When in Rome…

I am not a Dane. But I take my kids to school IN a bike that looks like a wheelbarrow/bike thingy.


I am not a Swede. But I greatly enjoy shots of hard alcohol to go with my raw fish.


My jeans are not baggy and I don’t own any khakis. The majority of my shirts are full button down with collars or are t-shirts with meaningless numbers on them. They are all white, or shades of black, grey, brown, or dark blue.

I eat a lot of salad.

Somewhere over the last 10 years of Scandinavian living, and as a derivative of being married to a Swede, I have Scandi-fied, a condition a few of my Facebook friends have recently pointed out.

If you talked to me, you would know immediately I am not a native, and would probably be able to place me as an American. But if you saw me on the street or casually out on the town, I have started to become somewhat indistinguishable from the locals.

I suppose it is not surprising that one’s tastes and mannerisms transform over time, but for the life of me I cannot figure out how or when I started to develop into the two Jason’s: the one that lives in Copenhagen and the one that lives in the U.S.

In order to document this phenomenon, I have culled my rather robust volume of Facebook postings for signs of Scandification, in an effort to better understand just how un-American certain elements of my life have appeared. I have only looked at the last 6 months, but that was enough. Waaay more than enough (this may be a recurring topic… I have years of inane content to cull from).

I hope you enjoy my list. I support your occasional support and harassment of my lifestyle choices in the comments. Cheers!

Scandifying Exhibit A: Meat and mayonnaise


Who on Earth puts curried mayo on a hot dog? I do. And it is delicious. But if you go to a US sporting event or a 4th of July bbq and ask for some curried mayonnaise to put on your hot dog, they will assume you are a weirdo or have lived/come from a different country/planet. Guilty as charged, on both counts.

Scandifying Exhibit B: Physically Unattended Sleeping Babies


This one still baffles me. When did I get comfortable leaving a sleeping child amongst strangers and out of eyesight? I have a baby monitor so I can hear everything and be there in 10 seconds, but still… I am pretty sure people get arrested for this kind of behavior in the US: Police Called on Swedish Mom Who Left Baby Outside Restaurant

Scandifying Exhibit C: Participating in Sports that are Distinctly Marginal in the US


OK, this one I am actually very proud of. For the most part, I have always participated in non-standard sports. Among my top participation sports are skiing, cycling, athletics, and soccer (football if you must). I can now add telemark and cross country skiing to that list. Not to say that I wouldn’t have tried these sports while living in the US, but I wouldn’t have tried these sports while living in the US.

Scandifying Exhibit D: Eating Marinated, Raw Fish


Scandinavians love raw herring for special occasions.

A special occasion can be created at any moment in Scandinavia by serving raw herring.

And if you are serving raw herring, you certainly need a shot to go with it, don’t you?

Now this one took me a while to appreciate, but… Herring and snaps are amongst my favorite of Scandinavian cuisine. The first time I saw it I was nervous. I would not be surprised if I thought I was about to eat some surströmming. This, thankfully, is not surströmming. Click on the below video to learn more about THAT mess…


I’m not entirely sure how I grew to appreciate marinated and pickled raw fish with a shot chaser, but I am glad I did. If you are looking to enjoy a holiday meal, herring and snaps are pretty much the best thing on Earth.

Scandifying Exhibit E: Singing on Television


For a country of roughly 9 million people, the Swedes turn out a lot of popular music. I’m told a lot of this is a byproduct of the school system, which significantly helps kids develop their talents to one day follow in the footsteps of Abba. Well, one can hope minus the body suits…


I have noticed that this love of music also translates into extensive programming that involves a lot of singing. And I don’t mean just American Idol style programming. There are contests, game shows, talk shows, you name it, that revolve in part or entirely around singing. I have been exposed to many of these programs.

And I am now at the point where I would though never watch American Idol, I look forward to the Swedish programming. Not every day mind you, but there is something to it which for the life of me I cannot explain. Whenever we are out at the farm and it’s after dinner and there’s some whisky, wine or beer still lying around along with some peanuts, it’ll make you really feel at home.

So have I become Scandinavian? HAHA! No, certainly not. But holy moly these are not normal American behaviors. And these examples are a just few culled from the last 6 months of Facebook posts. I will hunt for some more in a few blog posts from now, but now I have to run. “Så ska det Låta” is on TV.



2 thoughts on “When in Rome…”

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