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#MySweden: 'The housing hunt really opened my eyes'

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#MySweden: 'The housing hunt really opened my eyes'
Laura Gisler. Photo: Private.
07:54 CET+01:00
Every week a new reader takes over The Local's Instagram to show us their Sweden. Today, Laura Gisler from the United States shows us her neck of the woods in the Majorna district of Gothenburg.

How old are you and what do you normally spend your days doing?

I'm 31 years old. I spend a good part of my workdays at Volvo Cars working as IP Counsel. When I'm not working, I love to: be outside, find new vegan food experiences, be creative/write/draw and practise yoga. I also travel a lot these days – which has been really fun and results in no real 'normal' day for more than a week or two.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#dayatwork today at #VolvoCars / one of my FAVORITE things about Sweden, and the reason I moved here, is my job as an IP attorney at #VCC. It is so fun to work at a company that is very agile and changing so much and yet still holds tight to its rich Swedish heritage (and not just in its gorgeous Scandinavian design work)! I’m sharing a little about my day-to-day here, and maybe even a little about the complexities behind IP in the tech space (hint: it stands for intellectual property, and these days in my world that means more #strategy than purely #patents) // join me? any other #vcc expats on here? check out my stories and let me know! #TheLocalSweden #MySweden #AmericaninSweden #gothenburg #GBG #göteborg

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When and why did you move to your city/neighbourhood?

I moved to Gothenburg in August 2018 – the first month I lived here was in an AirBnb in Askim, but since September I have lived in Majorna (in Gothenburg). Practically, I moved here for a really fun and challenging job at Volvo Cars – but I was thrilled for the opportunity as I loved everything I knew about Sweden and was really interested in living abroad.

READ ALSO: Sweden's cool hipster neighbourhood nobody else has heard of

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Good morning from majorna in Göteborg! I’m Laura (@swedishshanti) and I’m taking over @thelocalsweden this week🇸🇪. . quick bio - American expat, 31, lawyer, vegan, artist, lover of yoga and trees. im stoked to share a glimpse into my life, neighborhood and city with you! this first pic is my neighborhood in majorna, a place that has truly become home, with some great neighbors and just the best energy. the second pic is of me, for my @volvocars i.d. badge my first day of work. (only 7 mo ago, but it feels like a lifetime already!) a job at Volvo was the reason I landed in Sweden. ✨🇸🇪✨🇸🇪🚙🖤 life is full of ups and downs, but most mornings i wake up and STILL can’t believe i’ve landed in such a gorgeous fairytale of life 🔮 ✨ 🖤 🌲 Looking forward to sharing with you all this week! disclaimer: views are my own, not reflective of my employer or country or vegans or really anything but myself 😉😘 #thelocalsweden #mysweden #expatlife #majorna #göteborg #volvocars

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What do you love the most about your city/neighbourhood?

That is a tough one because there is truly SO MUCH to love about Majorna! I feel like I totally lucked out because it is such a laid back neighborhood, but logistically it is really close to everything. It is much quieter in some ways than the city centre, but I'm never more than a few minutes' tram ride from anywhere I want to go. I have some amazing neighbours and the whole place has a really inclusive vibe. Only a few weeks after moving into my new place, my neighbours organized an after work gathering for everybody in our 'house' and since then it has been a tradition we keep up – it initially helped make the place feel like home and now it is just a really fun evening as we find more and more intersections in our lives.

Plus, an art store just opened up down the street and it is a bit of a mecca of vegan food There are tiny cafes and second hand shops and boutiques in every corner – both punk/grunge (like Blackbird) and a little more of the 'foodie' type places (like Syster Marmelad). There are tiny cafes and second hand shops and boutiques in every corner, and yet the neighbourhood is not even a little pretentious.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

it was a grey Saturday morning on linnéagatan. the “new street” was “born” in 1878 - and later gorgeous bike lanes were added on each side of the street. it’s maybe the second most “important” street in gbg, after the #Avenyn (Kungsportsavenyen) with tons of little shops and cafes and connecting the Järntorget tram stop up to Slottsskogen - Gbg’s massive city park ✨ every Saturday morning a little group of coworkers and friends meet at a cafe here for a coffee. sometimes it lasts an hour, sometimes (esp during the dark days) it lasts the whole day. as a recent transplant, traveling and working all over it seems, this weekly tradition has been one of the few constants in my life, and has made this place really feel like home. how about you? what things make sweden feel like home for you? #thelocalsweden #mysweden #linnéagatan #cafe #feelslikehome #coffeeritual

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What annoys you the most about your city/neighbourhood?

As a foreigner moving here, getting a spot in Majorna especially – but really anywhere in Gothenburg – you are really just rolling the dice. The wait for a first-hand contract is years – from some people I heard even almost a decade – and so you are in a really vulnerable situation in the house hunt. And like all vulnerable situations you find yourself in, you open yourself up to immense kindness and great luck from strangers, but also people who are happy to take advantage of the power dynamic.

