I am woman who loves freedom, adventure, and a challenge. My daily life, does not always reflect this. The roles of wife and mother have circumvented many of these desires to a well, 'sigh' maybe someday. Since going gluten free I have resigned myself to less risk taking, since risks in generally usually put my family at risk for getting sick. I have been totally ok with this.....except for some rumblings of restlessness in my soul......oh yeah and that vague panicked feeling of not being able to breath in the closed stuffy room that was my life. I have missed the freedom of throwing everyone in the car and heading for some unknown destination for the day. Hours of planning, and packing every morsel of food we might eat while outside our house, kinda sucks the fun out of the adventure.
Never the less I resigned myself to the life I have, and pushed my smoldering desires for change to a lower level. A number of times over the last 10 years we looked at relocating to be closer to family, but despite our best efforts, opportunities never presented themselves. So in the last year Finance guy and I decided to make the best of the good situation we have in the gluten free friendly Philadelphia suburbs. Big change is a lot like romance, it frequently walks in when you given up all hope of finding it.
This past fall Finance Guy took a new job. I didn't mention it, because he has made it quite clear that this blog is about me, not him, and in order to ensure our continued marital bliss I've endeavored to respect this wish. With this job, came the possibility of relocating abroad. We eagerly agreed because, well, who wouldn't? After seven years of focus on not much outside a sick child and getting her better. Five years of studying labels and sorting through ingredients, and revamping our diets and a new lifestyles defined by our limitations...it felt like someone threw open a window in my world to a blast of cold December air.
At the end of May we received official word, our destination city Stockholm, Sweden. About 5 weeks have passed since, and I am currently sitting in a hotel in Stockholm. After an arduous few weeks, we have, met with a school for the older girls, spent 2 days Swedish home rental shopping, which feels a lot like speed dating, ( 2 days, 12 houses, rank the top 3 and hope for the best.), learned the city transportation system (trains, buses and subways), and scouted local grocery chains for gluten free food options.
All these things really deserve their own dedicated post, but did I mention I'm relocating abroad?
So let me tell just share my initial impressions of Sweden so far. The Swedish language is not well represented by the Muppet character Swedish Chef. They may share a name, but they don't share a language.
The Swedes enjoy a slower pace of life, with many religious holidays from faiths that they don't observe, since they are a predominantly secular nation. This is great, except when you are an American with a limited amount of time on the ground to get a boat load life details sorted out. Although I'm sure it will be great when I am living here as an American that need to decompress.
When someone sneezes, there is just an awkward silence that follows, and maybe some sniffling. You don't say 'God bless you'. It's frowned upon.
What is really most remarkable, is being in Sweden is really is a lot like a trip to Ikea. There is twisty path, with an unclear destination, and no one around to ask directions. The surroundings are slightly different than your usual scenery in ways you can't quite put your finger on. Even the simplest familiar objects have strange names that you can't pronounce. Everything is very neatly organized, but no one tells you how to find anything, and you are pushing some crazy cart that you can't quite control. You don't really mind however because you are surrounded by all this really pretty stuff that distracts you from these frustrations. Eventually, with no ones help but your own, you get that new dresser home, and spend the rest of the day trying to figure out directions reduced to such basic elements that they don't make sense to most Americans, so you wing it. All this considered, I ask you, who doesn't love Ikea?
Yes Sweden is a lot like that, and so is change. I know in my heart that it was my innocent longings that have brought me to this place. I whispered to the Universe and Sweden is the answer it has given. So I find myself in a similar place as when my blogging adventure began, with a bungee cord of faith around one ankle, family held tight in my arms, deep breath, step off.....