«Lagom» is a Swedish word, that means ‘not too much — not too little’, ‘not too hot, not too cold‘ …or ‘just right/sufficient’. It’s a very common word.
This morning, I clicked on a link from Sweden’s official website in Facebook. The headline was «20 things to know before moving to Sweden». Still, after ten years of living abroad, I find these things interesting to read, and funny! Sometimes I discover things that I find to be very true, but that I haven’t even thought about as being a difference.
One thing, that struck me, while reading this, this morning was #5 … ‘Squeezing food out of a tube’ [To prepare you for your first visit to the cold foods section of a grocery store, understand that in Sweden, tubes are also used to package foods such as caviar, mayonnaise, mustard, and other similar condiments. At some point, you’ll probably squeeze some caviar from a tube onto half a boiled egg for breakfast.]. Until now, I’ve never thought about the fact that I don’t see mayo or mustard in tubes here! Wow! One thing though, that really has irked me, is that I can’t find tomato paste in a tube … and that I’ve thought about since almost day one. Even though the cans of tomato paste are really tiny, I rarely need a full can for whatever I’m cooking. One time, I did find tubes … that was in Quebec … but they disappeared as quickly as they appeared.
Then there’s of course #9 Lagom [There is a societal code of conduct in Sweden which really has no direct translation. Loosely translated, the word lagom means ‘just enough’, ‘in moderation’, ‘appropriate’ and other synonyms you can pull out of the dictionary. When used in reference to societal behaviour, it means blending in appropriately without extreme displays of emotion.] I knew they would bring that one up, and they explained it well. It’s very complex and, I think, deep within the genes of the Swedish people … not to stand out in any way, or brag about yourself. This is a whole, different subject — deeply affected by something called The Law of Jante — that I won’t go into today, and hopefully, it’s on its way out.