hello blog! hello friends!
we did it! we made the move to sweden! i am embarking on my third (!!) expat journey, my second in sweden. it feels surreal + unbelievable that we are here. i will not bore you with all of the details, but just know that, as every single trip/journey that my love + i take together, this was was no different: filled with adventures, stress, tears, laughs, and craziness. whenever we travel, near or far, you can count on us having lots of stories to tell. so, i thought i’d share a few with you from our journey from asheville to sweden!
last saturday, lina and i walked downtown and soaked up the gorgeous asheville weather + sights. of course, we met a few friends, had some beer, and i decided to do something a little different. i went brown! yep. my hair is now a dark golden brown, and i am totally in love with it. 40 years old. a new year. new adventures. a new move. all of that was the perfect recipe for giving myself a little hair-do-over. let’s see how this brunette thing goes for me… so far, though, so good. it feels totally perfect for my whole empowered theme for 2015.
sunday morning, the journey began. my parents drove to my brother’s house to pick us up. they have a jeep wrangler, so it’s not that much space for 5 suitcases, a big cat crate, two little overnight bags, and 4 humans. lina and nick squeezed it all in, and then it was time to head north as far as we could make it.
i had to say goodbye to my brother (oh lord. i’m tearing up just typing this.), and it just about ripped my heart into pieces. i cannot even begin to describe the joy and love that i have for the past year and a half that we have been able to spend together in asheville, seeing each other practically every day. oh, how i am going to miss him. how i miss him already. but, this one photo i snapped just before i squeezed into the jeep will be something that i hold so close to me everywhere i go. except for my amazing wife, my brother is it for me – my best friend, my confidant, and a huge inspiration.
we made it all the way to allentown, pennsylvania – only an hour and half from newark where we were catching our flight to sweden on monday. we checked into a hotel, let zola out of her crate after being so good during our 9ish hour ride, and settled into our room to eat mozzarella sticks and drink beer.
the next morning, we ate breakfast with my parents, took our time getting ready, and then headed on to the airport – which took no time at all, and the drive was super easy, even if we were just outside of new york city. whew.
the airport was my next emotional breakdown moment. time to say goodbye to my parents – the two people who would do anything in the world for me, my brother, and lina. they always go out of their way to make sure that we have exactly what we want +/or need. their thoughtfulness blows me away. and having to leave for another country yet again (here come the tears…) broke my heart.
luckliy, we all had stressful things to deal with immediately after saying goodbye, so we couldn’t dwell on the sadness. my parents had to find their way out of the airport, around NYC (without going INTO NYC), and up to connecticut. lina and i had to immediately figure out where to take zola and begin the process of leaving her at the airport.
soon, though, we were at the gate (after a bit of stress + some biting off of each others’ head), and only had to wait about 30 minutes before boarding. time to fly!
the flight went well – as good as those 8 hour overnight flights can go. but, it did seem to go by pretty fast, and before i knew it, it was tuesday morning and we were landing in sweden! still, completely blown away by the fact that we were there. not really believing it, even though i saw all of the familiar sights at the airport.
we got our luggage and began the process of getting zola – a process that i cannot write about here because it would take forever to tell you the whole story, i would cry the entire time i typed it, and it’s just so unbelievable + so painful to think about. basically, i want to forget that it ever happened. let’s just say that, although we knew that she was on the plane with us since we saw her crate being taken out of the cargo hold, it took us 3 hours, lots of extra paperwork, many tears, a lot of driving, and more stress than i can imagine to finally pick her up at a warehouse.
however, we got her and headed home to lina’s parents. all of us safe + sound + completely worn out. how is it possible that after all of the months of waiting and anticipating and dreading this process of this trip, it was finally over?! we were exhausted with joy.
so, we slept. and 10 hours later, late on wednesday morning, we woke up to a new day. our first full day in sweden! and what a beautiful, snowy, wintery day it was! take a peek at the view outside our window:well, we finally got up, showered away our travels, ate some food, and got dressed to head downtown. lina was meeting a friend for a massage and i was psyched about a little fika time all alone – a chance to land a little bit and to let it all begin to soak in. i snuggled in with a book and a chai latte at a favorite cafe while the snow continued to fall outside.
at 4, lina called to tell me she was done, so we could meet up and head to dinner + drinks with a friend (her masseuse). this is 4:00 pm in sweden. the sun has set. crazy, huh? but, oh so beautiful.
we walked through the snow + ice, with the wind gently on our faces, to dinner. we found a table near the bar at a cozy cafe/pub and sat down for food + beer. this place, tucked away on a little street here in norrköping, is not like most places in sweden. it’s less formal, more relaxed, and has a definite asheville vibe. so much so, that we ate our food, drank a lot of beer, laughed loudly, and enjoyed ourselves for about 5 hours. we were definitely channeling our asheville souls. and that felt so good. the perfect asheville/sweden balance for a bit.
this morning (thursday), we woke up to even more snow. heavy, thick, wet snow that is still clinging to the trees even as i write this late at night. but, it’s a magical winter wonderland, and i love it. plus, it’s not too cold. the fresh air feels amazing and freeing and like letting all good things into my lungs. i don’t know how many times today i simply took a deep breath, looked up, and gave thanks. for everything.
yep. i’m away from home, and yet i’ve come home. i still feel every emotion possible, just as i did back in asheville. but, just as in asheville, my soul is content. of course, the other night, as i lay in bed, having texted my brother and having not heard back from him yet, i began to cry. ok, sob. i cried and cried on our first night here. i was so tired. and so sad. and so relieved. part of my heart is missing, and part of my heart is filled again. but, it’s all just an amazing, wonderful gift – this life that i have.
since then, i have talked with my mom and dad, and texted with my brother. i have chatted with some friends in asheville and met up with some friends i have missed here in sweden. i got to connect with my soulmate + kindred spirit today for a sushi lunch. and, though we’ve been apart and haven’t seen each other since the summer, he + i are in very similar places in life. always paralleling each other in some way, yet in uniquely different ways too. it was so good to see him.
so, here i am. all settled into the thought of being in sweden again. loving the snow + the cozy atmosphere. completely overwhelmed + grateful that i get to share this life with my amazing love.
mind you, we are not settled settled yet. there are many, many more adventures to come – like finding a place to live. that’s right, we don’t have a place to live yet, oh, and i’m job-hunting. for now, though, we are here with lina’s parents, in the town where we used to live. we will be here for a week and a half more, then lina is headed up to uppsala – where we will make our new home (though we have no home yet). we will see if zola and i can go too… depending on that home situation. still, that’s about 10 days away, and a lot can happen in 10 days. so, stay tuned to follow the next adventures.
in the meantime, join me in tapping into the power and balance and peace and fierceness that is within…
onwards + upwards, my friends!