First Snow Piles of 2016

The ever-changing landscapes are something that fascinates me so much about this place.

It felt like yesterday when I was still appreciating fall colors,

And we got the snow ❄ ❄❄!!

I love surprises like this!

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Being Indian 🇮🇳

Crossing seven oceans for prosperity and new life has never been unusual element for we, Indians. You name it and we have some Indian acquaintance living in that land. However, there are places where we have not taken the full hold of the land, and Sweden is one of them. we still have a handful of us but we don’t have Indian, especially Gujju colonies like USA, Canada and Australia.

And so I am a proud brand ambassador of my country, talking all from food to traffic to my curious friends and colleagues.

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A year unfolded in Scandinavia

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”

And this quote has again proved its essence in my life.

15th August 2016, when I marked my roller coaster journey of 365 days in this quite, calm and beautiful country. This has also been a time when I achieved those milestones in life which I even didn’t consider to have in bucket list! It has really been my saga of transformation from being ‘dreamer’ to ‘achiever’.

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Sunny Days..

The time has come again to see the most heavenly side of this country !

It is the time when we finally get few lucky days to go out without jackets and I can dress up like I used to do in India 🙂 (only few because it still rains sometimes and do get cold….) I have longed for this for months and can’t be more happy 😀

Just two weeks back, we had some nice sunny days with 25-27 C. Now I have realized the craze of getting ‘tan’ in all these western countries. It feels like you are now back to life, as if those polar bears coming out of their caves.

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Learning Swedish..the fest step of integration

3rd May, 2016 came up as one the most exciting day for me. At one hand I had the curiosity of my results of the first stage of Swedish course, the other I had my first interview in Sweden to get an internship with one of the largest organizations of this country.

But why did I needed to learn this language being a fluent English speaker?

All know that Swedes are on of those best English speakers who do not have English as a mother tongue. This was one solid reason for me to presume that I will sail through easily in the local job market.This bubble of assumption got burst soon after coming here when I talked to Arbetsförmedlingen (Employment office) and local recruiters.

While Swedish is an official language of working for most of local companies, it is preferable as all MNCs are dealing with local Nordic clients.

So here I go, joined SFI (svenska för invandrare – Swedish for Immigrants) and took the fist leap of faith.

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Being Vegetarian.. and sometimes alien !

Nej Tack! Jag är vagetarian.

..and it will lead to a long list of questions that any  vegetarian is tired of answering hundreds of times. Funny thing is, the questions are same, no matter where you go and live.

När blev du vegetarian? (when you became vegetarian?)

Men äter du fisk, ägg ? kan du dricka mjölk och äta smör???  (But do you eat fish?? can you drink milk and eat butter?)

Hur får du protein??!!! (How do you get protein?)

har du aldrig smokat kött??!! ..ahann!!! (have you never tasted meat??!!! ahhaan!!)

And there are endless iterations..Some people look at me in amazement when I say that I am brought up as vegetarian.

Sweden is a cold land where people cannot even think  spending a day without meat, fish and eggs. It was not so easy to get even a good vegetarian dish in restaurents just few years back, when my husband was in this city for few months. It’s a place of ‘köttbullar (meatballs)’ where we just get a soup, boiled potato and salad  in the name of a green meal. This is certainly not a complete meal for a person who comes from a country which is well-known for spices and a rich food culture.

But it is becoming more and more vegetarian/vegan friendly..

Nevertheless, I have successfully managed to eat just vegetables, fruits and grains even though it felt odd-on-out sometimes. Thanks to the latest mantra airing in Sweden about eating vegetarian meal once in a week. I also read about studies which says that  10% of people in Sweden are vegetarian now, making it one of the most vegan and vegetarian friendly countries. There are many restaurants serving only veg-meals in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. Almost all restaurants serve at-least one dish for us which makes life easier now. There is also a vegetarian version of meatballs which is served with different salads and baked dishes.

For Indians, like in any other country, we have our Indian grocery stores in major cities. There are even other stores that import grocery from different eastern countries, including India, where we find basic ingredients. It was just in past few days when I was surprised to find all basic Indian spices in City Gross super market.

Above all, your choice is always respected in this country. For any planned social event, some arrangement is done for all kind of people based on preferences. It has not been so difficult to be a vegetarian and it is going to be better only in future 🙂

 

 

 

Chilling in the Snow ⛄🏂

It has been a while since I wrote here last. Well, I was just collecting amazing experiences and memories to come back with some new ‘chatpati’ stories. Today I would talk little about the actual swedish winter experience this year.

Though we didn’t have white christmas, I have no complains now as we got to see much much of snow and it still continues in February. A person like me, who never got to see snow eariler in life, would certainly get blown away in amazement. Initially it feels so thrilling to see the weather widget on mobile showing 0° C. I remembered my imaginations as child that how the water would instantly turn into ice, just like we always saw on cartoon network 😛

It is always so beautiful to see those snow piles gradually taking shapes on windows, trees, benches and bike seats. That typical sound of walking on fresh snow, tiny snow flakes kissig on my face and suddenly the world gets more illuminated with the reflecting lights. The barren land becomes much more wonderful to live in these dark days.

The sun plays hide-and-seek all the time, dropping the temperature as low as -25° C. And when the mercury goes this much down, we got the chance to see frozen river and even walk over the frozen Mälaren lake. What an exciting thing it was! Many times I was little afraid incase my feet would break the ice and…blah..blah.. Well, small kids doing ice skating effortlessly gave me much relief to continue ahead.

Read More Skating track on Lake Mälaren

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At the frozen Mälaren

Certainly this is the time for all the unique winter sport for which almost all Sweds are crazy. Ice skating, ice hockey (they don’t actually understand any other type of hockey! ), downhill and cross-country skiing, isbandy to name few. I have not tried any of them for this year. Perhaps all these new environmetal conditions are enough of an adventure for me. But I am sure to attempt atlest one in coming winters.

Everything is not pretty and funny though..

Nothing comes without paying price and so these winters! It has been almost 3 months since we are covering ourselves in those big winter jackets. This is one of the biggest complians I have for this season. It is literally irritating to carry it all the times, almost of the weight of an extra baggage on the shoulders. Very less sunlight for long time many times leads to mood swings and laziness. It is quite common to take vitamin D tablets now. One need to be really active to take care of the skin and hair. However, this is not so big price to pay for this chilling season.

I hope to write more about the winter in north sweden with northen lights and dogsledding if I get a chance to be there soon. Let me chill in Västrås till then.