5 Ways Sweden Prepared Me for Canada

From the title of this blog post, you should already have an idea of what this article is all about. This question always pops up in most of our conversations with our friends. I figured out I could just write an article about it, just to say my first hand experience on this. So let's dive right into this

1. Weather: My number one will definitely be weather of course. Sweden's weather is as cold as the weather here in Canada. For some reason, I loved my first winter here, which I explained here. Of course we cannot generalize as the cities and towns differ. As an example, we were living in the northern part of Sweden and the weather was colder in comparison to the southern part of Sweden. This is vey similar to the weather here in Canada aswell, so bear this in mind when reading my opinions or making comparisons (no generalizations). But generally, Sweden totally prepared me for my first winter here in Canada and how to adapt to all the four seasons without surprises. I pretty much slayed my first winter and the credit goes to Sweden for that one.
Hey baey💋. Don't be deceived with the "no jacket thingy". He was freezing😂 (Sweden, 2017)

I mean this was all made with snow (circa: 2017 in Sweden)
Best believe, I don't have a proper winter shot in Canada yet but we will use Teni's own. (October, 2018)
Teni grew up on me without my permission😢. What a difference a year can make (October, 2019)

2. Taxes: Taxes O taxes. Sweden of course prepared me for the taxes here in Canada. According to this article by Tax foundation "Scandinavian countries are known for having high taxes on income". Furthermore, according to the OECD, "Denmark (26.4 percent), Norway (19.7 percent), and Sweden (22.1 percent) all raise a high amount of tax revenue as a percent of GDP from individual income taxes and payroll taxes. This is compared to the 15 percent of GDP raised by the United States through its individual income taxes and payroll taxes". Do I need to say more? No I don't, that explains it all peeps. Although I need to mention that when I started working here in Canada, I needed to understand the different terms on my pay slip which I was not used to before now, like EI (Employment Insurance), CPP (Canadian Pension Plan) amongst others but generally, I wasn't shocked about taxes and the rate as Sweden prepared me so well for that one.

That face you give when you see the amount of money you pay for taxes alone (kukuma "kee" me😂)
3. Using all the resources you have to get what you need: Ask me how I know so much and I will tell you how I learnt to be independent and figure things out by myself. Quick story: during my masters degree in Sweden, I was drilled/taught to find information with all the resources around me. To be honest, I wasn't so familiar with reading the 5th or even the 10th page of google until I started doing research (called project assignments). I remember when I first started my studies, my lecturers would return my assignments and I use to cry. I mean, just mark my assignments and let me go. No, you have to redo it and pass it all baby. You know the worst part of it, they won't tell you what to do. Just go and do more research and do it again😓. I remember how I use to lament then and told my husband several times that I wanted to drop out but look at me now, two masters degree later & killing it (flips hair). To be honest, I rarely ask questions from peeps except I can't find the answers anywhere (I mean, have you read the 1st 10 pages of google and still didn't find the answer?). I believe that if people can do more research things will better and conversations will be more interesting.

