Best things about Sweden!
It’s not all about meatballs. Sweden is well-known for many things, ranging from Alfred Nobel to Minecraft. But more than that, here are some of the best things about Sweden.
From Arctic Nights to Midnight Sun
Up in the North, the sun never sets between 29 May and 14 July in the town of Kiruna, north of the Artic Circle. On the contrary, the sun hibernates for 3 long months during winter. My first ever trip to Sweden was actually in Kiruna, a need to escape the scorching +45°C heat from down under to -35°C in the arctic circle. Best thing was to be picked up by 10 adorable huskies that pull us for over an hour on the sledge to Ice Hotel Jukkasjärv. These dogs were running so fast and they didn’t even need a break, utmost respect.
There’s more up north. The Mirrorcube Tree House, sets in the midst of Lapland’s natural forest in Luleå is on definitely on my travel-list. Stop it Sweden, you’re too beautiful.
Learning from Minecraft
It’s not all about killing monsters/zombies. Before Minecraft, I never heard of Acacia which is a type of wood that grows much quicker than other woods such as oak or pine. During my internship at IKEA, I actually get to apply Minecraft knowledge in the upcoming SKOGSTA collection which is made of acacia, not only known for its high quality but also a more sustainable choice compared to other woods. Thank you Steve!
Credits: Minecraft image on the left from VG247.com
Just a SKYPE call away
Thanks to Niklas Zennström (Swedish) and Janus Friis (Danish) who founded SKYPE in 2003, I am only a call away from my friends and family wherever they are, making me feel closer to them. In fact, I had the digital ambassador interview over Skype!
Man and Woman Alike
Sweden is one of the pioneers in advocating gender equality and ranks as one of the world’s most gender-egalitarian countries, based on a firm belief that men and women should share power and influence equally.
The IKEA brand
Nothing to do with my internship but IKEA is really a part of my daily life, not just in Sweden but also in the different countries where I used to live. When I first came to Sweden, a visit IKEA store is the first activity organized by the university for international students to get affordable home essentials. I have to admit I have a major crush on Swedish home designs, simplicity at its best.
The Swedish Inventions in my everyday life
The Zipper by Gideon Sunbäck in 1914.
The lives-saving three-point seat belt which is found in all cars made today, was developed by Nils Bohlin, a Volvo engineer in 1958.
The Celsius scale by Anders Celsius, Swedish astromer in 1737. I always go by the Celsius since it is currently used in all countries except the US, Bahamas, Belize, Cayman Islands and Palau, sorry Fahrenheit. In Sweden, I rely a lot on the weather forecast, always on the lookout for the lowest °C so I can decide my choice of outerwear.
Tetra Pak’s disposable milk packaging by Erik Wallenberg in 1944. As a teaholic, I like my tea with milk on the go, anywhere anytime, very essential for early morning lectures. And the little pyramid milk packaging makes it possible.
I know the following ones may not be as essential as those above, but it is indeed still a part of my daily life. Arrggh, you’re too addictive Candy Crush! King, the company behind Candy Crush Saga, is founded by 5 Swedes and it is currently (still) the most popular game on Facebook. Not forgetting the joy of streaming my favourite songs from Spotify, founded by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon in 2006 at Stockholm. In my music playlist is course Avicii and Swedish House Mafia but ABBA’s Dancing Queen is a must have.
97% of Sweden is uninhabited and 69% of the country is covered by forest. With national parks and nature reserves cover a tenth of the country’s land area, more than 80% of Swedes lived within 5km of a national park, nature reserve or other nature conservation site. Truly amazing! In Borås, I live 2 min walk away from a forest with a beautiful stream, and in Älmhult, I lived 10 minutes walk away from a very nice lake in the midst of the countryside. It makes me feel very relax, nature is the best therapy.
But that’s not all…
For students moving here as well as students returning home after their studies in Sweden, I know that you will have/had a very, very memorable time in Sweden. There’s so much to see and do in Sweden, I have yet to try ice fishing!
Today is also the final thesis presentation for my classmates in the one-year master program. I feel emotional as some of my good friends will be leaving Sweden soon. Looking back at all the things we have done together from juggling the never-ending assignments, trying bizarre Swedish food, rushing to Systembolaget before it closes, to the constant love-hate relationship with Swedish winters and tons of other stuff, these are some moments I would never forget.
Been writing for awhile, now I need my Fika. Hej då!