One of the things I always did when we came to Sweden for family vacation was go shopping. The small town, Löddeköpinge, my aunt and uncle live in had one of the first large mall like shopping centres in the area, Center Syd. So with my cousin, then later with my cousin and my cousin’s girlfriend I have been shopping at Syden many many times. Attached to a supper sized grocery store they have quite a few stores in the main centre like in a mall, small stores with specialized things like makeup, games, candy, etc. Then there are large “mega” stores around the outside like the big electronics store, hardware store, etc. When shopping on vacation with money your grandparents give you for the trip the goal is to buy something fun and use up the money. I often bought craft things (I have an enormous number of those velvet outline pictures that you paint or color in), Legos (the original “vacation” activities that were pink for girls), clothes, or shoes. When I lived in Sweden in college I didn’t need to go shopping for anything so the things I bought were again for fun and not necessity.
If you remember during my huge packing puzzle one of the questions I was asking my self was whether I could re-buy certain bath or medical products once in Sweden. I removed bottles of shampoo and in the end 4 bottles of nail polish to reduce the weight of cases. I kept things like advil (not easy to get over the counter drugs in Sweden) and cortizone creams, but took out things like feminine products and band-aides I knew that some of these things would probably be more expensive in Sweden but at least I could replace them, whereas, I could not replace my heals. So this weekend when shopping with my cousin at Syden I was on a mission: what should I make people from the US bring when they come visit? By looking at the prices of general things that you could buy or have someone buy for you if you gave them the specs: underwear, bathroom supplies, nail polish….
Now remember those 4 bottles of nail polish I took out of my suit case? The reason I could do that is I have a problem. That’s right a nail polish problem. Since the 7th grade when one of my mother’s sisters painted my nails for me and my dad told me how much he didn’t like it, I have painted my nails basically every week. In the beginning it was with cheap nail polish and lots of different brands. Then I feel in love with OPI after one professional manicure. OPI lasts well, doesn’t chip a lot, and has fun colors that are bright with funny puny names. Now other people keep getting me to try new kinds but I plan to stick with my good old OPI, I have already invested a lot into my $8.50/bottle at full price collection. Nail polish isn’t supposed to be good for you…trust me I am a chemist 🙂 Anyway my extensive collection is such that I could take out some bottles and leave them for a friend to remove colors that were too close to others and that I don’t use often. Currently my collection of nail polish is in a huge ziplock waiting for me to find an apartment so I can buy IKEA shoe drawers to display it (pictures to come when I set it up). During the weekend my nail polish was taken out many times to do multiple people’s nails. My cousin is trained to do nails professionally so it was fun to see so many of the women who we hung out with during the weekend get a manicure with a fun color they would never use for themselves. As we were shopping at Syden on Sunday my cousin was thinking about buying an OPI nail polish for herself but they were 150 SEK (Swedish Krona) WHICH IS $22!!!! wow ok so that trip I am making back to the US for a wedding…need to find an Ulta or Sephora for nail polish…all visitors to Sweden will be required to pay the toll of one OPI nail polish (fun colors get bonus points :).