Friday, December 20, 2013

Big news

We're moving to Sweden!  My husband, Steve, works for a Swedish company and his boss has asked him to come work in the Gothenburg office for 2-3 years starting in early 2014.  We have known about this opportunity for some time, in fact this is not the first time we have considered an offer like this, but this time it looks like it is finally going to happen.

Note: Sweden is not known for the Alps, clocks/watches, chocolate, political neutrality, or bank accounts -- you're probably thinking about Switzerland.

June, 2007
I have been to Gothenburg with Steve several times, but not since we'd had kids and never with the mindset of moving there. When we found out about the opportunity we visited for a few days back in May while the kids stayed with my parents.  We met with a relocation specialist who showed us around neighborhoods, apartments, grocery stores, and even an English-speaking preschool. Our visit helped paint a clearer picture of what life in Sweden with our kids might be like.  Flying there and back is pretty rough, so I'm not looking forward to that trip with two little kids, but Steve reminds me that it will be just one terrible night/day and then it's over. We'll see.

We've been fielding questions from our friends, so here's a little FAQ about our move.  Feel free to ask more questions in the comments section.

Q. Are you excited?
A. Yes!  We are thrilled to have the opportunity to live in Europe for a couple of years.  Our move was supposed to happen in 2013, but it took longer than I expected so it was frustrating at times.  And by the time we actually got the contract at the end of the year I felt like the Boy Who Cried Wolf.  But now that it's happening soon I'm getting excited again.

Q: Are you going to be on House Hunters International?
A: As much as we love watching the show, I equally hate being on camera so we didn't even consider it. Sorry.  We toured a couple typical Swedish apartments in May, one of which is furnished and became available so we snatched it up. When I envision furnished Swedish apartments, I expect ultra-modern, spare, and white. Ours is in an old building with these beautiful, ornate moldings and thick exterior walls. Knowing where we'll live when we move has been a huge help.

Piper & her sister Maddie their first day together
Q: Didn't you just get a dog?
A: Yes, and we (sadly) decided it would be best to find a new home for Piper through the rescue group. I loved her, but I don't think she'd be happy in an apartment. It helps knowing that she is already settled in a loving home with another dog to run around with.

Q: Are you planning to travel a lot?
A: Steve will have extra time off in the summer, so we'll probably go somewhere then, yes.  Many places on our bucket list are in Europe, but traveling with preschoolers was not part of the equation when dreaming about Tuscany or Paris, so we probably won't do as much as we would without them.  Yes, people travel with their kids all the time, but I'm guessing they spend a lot of their "vacation" at playgrounds or in the hotel for early bedtime or naps. That's not my idea of a European vacation.

Q: Are you going to buy a Volvo (or Saab)?
A: Probably not.  We're actually going to try to get by without owning a car.  The tram line runs right in front of our apartment.

Q: Are you going to make jewelry while you're over there?
A: Yes. I can't help myself.  Since I won't have the luxury of a studio, I have created a collection of repeatable designs so I only have to bring the tools & supplies needed to make those pieces.  I'm already enjoying gearing back on work and having time to do other things.

Q: Are you going to learn Swedish?
A: Some. Swedes are very accommodating and don't expect you to use the native language. When they find out you speak English they like to practice their English.  If we were going to be there longer, or if Swedish were one of the most commonly used languages in the world I might be more inclined to become fluent.  Even when I'm there for a few days my brain starts thinking with a British accent because many Swedes study abroad in England so they learn British English. We're planning to take Swedish classes to learn helpful phrases and pronunciation, but personally my reason for taking the classes is also to meet people.  I'm expecting to find Brits, Aussies, and other Americans in the expatriate (expat) groups as well. Swedish kids don't learn English until they are older, so we're hoping to have our kids in an English-speaking school so they can meet friends of their own.  I'm not sure yet if they'll be able to participate in activities like ballet or soccer.  All that being said, I'm sure we'll learn some Swedish.

Q: Isn't it dark there?
A: Yes. Except when it stays light. I posted a "Sweden Info" tab up top to give you more background about where we're going.

I'm hoping to update this blog more often in order to tell you about our adventures and let you watch our kids grow.  It's hard to imagine... Bowen will be Olivia's current age when we move back to the States.


kateypie35 said...

Wow! I just happened to check your blog today - and, Wow!! I went to Sweden once on a business trip, and absolutely loved it. The people were wonderful, the scenery was gorgeous - oh, you will have such a fantastic time! And you are lucky to have this opportunity - and what a great learning experience for the kiddos. I will definitely follow along as you post - very exciting!! Congratulations!

Lori Anderson said...

I am so incredibly excited for you. I know some Swedish beaders if you'd like contacts! And I'd love to visit. How wonderful your kids get to experience this!