What the hell have they done to their @£$%£ liquorice?
The Register: You've been in Sweden six years: what still seems flat-out crazy about the country?
Kevin O'Rourke: Their fondness for liquorice coated in ammonium chloride. I really like most of the other food but the salty liquorice is pure, concentrated evil.
The Register: Will your expat gig be good for your career?
Kevin O'Rourke: It should be, my job here in Sweden has given me a lot of experience of developing large-scale distributed systems.
The Register: What's cheaper in Sweden? What's more expensive?
Kevin O'Rourke: It's been so long since I lived in the UK now that I'm not sure. Booze is more expensive and of course you have to go to the government monopoly shop to buy anything stronger than three per cent beer.
The Register: What will you miss about Sweden if you go home?
Kevin O'Rourke: I really like the emphasis on work-life balance here, the Swedes seem to have got that right. I'd also miss having decent internet without having to pay a fortune for it.
The Register: What's your top tip to help new arrivals settle in?
Kevin O'Rourke: Go to the free Swedish classes that the local government provides. You'll meet other new arrivals, learn some Swedish and learn a bit about the culture. Lots of things are deceptively similar to the UK but you're missing the years of training in the little things that Swedes get while they're growing up.
The Register: What advice would you offer someone considering the same move?
: Go for it. It's not that far away and if your skills are in demand you'll have no trouble getting a job where you can get away with speaking English. Opera are looking for developers and QAs at the moment and it's hard to get hold of really good people.
On a more practical note, as soon as you can get a letter from your employer saying that you have a permanent contract (or longer than six months, in any case) get yourself down to the tax authority and get a personnummer. Without that ID number lots of things are difficult or impossible in Sweden.
The Register: What can you do during weekends in Sweden that you can't do at home?
Kevin O'Rourke: Depending on the time of year I could go kayaking in the nearby archipelago or take a train up north to see the northern lights. Stockholm is always nice for a weekend trip. Mostly I just like spending the weekends relaxing with my husband.
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