Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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swedish word of the month: lagom

This word has no direct translation to English.

Lagom. Pronounced lah-gohm it’s a somewhat difficult word to adequately describe.

Where do I begin? The closest translation is “enough”, “the right amount”, or “what Goldilocks is desperately seeking – the middle ground, the just right”. I’ve personally had difficulties smoothly incorporating “what Goldilocks is seeking” into casual conversation, so I gotta say lagom is a good alternative.

Sweden is the land of lagom. I know I’ve said Sweden is the land of IKEA…and the land of fika, but REALLY Sweden is the land of lagom. Because you should decorate your home with just the right amount of IKEA, and enjoy enough fika (not too much – that would be craziness). Here in Swedeland lagom is the golden rule…alright, the golden rule is still the golden rule…making lagom the platinum rule.

Lagom applies to everything. Food, drink, exercise, time spent with family and friends, you name it – the Swedes want it in just the right amount.

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my helpful tips for dealing with ikea furniture

This week I was put on the task of assembling IKEA furniture at work. Let me explain. We’re expanding, renovating and opening new wings. This means beautiful new locales. Which are completely empty. Empty space is less ideal for entertaining small children, I’m not saying it’s impossible, just less ideal. Not much fun for little Harpo.

Which brings me to my task: assemble 41 chairs from IKEA. Sure.

The up side: I am now an expert on assembling IKEA furniture (I figure I can extrapolate my knowledge to be all encompassing).

Here are my top three tips for your next IKEA adventure:

  1. While hammering, keep your eye on the prize. Do not look away, or your thumb will pay the price.
  2. I don’t care what the genderless little drawing says, use a drill, not a screwdriver. Your wrists will thank you. On the other hand if there are two genderless little drawings, bring a friend. It’s worth it in the end.
  3. Finally, practice makes better. Not perfect, your final item will never be perfect, that option was taken from you with the reduced price. What I’m saying is, buy 41 of whatever you need. The 41st time you assemble your new IKEA item, it will be so near perfect you’ll think you should enter the IKEA olympics, category: speed assembly, subcategory: high accuracy. (I’m pretty sure IKEA olympics is a thing.) Next time you need a new wardrobe, buy 41. The 41st time is the charm.

Trust me, I know.

letsbuildsomechairs

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book of october: david and goliath

No, I didn’t forget book of the month. Don’t you worry your little heart.

I’ve ranted and raved about how much I enjoy Malcolm Gladwell in previous posts, and when I found out he was coming out with a new book I knew it was written for me. And thousands of other readers. It was released on the first of the month, and LUCKY for me Evelina and I went on vacation this month. That means plenty of travel time to fill with reading a good book. Or five.

David & Goliath

In an upcoming post I will tell you all about our trip to Mexico. (And the ridiculous flight schedule it entailed.) For now I will leave you with these tantalizing pictures of reading an excellent book in excellent weather. On an excellent beach. Yes, everything really was that excellent.

reading on the beach

Malcolm Gladwell does it again. In a style all his own he connects dots in an ever fascinating way. He even talks about IKEA in this one. It’s a good read, you know I recommend it.

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sweden or switzerland?

The following is a list of things originating in Sweden, that you either had no idea that they came from Sweden, or these are the ONLY things you know about Sweden. Depending.

1. ABBA

2. The Sedin brothers

3. The Stockholm Syndrome

4. Sony Ericsson

5. IKEA

The following is a list of things that come from Switzerland:

1. Swiss cheese

2. Swiss chocolate

3. Swiss army knives

4. Extremely expensive (accurate) wrist watches

5. The Swiss Alps

The following is a diagram depicting Switzerland and Sweden on a map of Europe. I would like to emphasize, as a college textbook once informed me, Europeans often like to be referred to by the country they originate from, and not simply referred to as European. In that light, Sweden and Switzerland are different countries.

Please stop asking me if I’ve eaten any great cheese or gotten a fancy watch. (I have done both.) I am in Sweden, eating meatballs while listening to Mamma Mia at IKEA and purchasing very intelligently designed furniture. Wearing my Sedin jersey and texting on my Sony Ericsson cell phone. Feeling very empathetic towards my captors.

picture found here, edited by yours truly