Q: How do you pronounce your name?

A: The spelling of my name, Maia, actually makes pronunciation a little tricky. I pronounce it MAY-uh with a long “A”.

Q: Why and when did you move to Sweden?

A: For whatever reason, it never occurred to me that I would marry internationally. Then I met my future Swedish husband, Magnus, in graduate school at the University of Oregon. We got married after we graduated and moved to Boston for work. After our first daughter was born we felt that our location didn’t really make sense with my family in Utah and Oregon and Magnus’ in Sweden. So after seven plus years in Boston we decided to give Sweden a try and moved here in February of 2008.

Q: Can you speak Swedish?

A: That depends on who you ask. My parents say ‘yes, very well’ I say ‘a little,’ and my 5 year old daughter says ‘no.’ I’m a little embarassed I’m not in a better place with it after this much time here, but I’m afraid I am no language whiz. I do still have dreams of being fluent some day. In the meantime, I’m continuing to take classes and at least I can get my general point across and no longer break into a cold sweat when a stranger asks me a question in Swedish.

Q: Do you know what part of Sweden your ancestors are from?

A: My father’s mother was a full-blooded Swede. Her father was a Swedish immigrant and her mother was born in the US to Swedish immigrants from the area of Småland. My grandmother’s father (on my father’s side), Emil Rohden, grew up on a small farm called Rud Matsegård in the area of Sweden known as Västergötland. There were seven children in the family. Two brothers emigrated to the US and stayed, Emil in Iowa and his brother in Chicago. The other five siblings remained in Sweden and many of their descendants still live in the area around Rud Matsegård. I have been fortunate to meet many of them. They are really lovely people and knowing that I have my own relatives here makes it feel a bit more like home. The bizarre part is that was when we learned that my husband’s ancestors also came from a farm called Rud Matsegård. Turns out there are two farms across the road from each other, both with the same name. So our relatives were actually neighbors. Even though it would have been a distant relation, it was a big relief to know our relatives came from different sides of the road. But honestly, what are the odds of that kind of connection? Amazing.

Q: You grew up in Utah, are you Mormon (a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)?

A: No, but I did meet with Mormon missionaries while I was on a college student exchange at Louisiana State University. So I’ve taken ‘the discussions’ and know that the Mormon church wasn’t the right choice for me.

Q: What do you miss most about the US?

A: Aside from the obvious answer of family and friends, I miss English. Yes, most of the people in Sweden under age 50 speak English very well, but it’s not the same as being able to turn on the TV and understand everything on the news, or to be able to read all the signs you see, or to simply understand your neighbor when they speak to you in the hallway. After English, I really miss the food. That list could go on and on, but the short list is Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, and being able to eat really good food inexpensively.

Q: Do you take your own photos?

A: Yes, I take all of the photos unless otherwise noted. I have a Canon G12 and a Canon PowerShot SD4000IS. I don’t have any fancy lenses or lighting. I use natural light and don’t do anything funky like using glue instead of milk so it will appear more white. My family consumes the food that is pictured. I don’t really do any food styling aside from the occasional obsessive compulsive preoccupation with something like the best placement of a sprig of mint.

Q: Where do you get your information about things like holidays?
I use a combination of sources. I often look at various websites but get the bulk of the information from multiple printed sources from the library. They are more reliable and all that translating helps me with my Swedish.

26 Comments on “faq”

  1. July 14, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    Wow How did I miss this blog. Tis wonderful! One of my passions is cooking and food, so this blogg is a delight to read. I am a Brit in Sweden , and run a little shop in Dalarna. I shall be reading this regularly. Beautiful photos.

    • July 14, 2011 at 9:26 am #

      Thank you for such a lovely comment. The blog is fairly new, so you haven’t missed too much. : ) Glad you are enjoying it and finding it of interest.

      • Andy D. Anderson
        November 19, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

        Thanks for the blog. It is very enjoyable and well done. Jim Swanson in Iowa City introduced me to your blog. Did your mother know a teacher in Grand Junction, Iowa named Darlene Fees? I know about the connection with Jim! I am anxious to vist Sweden again and include Norway.

        Thanks a bunch.

        AndyD. Anderson
        Cedar Rapids, IA

      • November 20, 2011 at 9:14 am #

        Hi Andy, thanks for checking out the site and for your nice comments. I’m really enjoying working on it and it’s nice to know that other people find it interesting. I’ll ask my mom about Darlene Fees. Is she a relation of yours?

  2. Caryn
    October 14, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

    Great blog Maia, I’m glad to have run across it from the AWC site. I moved to Malmo recently with my husband, he’s in a graduate program at Lund. Coincidentally, we moved from Portland, OR and he’s originally from Utah. I’m excited to try out some of your recipes. Thanks again!

    • October 15, 2011 at 7:02 am #

      Hi Caryn,

      So glad you are enjoying the blog. Interesting that you were in Portland before coming here. What part of Utah is your husband from? Maybe we will have the chance to meet up at an AWC event some time.


  3. Lee-Ann
    November 9, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

    Thank you Maia, for writing such an informative and interesting blog about an expat in Sweden! You have a great sense of humour and I enjoy your writing very much. As a Canadian who moved to Helsingborg only recently, reading about your experiences makes me feel less alone and gives me a better understanding of my new home 🙂 Keep it coming!

    • November 9, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

      Lee-Ann, welcome to Sweden! You made my week with that lovely comment. Thank you so much.

