Exams and Blueberries

Exam season is quickly approaching, and it’s officially the time of the year when I declare blueberries as my favorite food. Once again I find myself at Whole Foods, filling my cart with the last packs of organic blueberries I can find. My pre-exam ritual is one of the smartest things I’ve incorporated into my college life. How could you not want to munch on these luscious little berries as you sit in the library to write your 20-page lab report, or struggle to figure out what the deuterium isotope effect is?

As a pre-med student, I have developed a strong interest in brain health. I spend a lot of my time listening to podcasts and reading about the body, and I have realized how essential blueberries are to living a healthy life. When they’re ripe, blueberries emit a sweet taste, as they contain some sugar. Surprisingly though, they do not cause blood sugar spikes, since they are full of fiber and compounds such as anthocyanins, which ultimately lead to their slowed digestion. Apart from being delicious, they provide us with a variety of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals like vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants, making them an incredible source of brain and body fuel. Several hundred years ago, blueberries were often used to lower fevers and calm digestive issues. Today, research shows that blueberries have anti-inflammatory properties that can be linked to a decrease in chronic inflammation and diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. Accordingly, it is not surprising that they top the list of my favorite berries. And what makes them even more appealing is the fact that blueberries last for weeks in the fridge (unlike raspberries, which often have mold on them before they’re even brought home from the store). Moreover, you can incorporate blueberries into almost any meal and any time of the day, which makes them perfect for a busy college student like me.

My preferences haven’t changed much as I’ve grown up. I have loved blueberries since I was a toddler. It’s not because they taste better than any other berry or fruit on the market, but because they’ve always been present at times when I’m doing things I love. In Sweden, my family often went on excursions to a nearby forest. Swedish forests are famous for being covered with small blueberry bushes, or as Scandinavian blueberries are actually called, bilberries. My brothers and I always picked and munched on them as we ran around in the woods. 

Unlike the many types of blueberries one can find in the U.S., most European blueberries are always red or blue inside. My pre-school teachers helped us paint with the red juices from squished blueberries, so it was not rare for me to come home with my clothes stained by their juices. These rich but balanced, tiny berries provide me with a sense of nostalgia. Now every time I buy them, they take me back to when I was little and didn’t have a care in the world. 

These days, I find myself drawn to blueberries every time I have exams. It wasn’t until I was standing in the Whole Foods checkout line with six cartons of them that I began questioning why. Is it because of the unmatchable health benefits, or because of the anxiety relief that nostalgia provides me when I eat them? Perhaps it’s a combination of both. Regardless, I am forever thankful, and I will continue to buy out the blueberries at Whole Foods during every exam season until I graduate.

Cover photo courtesy of health line


Where Love and Lemons Grow

Right beneath the cliffs on Italy’s southwest coastline rests the small but charming town of Amalfi. As we hopped off the ferry near its port this past summer, my family was met by the picture-perfect landscape and ancient, rural architecture. My mom, brother, and I were on a mission to find and enjoy lunch at an agriturismo, a farm which also has room to host guests. We followed the small signs along a main road that led us to a narrow path up the hill before we arrived at the agriturismo called Agricola Fore Porta. Although it is just a 30-minute hike from the town center, Agricola Fore Porta can only be reached by foot. It is located at the beginning of the quiet Valle delle Ferriere, a deep valley filled with incredible crystal-clear waterfalls, tropical greens, remnants of ancient buildings, and farms. Even though the temperature was well above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the hike up to the farm was staggering.

On our way up, we crossed paths with a few other tourists who all had the same look of astonishment on their faces. Everywhere one turned, lemon groves and terraced gardens flourished along the valley. Not far from us, a farmer led two donkeys who carried what looked like wine glasses on their backs. We later learned that animals are commonly used instead of cars, as the uphill footpaths are too impractical for any sort of motor vehicle to navigate.

Since my family is the complete opposite of time-optimists, we were not surprised to arrive an entire hour before the restaurant at Agricola Fore Porta opened. Nonetheless, we met Silvia, one of the owners of the farm. She kindly offered to bring out some homemade lemon drinks for us. Drenched in sweat from the hike, my brother finished his glass in what seemed like a few seconds, and my mom and I were not too far behind. Since the restaurant is a true “farm-to-table experience,” almost every ingredient could be found growing in close proximity to where we sat. The mom of the family, who also made most of the dishes, had many of the vegetables she used on display next to the kitchen. The gardens of Agricola Fore Porta were full of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, all of which changed with the seasons. Thus, the kitchen worked with different menus based on the time of year. Each item on the menu was crafted with the most tenderhearted care – it was almost as if love grew shoulder-to-shoulder with the fruits and vegetables at their farm.

