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Canadian Expat's Life in Sweden Has Some Amusing Oddities

Oftentimes, when traveling to a country unfamiliar to us, we pick up on ways of doing things that are totally different from our own. That experience is pronounced for people who move their whole lives from one country to another, though. They're more likely to pick up on the idiosyncracies of everyday life in a different country than we can by just spending a few weeks abroad.

TikTok user and Canadian expat @madelineraeaway has lived in Sweden for almost four years now. She talks about the oddities she's experienced living in Sweden!

Despite having lived happily in Sweden for years now, there are still things that tickle Madeline as a non-native to this day! We have to admit, doors moving in the opposite direction than we're used to would trip us up- and we'd probably still be making mistakes now and then years after the fact! The alcohol thing is... kinda understandable. You plan a last-minute shindig, you forget to pick something up- it happens. What we found especially amusing, however, was how she claims that the cashiers "thank themselves". That certainly seems to be rather funny, but could it be that something's actually getting lost in translation here?

As it turns out, that was the case! "Själv = self, so saying "Tack själv" means they are thanking you too," Swedish TikTok user @schengelmy explained.  We got it- like saying "thanks yourself." We enjoyed @the.finest3's description of the phrase, too: "When u say tack själv it’s more like of a "back at ya" type of response." This is why you shouldn't feel too bad when you mess up a phrase in a language you're learning- even people who have been diligently studying and speaking a second language for years still have their blind spots!

Madeline can also take comfort knowing that the doors even trip up some Swedes!  "I don’t even know how the doors work and I’ve lived here my whole life hahaha," admitted @skattberg. We at least were given a reason why the doors are that way, though- "It has to do with safety reasons. The door goes outward if you're on your way out of a building, if there is a fire for an example," marieg0220 explained.

As funny as these idiosyncracies are in Sweden, that's the status quo in that part of the world. It's little differences like these that make exploring other cultures so interesting!

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