Today marks my arrival in Stockholm, one year ago. As Matt recalls it, today is the anniversary of dragging my heavy suitcase across the muddy field, ripping apart the wheels in the process, to our sublet over in Gärdet.
We arrived a day apart, he from Zurich on August 1, and I from San Francisco the following day. Matt had wrapped up all the moving process, and started work here almost immediately — he was about to experience how quiet workplaces can be in August in Stockholm. I’m getting that firsthand myself at the moment, as the only person in my office every morning, joined by one or two people now and then in the vacation lull.
Now we know the way Swedes spend their summers — outside, away! Now comes our second year here, and I assume the annual rhythms will start to feel familiar. I am looking forward to ice skating! And maybe finding some cross country skis to use this winter.
We humans are funny — we like anniversaries. We like annual events, to tell time, to mark change against, in ourselves and in society. Yesterday, I was considering how I am looking forward to becoming familiar with this place, at the same time that I know that every year will be different, that things change all the time…
Last night, Matt and I ate dinner on the local artwork (I call it The Beach; I’ll have to post about that later), and toasted his first year anniversary here. He said it feels like it’s been a year. I feel like it’s been less than and more than a year, and somehow that averages out to about a year.
We know some Swedish, but my skills have deteriorated and I feel like I have to start at the beginning again. We have the basics down on how to function broadly here, but we are still surprised — by say, the health system here, or for me, the tax system. We have a home that’s ours (!), but it’s new to us and we are just settling in again to a new place. (I just went to look at my first few posts; I can’t believe that the flooding and construction happened almost immediately after we arrived!)
All in all, it feels positive to me — yes, despite all the “buts” that I have listed above. And despite still having flashes of homesickness! Time will change that too.