As we sat down, we noticed how few tables there were, which was probably because they only took about five or six reservations per day. Needless to say, we took note of what the other guests ordered, and decided to order a few dishes from each part of their summer menu. After Silvia brought out the food, she carefully explained what they consisted of. For our primi piatti my mom ordered a zesty lemon pasta, while I decided on the zucchini flower pasta. While my mom’s dish was vibrant and tangy, my pasta was mild and sweet. We could easily decipher every ingredient that was used. This is something I greatly appreciate about authentic Italian food: it is so simple, yet so flavorful and heartwarming. My mom also ordered “long green beans” as a side, and we had to stop ourselves from laughing too hard as we measured each and every bean to be well over two feet long. Everything was perfectly seasoned with herbs such as basil. The exceptional craftsmanship of the food and phenomenal quality of the ingredients shone through in every dish and truly served as the cherry on top of the meal. It is common knowledge that love tends to be the secret ingredient for many noteworthy meals. However, when one can look over their shoulder and see all the ingredients grow next to where the dishes are being meticulously crafted, that is when true love shines through. Of course, the table setting was nothing less than immaculate too, and the outdoor dining area was also simple yet beautiful. With the view of the valley, it felt like we were in paradise. It was easy to see how much thought they put into every aspect of the dining experience.

Each dish was brought out one at a time, so our 12pm lunch quickly turned into a three-and-a-half-hour event. Nevertheless, it felt as though only an hour had passed at the charming farm. After talking with our waitress, who had become like a new friend to us, we ended lunch with espresso, lemon ice cream, and almond cake. Although it might seem apparent in hindsight, I was amazed at how the same few ingredients could make such a plethora of dishes that all tasted different. It shows how Italian cuisine puts focus on the quality of food rather on how elaborate it is. Moreover, the food serves as a source that connects families and ties people closer together. The family-run Agricola Fore Porta exemplified each and every part of Italian culture. As we walked out of the restaurant, I saw a sign that had been translated into English. It read: “My grandfather used to say that once in your life, you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, and a preacher, but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer.” The tasteful dishes revealed the family’s dedication to growing good produce and illustrated their immense passion for what they do. This place really exemplified the importance of a strong family connection in a family-owned business. The love they had for one another, for the guests, and for what they did could be tasted in everything they brought out. The outstanding customer service and inviting atmosphere tied the knot on our lunch in Amalfi. The scenic landscapes, incredible food, and even more incredible people all made this country feel like a second home to me, and I never fail to fall in love with it a bit more each time I visit.

Cover photo courtesy of Instagram


Lunch at Leonelli’s

This past summer, my family and I vacationed in Sorrento, Italy. Located on the Sorrentine Peninsula right by the bay of Naples, this town is famous for its fabulous lemons, beautiful landmarks, and, most importantly, its cuisine. What was supposed to be a two-week trip full of salt water and sun turned into one of the most unique food experiences I’ve had. This was not so much due to the food itself, but rather because of something much more important. Now don’t get me wrong, the copious amounts of fish and pasta we consumed were delicious to say the least, but they weren’t what made me eager to share my trip with everyone I know.

A couple of days ago, I was sitting in my dorm, looking back at the pictures I took during the trip. As I scrolled through my camera roll, I stumbled upon the pictures of some of the amazing meals we had eaten at the beach club, and I began to contemplate about what exactly made this food experience unique. After all, It was just food, I thought to myself as I continued to work on my lab report for microbiology. 

Italian food has always had a dedicated place in my heart. As an American immigrant from Sweden, I have gotten used to the Italian food served in the U.S. by now. American-Italian food is often full of a wide variety of ingredients and spices, which is vastly different from the food served in Italy, where each ingredient can easily be discerned from the other. 

