The 5th October marks 2 years since we arrived, joined Dadda, and started our life in Sweden…it has gone crazy fast and I can’t believe we have already been here that long. Our little people are starting to be not so little anymore, and all three have now started school here. I have previously reflected back at the 6 month point and I also evaluated life after being here for 1 year. This year I thought I would do something a little different, and rather than write the whole post from my perspective, I thought I would do a little interview with all the family members and see what they had to say about our life here in Sweden. I asked each family member (including myself) 5 questions. Please bear in mind our double trouble are still only 6 so their outlook on life is very different (but nevertheless just as important) from us other three 🙂
1. What do you like about life in Sweden?
Twin 2: I like having a bigger garden, all the snow, playing on the big swing at school (play equipment in schools in the UK is rare), and having grandparents to stay with us for many days instead of a few hours.
Twin 1: Less school, lots of snow, I can climb trees at school (this was certainly not allowed at our daughter’s school in the UK), and there are lots more types of mushrooms growing.
Little lady: Our bigger garden, wearing her own clothes to school, more freedom and independence (she is able to go out on her own with her friends here (with all the safety measures in place, but we would never have considered this yet in the UK) campfires and fire pits, and there are lots of different food celebration days (for example chocolate balls, waffle day, and cinnamon bun day).
Dadda: It is more peaceful and calm here (less people really help!), and people are just more generally laid back about life on the whole.
Mamma: I am so happy with the schooling ethos, the accessibility to nature and allemansrätten, the slower pace of life, having four proper seasons in a year, being amongst such welcoming people, much less traffic, and our lovely wooden home.
2. What Do You Find Hard About Life In Sweden?
Twin 1: Eeeeeerrrmmmmm……..
Twin 2: *silence while the brain ticks over with no result*
Little Lady: Having less friends. There are less people on the island so I have less amount of friends and it is because my class is much smaller too, so there are less people to be friends with.
Dadda: Learning Swedish is very hard….finding the time and energy around full time work and having three children.
Mamma: I am finding teaching myself the language very difficult. SFI (the free language course available to attend) is not so accessible when you are chasing after three children and the first finish school at midday, and you are trying to grow a little business of your own. Progress is happening (I just need to keep thinking we didn’t have any words when we arrived and now we can hold a simple conversation….well either that or people are very good at bluffing!). I miss having support….support of those who really know you and your children, especially when going through the tougher times with three children or even just needing to take a break from them for an evening. Everyday tasks can also take a lot more effort…for example booking a doctor’s appointment through the automated system is a total nightmare for me to navigate, or just simple things like understanding a letter to pay a bill.
3. What Do You Miss About The UK?
Twin 2: English sausages!!
Twin 1: Pirate park (a park near where we used to live), Grandparents, my old room, and Smiggle (a very expensive but lovely children’s stationary shop….and my wallet does not miss it!!).
Little lady: Family and friends. She has perhaps been the most affected of all 5 of us by the move and her friendships becoming long distance. We have been very fortunate in that people have visited us and we do a lot of FaceTime, but when she feels low it does hit her very hard. She has no one who has known her for years to vent to. She is making some lovely friends here, and now language doesn’t hold her back, she is happier to socialise more and more with them.
Dadda: Accessibility to alcohol (the nearest place is a 20 minute drive and it is all in special state run shops here), our old VW van (we so wanted to bring it with us, but being right hand drive it was just impractical as would have cost so much in the long run. But it did make such a difference to daily living as a family of 5). Family and friends.
Mamma: As well as family and friends I really miss prawn cocktail crisps, spray polish, Marmite (which people ship out to us!), and popping to the local garage to pick up a bottle of red wine for the evening.
What Would You Change If You Could?
Twin 2: I would get a dog….
Twin 1: Eeerrrmmmm…..
Little lady: I wish we could have brought our van….she is now squished in the middle of her twins car seats in the back of a Volvo….she had space in the van around her to bring the 377 things out a little girl needs with her for a quick 5 minute drive.
Dadda: More time and energy to learn Swedish.
Mamma: Brought our van…..I miss the ease of it to throw three children into the back, as well as everything a family of five needs for its outdoor lifestyle in the boot (not to mention being able to change children in it during very cold, snowy, or rainy weather so easily!!). I would have also tried to start learning Swedish before arriving in an ideal world….as it was we only had 4 weeks notice Dadda was leaving the UK, and then I was left looking after 3 children and packing for an international move on my own!
Does Life In Sweden Get The Thumbs Up Or The Thumbs Down?
Twin 2: Thumbs up
Twin 1: Thumbs up
Little Lady: Thumbs in the middle
Dadda: Thumbs up
I hope you have enjoyed seeing how we are all finding life in Sweden two years on now. Overall we would all say we are happy and settled with life in Sweden, and of course there will always be things we miss about the UK, but all 5 of us unanimously think of Sweden as our home. When we travel back to the UK to see family and friends we don’t say we are going home, that is when we return back to Sweden. Of course it isn’t or hasn’t all been plain sailing. We have all had our emotional ups and downs, and sometimes a very good hard cry (I’m not sure Dadda has participated in one of those yet, but there is still time!), and especially for our little lady expat grief is something that crops up when she is having low moments. If you fancy life in Sweden, want to move abroad, or have moved abroad, and have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me either through the comments or my email, or if you can offer any advice to us too!! Follow us on Instagram to see more photos of life in Sweden and living the outdoors lifestyle here with three children in tow.