Monday, September 17, 2012

Pickled Fish?

I am sitting in our kitchen, flooded with light, enjoying the beautiful view over rooftops and into the courtyard below.  The fact that I am sitting here, rather that on the bed, balancing my laptop on my knees is cause for celebration.  You see, yesterday, we bought a dining table and chairs.  In the process we also made some Swedish friends.

Using a most wonderful Swedish institution (it seems) we searched for second hand furniture and found what seemed like the perfect, inexpensive pine table and 4 chairs for just 300kr.  We contacted the seller and agreed to visit to take a look yesterday afternoon.  When we arrived we were shown the furniture, but also a beautiful walnut table and 6 chairs which were for sale too.  This lady is completely decluttering her house, her daughter piped up from indoors that she had already sold her bed and had to sleep on the couch!

For just 50kr more (that's about €5.88) we agreed to take the walnut table and chairs and proceeded to get everything into our car.  Following a rather sweaty 20 minutes, the lovely Hanna and Sten offered us a cup of coffee.  My inner introvert said 'No, I need to get going' while my lovely sociable husband beat me to it with a 'Yes, we'd love to'.

We stayed.  We drank coffee, sitting in their back garden in the sun.  We ate delicious little Swedish biscuits.  Maps were pulled out and we both shared stories and tips for our respective countries.  Sten has lived in Malmö all his life and was full of suggestions on where to shop, where to buy fish and on which day.  I grilled them on how to pronounce the new Swedish vowels that I am working hard to get my mouth around and I think I am a little closer to 'getting' it.  Susanne, their daughter was dying to hear all about Ireland and where she should go to experience a genuine Irish village with a proper pub & thatched roofs.

It seems that Malmö does not quite fit into the Swedish stereotype when it comes to food.  They are not big fans of the pickled fish that I have heard about, in fact Hanna advised we steer clear and wrinkled her nose at the thought of the smell alone!  They do not seem to have a particular favoured dish or speciality.  Perhaps this is because Hanna hates cooking?  She did get very excited when she started talking about a cake they enjoy in January & February called Semla, a combination of cream, sponge and marzipan. Not sure it would be my cup of tea, but I will certainly give it a try!

2 hours later, we departed with promises to keep in touch and help each other learn English & Swedish.  This is not the Swedish stereotype that I have been hearing about.  I did not expect to be welcomed into someone else's home so easily and so warmly.  There were so many jobs on my to-do-list yesterday, but I truly wouldn't have chosen to spend the day any differently.  Thank you Hanna, Sten & Susanne.

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