We are coming very close to our one-year Swediversary! It’s been a long year and it’s also flown by. When I think back on all the things that have happened, my mind just boggles over what kind of a world we live in now.
When we arrived here in the middle of last November (2019), it was already quite dark and gray in Sweden, but we were amped and excited to be here. I’d been getting photos of our new city and home from my husband who had gone ahead of us and I remember just about crying with happiness when I saw the waterfront that Gothenburg has, which is actually a river but has gothic buildings, yachts, and ferries. Very much a big change from the city where we live in Japan. I just knew I would love it here before I’d even arrived.
Settling into a new country is a big adjustment. You need visas and ID cards, new bank accounts, new cell phone numbers. I thought my mind might explode when I had to remember a new bank card pin number, my new phone number, my personal ID number, my postcode, AND the door code to our apartment.
We would go to the supermarket and spend ages in the cheese section trying to figure out which kind we would like. If you buy the wrong one it’s 700 grams of cheese you are investing in so you don’t want to mess that up! (Hushållsost is always a safe bet by the way!) There was the Christmas ham incident when we didn’t realise just how salty they would be and then we struggled to eat it. The kids had fun trying all the Swedish Christmas foods and shopping for lights to decorate our windows just like the locals.
We learned many Swedish words that are now part of our vocabulary, that we could barely say when we arrived. We thought the name of our supermarket was “Hemkop” but it’s actually said Hemsherp (Hemsköp - those SKs are often “sh”...there are a lot of unexpected “sh”s in Swedish!)
Fika, Tack so mycket, Har du medlem? Being some of the most common phrases we encountered that confused us but not anymore!
My kids used to fight like crazy to push the stop button on the bus or tram, our first time to use public transportation as our only means of transport. We’ve become fully adapted to that now after years of only driving a car.
We’ve become apartment dwellers after years of living in our own detached house with a garden.
We know how to dress for the Swedish winter and darkness.
My kids now have friends from all over the world and are very knowledgeable about the different languages spoken in India, how to say 1-10 in Spanish and Italian etc.
We can go ice skating on weekends that is very reasonably priced. Nature is just a few steps away at any moment. We’ve been berry picking and mushroom hunting. Swum in lakes and the sea, snorkeled and looked for crabs and shrimp.
Those are just things relative to our life in Sweden.
What about all the things we never knew a year ago that we now know?
Covid has shown us that other ways of life are entirely possible. We may not like it but you can now work from home. How many people would have loved to try this just a year ago, thinking they would have to quit their job to get the chance. We now know how hard it is to be separated from family and friends by being in a different country. In the past, leaving your home country would often mean you’d never see your family again. I know this happened to my great-great-grandparents when they immigrated to New Zealand in the late 1800s. I’m pretty sure they never sailed the 3 months back to their native homes of Austria and Norway for a visit and they probably rarely received any letters either. I guess I’m getting a tiny tiny bit of an idea of what that must have been like, however, I can still talk with anyone I want to using video and voice for free for as long as I like. Even the me of 2002 who had to stand outside in the cold at a phone box to call my family for the cost of about $1 million/ minute would think that was unbelievable.
I’d love it if you could take this chance to pause this episode here and go and get your journal or a piece of paper and spend 5 minutes, put a timer on writing down:
What do I know to be true now that I didn’t know a year ago?
When you are done, come back and continue this recording/reading.
Have you really done it? Are you sure??
If not, go do it now! If you are driving like I know some of my listeners are, then please don’t do this exercise now, but perhaps you can make a mental note to do it as soon as you can.
So now you have written down those things you know to be true that you didn’t know a year ago, I want you to look at what you’ve written. If the you of 2019 could read all of that, it would read like some kind of crazy sci-fi movie destined to be a Hollywood blockbuster probably. But it’s our current reality.
The point of this exercise is to show you that “anything is possible”, and at any time, “anything is possible”. That’s pretty wild but encouraging, too I think.
Notice that feeling when you see that “anything is possible”. Notice what that feels like and try to replicate it anytime you need to.
To me it feels like excitement and anticipation - kind of like when you were 5 and Christmas is just around the corner.
I’d love to hear some of the things you noticed in your journaling. Tag me on IG and let me know what you found! @transformationswithjayne
Listen here: https://apple.co/2D2NETA