Kiera from the US has several questions, so I am going to portion them out over the next few days. Here's the first one: Do ALL Norwegians hate the Swedes as much as you do, or is that just a personal problem?
Answer: It's not a problem at all, I actually quite enjoy it! Seriously, I see some people have criticized me in the comments section for being anti-Swedish and cracking cruel jokes about the Swedes. Let me step "out of character" for a few sentences and state unequivocally (look it up) that I have absoluty nuffin' against Swedes or Sweden. In fact, I'd love to own a Swede myself, to do chores around the house. Woops, I fell into character again... let me try one more time:
I grew up with tons of Swedish cultural references, from the books of Astrid Lindgren and Selma Lagerløf via Swedish drama and comedy to the very rich tradition of Swedish folk songs. I love Pippi, Emil, Nils Holgersson, Änglagård, Beck, Albert & Herbert (strictly speaking English), Flickan från Backafall, Evert Taube and a thousand other bits and pieces of Swedish culture. I fondly remember watching Swedish children's television in my grandmother's living room during weekends and holidays throughout the 70s and early 80s - the Swedes generally had much better productions themselves AND they could afford the good stuff from Disney.
I think Stockholm is far and beyond the nicest of the Scandinavian capitals and I absolutely adore the old town, Gamla Stan. I've housed Swedes through couchsurfing.org with great success and I have been to Sweden many times for political events or on holiday. In high school I even spent a good week in Växjö, on an exchange program. The Skåne (Scania) dialect is just about my favorite accent in the whole, wide world.
I love Sweden and I think most Swedes are very nice people. I think Swedish workers in Norway are generally much more motivated than Norwegians and I welcome any and all to travel here, get a job, raise a family, etc. They certainly integrate a helluva lot better than some, as there is probably no people in the world more alike us Norwegians than them.*
BUT, as anyone with any knowledge of Scandinavian history will know, there has always been rivalry between our three countries, and Norway and Sweden have a loooong tradition of telling lame jokes about each other, dissing each other before sports arrangements (and gloating after) and generally behaving like siblings will. And that's how I view the Swedes: Not as cousins but siblings. I'm pickin' up the pace of the harassment a couple of notches, but it's all tongue in cheek and I trust most Swedes will take it that way.
(* Though I still say surströmming is canned death)