Observing Sweden – Missing America


Things Left Behind:

I’m starting to miss a few things. Had my first doctor’s appointment here in Sweden. Office was  . . . how should I say it? Adequate. It was adequate, nice, something like a doctor’s office would have been in the U.S. 15 years ago. No high tech stuff. They were having trouble with a computer system newly installed. It took 40 days to get an appointment. Dr. was nice, spoke academic English and understood at about the same level. Not good when you are trying to describe a weird pain that is hard to describe in English

            “Is this pain in my fingers arthritis?” I ask.

            “Ah, who knows,” Doc says. “We get older. . . .”

            Right. In the States they would have run at least a thousand dollars worth of tests . . . and probably given me the same answer.

            I am to have an x-ray. No idea how long I will have to wait for that. I was given blood and urine tests in another surprisingly Spartan room. Results came back in 5 minutes. That worries me. How sophisticated is lab work that gets done in 5 minutes? Life in the 2nd world. Better than 3rd world. I am still damn lucky, but figure Swedish heath care will shave a year or so off my life.

And then there’s groceries.

Quote from Stanley Meisler—S.F. Chronicle:

“The cornucopia on a U.S. supermarket shelf numbs the sense of choice. A shopper searching for a salad dressing must now choose amongst French, honey French, Italian, creamy Italian, zesty Italian, robust Italian, blue cheese, thousand island, Caesar, sweet and sour, ranch, buttermilk and herbs, celery seed and onion, dill and lemon and more. There are at least 11 brands of dog food. Even bagels come in a host of flavors: garlic, onion, rye, pumpernickel, honey wheat, bran sesame, poppy cinnamon raisin and plain.”

The variety used to drive me nuts, now I miss it. How is it possible there are no saltines in Sweden? No crackers! And no peanut butter! There are some canned soups, not much variety. I miss my 20 different kinds of Campbell’s. Lunch meat is astronomically expensive, but there’s lot of fish available. Some that would be expensive in the U.S. are bargains here. I guess fish are better for me than crackers and peanut butter, but still. . . .


ImageAlso lots of cheeses, most are better than we found in the U.S. and also not expensive.

Below see just one of three isles.

Image30 Kroner = 4.59 Dollars


About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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10 Responses to Observing Sweden – Missing America

  1. US has spoiled you. LOL Look for the peanuts and then you can make your own peanut butter 🙂 The Nutella should be cheap over there, right? Almost tastes the same, maybe?

    • bldodson says:

      Nutella is not the same. Do they have that in the States? I never heard of it until I got here.

      • Yea they have Nutella here but I learned about it from my mom who was English. Plus I’m allergic to peanuts so for a nut spread my choice is Nutella. I should have specified that the only similarity is possibly the consistency.

        Have you seen any cream biscuits/crackers? Those are the closest thing to saltines you might find. Granted I am used to British cuisine, so I am not sure if they have it in Sweden.

  2. I would like that selection of cheese though. Jealous!

  3. Interesting account. I wonder how the life expectancy compares?

    • bldodson says:

      I think its a bit more in Sweden. Probably because people are less environmentally polluted.
      Unfortunately I have been pre-pullted.
      Maybe it’s just me.
      Sweden is driving me crazy today.

  4. Bruce – if you have arthritic pains in your fingers – a – there is no medical cure , b -give up eating food from the nightshade family – potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and aubergines – that helps….
    Sugar also seems to make it worse….

  5. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words says:

    no crackers and peanut butter
    ugh! uncivilized My goodness..LOLs.
    would you like me to send you some…?I would be happy too…
    I can’t imagine that…
    when I was stationed in Germany (Wurzburg) I lived on the economy,
    I thought I was buying little boxes of cereal but it was milk ….
    I learned fast…I ate out alot too…!
    though I don’t go to doctors here , it is their
    job to find something
    wrong with you or they have no job to pay for the mercedes bienz (spelling? not sure)
    I loved the thought of trying the cheeses for different kinds of a grilled cheese sandwich
    Things will get better…
    Take Care…

    • bldodson says:

      Lady Blue,
      I hope you’re right. It seems like everything that can go wrong is going wrong.
      Thanks for your happy thoughts. They are much appreciated!

  6. Don’t look at things as going wrong, think of it as a different kind of experience and make the best of it or you will be miserable often. As for Nutella, yes, it is here in the States. Has a different flavor than peanut butter and makes for something different with homemade flat bread.

    Lady Blue, I had our son in Germany and the the only kind of milk he could drink, when he got old enough, was milk in those containers. I thought I would die before I gave him milk from a shelf. Now, our local grocery stores here in Kansas carries that type of milk and he was so happy to see it on the shelves that he introduced it to his children.

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