You know that feeling when you are in another country and notice things are different than at home? Each country has its own perks and I guess that is why travelling is such an experience. Not only you get to see a new country but you also get to experience a different culture, a different way of living and a different mentality.
As I’ve mentioned in my previous post “My likes and dislikes about living in Scandinavia“, I’ve lived in Scandinavia for 8 years, first 2 years in Sweden and then I moved to Copenhagen, Denmark. During this time I’ve done my best to adapt to the Scandinavian lifestyle and culture but as an immigrant from Eastern Europe and traveling around the world to other countries have made me realise that Scandinavia and especially Copenhagen, operates by a different set of rules and a different lifestyle. Recently we’ve been traveling more often to California which made me notice the difference even more.
These days Scandinavia is a popular topic when it comes to travel talk and many people are curious about Scandinavian lifestyle, therefore I thought I’d give you an insight into the Scandinavian way of life seen from an immigrant’s point of view.
The city of bikes – For me biking was just a fun thing to do in my spare time but here, biking is a way of life. Because cars are extremely expensive and people care a lot for the environment, biking is without question the best way to get around the city. Sometimes it seems there are more bike lanes than car lanes and parking definitely caters more to bikes than to cars. My first thought when I moved here, was that I probably won’t get hit by a car but getting run over by a bike is a definite possibility.
Healthy Eating – In Eastern Europe, including Romania where I come from, meals are way more fatty, oily and more often fried than here and I had a hard time adapting to it in the beginning. The food here in Scandinavia is definitely more healthy, a higher quality and people are very focused on eating organic. Nowadays I did adapt to this lifestyle as well and I can’t imagine going back to eating the meals I used to enjoy in my childhood.
Babies sleep outside?? – no matter where you come from, if you are not from Scandinavia, I bet you haven’t heard about this or think that it is strange. Even during winter time it is perfectly fine to leave your babe in their stroller outside to sleep, while you are inside enjoying a cup of coffee. At first, I thought this can’t be right, leaving your babe outside in the freezing cold but as it turns out this is part of their culture and they do it all the time. In fact, I had a talk not long ago with a friend of mine that also moved here from East Europe and she said that her babe slept much better outside in the fresh air than inside and that she now, finds it perfectly safe and normal. Of course, keep in mind that the mother is sitting inside but close to the window to keep an eye on the babe or are checking up on them often.
Social Life – Moving here my social life has definitely changed, and to be more clear it has reduced. Even though I am married to a dane, I am honestly saying that I don’t find Danish people very friendly when it comes to making friends that last. Everyone has their little group that they hang out with and at times it seems impossible to integrate with them unless you find people that are also not from Scandinavia. But I can’t blame it all on the Danish way of being, because to be honest, I also stopped trying to make it happen. Over the last years, I decided to keep my friend circle smaller but closer instead of keep trying to fit in to a lot of other groups. This is a subject that is often addressed here especially by people that are not originally from Scandinavia, this and how shitty the weather is.
The law of Jante – It was not until recently that I became familiar with this term but it kinda makes sense if you live here. If you don’t know what the law of Jante is, you can read more about it HERE but basically is saying that nobody should think they are better than anyone else. It’s a very old Nordic concept but even though people don’t really rule by it day to day, the system still reflects these beliefs to some extend. One of the biggest examples is the progressive tax system, where the more you earn the higher tax rate you pay. This way they share with those that have a lower income, no job and even to some extend those that don’t want to work. This is another thing in Scandinavian lifestyle that I believe is completely different from many other countries, especially the USA.
So as you can see there are a few quirks to living in Scandinavia but that’s what makes it so special and different. If you come here, you will definitely see the difference.
What did you thought about these small insights? Was there one you’ve heard about before or is there something that exists in your country as well? What do you think of Scandinavian lifestyle?