When I arrived in Sorrento, I was surprised to see menus with mostly seafood. Traditional meat-based dishes like Lasagna and Spaghetti Bolognese were nowhere to be found. I soon learned that the seafood, or frutti del mare in Italian, serves as a staple in Sorrento and the neighboring cities along the Amalfi Coast. The food in Italy actually changes with its geography. Hence, typical dishes found at restaurants in Sorrento will differ from the ones in Rome or Venice, unless the restaurant is a “tourist trap” (as my mom likes to call them). Nevertheless, wherever we went, the food was always impeccable. 

Every lunch I enjoyed in Sorrento was so much more than just a plate of pasta. Leonelli’s Beach Club is a historical beach establishment located beneath a cliff in the middle of a beautiful natural bay. Dining there was a culinary experience that brought me closer to the original source of Italian cuisine. Although it wasn’t an up-scale restaurant with a Michelin star menu, the tables were covered with white tablecloths, the food was divine, and the view of the emerald-green sea with Mount Vesuvius in the background was surreal. The Frittura di Calamari, Antipasto di Verdure, and Gamberoni Grigliati became some of our family favorites; however my brother, Caspar, insisted that no dish could beat their Italian-style donut, Graffa. Of course, the pasta was always served al dente, and the simplicity of each dish brought out all the distinct flavors of the fresh ingredients. 

Our server Antonio, who ended up with us for all of the 12 meals we ate at Leonelli’s (yes, you heard that right), quickly proved the passionate Italian stereotype to be true. Each morning when we arrived at the Leonelli’s, Antonio would serve us a couple of shots of espresso and ask about our plans for the day. He was truly the most conscientious waiter one could possibly imagine. Antonio quickly became a family friend and soon enough we began to exchange insights and stories from our respective lives. It felt as though we were being welcomed into a big Italian family, which is something I had only seen in movies.

In Italy, everything moves at a slower pace. As in many other cultures across the globe, eating is best when done in the presence of family and friends. No one is in a rush to go anywhere, so there is plenty of time to sit-down for several hours to eat and talk with loved ones. As a college student in the U.S., it seems as though everyone is in a rush to be somewhere. No one has the time to really take in and reflect on the experiences they have and on the people they meet.

When I came back to Texas, I felt rejuvenated. Eating in Italy is an experience unlike any other, and the people we met and the conversations we had during each meal are truly what made it so special. Simply eating the food won’t do much except please the taste buds, but being immersed by the Italian ambiance in the slow-paced environment with passionate people is what makes meals so unforgettable. Of course, Antonio played a big role in making us feel welcomed, and his passion for everything he did made us more excited to come back to Leonelli’s everyday (we even booked a trip to Sorrento for next year). Now whenever I go out to eat, I make sure to sit back, relax, and take in every part of the beautiful moment, just like an Italian would do. 

Photos courtesy of Leonelli’s Beach


Bitter Avocado Toast

It is difficult to fully comprehend the importance of taste and smell until they are gone. Prior to the pandemic, few people thought about the impact of these senses on their daily lives. However, since over 86% of COVID-19 patients report at least some loss of taste and smell, their significance has become increasingly noticeable.

When I tested positive for COVID-19 back in January, I was honestly a bit surprised. I had been home for winter break for a couple of weeks, but had barely seen any of my friends or been anywhere other than the grocery store. Thankfully, the virus did not hit me too hard. Unfortunately, I lost both my sense of taste and smell, but it didn’t really hit me until after about a week later. What if I would never be able to taste my mom’s cooking or smell her perfume again?

 I vividly remember the moment when I realized what my life would be like if I didn’t regain these senses. I was making avocado toast one morning, and like every other 19-year-old college student in the U.S., I decided to add some of the holy Trader Joe’s “Everything but the Bagel” seasoning to it. I bit into the piece of toast, but instead of tasting the sweet and creamy avocado on the nutty bread topped with the salty seasoning, all I could make out was bitterness. I tried to replace the foul-tasting toast with a glass of water, but of course, that only made things worse. A couple of hours later, I decided to give food another go, and I cut up a red honeycrisp apple. To my surprise, the apple was even worse than the toast. 

As the anxious, pre-med hypochondriac that I am, I did the one thing that is completely forbidden in the pre-med world: I Googled my symptoms. I read article upon article about people who had yet to regain their smell, despite not having any other symptoms of the virus. It made me worried, of course, and I couldn’t stop myself from spiraling into a dark hole of anxiety. I began to imagine how different my mornings would become without being able to smell the wonderful aroma of coffee, and how devastating it would be to never be able to taste my favorite foods again. 

