a pagan holiday celebrated with ginormous bonfires to ward off evil and burn away the dry and dead of winter. The fire I went to burned up a heap bigger than a garage and the flames reached higher than the trees. There were no ropes to hold people back for safety and no waiver forms to sign. Just a picnic like atmosphere with a good old fashioned "mind your own safety" before they set the biggest blaze I've ever seen.
19. The floor heater we discovered this winter for our bottom floor tiles. Mmmmmm, Toasty.
20. Saunas saunas saunas.
21. Lack of american modesty in dressing rooms. Nowadays when I use a locker room it is usually to go to the pool with Smalls, and that kid is crazy and likes to make me chase him around whenever possible. If we were anywhere but Europe, I would have had some really awkward moments in the locker room.
22. Swedish meatballs (I'm hooked) and Wallenburgers.

Things I wish would make their way to Sweden
I'll keep this brief because it's all nit-picky stuff that doesn't really matter in the scheme of living in a really great place that I love. Just random stuff I've missed here and there.
1. Disposals in kitchen sinks.
2. Juice sold as concentrate.
3. Screens for windows and screen doors. Actually, I saw a screen door for sale once in a magazine that was about the equivalent of Sky-Mall magazine. Hey guys, check out this crazy cool contraption!
4. High watt light bulbs. (Can't find anything above 60.)
5. Drive through fast food.
6. Fitted bed sheets.
7. Air conditioning.
8. American size cribs (teeny tiny ones here).
9. A Target store or something of the like.
10. Authentic Mexican food...who here wouldn't love a grubbin' Beto's burrito?
11. Pick up of recyclable trash. It's like mile round trip walk for me to go to the recycling bins and back, plus you sort it yourself, so it is definitely less convenient than I am used to. (Don't worry, I still do it.) 
12. A massive aisle of the grocery store dedicated to hundreds of different delicious cereals. Wouldn't Swedes just love Cinnamon Toast Crunch? I think they would.

Actually, I think the above list is a testament to how awesome it is here, if that is all I can find to wish for.
I am sure there is tons more I will find myself wishing I had put on each of those lists, but I've gone on quite long as it is, haven't I?

Joy  – (5:15 PM)  

I really, really wish all American businesses realized that employees should have 5 weeks of vacation . . . I'd so be spending more time with my grandchildren instead of fighting for each day I want to take off!
I'm with you, I can't believe how healthy the Swedish people are and I love the bus - stroller rule.

Andrea J  – (6:25 PM)  

I like this post a lot, but for purely selfish reasons. We are moving in a few months and I sometimes think my heart might break. But knowing that you moved to a cold place after having lived in something like paradise, and can love it, gives me hope.

The Richmans  – (8:14 PM)  

I love this list. But I have to admit I'm shocked that you miss drive-through fast food. Only because I'm shocked that you even eat fast food! :)

d  – (1:26 AM)  

These lists are so awesome. A lot of the things are so similar with Japan. Your lists make me want to come over to visit even more!! PS way to go on the BofM in Swedish! -dayna

bonny with a Y  – (7:42 PM)  

I loved this post. I am ready to move to sweden. seriously.

and i second dayna on the awesomeness of reading the BoM in swedish.

AND you can buy cinnamon toast crunch (and lots of other cereals) at amazon. not sure what shipping would be though.......

Carin  – (3:09 PM)  

I get honked at about 5 times a day in Madrid. I am immune now but it's a little excessive and boring.

aliciaaiken  – (6:36 PM)  

Thanks L! I have been so nervous to move and the list has made me feel much better:)

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