The First Anniversary (of Living in Sweden)

Today marks one year since me and my daughter moved to Sweden. Yes, we arrived exactly on this date a year ago. So, happy first anniversary! Haha. I know it’s not really something to celebrate but we’re glad we had quite a wonderful first year (and are excited for the following ones).

I can hardly believe that it has been a year. I mean, the day when we arrived at Lund Central station still feels like yesterday. But I also notice that lately, things begin to change. I’m no longer feel like a new kid on the block. I’m not getting anxious or thinking that people are looking at me anymore. I start to feel that I really belong here, even if I still don’t speak Swedish (and certainly don’t look like a Swede. Haha).

Looking back on the past 365 days, here are the things that we have “accomplished” so far:

  1. We survived winter. Yay!

img_7208We arrived in Lund at winter and it was the first time we experience the so-called Scandinavian weather. We had no idea how it was going to be like. Turn out, it IS really cold. And the strong wind make it even worse. We got jet-lag. We got mild flu. We got fatigue. Our skins got really dry. There was a problem with the heater in our previous apartment as well. But somehow we survived.

Now that winter is here again, we already know what to do and how to prepare better. We take vitamins. We buy proper winter gears. And we found ways to lighten up the dark nights. It’s still cold for sure but as we know how to deal with it already, it’s not that depressing anymore.

2. Everything falls into place.

One of my biggest concerns during our first weeks here is how to make us settled. The thing is, anything that comes to my daughter is always making me nervous. That’s the perk of being a mother I think. Haha. So on her first day at school, I was the one who got butterflies in my stomach. I remember during her first weeks, I kept asking: “Are you happy?” “Are you doing okay?” “Do you like your new school?” and other typical questions because I was worried that all of these changes would make her feel inconvenient. Turn out, she’s doing really good (and even better than me and Zaki). She enjoys her time at school so much and she seems not to have any problem at all. Phew!

Another concern is how to support Zaki because he’s the main reason we are here. and I’m really happy and proud to see him doing well and making progress. Well, he still have some anxieties about his works and his plans for future, but I think that’s just the thing of being a doctoral student. It’s an inevitable part of the PhD life 😀

3. I am 30% fluent in Swedish (according to the Duo Lingo application >_< ).

img_7224I started using this app far before my departure to Sweden. It is actually a fun app to learn a new language. It doesn’t make you an expert but it’s quite helpful to help you recognise the words and the vowels (Swedish has nine vowels by the way). I was at the very beginner level (10% fluent) on my first weeks in Lund and I didn’t play it again for quite a long time for some reasons. But in the last three days I started to use it again and now I’m 30% fluent in Swedish (or so it says). Haha. I personally feel that I’m getting more comfortable and familiar with Swedish. It doesn’t sound strange to my ears anymore. Also, I feel like my passive Swedish is getting better, but to be able to get involved in Swedish conversation, I definitely need more training and practice.

4. I am happy to call my self as a writer.

Leaving a good life and a good career behind is like pressing a restart button. I found it was quite challenging. There were these times when I felt uncertain every time people ask what I actually do for a living. I always answered such questions by a “disclaimer”: “Well, I used to work as a lecturer back in Indonesia, but now I’m doing some freelance writings”. I then realised that it was such a pathetic answer. As if, being a writer is less important than being a lecturer. I mean, it’s the thing that I’ve been always passionated about. And it’s not a shameful thing. Not a crime either. So, why do I need to be ashamed of it?

Then, my story got published in Majalah Kartini and that was the “this is it” moment when I felt more comfortable with my current profession. And it gets better when my other stories are published in The Jakarta Post, and Media Indonesia. I am no longer questioning what I really want to do. I am now answering the same question by proudly saying: “I am a writer”

The first year of living in a totally different place from home is not easy I must say. And people deal with transition and adaptation differently. So when we finally made it, it’s beyond relief. Things were not always nice and perfect. We had our ups and downs of course. Sometimes we laugh. Sometimes we mad. At other times we cry. But at the end of the day, we know that there are more things to be grateful for. So, cheers to a year full of stories and many more to come! Skål!

Celebrating the first “anniversary” by eating Nasi Goreng (fried rice). So Indonesian! 😀

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