I went out last night with a bunch of expats and learned quite a few interesting new things that hadn't experienced before. But there are others that do keep coming up regularly and I thought I'd list a few of them here:
- I learned last night that when you give birth in Sweden, you are not allowed to leave the hospital until you pass a breastfeeding test. In other words, you have to demonstrate that you know how to breastfeed the correct way. It's apparently called the Hamburger method or something where you squeeze your breast like a hamburger.
- If a woman has a child in Sweden, she has to report who the father is. If she does not, a lawyer will intercede on behalf of the child because under Swedish law, it's the child's right to know who his or her father is. This is also so that the child knows he or she is eligible for a passport to another country if the father is a national of another non-EU country. It is also so the father, if he resides in Sweden, can take his government allotted paternity leave.
- Women who return to work soon after giving birth and don't take as much of their maternity leave as possible (I think, there are 14 months total split between the parents though I think the majority goes to the mother so it tends to be 12 months for the mother and 2 months for the father) may be considered bad and irresponsible mothers.
- There is a word in Swedish, 'lagom' that doesn't really have an equivalent concept in English. This is something I encounter all the time. It sort of translates into 'just right' or 'not too little or not too much' and describes the amount of something Swedes believe they should be satisfied with. This explains why there is never meant to be an oversupply of things in stores or why portions might be smaller and why people should be satisfied with what they have and not want more. This is a concept I really struggle with because it goes against the idea of 'plenty' and 'abundance' and even 'excellence' that I have been socialized to accept. This also might explain why there is always a limited supply of things in grocery stores. So instead of 20 different flavors or brands of salad dressing in the grocery store, there are only 3. You have a choice, but not a big choice. This is just right and you should learn to be satisfied with it. But when you're used to having more options to choose from, it can feel really restricting. My husband, the foodie, has really been struggling with this as it makes cooking a wide range of foods a lot harder.
- I tried downloading the latest episode of the threepatcht, Kinktober, to my cellphone the other day while in the train station. But I could not because the file size was too large and was instructed that if I wanted to download I would have to find wifi or download to my laptop. I don't know if this is normal, but this was our longest episode (3.5 hours) and this is the first time I have received a message on file size limitation.
- 'Gone Girl' has just come out in theatres here. My husband and I wanted to go tonight, but all the tickets for all the seats are sold out Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for the entire city of Malmö, which is the third largest city in Sweden. This is typical and is also possibly another example of lagom. Don't want too many theatres or too many seats or too many films showing at the same time.