Just Enough

Name: Becky Nelson

Age: 31

Hometown: Quesnel

Location: Malmö, Sweden

Job: Special needs teacher

I moved here because I met a sweet Swede.

The biggest shock was cellphone coverage. I can be in the most remote area of northern Sweden hiking, yet I would still be able to call for help.

My favourite experience so far has been a Swedish sauna in a hut that extends out into the ocean on a pier. There was a storm outside, waves crashing on the windows of the sauna, lights of Copenhagen in the distance. It was beautiful.

The scariest thing that’s happened was winds so strong they knocked me off my bicycle.

The biggest difference working here is the high amount of funding in education. A lot of support for high-needs students. University is free for everyone, including foreigners.

The people are healthy. They exercise even more than Vancouverites and eat whole-grain breads and small portions.

Their biggest concerns are equality and to be lagom, a Swedish concept that means “just enough.” They don’t want to overachieve or underachieve. Houses are just average size, people drive Volvos, wear average clothing. It’s not good to show off, and at the same time you don’t want to be lacking either.

The standard of living is high. It is expensive to live here, although everyone is taken care of. Social security actually catches everyone; people don’t “fall through the cracks.”

The food is salty. I’m vegetarian so I don’t eat much Swedish food (meatballs, lingonberry sauce, boiled potatoes, pickled herring – check out the food section at Ikea).