So today it has been exactly 6 months that I’ve been living in Stockholm! Yay! For that, I thought it would be interesting to see and show how situations evolved but also how we handled our first months here in the Swedish capital city.
I will try to write these reviews every 6 months as I believe it is pretty helpful for future or current expats, and also because it is the kind of information I would have enjoy having before settling in Stockholm.
*disclaimer this is only about my personal experience, and so it may not be taken as an example*
As a background, I moved to Helsingborg, South-Sweden, in August 2016, and stayed there until I moved to Stockholm, late January 2018. Meaning that I experienced the cold, dark and long winters of Sweden prior to arrive in Stockholm, so I had some kind of idea what to expect. Of course, this was an idea! My studies in Lund were in English and I used to go to SFI (Swedish for Immigrants), about twice a week and for about one year, all periods combined. Long story short, I was not speaking a word of Swedish before moving to Sweden, and could barely pronounce few words once I moved to Stockholm. If you guys are following a bit the blog, you know that it is one of the things I wish I knew before moving to Sweden – if you did not know, you can just click here! But basically, you could say I was a total newbie in the city.
So, late january we moved to Stockholm, and it was so pretty here! The snow falls just started and the weather was still pretty nice. It was still sunny and not too cold yet, though the days were shorter than what I expected. Almost one hour earlier than in the south of the country. So from then, I started writing my thesis, went to the office everyday, but also settle in our new apartment. And believe me, getting used to this new rhythm was a big deal! Oh yeah, and I almost forgot, getting up at 6am is a thing, but getting up at 6am during winter seems even earlier than it actually is. I would say that the first month in the capital city just flew by, the rhythm was intense and we were super busy. Overall, up to now it was a combination of exploring the city when the weather was OK, and also getting our studies done!
I think that these last 6 months have been the craziest emotional roller-coaster I’ve been on for a long time!! It was a lot happening, all at once, and where we had to start taking important decisions. Adulthood basically!
At an all-time low, because yes, it does happen, I decided to fly back home for a few days, without looking at my thesis nor work emails, and just enjoyed some quality time with family and friends. How nice was it to be comfortable with the language, habits and places around. I have to admit that it felt very good! I got back to Stockholm after a few days and was ready to tackle the next months. At first I assimilated this weekend home as a failure in my abroad experience, because, why would other people succeeded and I cannot? Why could I spend time away from my family before and since I moved to Stockholm it became more difficult?
At this time and after few weeks in Stockholm, I started to think and question everything around me, and my decisions – of course. You know it is scary to change a lot of things at once, because you create new habits, but you also get more and more responsibilities! Though, then when I started looking back on my stay back home, it was a good thing to go, because of the nice break it allowed me to have and also to see better what would happen over the next months, as well as setting up some study deadlines and spare time to enjoy living in a new city. By then, we also got more and more comfortable in our new life, apartment and jobs. So all in all, everything fall into place at the end!
Then, of course, days are getting longer, sunnier and slightly warmer. Yes only slightly – might even have snowed a little. It was also one of the first time I could go out with my camera and walk around without freezing or running to the closer coffee-house to grab a hot drink. April happened to be super busy, because the study deadlines were coming closer, but it felt nice because it was coming to an end and we were confident about our work. Basically, we were just looking forward May to be officially done this master degree.
May was probably the craziest and busiest study month of my whole academic career, mainly due to the pressure of deadlines, the soon-to-be hand-in and lastly the defense. Except from this, one of my sisters came to visit, allowing us some breaks in the study Schedule, but also we could go to the archipelago for the first time! A full blog post will soon be dedicated to the archipelago day trips so just stay tuned! By the end of May we Went back to Helsingborg to defend and thankfully pass our master these.
Early June we graduated! Yes, it happened! And, oh boy, it feels good! And to be honest, for the first time, I got bored when I got home after work and I really had to think about what to do over the weekend of example. Just was full of new things, with extension of working contract, celebrations and also the beginning of the summer. Nice festivals to go to, meeting friends, and discovering new places around Stockholm, so how better can it get? On top of that, June happened to be perfect to fix everything that has been previously postponed. So, we’re back in SFI (not sure whether I am happy about it or not!), I discovered all kind of other formalities that I should have done a long while back, but more to come on the blog very soon!
And the holidays started! Whoop whoop! Except that there will be only few holidays for me, as it is my first year of employment and I kind of want to plan some nice trips, I am saving what I have so far, and will be heading home in a bit. Some weekend trips could also be planned depending on our schedules, and even a small gateway is better than no gateway at all. Also, is has now been 6 months that I am living here and so I am getting used to most of the things here and the problems I could encounter when arriving here in January. In addition the weather is absolutely perfect, so it is amazing to be able to discover a lot of hidden places in Stockholm or just staying outside and enjoying the sun as well as long summer nights.