Today marks six months to the day that I moved to Sweden. To say time has gone quickly would be an understatement.
Flying back from London yesterday gave me time to stop and reflect on how the time has gone, the good bits, the bad and what exactly I have achieved.
Firstly I can say it’s been a very long winter. Certainly not one that I was gearing myself up for. Moving to Sweden at the end of October the sudden realisation that winter had replaced autumn was evident in the levels of snow that greeted my arrival. The sudden expectations of romantic strolls around leave strewn parks were dashed by the mere fact that the first thing I had to do was go out and buy some winter shoes that I could actually walk in.
The first two months flew by and it was a case of acclimatising to a new environment, a new lifestyle and, above all a new language. Though I tried to carry on as I left off in London, life was changing.
The social side was the first real change I encountered. Though I was hardly a ‘party animal’ I would be out with friends at the local pub two or three times a week to watch football, shoot some pool or just have a few drinks to catch up on things. Now whilst there was an immediate lack of friends here (still is!) I am not one for being afraid to drink alone. But it seemed to me that drinking during weekdays in Sweden is not the norm. This maybe a good thing for my bank balance at least!
All in all I think I’ve been to the pub less than five times since I moved here.
Then of course came the snow.
Being Scottish snow is not unusual to me. Never in my life had I seen so much snow that had lasted for so long. The beautiful Swedish landscape transformed into a sea of white. Snow back home would last several days maximum, yet here it seemed to last an eternity. The inner child within me loved it, yet I soon learned to share my neighbours feelings of “How long will this last?!”
There does not really seem to be any lasting seasonal transformation here, I only saw snow two weeks ago and now people are sat outside catching the sun. The transformation from winter to spring was instant.
Food was another thing I needed to adjust too fast. Breakfast back in London would consist of a lukewarm cup of coffee, whatever I could throw down my neck in the way of food, and that was it. Yet in Sweden people take their time over breakfast, and rightfully so. Fruit, sandwiches and a vat of coffee are the perfect way to start the day. Then again working from home I do have the luxury of not dashing around like a blue ass fly all day.
Christmas was eventful, mainly due to being snowbound in the UK and, for the second year running, found myself not being in Sweden when I should have been. Yet the build up to Christmas was another major difference. Far more emphasis on the tradition and family values and not too much on the high levels of commercialism that seems to have become the norm in the UK. Attending the Christmas markets, and even a simple visit to the shops it just seemed very different.
I’ve also learnt to become an excellent recycler! Back home it was a case of glass in one bin, everything else in another. But now I just love seeing how much I will get back by recycling beer cans and bottles (more than often people stare at me as though I am some kind of closet alcoholic. Relax people its light beer and I am Scottish after all).
There are many things that I have enjoyed in the first six months here and there have also been a few occasions where I have wanted to pack it all in and move back. But these days are often removed by a new experience that just makes it all the worthwhile.
In summary, each time I fly back from London and I see the night lights over Stockholm a sense of peace comes from within, Sweden no longer feels like the place where I have moved to, it feels like home. The next six months will see many more challenges ahead, the language and more importantly meeting new people the hardest of the two.
It’s been wonderful so far, and a big thank you to all those who take the time to read and comment on this blog.
Just the mindless ramblings of a Brit abroad.
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