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Well it’s certainly been very busy!!  However, we have achieved a lot and managed to get our heads around a few key subject areas.  The first job of the morning was to head to a supermarket, to price up a food budget, and get a better idea of the cost of living compared to home, and the good news is, unlike Norway (where our outgoings would double), here the outgoings would be on a par with our spending for items such as food, at home.  After that we had a list of three towns we wanted to explore in further detail, and added a fourth on at the end of the day.  We had also decided that it would be the schools that decided where we ended up as the main criteria.  Having pulled our little lady out of school in the UK, for very specific reasons, we needed to make sure these concerns were truly addressed in the Swedish system.

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First up for the day was Nättraby.  A coastal town to the west of Karlskrona, where Dadda’s job would be based if he accepted it.  It was a lovely place and the inlet of the fjord was beautiful, however, I didn’t like the location of the school.  It was right on the edge of the town by the main road/motorway…now don’t think motorway in UK terms, Swedish motorways are generally single lane, just with a faster speed limit, so it’s not like having a school next to the M27!  The next trip was over to Rödeby.  Now this is slightly inland, north of Karlskrona, but in a heavily wooded area….not a hard task in Sweden (53% of the country is forest).  We knew before we’d left the UK that all schools had finished already for summer in Sweden (as they do in Norway), but we needed to have as much of a look at them from the outside even if we couldn’t see them in operation.  However, here we struck gold, in that the school library is shared with the public, so it was open for us to wander in and around.  Then once inside we heard chatting in the administration offices, so I stuck my head in, asked if anyone could help us and the deputy head showed us around, answered questions, and gave us some paperwork 🙂  This school, although in a very small place, has an indoor and outdoor swimming pool (bbbrrrrr), backs onto the forest that they use for playtime and other adventures, and has a ski slope out the back for the winter!  We learnt so much.  Our little lady would only have missed one year of Swedish school, since Swedish children start school when they’re 7 years old. They’d welcome her with open arms despite only a few ropey Norwegian words (the language is very similar), and have every confidence she would pick up Swedish quickly. The school day would be finished by 1330hrs, and she’d be outside playing EVERYDAY whatever the weather (no indoor playtime happens)…..oh and she needs slippers for inside to put on when she removes her outdoor shoes 🙂  They do partake in a a few lessons too ;-).  The class size is around 20 pupils.  There is a kindergarten as well which the twins could go into (mainly to learn the language and only a few mornings a week).

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The last town on our list was Jämjö to the east of Karlskrona.  This was again a beautiful place, with a good school, but we had connected nicely to Rödeby as a place where our family could settle.  After all that checking out those places, we had a little drive around some of the smaller islands to the south of Karlskrona.  These were beautiful and scenic.  I actually fell in love with one (Sturkö) and then started considering it as a place to live.  The school was lovely, but only went up to age 13, so our children would have to travel further for the next stage of school, High School (ages 13-16).  I then decided to tag another town onto our list, so back over to the west to look at Ronneby.  This was a much larger place, so we didn’t think we’d like to live there, but they had a beautiful large town park area, and we were fascinated by a waterplay park complete with giant slides, that everyone seemed to be playing in despite the wind and rain!

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So it’s been a crazy day, but we do feel like we’ve achieved a lot, and got our heads around the places and areas etc.  Tomorrow we focus more on the job side and head into town to meet people involved with the employment side of life, before I put my foot down and we head to another island to try and relax for the afternoon and to discover another sandy beach….oh and find the blasted vinmonopolet. For those of you not familiar with Norway and Sweden’s alcohol selling, you can only buy lager in the supermarket.  Everything else is sold in a government monopoly, thus controlling things such as prices and offers, and prevents over consumption and reduces the profit motive for sales of alcohol. Unfortunately as a foreigner this means you have to ask a lot of people where the place is, thus looking very desperate for booze, and pay cash in hand as they don’t seem to trust our debit or credit cards for purchase of alcohol, meaning you also have to locate a cash machine!!!  I’m just looking for it for reference if we did move here, we are being amply sustained with our outbound duty free ;-)!!!!

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