Photo Courtesy of Jessie Day.

Smell, and thus taste, are two of the most important senses for people. Since smell is so closely linked to memory, it plays a major role in people’s lives; however, the majority of today’s society does not take the time to reflect upon this phenomenon. The sense of smell allows individuals to better engage in their everyday lives. It provides them with opportunities to find comfort, and thus subconsciously supports both their mental and physical health as well. Taste, on the other hand, can be described as being a close cousin to smell. When people chew food, it touches their nasal epithelium, so almost everything that people say they can taste is actually only a smell. True taste is what is described as sweet, sour, bitter, umami, and salty—or bitter, in my case.

As miniscule as it sounds, not having the ability to smell anything was a problem that basically took over my life for the entire month of January. I was constantly worried that I would never be able to reminisce about memories from my childhood as a result. Although I would not wish this virus upon my greatest enemy, I am thankful for what I went through. As I try to see the silver lining of everything, I recognize that this experience helped me understand how wonderful it is to be able to use these senses as a way to think back to memorable experiences, people, and places. Smell and taste are unique in the way that in only a few seconds, they are able to bring back memories from times that would otherwise become forgotten.

Cover Photo Courtesy of Nora Cooks.


A Special Ingredient

Like any other Swede who has moved out of Scandinavia, I have a special place in my heart reserved for Swedish food. Even though I have lived in Texas for the past seven years, I honestly do not think I have gone more than a week without either eating or making something Swedish. It not only brings me joy and a sense of security, but it helps me feel connected to everything and everyone back home.

During lockdown last March, I fell in love with baking. This was not so much because of the baked goods themselves, but more because of the joy it brought to my family. Baking provided me with the opportunity to connect with my brothers on a different level, which is something I was extremely thankful for since I would be going off to college in only a couple of months. I remember baking a cake with my youngest brother the weekend before leaving, cherishing every moment of our time together. 

As one can imagine, I had been completely deprived of baking after living in a 16-square-foot dorm room without a kitchen for three months. Since baking serves as a form of subconscious therapy for me, it was in the forefront of my mind when my plane landed at the airport the day before Thanksgiving. I was more than excited to try all the new recipes I had saved during fall semester.

Photo Courtesy of London Eats.

I wanted my first project to be something that everyone in my family would enjoy, so I decided to make a household favorite: my grandma’s famous drömmar, which translates into “dream cookies” in English. These crispy yet fluffy cookies are fragrant dollops of goodness, and I can guarantee that every Swede would say that they deserve a spot on their top five list of treats. Even though I grew up eating them at least every other week, I had never made them myself. Fortunately, the recipe did not ask for many ingredients; a simple mixture of sugar, butter, flour, vanilla sugar, and raising agent would do. The last ingredient in the recipe caught my eyes; it was something that I had never eaten nor heard of before. Surprised, and a little bit confused, I read it out loud to my mom: hjorthornssalt. In English this translates to “deer horn’s salt,” but it is not actually made out of deer antlers (anymore). Of course, the chemistry nerd in me decided to do some research. 

Photo Courtesy of Confectionary Tales.

As there used to be an abundance of deer roaming around northern Europe, people would pick up the antlers after they had been shed, and use them to make this type of salt. Nowadays hjorthornssalt is a synthetically made ammonium bicarbonate, and it can be found in a plethora of countries across Europe. Since I am such an avid baker, I was shocked to find out that it is actually a common raising agent in several Scandinavian recipes as well. I was a bit skeptical to use it at first due to its pungent smell. Nevertheless, I opened the bag, and a scent reminiscent of cat pee began to fill my nostrils. As the hjorthornssalt converted to gas, the dough turned into a porous texture and the cookies that covered the baking sheet began to look like miniature summer clouds. Thankfully, once the cookies were fully done, the odor was replaced by a wonderful smell of vanilla. The salt gave the cookies a texture that was different than anything I had tasted before. These Swedish delights were fluffy and light but still had a good crunch to them, and their buttery vanilla taste gave them a perfect ratio of sweet to savory. As the name implies, these cookies truly tasted like little dreams in my mouth.

I am currently back at college, so dreaming about these cookies will have to do for now. My next project is going to be mastering the skill of baking cinnamon rolls, but that’s a story for a different time, with a different special ingredient. 

Cover photo courtesy of The Culinary Jumble.


