I now can write Göteborg instead of Gothenburg because I’m in possession of a Nordic keyboard and therefore an ö! …
So, less than 24 hours to go now. Tomorrow at this time I will be sitting in my new flat and either congratulating myself on my decision, or panicking (probably both).
The last week has been pretty insane, trying to get everything finished. I had leaving drinks with work, scrambled to meet up with my friends a last time before leaving, worked, packed, and threw things into garbage bags. Everything I owned that had any value and that I don’t really need is now safely with a resale company, who are going to sell the stuff on ebay. My flat is nearly empty (my living room now has an echo when I speak, which is slighly eery!) and it took me about a day to get used to not having a TV anymore and looking at a wall instead. I have bruises all over from carrying furniture around. My suitcases are packed… I have a few (or many) more garbage bags to fill and take outside, which will probably take me up to midnight tonight (and which I should probably be doing right now rather than writing blog posts…) Tomorrow morning the cleaners arrive, and then I am off to the airport.
It feels very strange how calm I feel about everything. I am really aware that I am about to change my life substantially, and that it is not always going to be easy – but something about me (other than not sleeping for ages the other night because I couldn’t stop worrying about my Swedish fluency) feels like my life is being pulled into one direction now, and I am going with the flow and doing what I am supposed to be doing. I guess it helps that my job is a constant in my old and new life, I know a fair few people in Gothenburg now, and I know that I will be making regular trips to see my friends in London (and in fact, one of my best friends has already booked a flight in August to come and see me in Gothenburg!) – so in a way it feels as if I am just moving around the corner, even though I have pretty much given up my life here now. I feel like I should feel more melancholic about leaving my home of 17 years than I do. Maybe in a way London has always been more of a place I lived in rather than a real home.
One of my workmates asked me today whether I was seeing this as a temporary move, or whether this was forever – and the honest answer is that right now I have no intentions to move back to London. I feel like I have done the hamster wheel for so long now, all I want is to start living – REAL living, not scheduling pub nights around meetings and commutes. My suitcases contain tennis rackets, hiking shoes and horse riding gear, because those are the kinds of things I look forward to being able to do the most.
So I guess from tomorrow I will see how it all pans out 🙂
It feels right to end this post with the music video that brought me here 😉 (as it made me want to move to Sweden as a hormonal teenager in the 80s – yes, the landscape in the video, not the rockers in leather trousers. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)
Pretty much just one week to go now. So far chaos is still reigning in my flat (how are you supposed to get stuff at home done though while working 10-11 hour days?), but I still have full faith that eventually it will all magically clear. And by magic I mean that on Saturday, a company that sells stuff on eBay (for a huge cut of the proceeds) is going to come and take my heavier stuff away, so I guess that will be the time that the flat will start to look empty. (For a start, they will take the big ageing TV that takes up half my living room!)
In a way everything is slowly starting to hit home to me – I stopped procrastinating on arranging leaving drinks, and I am running out of days in which to do things or see people. Today I was on the phone to a work friend who was off sick, and he told me that he was feeling awful about the idea of not being able to say goodbye to me in person (which nearly made me cry). So that sentence was approximately where the magnitude of everything started to sink in a little…
Like in a week, my closer friends are going to be a plane trip away. I’ll be the new girl in a new office, be out of the loop on in-jokes, and will have trouble following group conversations. I’m going to test people’s patience when looking for words. (I am fully intending to immerse myself and speak Swedish though, even if it means that I get all the jokes 15 minutes after everybody else! As happened when I first moved to England and people were asking me if I had a hearing problem ;))
It’ll all work out in the end though, and the biggest part of me can’t wait to go and start the adventure. It feels like I have been preparing for this forever!
I had some free SPG hotel points from work, so my friend J and I took the chance of the long Jubilee weekend (instead of celebrating the Queen like a devoted Brit should) and went to Stockholm for a few days.
It’s the first time my friend had been to Sweden, and I had told her wondrous things of the glorious Scandinavian summer, so she arrived with a suitcase full of T-shirts to… rain and 8 degrees. (I think my credibility has suffered a tiny bit… )
When we got to the hotel, there was an insane amount of police vans, police, roadblocks and helicopters. Turns out that Hillary Clinton was staying at the same hotel! For some reason the police presence didn’t really make me feel that much safer, it felt more like as if our hotel had a little target painted on it. But we did get the chance to see Hillary Clinton walk to an elevator! (To be precise: we saw the back of her head because she came in a different entrance to the one that the whole hotel lobby was watching intently).
Anyway, our weekend can be summed up with food, beer, and walks around town. The sun only made fairly sporadic appearances (and we got completely and utterly soaked a couple of times), but we really had a nice time. The last time I’d been to Stockholm was about four years ago, and I had forgotten how beautiful the city is!
On the second day we did a little boat trip to Vaxholm – we actually wanted to go to an island a little further out, but got up too late to catch the boat 🙂 Given the weather, Vaxholm was a good choice though as it had enough cafés to hide from the rain in.
Next time I’m on a plane it will be to move to Sweden. Still doesn’t feel completely real…
I am planning to ‘import’ my parents to Sweden for 7-10 days at the end of July. We have already booked a cottage on an island by the West Coast for a week, and my parents are going to stay in Gothenburg for another few days and do touristy stuff. It is my birthday during this time as well, so it will be really nice to be able to spend it with my family rather than sitting there on my own with a one-person birthday cake and a bottle of wine 🙂
Today, my dad phoned me and told me that he had been looking for flights to Gothenburg to come visit (both me and my parents have already flown that route, so why wouldn’t it exist anymore) and the travel agency had only shown him some strange stopover flights with departure at 6.25 am.
I shook my head at the cluelessness of the travel agent, told my dad that I would find the correct flight for him, checked the Austrian Airlines site and was greeted with the message – “From June 1st, we no longer operate our route to Gothenburg“. Oops…
I checked the SAS website, who suggested a route via Frankfurt. Lufthansa want people to go via Munich (2 hour stopover), Air Berlin via Berlin (2 hour stopover), and Norwegian via Oslo (with an overnight stay). None of which is a particularly fun way to travel the 1000km which should take under 2 hours end-to-end…
Copenhagen is only 3-4 hours by train from Gbg, so we started checking flights to Copenhagen instead. Turns out there is only a single remaining flight operator serving a direct route from Vienna to Copenhagen (Austrian Airlines, and the only flight viable to get to Gbg at a reasonable hour leaves at 7 am *gulp*).
I don’t get it. There is all this talk about the world getting smaller, transport faster… and yet it seems like there are less and less ways to get around within Europe!
At the end of the conversation, train travel actually started to seem like a fun idea (you can get from Vienna to Gothenburg in 18 hours via sleeper train and connecting train – if you’re going to be travelling slow, might as well do it properly!), and I am actually seriously starting to consider this option for my next trip back home! Could be fun – train, iPod, a good book, the world running by outside…
Post-London-Life lesson learned: don’t take transport connections for granted!