Today it has been exactly 6 months that I’ve been living in Stockholm! Yay! For that, I thought it would be interesting to show how situation has evolved but also how we handled our first months here in Sweden’s 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 enjoyed having before settling in Stockholm.
*disclaimer: this is only about my personal experience, and so it may not be taken as an example*
Just to fill you in, I moved to Helsingborg, South-Sweden, in August 2016. I stayed there until I moved to Stockholm in late January 2018. This means that I experienced the cold, dark and long winters of Sweden prior to my arrival in Stockholm and so, more or less I knew what to expect.
My studies in Lund University were in English and I used to go to SFI (Swedish for Immigrants). My Swedish language classes happened to be, about twice a week and for about one year in total. 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. Sun was going down 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 settled 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!! A lot was happening, all at once, and we had to start taking important decisions. Adulthood basically!
Not all days were good in February. And so, at an all-time low, I decided to fly back home for a few days. I did not look 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. The reason is basically that I thought “why would other people succeed 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 a few weeks in Stockholm, I started to think and question everything around me, and my decisions. 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, when I started looking back on my trip home, it was a good thing to do it. In fact, this nice break allowed me to have more time for myself and my thoughts. Also, it allowed me to see better what would happen over the next months, as well as setting up some study deadlines.
By then, we also got more and more comfortable in our new life, apartment and jobs. So, all in all, everything fell into place at the end!
Finally the days are getting longer, sunnier and slightly warmer. Yes only slightly – might even have snowed a little. It was also one of the first times I could go out with my camera and walk around without freezing. Or, without running to the closest 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 for May to come to be officially done with this master degree.
May was probably the craziest and busiest study months of my whole academic career. Mainly due to the pressure of deadlines, the soon-to-be hand-in and lastly the defence.
Except from this, one of my sisters came to visit, giving us a break in the study schedule. We also went to the archipelago for the first time! A full blog post is dedicated to the archipelago day trips, you can check it here!
By the end of May we went back to Helsingborg to defend and thankfully pass our master theses.
Early June we graduated! Yes, it happened! And, oh boy, it feels good! To be honest, for the first time, I got bored when I got home after work. I actually had to think about what to do over the weekend, for example.
June 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 also 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 days off for me. As it is my first year of employment and because I want to plan some nice trips, I am saving the days I have so far and will be heading home in a bit. Some weekend trips might 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! I am getting used to most of the things and the problems I encountered upon arrival here in January, are slowly disappearing. In addition, the weather is absolutely perfect, so it is amazing to be able to discover a lot of hidden places in Stockholm. We also enjoyed staying outside and being in the sun as well as taking advantage of long summer nights.