So it has been almost 2 years now that I moved to Sweden and lived here full-time. So I thought it would be interesting to see how Sweden changed me, what I gained from my experience here, and some of the things you may also experience when moving to the Nordics!
Before moving to Sweden, I have to say that I had a lot of more “Southern habits”, that I never thought I had! An example? Having dinner at 09 PM is nothing else but normal.
So living in the North has made some changes in my lifestyle and habits because of various reasons. Certainly, the weather and dark winters made some changes, such as earlier lunches and dinners. Having a job and leaving the house early in the morning also emphasized the need for earlier meals. So yes, now, having lunch around 11.30 and dinner at 18.30 is becoming the new norm!
Regarding timing, not only meals have been affected… Since winters are long and dark, you want to do as much as possible during the daylight. If you decide to sleep in, you may wake up when it will already be dark. The summertime is the opposite, as it gives you very long light hours and it barely gets dark. So, you also wake up early because of the sun! All in all, it is a lot of waking up early in general!
Am I a more optimistic person now than before? Probably yes, at least I am complaining way less than in the past, and so for two main reasons. If you have dark thoughts, and winter starts, then it is a never-ending season and everything seems very long. Which is not good. Believe me. The second reason is that every day I can see how lucky I am to be here. Yes, when you think about it, it is a real luck to be able to live abroad and in such a good situation like the one I am in. Of course, everything can be better and so on… But I learned here maybe more than in other places that appreciating what I have was the key to happiness. At least my happiness.
3. Questioning myself
Questioning myself more often than before. Definitely. Mostly because what I may think is normal for me might not be here. Also, because I never lived here before, a lot more observation and understanding of another culture is needed. It is also a way to reflect on personal goals and objectives, as well as acknowledge what one wants to do and achieve at different stages in life. It was also a way to reflect on my values and beliefs, and understand them in a better way. What my parents taught me during my childhood and all the way up to now is not questioned as I am living by these values. However, I now understand them better and see the importance of sharing them between generations.
And on a closing note to the optimism part, I think questioning myself has been beneficial to reducing the reasons why I complain, because, do you really need to complain about everything around you? Maybe not. Though filling in complaints online because of delays and so on is still my favorite hobby!
4. Being more curious
Whenever I am not at work, I just love going outside and look for new places, viewpoints, or cafés. Of course, in the cold winter, it is not as nice as it is currently now in the summer, but still, who doesn’t like a long walk by the frozen sea?
In addition, curiosity can be nicely balanced with patience where one can explore the city and enjoy comparing pictures from different months or seasons. Curiosity and patience have also been a great way of discovering the city as one can just point on the map and find the area around it to explore on a given day. This has been my favorite way of discovering new cafés or hidden spots that are a bit off the beaten tourist paths.
5. Being more open-minded
I am not saying I was not at all before, as when studying internationally, it is one of the requirements to be open-minded. By saying being more open-minded, I mean trying to adapt some of my surroundings into my current lifestyle. Basically, improving how I live with what I can find around me. To do so, reading books have been my favorite way of looking into one’s culture. And did I mention the foodie part of me in here? I’m lucky to live in Sweden’s capital city, which means that there are restaurants and kiosks with a variety of cuisines, and that is also amazing. Don’t be afraid of how it looks cause it might taste just as divine!
All in all, I can proudly say that I know myself probably better than before, and moving abroad has definitely been beneficial for me. Today I do feel satisfied with this move and even though is it not always easy, it helps one grow up way faster, as well as being more open on a number of issues we hear about in recent years. If you want to read more about what researchers found on the moving abroad situation, there is a great article you can read by clicking just here, and unlike what they found, I don’t think to move abroad reduced my stress level, but it generally made me a happier person.
I hope you guys enjoyed this new post and I’ll be happy to make new versions of it as time will go by.
⇒ Last week’s video is available just here!
⇒ And what about you? Do you think you changed while living abroad?
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