Sweden <--> Ohio: Student

Saturday, January 27, 2007

In crossing cultures, even if the language boundary is a comparatively minimal one, traditions are changed. While this happens in a wide context (Americans have never heard of St Nicholas or the Italian/Swedish tradition of Lucia), it also happens in a small, personal context, on a daily basis, while living - transplanted - in another culture.

I belong to the church of coffee. I belong to the church of a lot of things, actually, so my membership here isn't exclusive, but it's a daily ritual I invest a fair amount of time, effort, and enjoyment in practicing.

Like most traditions and customs as practiced in our own culture, my practice is invisible. I have no pictures of my coffee ritual, coffee maker, or favorite mug. Pictures do exist of the long process of roasting your own coffee, which I highly recommend - not as easy as opening a bag of pre-ground pre-roast, but enjoyable nonetheless.

So, in the spirit of continued documentation, I present to you pictures of my own mundane coffee ritual as transformed by the transplantation and adaption process.

Everything changes - from the text on the milk container (which I cannot read), to the orange cow patterning and blue and white daisy icon signifying brand, to the fineness and taste and strange smell of the brown sugar I use to flavor my coffee.

The coffee changes, but this is a predictable and expected change. The coffeemaker was a gift, quite thankfully, from my fadder, Maria. I have not seen much evidence of their popularity - apparently Swedes prefer to take their coffee at work and at school.

In addition to belonging to the Church of Coffee, I am also a staunch supporter of the Church of Breakfast. Like the Swedes, Breakfast is a significant meal, not to be missed. Breakfast is yougart in cerial, in this case musli. It's a popular Swedish choice, but not exclusively. I've had this breakfast at home. The difference is in the yougart - sweetened, flavored, thinned, and arriving in a cardboard 'milk' container or plastic juice-type jug.

Even with the variety of differences, the magic red button remains the same.

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