READ ALSO: How to navigate Sweden's crazy rental market

When I was brand new here and house hunting, I had a couple of the latter experiences, but in the end landed up in a dream situation, renting from a super nice dude and his girlfriend who are travelling Europe in a van, eating vegan and living sustainably. Which is really cool. But the challenging situations with people taking advantage of my desperation in the housing hunt really opened my eyes, because if I was having this much trouble as an American, who spoke fluent English and had the support of one of Gothenburg's biggest companies, I could not imagine how difficult this would be for those who don't speak English or Swedish, arriving on their own in less fortunate circumstances.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#dayatwork today at #VolvoCars / one of my FAVORITE things about Sweden, and the reason I moved here, is my job as an IP attorney at #VCC. It is so fun to work at a company that is very agile and changing so much and yet still holds tight to its rich Swedish heritage (and not just in its gorgeous Scandinavian design work)! I’m sharing a little about my day-to-day here, and maybe even a little about the complexities behind IP in the tech space (hint: it stands for intellectual property, and these days in my world that means more #strategy than purely #patents) // join me? any other #vcc expats on here? check out my stories and let me know! #TheLocalSweden #MySweden #AmericaninSweden #gothenburg #GBG #göteborg

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How should I spend a day in your city/neighbourhood? 

Oh! I love this question. I can't decide if I should answer for just Majorna or Gothenburg entirely.

How about, "This is how you should spend the day on the southwest side of the city?"

I think you should definitely sleep in as late as possible, but in case you do wake up early – you should walk up to Masthuggskyrkan and watch the sun greet the entirety of the city. Then walk down the hill toward the city and get a coffee at Cafe Italia (on Prinsgatan) or coffee and a pre-brunch snack at The Deli (in Haga) and if it is open, wander into BlomBlom to get some fresh flowers or at least check out the most gorgeous of plants for your home. Then, catch the tram (3 or 9 or 11) back toward Majorna and get brunch (if it is the weekend) at Cafe Hängmattan (the cafe attached to Musikens Hus Göteborg) – they have an all-veg brunch on the weekends and despite the music-venue vibes, if you grab a window table, it is more of cheery brunch and less hangover recovery brunch aesthetic.

After brunch (and a couple cups of coffee) head up to the Botanical Gardens, which are year-round and absolutely gorgeous. If you don't feel up to the gardens, you could browse any of Majorna's second-hand stores – there are some that are 'proper' second-hand, and others that are more curated shops, but still almost exclusively used. Once you are wandered out, head to Hagabion, an historic old building with one of my favorite eclectic cafes and home to the many film festivals that make their way through Gothenburg. If you are too early (or too late) for your show, buy your tickets to the next show and grab a glass of wine at the upstairs cafe, Kino. The veg food there is quite nice too. Or if you would prefer, cross the street and find yourself in the historic, if recently hipster-ized, cobblestone streets of Haga.

At this point, I would recommend a nap or some yoga at SATS. Then! If you aren't exhausted, catch a show at Pustervik, at Järntorget – a local music venue that brings in local and international acts on one of there stages, but is comfortably relaxed. Also! I think all of these activities are super fun to do solo, with a date, or with any number of friends – so whatever your feel for the day, you can have a wonderful time.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

thanks for all the awesome messages so far! been feeling so welcome here - thank you🇸🇪🙏🏼💋 🍷some saturday nights are best spent with new friends wandering between the divey pubs 🍻 along #andralånggatan until the early hours of the morning. others - tho - are better spent with a glass of wine and an evening in cooking. tonight, this delicious #vegan #beet #mushrooms bolognese - recipe from one of my fav Canadian food bloggers @thefirstmess // // //however, if you do find yourself in #gothenburg and prefer the former, might i recommend some #gbg classic pubs like #holymoly #kingshead #cafepublik or if you are hoping for a slightly more on-trend evening try @kafemagasinet or @madeinchinagbg just one street over// // //best food recommendations blogs please!👇🏼#thelocalsweden #mysweden #foodphotography #vegan #winenight #🍷#gothenburg #göteborg #bolognese #plantbased

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What's a fun fact not everyone knows about your city/neighbourhood?

I read somewhere that Majorna has the highest number of artists per capita of any neighbourhood in the world. Which is really fun, if it is in fact, true.

Maybe something more well-known though is that Gothenburg was originally a port/shipping town – kind of the blue collar town to Stockholm's more genteel character, and Majorna and Masthugget and Haga were the centre of the shipping industry – where the working class lived.

Remnants of that history are still very present, like in the ethos of Andra Långgatan bars, the huge statue meeting the sailors just up the street from me, the vigil room for sailors lost at sea in Masthuggskyrkan, and in the air here. Maybe not the most "fun" fact, but I think knowing how Gothenburg's roots inform its post-industrial identity really adds a richness and depth of appreciation to experiencing the city and my neighborhood.

Follow Laura Gisler on Instagram here. To find out how you can become The Local's next #MySweden host, click HERE.

 
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