It’s snowed!! Not quite enough for a snowman (in fact only enough to dust a Victoria sponge cake), but nevertheless it was still snow. This caused great excitement in the house (and relief amongst the grown ups that we’d changed the car to winter tyres just in time). They spent the whole of breakfast plotting snowball fights and snowman building, and then were released to play outside. They could even use the “snow” symbol on their calendar for the weather, which has never been used. They scooped up what snow they could and threw it at each other, before picking up one of the mud kitchen pans and going around the garden collecting chunks of ice off everything, to examine and look at. They had a fantastic time. Meanwhile I tackled the fallen leaf situation a little bit…I got a huge garden sack full on my first attempt but it still didn’t look like I’d started!
After this, I decided we were going to walk up to the school and see who we could find, as we still hadn’t heard from them about when our little lady could start, and she’s beginning to get a little fed up with just 2 four year olds for company after a month. She needs to start mixing with, and making friends with her own age. We pottered up and caught the eye of a member of staff in the playground. She came over and we explained who we were, and she introduced herself and explained she knew who we were and that they were expecting her (this wasn’t even her own class teacher!!). She took us up to meet our little lady’s new teacher, and we discovered the headmaster is on long term sick leave, so that’s why no one had been receiving our communications about her being ready to start. Her teacher was lovely, and our little lady will call her by her first name as is the way in Sweden. While her teacher was talking to us, all the class gradually trickled out (all 14 of them) to see what was going on….they have all been expecting her, they are ready for her, they are excited about an English girl coming, and were curious to see and say “hej” to her. After chatting to her teacher, she said that she should come back after lunch (12 o’clock) for the afternoon’s lessons of gymnastics to see how it goes, and then I could pick her up at the end of school at 1.15pm (Monday is the longest day of the week!!). So that was a bit of a result. We also discovered that there is a strict no outdoor shoes rule inside, so everyone enjoys long run ups for a good slide, up and down the corridors in their socks!! So we returned after lunch and as we were walking up from the house, her classmates were leaning over the fence waving up the road to her, so excited and friendly 🙂 I left her and pottered home with a rather confused pair of mini men who had never put on and taken off their coats so many times in the space of a few hours!
On leaving the house to walk back up to school there were some mums out for an afternoon stroll (or power walk, everyone power walks here and it is obviously something I’ll have to take up), with their prams, and one stopped and introduced herself. I’ve been told that Swedes can come across as reserved, but underneath are warm and friendly once you get to know them better. However, everyone has been really outgoing and helpful, and making sure we get introduced too. She knew the previous owners of our new home, and her daughter is in the same age group as our boys will be when they start förskola….so even the other mums of children the twins age know we are here and that they will be appearing at some point! We picked our little lady up (who’d had a fab time), and then talked to the lady who was deputising in the head’s absence. She was wonderful, and didn’t bat an eyelid at the mini men hanging upside down on chairs in her office. When I was starting to look a little flustered at their behaviour, she calmly told me not to worry, she likes children, and that is why she works here…..oh and they are quite lively aren’t they??!!!! We had a good chat, and our little lady will start properly on Friday, which should give them enough time to get hold of her health and assessment records from the kommun. She was also going to chase up the kommun about how long it would be until the twins were called to start förskola….you never know she might speed it up for me having seen the energy I am dealing with on a daily basis ;-)!!!!! So that was all very productive and positive.
So we are now a month on and what have we achieved?……We all have our Swedish personal numbers now (I am still awaiting my ID card), and this means we can access health and dental care as well as a lot of other services. We have bought a car (and it still has both wing mirrors…) that we have learnt to drive on the wrong side of the road, and after Dadda getting a parking fine on day 2 of owning it, we have also learnt to park it facing the right way on the right side of the road. We have bought and moved into our new home, and apart from blooming lampshades, we are settled and unpacked there (oh and still a lot of leaf raking to do). Our children have immersed themselves into Swedish life by doing ballet, sjöscoutkåren, and gymnastics, and we now know our little men need to enrol on the 12th December to pick up their swimming lessons. I have made a start teaching the children Swedish now too, and all four of us learn a little every day 🙂 We’ve worked out which shops to shop at, where and how to use the recycling centres, and have got to grips with the home rubbish sorting system. On top of all of this we have now started to settle into a routine more, and have taken up our home ed. again through the nature curriculum, the Whizz, Pop, Bang magazine, art and crafts, and their more formal workbooks. So I feel we have come a long way in a very short period of time, and made a real effort to get into the swing of Swedish life. School and förskola are the last major puzzle pieces to fall into place (along with the 5 lampshades), but we feel that school is now going to happen, and we are in the system waiting for the boys places a few times a week. One thing is for sure, there have been no regrets at all since arriving here, and a lot of hard work has finally paid off and now we can begin to settle down into a more gentle rhythm of life…..if there is such a thing with three children :-)!!!!!