The Forest’s Gold

Imagine taking the first steps into an ancient forest. You have just left the dirt road and entered into a kingdom filled with densely packed trees, occasional rock formations, and all sorts of animals and insects, many of which most people have never heard of. The sun has barely risen, and you can still see the morning dew on the grass beneath your feet. The air is thick from the scent of damp moss on the forest floor. The space feels shielded, like a safe haven on Earth. You take a deep breath and inhale all the goodness the forest has to offer, and it’s like your body immediately adjusts to the quiet and slow paced surroundings. As you continue deeper into the forest, it feels as though all your troubles magically disappear, and the only thing occupying your mind is the treasure you came for: the forest’s gold. 

After what feels like hours of walking, you see something yellow in the distance. Could that be it? No, just a couple of yellow leaves that do their best to mimic the forest’s gold. You suspect that someone might have already been here and taken the precious gold you came looking for. You are about to head back to your car when you fall over a tree stump. You land in a shrub of blueberries and decide to try some. They’re sour, not quite ready to be picked. Out of curiosity you look to the side, and there they are: yellow hats with lanky legs, partly hidden under soft green forest moss. The chanterelles are beautiful, golden yellow like the sun and soft to the touch. Thankfully the chanterelles grow in larger groups, so you quickly fill your basket until it’s almost too heavy to carry. 

image courtesy of The Spruce Eats

During the Texas autumn I sometimes long to be back in my favorite Swedish forest. Although it was often rainy, mushroom picking season was my favorite time of the year. My dad and I could be gone for hours on end, hiking in the deep green forest, carefully searching for the delicious golden mushrooms. My dad knew many secret spots that were great hunting grounds for chanterelles. For forest-loving Swedes, chanterelle spots are kept a secret; they’re not even disclosed to close friends and family. Thankfully my dad had found them when he was a young boy, so we always came back home with at least a half a basket of mushrooms. Covered in mosquito repellent and rain gear, we would try to search for what I referred to as the forest’s gold until our basket was filled to the brim. We could always spot some deer and forest rabbits, and if we were lucky, a moose or two would come across our path. We never saw a bear, but they were out there too. Everytime we came back from the forest, we would immediately begin cleaning our catch of forest chanterelles and other mushrooms we had picked. My dad told me how important it was that all the dirt came off, but we still had to be careful not to rub any of the skin away, as that would make it lose all of its hearty goodness. I remember it being quite a slow process, but the chanterelles’ lovely flavor made up for it. Their silky smooth texture and their peppery, but fruity, flavor was what made them so desirable. 

As we usually found several baskets full of chanterelles, we would parboil the mushrooms and let them cool off before freezing them for another time. However, we always saved the best specimens for immediate enjoyment. As we sautéed the fresh chanterelles with butter and salt, we heard our stomachs rumble. We were so excited about all the amazing food we would make during the coming year: chanterelle toast, chanterelle stew, steak with chanterelle sauce. The options were truly endless. I knew one thing for sure––no matter the occasion, you can never go wrong with chanterelles.

image courtesy of


Fika Like a Swede

My cheeks were as pink as a rose in full bloom, and my hands were so cold that I could barely move them. It was already dark outside, and Grandpa had walked for one long mile in the knee-deep snow to pick me up from preschool. As he searched for the keys to the front door, I struggled to remove my snow-covered boots. As soon as the door sprung open, I crawled out of my blue winter overalls and ran as quickly as my tiny, size-four feet could carry me into the ‘70s-style kitchen where my grandma was preparing the daily afternoon fika. The house was filled with the wonderful smell of cinnamon, fresh cardamom and sugar. As I sat down at the wooden kitchen table and gulped down three glasses of homemade strawberry lemonade, I watched my grandpa sip his black coffee. I told my grandparents about the snowman my friends and I made earlier that day, and I made sure they could hear every minute detail of what I said. To me, a 3-year-old toddler who barely knew how to tie her own shoes, fika meant consuming as many cinnamon rolls and drinking as much lemonade as my stomach could tolerate in 30 minutes. To my grandparents, fika was a social opportunity filled with joy, love and laughter. It was three o’clock on a dark January afternoon in Uppsala, and I had yet to realize that today’s fika was something I should not have taken for granted.


