I’ve been a little fixated on Scandinavia for a while now, and I’ve recently decided that I should just go ahead and move there.
Why? Because every time I read something about which country is happiest, or smartest, or most progressive, one (if not all) of the Scandinavian countries always tops the list. I’m constantly reading positive things about that area, and I’ve come to realize that it has no flaws.
If the world is a high school, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway are the over-achieving students who have perfect GPAs, but are also really good at sports, really attractive, and really nice. You want to hate them, but you’re too busy staring at them in awe and trying to copy their outfits.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is the befuddling, not-as-attractive, tries-hard-but-never-quite-gets-there younger sibling of Scandinavia.
Put another way, if the world is a kennel of dogs, Scandinavia is the beautiful black lab who’ll one day become an intelligent service dog, while the U.S. is a Saint Bernard puppy –cute, but legs and head too big for the rest of its body, so it falls over a lot. And it drools.
Or, if the world is –
You know what, I think you get the picture.
As a side note, there seems to be a contentious battle going on about whether Finland and/or Iceland should be included as part of Scandinavia. My post focuses only on the main three (Sweden, Denmark, and Norway), but for the record, I have nothing against Icelanders (Icelandees?) or the Finnish. If the actual Scandinavian countries don’t let me in, I’d happily settle for either of those two.
Here are my 8 biggest reasons (in no particular order) for moving to Scandinavia:
8. The mere gorgeousness. ‘Nuff said.
7. Impressive parental leave
Sweden has the most generous paid maternity/paternity leave in the world, at 480 days. That’s more than a year of couch-and-television time, with some time left over to pick up and feed your baby now and then.
And it’s all PAID.
Under this system, it’d be wise to keep popping out child after child. It’d be a painful hobby, but a worthwhile one. The Duggars could make a killing there, if they could accept that whole socialism thing.
6. (Sort of) Free healthcare
Now I can finally afford to do stupid things without those silly fears of hurting myself and not being able to afford treatment.
5. Happier people
Scandinavian countries consistently take the top spots on Forbes Magazine’s list of the happiest countries. According to Forbes, happiness = a healthy life expectancy, social support, and self-reports of well-being.
I picture these countries having a Disneyland-like atmosphere, where strangers regularly hold hands and skip through flower-lined streets. And the merry skippers aren’t even drunk.
It’s at the famous furniture store that I plan to learn how to speak Swedish. I’m sure the words for “blanket” (polarvide) and “picture frame” (nyttja) will get me far.
3. Nice prisons
Just to clarify, I don’t plan on committing any prison-worthy crimes. But when considering a move to a new place, it’s best to check out their prisons beforehand, because you never know what obscure, culturally-unique crime you might commit.
For all I know, loudly proclaiming that I hate fish might be illegal in the fish-loving countries of Scandinavia. Fortunately, the prisons there seem more like college dormitories or summer camps – complete with woodworking classes.
2. Gender Equality
According to the World Economic Forum, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark all rank high on the list of the most gender-equal countries, meaning that the pay gap between men and women is almost nil in those places.
In yo face, misogynists!
And last, but definitely not least…
1. All of the noms
Considering these reasons, you’d think I’d already be packing my bags and running over old ladies on my way to the airport. But there’s one major disadvantage about moving to Scandinavia, a disadvantage that threatens to overshadow the good points.
A disadvantage that brings me great sorrow:
1. I’d really miss my friends and family
1. There’s probably no chips and queso there
The U.S. may have its flaws. It may never be on those lists of happy people or gender-equal employers. But, damn it, it has bowls of melty cheese, and that just might be enough for me.