Part 2 – The Immigrants: Chaos walks with me

By Pia Johansson

It’s been about 6 weeks since we left Germany and moved to Sweden. It feels like months ago. Not because I feel settled but it just feels so distant. I thought I will write this, the second part, now when we are really in the middle of the relocation chaos.

We lived with my parents for two weeks first. I spend these weeks celebrating my youngest first birthday, looking at furniture and waiting for my husband to drive up with all or things (and then down and back again). My parents took care of everything whilst I spent the first week doing almost nothing but holding my suddenly very very clingy one-year-old.

We then moved into our new flat, which we rented unseen (crazy I know). Towards the end it was another huge stress for me that I didn’t know what we were moving to, but luckily, it turned out to be quite nice. It was however, surprisingly (that´s right, we hadn’t even seen a floor plan!!), over two floors which meant we had to really get cracking with buying safety gates and new bedroom furniture for us (all bedrooms upstairs, sofa downstairs). I also started work at the same time we got the flat, so let me tell you, the last month have been pretty full on. Work has been surprisingly gentle for a first month which I am very grateful for. But going back to work of course means spending so much time without the girls and then all time with them going to hardware stores and Ikea. They have both calmed a bit now but my oldest is still a bit confused as to what is actually going on here but hopefully it will settle soon.

What has been quite challenging and annoying is the Catch-22 feeling in regards to the Swedish beurocracy. You can’t really do anything in Sweden without a personal ID number but it takes minimum three weeks to get one (or in my case to re-register). I managed to get a bank account but that´s it. Can’t re-register the car, can’t get an account for my husband, can’t get a new mobile account, can’t register husband for Swedish courses. Insert angry emoji here for sure!

And then it was Christmas!! I bought the majority of our presents during a three hour hectic stint on the Sunday the week before Christmas (yay for Sunday trading). It was a case of “if they don’t have what I planned to buy the plan will change.”

For Christmas Eve (when we celebrate in Sweden) I didn’t have to make any food (again my Mom and sister pulled the heavy load!); I just had to buy some herring, bread and candy!

Then things went a bit crazy. The day before Christmas when I was intending to buy said groceries another car drove into mine in the store parking lot. Maaaan. I cried just a little bit. Nothing bad happened, just some damage to the car but the thought of the additional paper work, hassle and potential significant costs (we are haemorrhaging money at the moment!) just made me want to bail.

In addition I had just found out my salary had not been deposited into my bank account and this will not be solved until after the holidays, my husband’s registration did not go through immediately and we have no bloody internet! All of these things should be fixable without too much difficulty but, you know, I was just feeling so very tired!! So that day I went to bed early (hiding) and cuddled my 3 year old (who thankfully needed me) and hoped for a nicer day tomorrow. The next day was Christmas and it was all very nice! The girls liked their presents and had fun with their cousins and food was great and we even danced around the tree!

I now have a week before work starts again and I can hopefully deal with all the annoying paperwork (although no internet doesn’t help) and hopefully manage to do some nice family activity.

There are no musings this time, there is no time or space in my brain for that at the moment. But not to worry, it will all come in Part 3 – The settlers: Finding our new grind.

Pia Johansson is a research scientist (neurobiology), mother of two and working-mum. Ex-pat for almost 20 years (Australia and Munich and a short wild stint in Dublin many many years ago). In the throws of being repatriated to Sweden with my Australian husband. Likes talking, running and talking about running. And chocolate (although mostly 85% these days, crazy as that sounds). In addition to staying fit and eating healthily and raise happy healthy children, I dream of doing something a little bit creative like writing or becoming a photographer. Or at least organise our photos soon.

44CE1A9C-0F2F-4755-A9AA-487FBB5721B1Pia Johansson is a research scientist (neurobiology), mother of two and working-mum. Ex-pat for almost 20 years (Australia and Munich and a short wild stint in Dublin many many years ago). In the throws of being repatriated to Sweden with my Australian husband. Likes talking, running and talking about running. And chocolate (although mostly 85% these days, crazy as that sounds). In addition to staying fit and eating healthily and raise happy healthy children, I dream of doing something a little bit creative like writing or becoming a photographer. Or at least organise our photos soon.

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