As one of the largest coffee-consuming nations in the world, Sweden is known for fika: a social activity that has become an integral part of the Swedish culture. Serving as both a noun and a verb, fika is difficult to translate into English. In simple words, the concept is similar to a coffee break. People can fika at work, at home, at a cafe, or even at school. Ideally, fika should be homemade, but any kind of fika is always better than none at all. To me, a typical Swedish fika includes coffee, strawberry lemonade, and some type of sweet treat like fresh cinnamon rolls or Swedish Prinsesstårta; however, during the month of December, the only acceptable kind is hot chocolate paired with paper-thin gingerbread cookies and saffron buns. Although it does not matter with whom one enjoys fika, it has to be done in a group setting; by definition, it is impossible to fika alone. Fika is an essential part of daily life, and Swedes take the tradition for granted. 

The most common type of fika takes place at home or at a cafe along with friends and family. It serves as a time dedicated to catching up on the lives of loved ones. Moreover, though it is different, fika at work is not regarded as any less important. Believe it or not, a “fika break” is embedded into employment contracts at most Swedish companies, and one can actually be seen as quite antisocial if he or she chooses not to fika within the group. During this contracted break, coworkers share stories and ideas, as well as any dwelling questions or concerns. As my parents usually tell me, conversations during fika at work can range from topics like midlife crises to birthday party plans. It is not uncommon for coworkers to share homemade muffins or treats at their daily fika as well. Fika solidifies relationships and builds new friendships that would otherwise not have been created.

Without this social, sweet coffee break, there would be no spontaneous family gatherings, fewer meaningful conversations with coworkers or friends, and less exchanges of new ideas and opinions at school or work. I have come to the realization that it is difficult to know how big of an impact something as uncomplicated as fika has on one’s life before it is gone.

When my family and I moved to the United States in January of 2014, I had a tough time building friendships with my new classmates. I felt as though I did not fit in with the American stereotype, which made it hard for me to feel a sense of belonging. With few people I could turn to, I had to navigate the complex environment of middle school by myself. Nevertheless, each afternoon when I came home, the daily fika would be waiting for me at the table, ready to be devoured. The Swedish buns and cookies were sometimes made by my grandma. Growing up on a farm, she would help my great-grandma, Astrid, bake the weekly batch. Astrid often spoke about the importance of fika for solidifying relationships within the local congregation and neighboring farms. Thus, already as a young girl, my grandma knew the importance of a good fika. She kept the baking tradition going, and following our relocation to Texas, a few batches of “Swedish Dream Cookies” would arrive at our doorstep every now and then. When my family and I finally all sat down around the kitchen table after school, I felt that sense of security and belonging I had been lacking throughout the day. As my nerves calmed down, I began to feel less out of place, and my body was sometimes even filled with a little bit of hope and confidence.

Now in college, I am farther away from my family than I have ever been, so I make sure to prioritize my fika break. Most afternoons I can be found sitting down at a bench somewhere on campus with my iced latte and iPhone talking to my family over FaceTime. Sometimes I even go out of my way to purchase a subpar red velvet cupcake at the dining hall, or if I am feeling fancy, a Boston Kreme doughnut from Dunkin’ Doughnuts on Commonwealth Avenue. During this 30 minute fika break we find answers to our problems, exchange opinions, reflect on our past and plan out our future. With all the stress that comes with being a freshman on the pre-medical track, a fika break is just what I need. Of course, my roommates still do not fully understand this Swedish phenomenon, and the fact that they do not like coffee does not seem to help either. Hopefully by the end of the semester, I will have taught them enough about Swedish traditions for them to acknowledge the benefits of a good fika. 

As far as I am concerned, fika has helped me be comfortable in my ever-changing environments. Moving away from the country I call home, to a state where pickup trucks and longhorns seem to be the only two things that matter, to a city of academia where its people call themselves “wicked smart,” fika has been the only familiar thing that has continuously stayed by my side. Everytime I feel stressed, I think back to that cold, wonderful afternoon in my grandparents’ vintage kitchen. I reflect on the memories I made during my endless fika breaks, and on how wonderful it is to take part in such an extraordinary tradition. As silly as it seems, fika enables me to view my problems from a new perspective. It provides me with an opportunity to discover what really matters: staying in touch with those I love. Even though I believe setting goals for myself is a fundamental part of living a fulfilling life, I know that I am never too busy to have some Swedish fika.

Cover photo courtesy of Eventland.