I came to Sweden with my partner 4 years ago. It was the morning of an August day in 2014 when we drove our car out of the cargo of a Stena Line ferry and onto Swedish soil. We had just spent the night crossing the Baltic Sea, leaving pieces of our lives behind. The day before we had packed all of our belongings, 2 years of life in Poland, into our car and set off for this new chapter. It was the port of Karlskrona that welcomed us, and where it all began.
We had been to Sweden together before. Actually, Stockholm had been the destination of our first trip together. We had been dating for little over a month when I found insanely cheap tickets from Krakow to Stockholm. I was itching to go. I told him about the idea of going away for a weekend. He’d never been to Sweden (I had). He said, sure why not. The trip was in two months, it was too early to figure out if we would last that long as a couple, but there was relatively little to lose. So I hit that “book” button and reserved us two plane tickets to Stockholm one weekend in December.
We lasted, and made that trip to Stockholm. And it was beautiful. A beautiful December weekend with piles of snow everywhere, cozy cafés, Christmas markets and that weak winter light that makes Scandinavia so special when the sun is out on a winter day. He fell in love with Stockholm; I fell in love with him.
Ever since my study exchange semester in Oslo I have been a hardcore fan of Scandinavia. My heart was longing to go back and try to move there. Yet, it took a few years between that semester in Norway and my final move to Sweden. In between I tried to figure some other things out. Tried to live in a few other places, tried to get some more life experience. I had actually planned to try and move to Australia for a year when life took an unexpected turn. When I was least looking for love I happened to find it. And that special person happened to have the same passion for Scandinavia I had.
Three months after that trip to Stockholm I took him to Oslo. I needed to show him my favourite place in the world. I owe so much of the person I am now to those six months there. I felt like taking him to Oslo was the best way for him to get to know me even better. Two months after our Oslo trip we travelled further north, to the Lofoten islands. A series of unfortunate events on the way back got us stranded in Oslo on the last day. We missed our flight, slept on the floor at some friends’ place, got a little taste of real Oslo life in the house of two locals. Something clicked.
After we came back from the Lofoten – our third trip to Scandinavia in less than a year together – we felt like something was missing. I understood that the time had come to try and move to Scandinavia – be it Sweden, Denmark or Norway – and I had found someone who shared this same desire. That was the real starting point of our project to emigrate to Sweden. When all the real saving, planning, paperwork began. Life pointed us in the direction of a small town in the county of Dalarna. We worked hard to reach our goal. Like in a perfect millennial movie we resigned from our corporate jobs, sold some of our stuff, packed the rest into our car, parted ways with family, friends and our chinchilla and boarded that Stena Line ferry.
I remember I stayed on the sundeck of the ship when it left the port of Gdynia. I wanted to say a final goodbye to Poland. I knew I would come back, as I always did, but that was the end of my expat time there. Among the things I had wanted to do before settling there was getting to spend some time in my second homeland, improve my skills at Polish and feel like a true local for once. I was glad I got to do it. Now I was finally ready to move to Scandinavia.
It was the middle of August when that Stena Line ferry took us to Sweden. Our third time in that country together. We were not stepping off a plane for the weekend this time. This time the intention was to stay longer. We were carrying all our stuff. We had our car. We were still not sure how long this would last – our two years in Poland flew so fast – but this time it was not just a holiday. Yet it did feel a bit like that first trip to Stockholm, when we were unsure if we would last as a couple, but then we did. Four years later, we’re still in Sweden.
We didn’t move to Stockholm, but live close enough to be able to visit from time to time. We chose not to move there. We wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle. Most importantly, we wanted to keep Stockholm a safe place to travel to occasionally. We didn’t want to risk getting tired of it. Stockholm is our haven. And it is in Stockholm, on the week that marks our fourth year in Sweden, that we will get married. There was no better place in the world. There is no better place in the world.
This August we are celebrating our fourth year in Sweden. We are celebrating our emigration to this beautiful country and all it meant. All the victories, all the defeats; the ups and downs. Looking back, we have grown so much. As a couple, sure, but as individuals as well. Becoming part of a society is a long process, integration takes time. My biggest accomplishment after four years is that I have finally become fluent in the local language. And it will be in Swedish that I will say I do.
I will be taking a well-deserved break from blogging to focus on my life. I will come back soon, but I did not want to plan nor schedule anything for the upcoming weeks. Now it’s time to enjoy my wedding and then leave for our honeymoon and make the most of it. See new places, taste new food, but most importantly celebrate love. Then I will come back and write all about it. Until then you can follow my food diaries from my honeymoon on my Instagram profile. See you there!