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United States

The Viking Cold

I'm finally taking a moment to sit down and update the blog a little, in the midst of all my pre-Christmas chaos. I honestly have had so much going on the past couple of weeks that I feel like I haven't had a moment to myself until just now. I have even caught the crazy winter cold that has been going around Stockholm (you know the one that starts in your throat and feels like you swallowed broken glass?) and still haven't been able to settle down. The worst of it is over now, but this cough just won't quit! It's driving me crazy. It's like totally impossible to ride the subway in this city or walk around in the cold and wet Stockholm weather and not catch some kind of nutty virus. I swear, one person in this city gets sick and then it's game over. It rapidly spreads to all the 100 something subway stations and beyond.

I actually think a lot of foreigners like me tend to catch colds here even more easily than native Swedes and have a really hard time fighting them off. I don't know if it has something to do with the difference in germs, viruses, and lack of built-up immunity, or whatever, but when I first moved here I caught like 3 colds in a row and was continually sick for a solid 3-4 months. It was no joke. At the time, I had also heard this rumor of a Polish girl in the school for my Swedish language studies who kept catching these "Viking colds" (as I now call them) for a solid 12 months in a row! Apparently, she got so fed up with being sick that she supposedly moved back home.

Luckily, I am way too stubborn to ever let something like a little illness take me down. So, I'm still here in Stockholm a good seven and a half years later fighting off this dumb Viking cold. However, I think my immune system has built up a bit better against these naughty nordic germs through the years. I actually think whatever I caught this time could've been much worse. I might have even had this same virus strain before because this illness wasn’t nearly as bad as some other doozies that I have had here in the past. I really can't imagine being an immigrant here before the time of antibiotics and modern medicine—or Facetime so that I can visually whine to my mom in the states about how icky I feel when I'm sick. I would've totally been dead several times over by now. I love watching a good period piece and admiring the old-time dresses on TV every once in a while, but that thought alone makes me super glad we are about to hit 2019 pretty soon—fashion be damned.

I haven’t ever caught the Vinterkräksjukan” (the winter vomiting disease or Norovirus) that everyone here talks about, thankfully. I literally just had to knock on my wooden table three times after I wrote that sentence in superstitious protection against it, because it’s so scary. It sounds like THE WORST thing ever. You supposedly feel sick, have vomiting, diarrhea, stomach aches, headaches, and a fever!? It’s like the only thing that illness is missing is some kind of itchy rash and blood coming out of your eyes. NO THANK YOU! Because I was just googling it, I thought I would just share that “The best way to protect yourself against it is to wash your hands, at home as well as at work. Liquid soap is better than hand sanitizer.” according to Sveriges Radio (Sweden’s radio). I couldn’t in good conscience keep that information to myself. So, save us all and wash your hands with real soap people!!!

I’m actually really happy to be hopping on a plane in a few days to head to my parent’s new house in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the holidays. They have just relocated from Chicago and I haven’t even been to visit them there yet! I am planning on it being a few weeks of just maxing, relaxing, hanging with the fam and exploring a new city that Henrik and I have never been to. Supposedly Minnesota is like the Sweden of America because that's where all the Swedish immigrants first settled. It's apparently still a very Scandinavian influenced area of the US. So much so, that my mom actually called me from the grocery store by her house because she was so shocked at the amount of pickled herring (sill) and crispbread (knäckebröd) on the shelves. I think Henrik is probably going to make a killing, being an authentic imported Swede walking around there. Haha!

Sometime during my trip from "Sweden,Sweden" to "Sweden, USA" I’m also hopefully going to be able to rest enough to finally kill off this stupid cough I still have. If anything, Momma Murphy will totally know what to do to nurse me back to health. Mom always knows best. To be honest, she will probably just sit me down and force me to drink more green tea with coconut oil in it. Ever since the woman read a book called “The Coconut Miracle” she is convinced the stuff will cure anything. I just know It’s going to be a very coconut oil covered Christmas break if she has anything to do with it.

If you want to see a bit about my trip to Minneapolis in Minnesota, stay tuned to my Instagram account @slightly.swedish! I know I won’t be able to resist posting a few Instastories or pictures here and there at the very least. I will definitely try to blog a little more about my travels and adventures when I get back though. This is going to be my last blog post of 2018, so I am going to sign off now and wish that you all have happy and healthy holidays and a great New Year!

A Swedish-American Adventure!

Hej hej allihopa! (Hi everybody!)

This is the first official post on my blog! WhoooHoo!!! I am so excited to go on this awesome blogalicious adventure and share with you my everything! But, before we get into all that, let me first introduce myself.

My full name is Heather Ann Murphy. I am an art director and designer, originally from the United States. Growing up, I have been blessed to have lived in about 12 different places, from all over the US; a few of them including Kansas City KA, Dallas TX, Atlanta GA, Orange County CA, Iowa City IA, Chicago IL, Long Island NY, and Manhattan NY. Whew! I know, it’s a lot. 🙃 Both of my parents and my sister still live in the US and I miss them a TON. ALL THE TIME! They have their own busy lives in Minneapolis and Chicago, respectively. My grandparents come from mostly Irish and Finnish descent (so, I do happen have a little Nordic blood in my veins!)

About ten years ago I met a wonderful Swedish architect named Henrik. We fell in love and I eventually followed him back here, to his hometown of Stockholm, Sweden. So, you can now also add it to the growing list of places I have called “home.” When I first decided to move here, a lot of Swedes would ask me stuff like “If you were living in New York City, why in the heck would you move to Stockholm!?” (Like it was a shocking decision to come here.) Aside from the obvious Swedish fetish with NYC, that I would come to learn, I have always been a bit surprised by that reaction. I just saw a cute, quiet, kind of old-world town that was such a lovely departure from the “rat race” I had just come from. Things moved a little more slowly, but that wasn’t a bad thing. I felt like I was initially just going on a great relaxing extended vacation adventure. Who knew I would eventually enjoy it here enough to stay for the long haul!? I even more recently became a fully fledged Swedish citizen. I still can hardly believe it. 


My Swedish citizenship was approved on Valentine's day! How cute is that?

I have really seen this little sleepy city transform into a booming metropolis over the seven-plus years I have been here. Soooo much has changed! There is this old joke about Chicago, that there are only two seasons; “Winter and construction.” That has now totally become Stockholm!!! Way to make me feel at home.🤣 This city can’t seem to build new places fast enough. The restaurant and tourism industry has just totally exploded. What I once thought of as a quiet old-world city has also transformed into one of the more forward-thinking tech capitals of the world. Not to mention, how much of Scandinavia is so #trendy right now! I mean, people had no clue where I was moving to all those years ago. If I had a dollar for every time someone said I moved to Switzerland…#%@?! And, yes, that cliché still lives on a bit, but not as much now that Sweden has become such a fashionable economy. 


There are a million architecture projects in motion in this city every day. Because Henrik is an architect, I get to hear all about it. Check out this new Skyscraper being built on Stockholm's northside! It's so gorgeous!


There are also new restaurants popping up in this city nonstop.
Check out the new Bonnie's restaurant inside the Bank Hotel. It's so pretty!

I look forward to sharing with you more about me and all of my experiences here in Stockholm. I hope you tune in and share all of your comments and feedback regularly.

You can also find me on newly created Instagram account @slightly.swedish, for more updates and extras!

💖Kramar💖