Third Year Reflection*

As the year-end is approaching, I would like to use this blog post as a medium of reflection. A look back to where it all started three years ago. This month in 2016, I moved to Sweden from my home country. Time has passed by and many things have happened ever since, including having an additional member in the family. So it just feels right to see how it was and how it has been as a newbie living in Sweden.

And here are some random facts about Sweden that I learnt during my first three years of living in the country:

Sweden is a good place to raise kid

From free education to nearly free healthcare, Sweden is one of a few places I can think of when it comes to a “family friendly” country. Yes, the system is bit frustrating sometimes and requires lots of things to do—filling out forms, queuing, making calls to name a few. But once you got in, the safety net is always there.

Sweden also seems to care about and is willing to take part in children development. One tiny example is when my baby turned 6 months old, she received a free choice book from Lund’s state library. From what I understand, it’s a part of the program to encourage reading and literacy (such important skills for kids to have indeed).

Apart from those, generous parental leave, celebrated equality and recognition of universal values are the things that Sweden offers. And those are the list I would love to tick as a parent. Anyway, read more about the rights as parents in Sweden here.

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Swedish Sayings I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Sweden*

Like many other countries, Sweden has plenty of expressions, idioms and sayings rooted in history and tradition. Some of them can be found in other languages, or at least share similar meaning like “Beat around the bush” and “Gå som katten kring het gröt” (English: walks like the cat around hot porridge). Some others are quite exceptional.

Despite its hilarious literal meanings, these sayings are actually relatable to everyday life in Sweden. Personally, I found some sayings are helpful in understanding Swedish values, and for that reason I wish I knew them earlier 😀

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Embracing the Typically Swedish habits*

Living in a new country brings its own excitement and challenges. The first years are usually dubbed as the honeymoon phase. This is the moment when everything seems so bright, fresh and exciting.

Then soon, things become routine and less fascinating than before. In a matter of time, we started to settle and eventually adopted the new habits, including the habits in eating. Either we consciously do it on purpose, or it just comes naturally, we’ll find ourselves embrace the new habit, no matter how strange we thought it was.

This is actually a good sign as you’ve had become part of another culture, and it has changed the way you look at people, life, and even yourself.

After living in Sweden for almost three years, here are the things that I found unusual at the beginning but now I got used to them:

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Kali Kelima

Kami pindah rumah lagi!

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Ya, awal April lalu kami pindah rumah lagi. Dan ini adalah kepindahan saya yang keempat, serta kelima untuk suami. Sewaktu mengunggah foto terakhir di Stångby beberapa waktu yang lalu, sejumlah kawan mengira kepindahan kami adalah back for good. Bahwa program S3 suami sudah selesai dan kami pulang ke Indonesia.

Itu hoax. Hehe.

Tidak terbukti valid dengan metode apapun 😄

Faktanya, kami masih di Swedia. Program suami baru menjelang seminar ketiga (dari total empat). Jadi masih separuh jalan lebih sedikit. Doakan saja semoga bisa selesai di waktu yang baik untuk semua 🙏🏼

Anyway, kami memang pergi dari Stångby. Tapi ”cuma” pindah rumah. Soal pindah-pindah rumah ini sudah pernah saya singgung sekilas di unggahan saya yang ini, tapi lebih lengkapnya akan saya bahas di sini. Siapa tahu bisa mengalihkan kepenatan dari ingar bingar Pemilu 😄

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14 Hari untuk Selamanya (Cerita Melahirkan di Swedia)

Senin (3/12) dini hari, saya terbangun karena sakit di perut dan pinggang bagian bawah. ”Wah, mulai kontraksi,” batin saya. Berusaha (sok) tenang, saya mempraktekkan teknik pernafasan dari sesi yoga yang sempat saya ikuti. Nyeri berkurang, tapi kontraksi masih berlanjut. Saya cek jam, masih berjarak 20-30 menit. Masih lama.

Tak lama kemudian suami saya bangun dan menemukan saya meringkuk di kasur. ”Kayaknya udah mau lahir nih,” ujar saya sok tahu.

Suami pun memutuskan bekerja dari rumah dan seharian itu kami dalam mode stand by. Jaga-jaga kalau si bayi memutuskan lahir sebelum hari perkiraan. Senin sore kontraksi makin kuat, saya pun memutuskan menelpon rumah sakit.

Di Swedia sendiri, untuk kelahiran, prosedurnya adalah menelpon lebih dahulu baru kemudian bidan akan memutuskan apakah sudah waktunya ke rumah sakit atau belum. Hal ini dilakukan untuk meminimalisir kunjungan yang tidak perlu (terlalu awal misalnya) dan memastikan ketersediaan ruangan. Kecuali ada kondisi darurat seperti ketuban pecah, pendarahan berlebihan, jatuh atau trauma di perut, maka calon Ibu yang mau melahirkan harus menelpon terlebih dahulu. Rumah sakit hanya bersedia menerima pasien melahirkan yang sudah di fase aktif (minimal bukaan 4).

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Knowing Your Rights as a Mommy to be in Sweden*

img_1977Sweden is one of the most family-friendly countries in the world. Here are some of the reasons why:

Free or Subsidised Prenatal Care

As a resident of Sweden, you’re entitled to prenatal care through midwife-led antenatal care centre (barnmorskemottagningar or BMM) before a baby is born. In Skåne, you can choose which BMM you want to go to. You have the right to visit the midwife six to ten times during your pregnancy if there are no complications. You can also get in touch with your midwife in between the planned visits if you have any questions or concerns. In addition to these, you receive at least two ultrasounds in your first and second trimester.

Expectant mothers (and their partners) also get support through parents classes and maternity classes. These include breathing techniques, coaching sessions, breastfeeding, group support, etc.

You even have the right to an interpreter if you need one and of course all your data is confidential.

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Finding Home in Sweden

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When I first noticed that the slogan of IKEA, the Swedish-originate-Dutch-based home furnitures, kitchen appliances specialist, is: “Home is the most important place in the world,” I started to think that it’s indeed the best way to describe how house is generally perceived in Sweden (and also a smart persuasive message for the customer of course!).

With its not-so-long summer and harsh winter, living in a homy house is indeed essential in Sweden. A house here is not just an asset, it should be a cozy place to spend days and nights as well. This is why Sweden is the heaven for Scandinavian designs (which is characterised by its simplicity, minimalism and functionality), everyday life hacks and anything related to home accessories.

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