Expat to Expat Q&A – #4 Basics and Eureka Moments

Found Love.  Now What?
Hello, I am sure you thought I was never coming back but here I am and with the August installment of Expat to Expat!
This month we scaled down to 7 questions and Belinda and I are working on some tweaks for the September installment but either way it will be fun and awesome and I cannot wait to see your answers!

1. What is your favorite food store in your city and why?

We do our shopping at ICA for a few reasons; we can walk to one in 5-10 minutes, we get bonus points for store credit each month, they offer special offers to students, and they food always seems fresh.

IMG_2385(this is our store this past December 1st)
2. For your answer to number 1 is it ok to buy the store brand items or do you pay extra for a name brand?

When I first moved to Sweden I realized there was no difference to me between the store brand and the name brand as they were both brand new to me. Mr. H had a few ideas of things he particularly wanted to buy name brand but they were foods I did/do not eat like sill(herring) so that was not a big deal. With other items like milk, pasta, and lunch meat it took a ton of trial and error and deciding what we wanted to spend our extra krona on.

Now two years in there are things I always buy the store brand of unless the name brand is on sale. Some of those items are spices, pasta, juice, margarine, cereal, salsa, cream cheese, frozen cinnamon buns and shredded cheese. Some items I will not buy in store brand are pizza dough, lunch meat, block cheese, and other various things I have tired but I will often give it a few tries!


I also love how so many things come in tetra paks instead of cans!


Eggs, milk, bacon, and sausages in brands that taste great and I never heard of before coming to Sweden!
3. What do you think is the best way to get about your city? i.e. bus, bike, car, etc

Well considering neither Mr. H or I can legally drive in Sweden we are all about the bus! Honestly though with all the snow we had last winter even if we had a car there is no way I would have wanted to drive. We are also very lucky that there is a bus stop right in front of our building that goes through town and to the mall so we can get everywhere we want easily.
4.. Which store do you turn to for basics like toilet paper or cleaning supplies?

We buy toilet paper and dish soap at the same ICA we do our weekly food shop at, for other cleaning supplies like toilet bowl cleaner or shampoo and conditioner we stock up at ÖoB  (I call it the boob store because when I first saw the ad in the mail that is what I thought it said!). They often have good deals on household basics and are the place to go for cheap Christmas decorations.
5. Where do you think is the best place in your city to get a cup of coffee (or beverage you prefer) and catch up with friends?

If you were visiting Sundsvall, you know it is really the happening place to be, I would say lets meet up at Barista and sit for hours over coffee and giant buns.  O it would be lovely and say you were staying for a whole weekend we would then get dressed nice and head to Bishops Arms for drinks and cheese and meat platters. Of course though on Sunday you have to come round ours for a Sunday meal of homemade lasagna and laughs all around!

Now we have two awesome questions from Emma!

6. What was your “eureka, I’m practically a native” moment?

Ok I am all for honesty in blogging so I have to say this question is taking me ages to come up with an answer… So I saved and came back and honestly I do not think I have had one. Maybe a few moments of Sweden is my home but not native. I am going to keep thinking about it and let you know as soon as it happens!
7. Does your real accent get in the way?

Hmmm well seeing as my Swedish is still pretty limited it is hard to say. I do know though that my native accent is getting weaker and weaker and now I am starting to have a mesh of a Canadian, British and American accent due to all the different people I speak with. Many younger Swedes speak with a slight British accent due to how they learn English in school and in our case my closest friend in Sweden is British and my second closest spent 15 years in London.  All of those factors lead me to having a hybrid accent which I am sure will keep evolving with time.


10 thoughts on “Expat to Expat Q&A – #4 Basics and Eureka Moments

  1. I’m not sure there is something like “being native” when you are an expat. You’ll always be different. I know I am! No matter how comfortable I get something will always happen to put me back in my place. Ya know?! It is what it is! But, that is part of the fun!

  2. The food you included in this post looks so good! I bet it was so interesting to find out what the food was like there. I have not really eaten much Swedish food but would love to try it!

    I think that walking around is a great way to expereince a place and to get to know it too (I do not drive – never learnt) but in all that snow would be really hard. Kudos to you if you go out in weather like that! Over here int he UK, if there is a slight frost the whole place seems to shut down!

  3. I found it difficult enough shopping in Canada when we first arrived because I didn’t recognise the packaging or anything but at least I could read the packet so I’m seriously impressed that you have managed to adapt so well in another language. I’m so glad expat Q&A is back, thank you :-D

  4. I do love seeing everyone else’s groceries, Hubby and I love wandering the local supermarket in other countries, it’s pretty weird I know, but I guess it’s like a snapshot of their normal lives that a normal tourist might not see. Love the Swedish use of Tetra packs though!

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