A few fun facts from a summer visitor.
Sweden is an amazing and beautiful country. It is a monarchy (ruled by a king and a queen), located in Northern Europe. It borders Norway and Finland, and a bridge called the Oresund Bridge connects Sweden to Denmark. It is part of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Sweden’s current population is about 9.2 million people.
A few of those people came to visit me and my family this summer. I talked to them about what it is like to live in Sweden. I also learned a lot about the language.
My friend Mikael Carrlsson told me that his favorite sport is soccer (which they call football). In school he learns English along with his native Swedish language. He also studies math, art, writing, reading, and Swedish history.
A traditional Swedish dish is kalops, or moose meat soup. Swedish people also love pancakes with jelly and whipped cream.
In Sweden people use kronors for currency, and eight kronors equal one dollar.
I learned to speak a little Swedish while Mikael was here. I learned that hej means hello; kontroll means remote, bil means car, and klocka means clock.
People usually live in apartment buildings, he said, and the Harry Potter series is very popular. Another favorite Swedish book series is LasseMajas Detektivbyra, which translates to Lasse and Maja’s Dectective Agency.
Higher education in Sweden is free for all citizens. Health care is also free, but visits to the doctor are limited to four minutes per patient.
I also asked Mikael what holidays he celebrates.
“Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter,” he says. “We also celebrate Mid-Summer, where people dance and sing together.”
Overall, I think Sweden is a wonderful country. Researching it for Mikael’s visit—and this blog—was really interesting.
PHOTO: My mom, me, and Mikael and his mom, Natalie, in Times Square in New York City. Photo Courtesy Alan Gelman