A "behind the scene" picture of how my study life looked like during my Msc days 😪
This was during my "second" masters. I had to multitask of course. Btw, did you notice the mess is reduced here😂
4. Lifestyle: The European lifestyle was partially for me. I mean I grew up in a very conservative and religious environment. Moving to Sweden, I initially thought yes, this is me, this is what I have always been. but nah, nah, nah. I was partially wrong. Sweden was a little bit too slow for me, I mean you need to be very patient to deal with everybody and understand what is going on around you. My patience was tested on different levels but ladies & gentlemen, I survived and learnt a lot from that experience. I mean, we queue for every damn thing including getting an apartment (#IfYouKnowYouKnow). How about seeing a gynaecologist or a doctor? Get on the queue baby. I was frustrated a lot of times but that definitely taught me a lot about life (Patience and fortitude conquer all things)I remember when I first moved to Sweden and I had to do some initial paperwork/registration. Hmm, I was told "sorry ma'am, you have to wait till after summer, the people that would do this, are off for summer vacation", I mean I waited 3 months to start my life in Sweden because "vacation". You would have thought well things will be going on as it normally would during summer but hey Swedes don't joke with their "vacation" and you just have to wait if need be. How about when I wanted to deliver my baby and I was told most of the doctors were on vacation? hell yeah, no jokes. Although in my case, I had complications and according to the nurses they were "short staffed". Guess what? I was told, I may be flown to another town if need be, to be attended to. Don't get me wrong, "all work and no play...." remember? but I have never experienced that before (culture shock is real y'all). Best believe, it has been working for them and it's still working for them but for someone like me I wasn't used to that kind of "patience" hahaha. Moving to Canada, I don't even fuss about anything. I mean there are walk-in clinics here, if you have your money, you could get an apartment within a couple of days (OMG, what a life!!!).  I have experienced some queuing here aswell but the waiting time is not that long. My take on this is that, the lifestyle here is totally different from the Swedish lifestyle. The Swedes are quiet, conservative and generally independent. Canadians are more vocal, out-going of course social. So far, so good, I would say the lifestyle in Sweden prepared us for the lifestyle we chose here in Canada. 

Whoever did this meme😂 This summarizes all I have been saying and best believe, it is so true😅
This is just a random giphy online😂. 3 things: Get on the queue, Sweden's weather & yes no rush😁
5. Finally, Food: When I first moved to Sweden, the struggle was damn real. I remember my first few meals were nothing to write home about. I didn't understand how to manage the ingredients well coupled with the struggle of translating them to English. It was just disastrous for me in the beginning. I had to start learning on my own and also spoke to few friends on how they went about their cooking. After a while, things got better and I started slaying in my kitchen aswell. How about trying recipes? Nobody will teach you that one "my fren" (my friend). Anytime I get bored of the regular Nigerian meals, all I did was to switch to that part of my creative brain and get some delish meals for my fam (L'osban has definitely been enjoying some meals from my kitchen both good and bad😝). Btw, i'm so grateful for my husband for allowing me to be creative with my cooking. I mean some days, I try to make new recipes and they turn out awesome and some days, they are a total mess but he still eats all of them and encourages me #ManLikeBaey. Sweden definitely taught me a lot. I came from Nigeria where we could buy street food and eat out "often". If you want to be eating out regularly abroad, hmmm well, good luck with that. It's not impossible but you will be spending a lot on eating out alone. Anyway, let's not digress too much from the story. Moving to Canada, OMG, I mean there are Nigerian restaurants😫 (tears of joy). Recently we ate in a Nigerian restaurant and guess what? I ate ofada rice, fried yam and stew, jollof rice and fried fish. That is real life mehn. This was what I didn't experience in Sweden. The closet we tried overthere was Indian, Chinese and Thailand restaurants. The varieties in Canada is incomparable. There is a lot to try here for sure. The ingredient confusion wasn't a lot here for me aswell😂. I was ready to try new things/recipes here (still trying and still messing up sometimes😜). Trust me, things are not as bad as when I first relocated and culture shock, shocked me😂. Btw, peep some of my kitchen slays below, don't worry the messy ones are not there😂

My heavenly cabbage & chicken stir-fry sitting in all its glory
Jollof Couscous, fried Beef and brussel sprout
My plantain fritata sitting pretty😍
Can your Egg Muffins Ever😍
I had to bring back my 2018 Christmas stick meat😍
My final thought is that Sweden was the foundation for me. I built a lot in Sweden. I built/groomed my marriage, we made a baby😛, I learnt how to blend into another culture, we built our career and of course made good decisions for ourself and our kid(s). Canada is all about building on that foundation we made. All these didn't happen overtime. There were definitely some tough times and challenges along the way. In conclusion, I am so grateful I get to live life with my best friend and walk this journey with the best man ever. To think that I have lived in one of the best countries to live in the world according to the World Population Review and now living in one of the top 10 countries to live according to CNBC. I would say I count myself blessed and also very grateful for all the experiences. I will continue to share my story and experiences as I live and walk through this thing called life. Thank you for stopping by as always. I hope to see you again...💋