Day 57 of working from home.
As soon as it became clear that the outbreak wasn’t under control, we received a note from our head of HR that everyone would be working from home, globally, starting on March 11. It was pretty sudden – none of us had prepared for this so most of us left things in the office that we would have taken home had we known (keyboard, mice, monitors, etc).
There are a million posts on Facebook and other social media on what it is to work from home so I won’t talk so much about work – but I did want to share some perspectives from my personal life now that both my wife and I are stuck in a WFH situation.
Here in Sweden, the non-meat burger patties are just starting to catch on. Recently, Burger King and Max, two of the fast-food chains in Sweden, announced that they were hopping on the bandwagon and releasing burgers made with non-meat patties. Last week, while I was on a business trip, I had an opportunity to eat a burger made with Beyond Meat’s patty. It was actually really good – the consistency was similar to meat, it was juicy, and the taste was incredible. Despite that, because I ordered a non-meat burger, I knew it was non-meat so I kept trying to find reasons how I could tell that it wasn’t meat.
But what if someone just handed me a burger and told me to guess. Would I be able to tell?
So my fiancée and I were making our version of Thanksgiving dinner last night and we were constantly wiping off stuff from the counter with the Swedish version of a sponge. We got to talking about how weird it is when we go to the US to visit family and try to clean the kitchen without the Swedish “trasa” – it just doesn’t feel right to use a sponge or a wet stinky dish cloth. Even others have experienced this problem!
Happy Thanksgiving! How are you celebrating your Thanksgivings in Sweden this year?
Last year, I lamented over the fact that Thanksgiving in Sweden, or probably anywhere away from your family, just isn’t the same as back home in the US, especially since no one else in Sweden celebrates. This year’s the same so I was ready to forego it completely, but my lovely fiancée insisted that we do something to celebrate… and so celebrate we will!
The autumn chill has come through Stockholm and it’s gotten really cold these last few weeks, which means more time spent inside. Aside from spending time inside with friends and loved ones, another thing I do look through my financial situation and recalibrate based on my goals. Boring, right? Yes, but it can save or earn you some money with very little effort!
One big thing I recently did was to move my mortgage loan from one of the big banks — SEB — to Nordnet. I’ve had SEB for six years and it was time for me to renew my rates again.
SEB and the other banks simply won’t give you a good mortgage rate unless you’re willing to invest significant amounts of your monthly salary in one of their products. It doesn’t need to be an SEB-managed mutual fund, but obviously those are the ones they’re going to push.
(for information on buying an apartment, see this other post!)
Sorry for the delay, but the process took much longer than I expected (as with most things) – but the good news is, we sold the place in our building so I’m happy to report back with some tips and tricks for those of you thinking about selling. Note that the time lapsed had nothing to do with a difficult Stockholm market or anything – it was simply due to logistics with the holiday season.
The most important thing is to find a real estate agent that you personally feel comfortable with. Rapport with your agent is the most important thing you can invest in, and that should be highest on your priority list regardless of the commission they’re charging. Transactions will probably go relatively smoothly, but when they don’t, you want to know that the person you’ve trusted with the job of selling will go to bat for you. In addition, this agent will represent YOUR personal and legal interests as well as the legal interests’ of the buyer; there is no concept of a buy-side agent in Sweden.
I’m about to facilitate the sale of an apartment in my building on behalf of our homeowner’s association (I’m a Board member). I’m meeting with a few real estate agents/firms to evaluate their offerings and will make a recommendation to the Board. This is new for me – I’ve only ever bought property in Sweden – so if you have any questions, leave a reply and I’ll try to get the answer for everyone.
I’ll blog more about this when the process has moved along a bit…
It’s that time of year again!
Many of my friends in Stockholm – Americans and Swedes alike – have hosted Thanksgiving dinners over the years. Each of them spent hours slaving away in the kitchen, poring over a cook book or an Internet how-to guide, and the results have (fortunately) always been a delicious turkey with the trimmings. I’m usually a guest so I typically bring a side, some wine, and of course, my big appetite. Each year, it’s been a lovely evening with tons of food and wine, good laughter with dear friends, and the usual food coma that comes right after the turkey. And yet, for an expat, Thanksgiving doesn’t quite feel the same as it does back home: Continue reading
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I just moved my blog off of wordpress.com and onwards to my own server. Hopefully everything works just as well as before, but if something’s broken (comments, articles, pictures) just let me know and I’ll take a look at it.
More to come. In the meantime, gobble gobble!
Have you heard of the famous Google, Facebook, and Apple commuter buses that ferry their employees from San Francisco to their corporate Silicon Valley campuses? It is a love hate relationship; the employees love them but the community have really turned against them, mostly because they see the buses as symbols of gentrification and displacement. Rents and property values in the areas where the commuter shuttles pick-up employees have apparently increased faster than other areas. I don’t have enough data to comment on this issue, but I did want to comment on something else!
I recently read an article¹ about San Francisco gathering public feedback around the idea of a centralized transportation hub for private commuter shuttles instead of having stops all over San Francisco. I then read a follow-up article² where they analyzed the different responses against the respondents’ IP addresses and zip codes to figure out where the respondents most likely worked. I read through these comments just to get an idea of the sentiment from the community. Continue reading