Adventures in Swedish-English Communication

My husband grew up in Sweden and moved to the U.S. about a decade ago. His command of English is excellent—not only because he’s an intelligent man, but also because Swedish kids learn English at a young age. However, we still run into occasional issues. Last night, for example, the following exchange occurred:

Me: “I’m working on the author bio for my Goodreads page.”

Husband: “Is it about me?”

Me: “Um…no. It’s about me. ‘Cause I’m the author. I mean, I mention you and everything, but it’s not really ABOUT you, per se. Don’t you think that question’s a little…I don’t know. Conceited?”

Husband [shaking his head, exasperated]: “No. I meant, ‘Is it like your ABOUT ME page on your website?”

Me: “Oh. Yeah. It is. Sorry.”

Husband: [grumbles; stomps out of the room]


My point: It may sound glamorous to marry a Swede, but it’s not all gummy fish and massages on demand and sniffing each other’s lollipops. Sometimes, the language barrier is difficult. Or so he tells me every time he says something irritating.

Husband: “I must have misspoken. As you know, my English skills are dubious.”

Me [stares suspiciously]: “Hmmm.”

Husband: “Rudimentary, even.”

Me: [grumbles; stomps out of the room]

Rejected Cover Ideas

So I was recently discussing Valentine’s Day-related cover ideas with my ever-patient agent, Jessica Alvarez. While searching for images that captured what I wanted, I found the following picture:

Couple sniffing lollipops

And here is the resulting conversation I had with Jessica over e-mail:

Me: Okay, question. Are these people SNIFFING EACH OTHER’S LOLLIPOPS? Because if so, WHY? And EWWWWW.

Jessica: Uhhh…that’s what appears to be happening. I don’t understand it. Perhaps it’s some kind of strange mating ritual people in other countries do.

(Note: I asked my husband, who is Swedish, whether shoving lollipops in your lover’s face is a Scandinavian tradition. He denied it, though I thought I glimpsed a look of furtive shame on his face before he did so.)