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15 years ago I landed in Sweden, on January 11th, the day after Anders' sister's second child was born. We went straight from the airport to the patient hotel to see her and the baby. Last night, after we toasted Henrik's birthday, talk turned, as it does every year, to the fact that it was an anniversary for me, too. I wonder if Henrik gets sick of hearing about my moving to Sweden every year on HIS birthday.

Anders and I had been married 6 months. I had been to Sweden 3 times: a visit during Christmastime while we were dating, a week at the end of our honeymoon, and a quick trip before we moved in order to find an apartment and to bring Pooka over to get her started on the then mandatory 6-month quarantine for cats.

I had already met Anders' family and many of his Swedish friends (some during my first visit and some at our wedding), so I didn't feel I was going to a place where I'd be friendless and alone. His family, especially his mom, were so welcoming of me and really made me feel a part of the family (and not just because they were so glad HE hadn't decided to stay in the States with me :) haha!

I had already taken a beginner's Swedish class in Chicago, so I had some basic phrases and grammar already under my belt and within a short time was attending a more advanced class at Folkuniversitet. My plan was to study Swedish for 6 months or so and then find a job. Instead, I was pregnant by the end of February, which threw the plans right out the window. I took 4 months of Swedish classes (half at SFI, the free governmental program for immigrants), and then passed the fluency test and waited out the last trimester.

I started making some more friends, Americans this time, and went to the very first meeting of the AWC. My mom came to stay before the baby was due, only to end up getting nearly no time with him at all, since Martin was 3 weeks late. At the end of our first year, we bought our first house in Flyinge and moved from Malmö out to the countryside.

Karin was born in 1999. I applied for and got a job when she was still just a baby, going to work for Ericsson in March of 2000.

Not long after Karin turned 2, we realized our first house was a bit too small for us and we bought a lot and started building a new house. We broke ground in April 2002 and moved in during September. We've been in this house now for just over 9 years.

In 2004, the Ericsson company I worked for dissolved and I found a new job over the road at Axis Communications. I've been there now for just over 7 years.

The AWC is going strong, with over 200 members to date. I've been on the board continuously since nearly the beginning, in several different positions. I've met and made a lot of great friends, both Swedish & expat, and lost some, too, since expats tend to keep on moving.

Now Martin is 14 and Karin turns 13 this coming summer. I have a great life here in this place and home I've lived the longest. For a former military brat, that feels both strange and wonderful. I'm looking forward to the next 15 years!

mood: cheerful
music: Coldplay—Charlie Brown


Lovely post, L. Happy-15th-moving-to-Sweden anniversary! What a wonderful 15 years! Talking about across-the-pond-moving-anniversaries, I'll have my 25th this coming June! You're so right, these things seem to happen in the blink of an eye;)

Edited at 2012-01-11 07:18 pm (UTC)

25th! That's crazy talk! :D I can see how 25 will come even faster!

I'm looking forward to the next 15 years!

me too!

I think they're gonna be good ones! :D

Happy Anniversary Liz. That is quite an accomplishment.
My friend who has been in Japan for 11 years (and only intended to be there for 2) is coming back in a couple of weeks. I am interested to see how she makes the transition.
You have been immersed in the language for so long now, does it seem second nature? Or do you still puzzle it out as you go?

I've read that after 5 years away, moving back to your home country is like moving to another foreign one because enough time has passed for things to change beyond recognition. I'm not so sure about that, but I can certainly understand the sentiment!

I'm not exactly immersed in the language, though I do tend to think in Swedish sometimes, and occasionally have trouble finding the English word I want (which is a VERY weird feeling). I speak English all the time, both at work and at home, and even though I'm fluent, for all intents and purposes, I am still learning :)

Congratulations! 15 years is a long time. I've never lived in one place for that long myself so I'm impressed. Keep on keepin' on!

Will do, ma'am! :D

Happy anniversary Liz! I've never lived in the same place for that long myself either, though hopefully in 10 years from now I'll be able to say the same. The house that's being build for us right now hopefully will be the family home (as in, the same from the day they were born to the day they move out to live on their own and )) to my (future-)kids that I never had :) It is an exciting thought, and at the same time I still sometimes have to get used to the idea that I won't be moving around so much no more.

And that's just the saddest story about Pooka. Poor lil one, maybe kitties can die from a broken heart as well.. as it ofcourse was impossible to let her know you'd be back in 4 months. Poor thing, both of you. Is this quarrantine (sp?) process still in place?? I looked up how to move the kitties with me back when I was still working on moving to the States semi-permanentaly and I coulda swore that as long as they're up to date with their shots and have certificates and all they don't need to go into quarrantine no longer before they are allowed into the States.. though I may be mistaken, and this couldbe different for other countries ofcourse.

You're going to love your's a great feeling, having a home that you can make your own.

And I know, my little Pooka-kitty still brings tears to my eyes. I actually debated about linking to that entry, but then figured, the more people who read about her, the more her memory lives on, right? :)

They no longer have quarantine in Sweden (I think it's only the UK and perhaps some other island nations). Now you have to have a pet passport which includes all the certificates and such. They never had quarantine in the States that I'm aware of. We took our cats from the US to Germany in 1976 and back again in 1982 without it.


Yay on your anniversary!


Double yay!

Happy anniversary!

Thanks! :)

From Megsie

Oh, poor Pooka. And poor you. I still miss my Ralphie. He was MY dog. Franklin is decidedly Sarah's dog. They both bug me.

Congrats on 15 years over there! Wow.

I LOVE that picture of you, you look so beautiful and happy. xoxo

Re: From Megsie

Haa, your comment about Franklin and Sarah made me laugh. :) You think the Pooka story was sad, you definitely shouldn't read the Toby one!

Re: From Megsie

You tell me not to read about Toby and then you LINK to it. I had no choice... Poor Toby. Man, I have learned not to move with cats! Ralph went with us twice to California in the plane. He had to go in with the baggage. The second time I was such a wreck that we decided that *I* couldn't handle the stress. Oh, poor, poor Toby... and you too. That is so sad to lose both of your babies within a year.

Re: From Megsie

I know, but if people read about my kitties, they live again for awhile. :)

Such a lovely post, Liz.

Thanks! :)

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