If you know me you know I LOVE my coffee. My travel coffee mug is a must wherever I am. Lucky for me I am living in a country whose coffee consumption is one of the highest per capita in the world!!! I learned very quickly that the tradition of a coffee break or Fika is ingrained in almost every level and aspect of Swedish society. Fika is a break taken once in the mid morning and again in the mid afternoon. Whether you are at work, meeting a friend, at home, in class, fika happens. Its a time to conversate, meet friends, relax, socialize, etc.
I found this explaination from a great site totallytop10 which featured the Top 10 unwrtitten culture rules to follow while visiting Sweden. “Fika is a national Swedish term for a ceremonial coffee break. It gives the Swede a clear reason and opportunity to socialize and interacts with his/her fellow man. It normally includes coffee and a biscuit. New to the Swedish culture you will probably be appalled by how many times people “fika” in this country. It will probably also be the first word you learn. To suggest a “fika” to recent acquaintances is normally a hit and will lead to life-long friendships.”
I had my first personal experience in Swedish classes. When class is from 8:30am-12:30 fika happens at about 9:45-10:15. When class is from 12:30-3:30 fika is from about 1:45-2:15. The whole class breaks and either stays in class snacking on whatever they brought or walks to the cafeteria to have a cup of coffee, tea, a biscuit, etc.
I also got to experience the work environment fika while I went to work for a company TRG Components. Like clockwork at 9:30 and 2:30 Ingelill, a woman in the office, would say from down the hall “fika” and everyone would stop whatever they were doing and make their way to the kitchen/break room for a cup of coffee, biscuit, and sometimes chocolate. It was basic office etiquette and was a great way to break up the workday. I just can’t imagine a US office doing that, people are so stuck in their own bubbles and routines and sometimes would rather not ever converse with co-workers. I found it a really cool way to listen to swedish and try to understand as well as just take a minute to relax and come back more focused on what you are working on.
Part of our team had a little fika break toothe other day. We had practice in Orebro so we went in early and picked up 2 other teammates and headed to the center of Orebro, which feels like San Francisco if you’ve been in Lindesberg for too long. Me, Nadya, Eryk, Josephine and her man Anders, Sara Fossie, and Malin all went to one of Malin’s fav cafe’s. We got some latte’s and some treats, I got a hallon berry pie (raspberry basically) mmmm. It was a great way to get together outside of volleyball and hang out as well as see some civilization 😉
So when I get back to the US call me and we can have Fika 🙂 Something I have always loved doing now I have a name for it!