      It can definitely be tough moving here. If you have, or plan to have kids I would recommend checking out http://www.mumsinsweden.com (MIS) for some great comradery and flat out help with adjusting to your move. Unfortunately the site is having some trouble at the moment with a move to a new server but hopefully it will be running smoothly again by the New Year. I do know there is one member on MIS that is located in Helsingborg. I haven’t met her yet but would really like too as I really enjoy her comments on the forum.

      Another great resource is the American Women’s Club of Malmö http://www.awcmalmo.com. It’s really an international club rather than solely American. They have a lot of activities planned and it’s a great way to get to know people. It’s not so convenient if you are in Helsingborg, but perhaps worth the trip if you are looking to make some connections.

  4. Andy D. Anderson
    November 20, 2011 at 4:22 pm #


    Darlene Fees, who taught in Grand Junction, IA for a short time. She married my brother.
    Hope all is well with you and family.


    • November 21, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

      Hey Andy. I asked my mom about Darlene Fees but she doesn’t remember having a teacher named Darlene. But she did have Jim Swanson for a teacher. Small world.

  5. Michelle
    December 3, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    Hej Maia,

    During college, my husband and I traveled to Sweden (to investigate grad school possibilities) and feel in love. We finished grad school here in the US, but have big dreams to get there someday. I was searching the interwebs for resources and found your blog! I look forward to following.



    • December 3, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

      Welcome Michelle! I can understand why you fell in love with Sweden. If you do end up headed here some day, there are some great resources to help you out. My favorite is http://www.mumsinsweden.com. I hope you enjoy the blog.

  6. coolfeline
    February 23, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    Hej Maia,
    Great blog you have here. I’m getting more and more hungry by the minute…

    I appreciate you’ll get a lot of comments now that your page is on WordPress’ «freshly pressed», but I have a question…

    Do you know, or have any idea of, whether identity theft is as big a problem in Sweden as it is in North America? Is it talked about in the media … are people in general aware of the problem?

    • February 24, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

      I have to admit that is a bit of an odd question. But yes, it’s a problem here. I don’t know if to the same scale as in North America, but it’s not unheard of. People are quite aware of it. Why do you ask?

      • coolfeline
        February 24, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

        I had to ask someone who IS in Sweden and who also knows what it’s like in North America. I was thinking along those lines of personnummer … that that would make it somewhat more difficult to steal ones identity..

        I’ve tried to explain to people here ..the concept of personnummer but I don’t know that I’ve really made it clear to them..

  7. March 15, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    Hello Maia,

    I was hoping to get your email. I wanted to send you an email with information about a Chili Cookoff I am bringing to Sweden: The Swedish Chili Experiment. I thought you might want to enter. Culinary Glory or a Free Trip to Brooklyn could be yours…

  8. Seana
    March 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    What a great blog you have! I spent 9 months living in Linkoping with my American boyfriend who was working there for a bit. I miss some things very much, mostly my friends but also the food. Thanks for the recipes, they make me smile! I was hoping you may find the time to get a recipe together for the salad that all the restaurants serve. I can’t remember exactly what it is made of but it looks like just shredded cabbage in a clear sauce. Am I making sense? If not, its ok, been away too long and my memories are fading. Thanks!

    • March 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

      Thank you so much. I’m glad you are enjoying the site. Is the salad you mentioned the one they serve with pizza?

  9. Hi MB
    Can you please contact me about food writing for a Swedish audience in North America.

  10. July 5, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

    Hej, Maia. You may remember we corresponded about a year ago, first about Princess Torte, then about my visit to Malmö. Since then I have bought a house in Dalarna and am living here part time. I have a baking question for you, if you don’t mind. I assume bakpulver is the same as baking powder. What is baking soda in the Swedish stores? Thanks! Karen

    • July 5, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

      Hi Karen! Of course I remember you. Welcome to Sweden! How lovely that you are spending part of your time in Dalarna now. It’s beautiful there. You are correct that bakpulver is baking powder. Baking soda is bikarbonat. Happy baking!

  11. Christine Jones
    August 2, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    Hi Maia,

    Just came across your webpage and this look fantastic! Like others on here I’m from the U.S. (Calif) and married a British man so we’re settled in Northern England. My paternal Great Grandmother’s family immigrated from the Gothenburg & Malmo area. I’ve been on the other side of the Oresund Bridge in Denmark but looking forward to making it over to Sweden very soon! Keep on blogging, ta….

    • August 4, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

      Thanks for taking the time to write! Here’s hoping you make it over to Sweden one day! 🙂

  12. Linda Sappington
    November 26, 2015 at 2:55 am #

    After I finally made it to Sweden this September and explored places both my mom’s and dad’s families lived, I am so homesick to return. I am full-blooded Swede born in California, but made this first trip at age 57, exactly 100 years after my dad’s family history was written by a great-uncle. So, I have been traveling back vicariously through your witting and informative blog. My husband and I are lightly tossing around the idea of moving to Smaland, maybe for just a year, but I worry I will miss our family too much. Do yours visit often?

    • November 27, 2015 at 10:48 pm #

      We try to make a trip home every 18 months so we alternate between a summer and a winter trip. With that and people coming to see us, I would say we see family once a year. It is a long haul, particularly to California if that is where you family would be coming from to visit you in Småland. It would be a big move to make for one year, but if you have the means and opportunity to do it, why not? And if your family knows you will only be here for one year, they are likely to be sure and fit in a visit before you move back.

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