Kenneth Chen

Making new friends and Swedish Midsummer

What a spring so far!  I’ve been working hard in Stockholm but also did a decent bit of traveling around the world both for work and pleasure.  And of course, I’ve been enjoying every (warm) moment of the spring. I hope all of you have been enjoying the weather equally much I have been!

I thought this time around I’d post about two things: 1) a recent trip I took to the US, and 2) the Swedish midsummer festivities this year.  These two things, located on two different continents, really highlighted how Swedish I feel when I’m in the US and how American I feel when I’m in Sweden.

I recently traveled to California and Oregon for 3 wonderful weeks of vacation.  I went to the wedding of one of my oldest friends in San Diego, my sister’s medical school graduation in San Francisco, and visited my friends Josh and Kellee and their adorable son Judah in Portland, Oregon.Read More »Making new friends and Swedish Midsummer

Confessions of an American-born Chinese living in Sweden

Happy 2013 to all of my readers!

I took some time off during the holidays to vacation around a bit, so I’m posting this new entry from the 20th floor of my hotel in Beijing.  This is the last evening of my trip; I’ll be heading back to Stockholm tomorrow afternoon.

This is also my first time in China.  I decided to visit Beijing because I had a stopover here anyway, so what better way to visit a city that I’ve wanted to see for a while now?

Read More »Confessions of an American-born Chinese living in Sweden

Glögg season and new friends

It’s glögg season again, and it’s time for another post!

Stockholm got its first “real” snow this past week!  Real snow is when it actually sticks to the ground and stays around, and boy was it needed.  It had been raining a lot and was dark and miserable, as it tends to be during this time of year.  But as soon as the snow came, everything brightened up.  Yes, it was still cold but I prefer cold and dry to cold and wet.  Even has snow on its front page!

(Side note: Californians, you have no idea how good you have it!)Read More »Glögg season and new friends

Picking mushrooms

The start of the fall is always a promising time for picking mushrooms in the forests of Sweden.  Chanterelle mushrooms are plentiful, if you can find a good spot to find them.  Every Swedish family has its own secret patch of the forest that they go to every year to find mushrooms.  Apparently, 2012 has been an extremely good year. Since it’s been such a wet summer, the mushrooms grew quickly and were available quite early in the year.

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Allting på? Introducing the kebabtallrik – A Swedish delicacy


Kebabtallrik from Hakepi, my favorite kebab place!

Okay, it’s not really a Swedish delicacy, but it’s as popular as IKEA’s meatballs so I think it should be.

Kebabtallrik (literally, “kebab plate”) is a plate of kebab meat (thinly sliced beef from a vertical spit), some lettuce, onions, cucumber, tomato, and a fefferoni pepper.  I actually didn’t know what those peppers were called until I started eating kebab in Sweden.  You then get a side of carbs, the most common options being french fries or rice.  They usually sprinkle some paprika powder on top of the fries.  In most places, the meat is doused with a red tomato sauce and then a white garlic sauce.  No skewers are involved, so you can eat it easily with fork and knife.Read More »Allting på? Introducing the kebabtallrik – A Swedish delicacy

Use your SL card to travel to Arlanda!

Like a good Swede, I’m always looking for good deals.  I really like that about them – in the US, sometimes I’d be called “cheap,” but here, I’m just being sensible with my money.

A few months ago, I dropped my friends Josh and Kellee off at Arlanda airport for their move back to the US.  They took a taxi to the airport so I went with them.  I had no plans that morning so I thought I’d take public transportation back to Stockholm.  The Information Desk at Arlanda told me that I could take SL bus 583 from Arlanda to Märsta and then take the pendeltåg (commuter train) all the way back to Centralen. After living here all this time, I had no idea there was actually an option to travel easily to and from Arlanda via public transportation! I always thought you had to take the train halfway and then pay for the Upplandståg (a separate train system which requires a separate ticket).

Read More »Use your SL card to travel to Arlanda!

An idea worth importing into the US

I love watching movies.  In the US, I also really enjoyed the lead-up to a movie night at a theater: You queue up at the ticket window, hoping that the movie you want at the time you want isn’t yet sold out.  You finally get to the ticket window, and you ask for a ticket for the show you want.  You hand over your credit card and your frequent viewer membership card, and then you wait.  Sometimes you arrive early so you go and have dinner with your friends.  If it’s a big big showing (like the Harry Potter movies or the Lord of the Ring trilogy was), you probably want to get in line right away, even if you are hours away from show time.Read More »An idea worth importing into the US

The Swedish solution to a Sober Grad Night

Glad Midsommar!  I just got back from a beautiful wedding out in Ljusterö in the Stockholm archipelago.  My friends Tobias Björkgren and Caroline Åslund (now Björkgren also!) was married on June 22, 2012 under a may pole in front of all of their family and friends.

I hadn’t blogged in a while, so I figured it was high time for an update.  Today I will talk about an interesting thing that high school graduates do in Sweden to celebrate their successes.

For those of you who are American or are familiar with the high school graduation process in the US, you might recognize the term “Sober Grad Night.”  Read More »The Swedish solution to a Sober Grad Night

Openness of information – is it time to close it up?

Glad Valborg!

I read an article in the April 30th edition of Metro about a new SMS loan scam combined with a purchase on (Sweden’s version of Craigslist, without the promiscuous “No Strings Attached” casual sex sections).

Let’s say you’re selling an iPad 3 on Blocket.  The fraudster would contact you and say that they’re interested in your iPad, but since they live in other side of Sweden, they would like you to ship the iPad to them.  No problem, you say, as long as they deposit money into your account first.  The fraudster puts money into your account, you see that it’s there, so you take your iPad 3 to Posten and ship it to them.

Sounds like a pretty normal transaction, right?  It probably is, until you get called into the police station for identity theft and financial crime.Read More »Openness of information – is it time to close it up?