For those who may not know me, I'm an American woman living in Sweden as a "love refugee" - I moved here to be with my Swedish boyfriend (Jimmy, J for future reference) and have been here for nearly a week now.
Where do I start? Comparing life this past week to my last few weeks in America is like turning at 180 degrees. I was busy and nonstop in the states trying to get everything that needed taken care of done before my flight, not to mention working full time. Here in Sweden, I can relax. No job so far. Maybe it's also just the lifestyle here - Sweden appears much more "laid back," for lack of a better expression. Sweden can seem bustling, but it doesn't occur in a crazy rush or so...aggressively? as in the States. As I've already said to J, everyone here in Sweden "plays nice."
So what have I been up to? Just settling in and adjusting, so far. I've been filling my days with cleaning, cooking, and shopping (laugh all you want!). I can't register for SFI (Swedish for Immigrants, a free course for immigrants to learn Swedish) until I receive my personnummer (person number, a lot like a social security number, basically your identifier here). We went and filled out some paperwork last week to register my existence here, so hopefully sometime this week or next I should receive my personnummer.
Apparently weather is a big deal to me compared to some people, so I'm also adjusting to the northern climate. I'm definitely not used to the sun beginning its descent so noticeably around 2pm, only to be dark by 4:30. And remember, it's only the 8th of November. Daylight length will only continue to decrease! Today's high temperature was only about 3C, so about 37F. I went out for a walk around the area earlier, and it definitely felt like winter.
On a walk down the street
Further down the street
Taken in the park across the street
Although I discuss all the differences, I have really enjoyed living here so far. The people are much more reserved than in America, but they're perfectly polite. Or, if you get Swedes drinking and dancing, they definitely open up! This past Saturday, one of J's uncles had a 50th birthday party. To my standards, this wasn't just a normal party. There were about 60 people (mostly family, some friends - Jimmy has a rather large family). The party had dinner and entertainment (Jimmy's brother does these events for a living - catering and show music both, they have their own buildings for the events). It was really fun, and well into the party (it lasted from about 6:30pm -1am) suddenly many people gravitated toward me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not being conceited! Suddenly I found myself surrounded by several people all at once asking me questions. Completely opposite from the well reserved Swedes I encounter in every day life thus far. I find it quite endearing, I get this mental image of shy crustaceans coming out of their shells from time to time.
In any case, a friend of the family invited me to go with her and some friends on a "bath date" this coming Thursday. I'm assuming this is something like a spa. She has yet to contact me, but I don't want to push her. I'm just happy to be making connections, having not even been here a week!
I could ramble on and on, but I've already spent quite some time setting this page up and figuring out what to write about. As soon as I figure out how to place pictures on here, I'll be sure to post some. Look for more updates in the near future!