Scandinavians Get All the Good Stuff

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.

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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.

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He just looks smart, doesn’t he?

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.

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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.

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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.

4. Ikea
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!

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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.

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14 thoughts on “Scandinavians Get All the Good Stuff

  1. Yup. This is why I’m a Social Democrat.

    Most Americans find my views treasonous, but I’ll never understand why the masses are falling on their swords for the billionaires.

    Maybe we have the highest percentage of billionaires over here, but that hardly helps most of us. We’re the only wealthy country with NO guaranteed maternity leave or health care, and our work benefits and infant/maternal mortality rates are atrocious. We also have a ridiculous number of people locked up and live in an insanely violent place.

    Studies have shown, again and again, links between quality of life/security and a happier, less violent population. We see examples of this playing out in other countries… why the resistance?

    I’ll never understand. But yeah, I’m constantly jealous of Scandinavians too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, yes, and more yes! The fact that we’re the only industrialized nation without mandatory parental leave is embarrassing.

      And the stuff I read about the prisons was fascinating. The U.S. definitely has a huge difference in values from Scandinavian countries. Their #1 priority is rehabilitation, while ours is on making sure people are “truly punished.” This is insane to me, considering most people who go to prison are not going to be there for their entire lives – so why wouldn’t we want to make absolutely certain that they’re fully rehabilitated and prepared for life outside? At certain prisons in Norway, the prisoners can actually leave during the day to attend school or work offsite, and they can also take a number of classes within the prison. The people there believe that not being 100% “free” and able to do whatever you want (or see loved ones anytime you want) IS the punishment, and anything beyond that is cruel. And you’re right – they must know what they’re doing, considering their crime rates are so much lower!

      I actually learned quite a bit from this little lighthearted post haha. Maybe a whole clan of us should just go ahead and move there 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed. I don’t know where the roots of all the prisoners/violence begins, but don’t think the lack of parental leave and other humane benefits is helping anything. Whatever we are doing is not working, at any rate.

        I’ve fantasizes about that too! Wish I knew any Scandinavian language 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Ugh, apparently it gets pretty cold and snowy in winter. And there’s the tiny issue of not having daylight for days at a time. I’m not a big fan of winter, but if this is the only downside to living in Scandinavia, I could maybe make do! Maybe on those cold, dark days, you can just hunker down with blankets and movies and cinnamon rolls and Swedish meatballs?

      That sounds amazing, now that I think about it…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It does sound good and I think the men are hot too?? I just don’t eat fish so hopefully there are options other than salmon. I will have my sons start learning Scandanavian asap. Also, I’m going to need a proof of life with regards to wine. The Scans need to have red wine, otherwise this is a deal breaker.

        Like

      2. Ohh yes, get your boys on that – since kids learn languages way faster, we’ll just let them be our translators until we get it down.

        I don’t eat fish, either, but they apparently eat a lot of potatoes and sandwiches, so I think I’d survive okay. They’re really fond of vodka too – not sure about red wine though!

        Liked by 1 person

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