Sunday, September 29, 2002

Whenever I'm back in the States, the most dismaying experience is that everyone speaks English and I can understand every single word everyone is saying and I can't help thinking most people should keep their voices down and think more before they say all those awful things they're saying because, well, everyone can understand and aren't they embarrassed?

The second most dismaying experience is going to a grocery store. The husband goes into an orgiastic ecstacy at the staggering choice of items, but I become a tower of doubt. How do I possibly choose from among 30 different kinds of strawberry jam? I go into a trancelike state and have to be dragged from the aisles to the checkout by one of my siblings or my father, the husband happily trailing behind.

However, Sweden beats American grocery stores when it comes to one item: bread.

Yeast breads and flat breads, rye breads and whole wheat breads, Danish breads and Finnish breads, sweet breads and heavy breads, dark breads and that awful white bread for toasting. And then there are the crisp breads: breakfast and whole grain and sport and bagatelle and thin, Wasa and Leksand and at least four or five other common brands.

How can I ever choose?

The Swedish phrase for the day is för sig. It means individually.

- by Francis S.

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