Torsdag 23 februari 2012

It is my fourth full day in Sweden, my second as a “housewife”. There is so much to write it’s intimidating. Where do I even start?

When I left off I was still at our home in Virginia, Matt was over here in Linköping already. The entire month of January we spent apart – he working and I working, taking care of dogs, helping with everything I could to get paperwork filled out, printed, scanned to whomever necessary.

Paperwork and forms for immigration, housing/relocation, movers, pet shippers, and everything that normally goes along with a move – changing addresses, etc. Add on top of that getting my last name changed everywhere, opening new bank accounts with Matt, switching all my money around…whew. You know, and still holding down a full-time job and full-time master’s program.

It sounds like a lot, and maybe it was, but I know it overwhelmed me more than it gave me things to do. Unfortunately something had to give a little, and that was my schoolwork. Though I managed to finish each assignment, two were delivered late. My first ever late assignments = head hanging in shame.

The basement, completely finished.

Long story short, when it came time to actually move and fly over, we somehow had the house packed up, stuff shipped out, and all projects completed. I’ll do a post on the house later, but that outdated as-is short sale was turned into a beautiful, bright, single family home and we felt really good about it. A management company will rent it out…and I assume it’ll turn into an investment purchase for us rather than our future family home. (God willing. There’s talk of bouncing from contract to contract on Black Hawk projects and I’d definitely love that life.)

The flight over was great; I loved every minute of my first international flight. The second flight to Linköping itself found me very impatient, very excited, and very intimidated by the plane full of very tall, very gorgeous people.

Heaven, I have arrived.

We flew through a giant snow cloud on the descent into town, so coming out of it we were all of a sudden so close to the ground that I was glued to the window studying every house, every tree, every snow-covered piece of land. The Linköping city airport is SO CUTE. (Somehow everything has become SO CUTE as described by me since touching down in Sweden. I can’t explain it and it’s a habit I need to drop. …but everything really is SO AMAZING that words escape me.)

Vardagsrum with a view!

There are no words yet to describe the apartment, pictures will have to do and they are coming soon. Speechless, people, I am speechless.

Matt had the day after we arrived off, since it was President’s Day (no one has any idea why the American workers got that holiday off here), and we made it a point to immediately go and get our biometrics residence card. Let me just say this, the Migrationsverket is just like the DMV…except decked out in Scandinavian design chairs, extremely calm and very nice people working behind the desk, and very efficient.

Quick pic of a building in Norrköping, where the Mirgationsverket is located.

There was one woman from somewhere I couldn’t guess who seemed to have been experiencing a problem. Her voice was stressed and upset, but her body language was so calm. When watching her interact with the Swedish workers, they were very calm too, like having a quiet, pleasant conversation with her. Watching the situation, I still couldn’t tell you what was going on, and when I commented to Matt about how calm everyone always seemed he said, “There’s no reason for Swedes to be stressed out.” It was a joke, and though I don’t mean to say people never have problems here, it really does seem true. Everything is very, very nice here and people don’t take that for granted. I hope to be able to better explain this soon.

As a stay at home wifey now, my sole job is to keep the dogs from peeing in the house, since they no longer have a yard. In my new position as a professional hound dog-walker, I can report that my dogs are being very manageable and very good. I sincerely hope this lasts, because the last thing I want in Sweden is to be known as the big, red haired, American girl who can’t control her dogs and yells after them all the time (as I’m known in Virginia).

Speaking of the dogs, yes there will be a post on shipping them internationally. For now, I will just say that for the first time every they weren’t barking when picked them up – just absolutely shell-shocked. It was awful to see them so afraid, but such a relief that they made it alive and well that I didn’t worry so much about their being scared. We fed them right there in the Arlanda Cargo City warehouse and the men working there were even happy to see them, and very nice to us to let us just take over their area for a few minutes.

Other than that, I’ve had tons of amazing coffee, bread, sandwiches, and I seriously need to get myself a semla soon. One year ago I was sitting in my office, not doing my work and reading about this Swedish tradition, and learning about fika and sort of re-energizing my absolute obsessive love for Sweden, and I just thought to myself how much I wish I could be here and experience this…and somehow I am.

Somehow, someway, I was given this incredible opportunity to come live in Sweden. It still shocks me every time I find myself aware that I really am here. I love it.

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