Saturday, March 29, 2014

French Fika

When you're going to Sweden, the first thing you should learn about is fika. (FEE-ka)  It's like a coffee date (or break at work) that usually includes something sweet to eat.  Gothenburg is very much a cafe city, and now that the weather is getting warmer I can feel the excitement for people to fika outside.  Cafes even offer blankets with their outdoor seating when the weather isn't quite warm enough.  You can have tea or a smoothie instead of coffee, and sometimes it includes a more substantial food component such as an open-faced sandwich (smörgås).  Steve's colleagues have fika at least twice a day, which could be described as the Swedish equivalent of conversation around a water cooler.

My friend Jackie lives a couple blocks away, so yesterday we met in the middle at Le Pain Français.  Ironically I can read the menu better there than at most Swedish cafes.  Sometimes I can get the gist of something in Swedish solely on the basis of Swedish-English similarities, but French often helps me with words like umbrella (paraply/parapluie), eggplant (aubergine), and lemon (citron).  I'm picking up Swedish words here and there, but Swedes are happy to practice their English when they detect that I don't speak Swedish.

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