it’s saturday night now, and the reality of announcing about our big move to sweden has begun to sink in. and, i am all aflutter with emotions – excitement over being an expat and starting over again. confusion and sadness about leaving asheville, a place that i love more than words can say. joy at seeing friends + family in europe that i haven’t seen in a while. sadness at leaving behind friends + family in the states.
however, the biggest emotion that i am experiencing is gratitude. pure, wonderful gratefulness that i can call two places, two countries home. or better yet, that i can consider the entire world my home.
in honor of this move, i have decided that i’ll dedicate the next posts over the next 9 saturdays to our move to sweden + all things ex-pat. you know, it’s a special (and crazy) thing to be living abroad. there are certain complicated, fun, confusing, adventurous, frustrating, amazing moments that come with being an ex-pat, but it is definitely a lifestyle/life choice that suits me.
tonight, as i begin to delve back into my ex-pat memories from living abroad before and prepare myself for all of my upcoming experiences + opportunities, i thought i’d share a few fabulous quotes that perfectly sum up some of my feelings + thoughts regarding the joys + trials of moving to another country. for all of the ups and downs, and crazy, wonderful times, living abroad is an incredible journey – an amazing risk and a chance to live life to the fullest!
“She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs. ‘Time’ for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water.” – Roman Payne
It is a bitter-sweet thing, knowing two cultures. Once you leave your birthplace nothing is ever the same. – Sarah Turnbull, Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris
What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others. – Pericles
People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost. – Dalai Lama XIV
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”- Howard Thurman
Life might be difficult for a while, but I would tough it out because living in a foreign country is one of those things that everyone should try at least once. My understanding was that it completed a person, sanding down the rough provincial edges and transforming you into a citizen of the world. What I found appealing in life abroad was the inevitable sense of helplessness it would inspire. Equally exciting would be the work involved in overcoming that helplessness. There would be a goal involved, and I liked having goals. – David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day
You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place. – Miriam Adeney
Ordinary life does not interest me. – Anais Nin
You’re an expatriate. You’ve lost touch with the soil. You get precious. Fake European standards have ruined you. You drink yourself to death. You become obsessed by sex. You spend all your time talking, not working. You are an expatriate, see? You hang around cafés. – Ernest Hemingway
Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Loving life is easy when you are abroad. Where no one knows you and you hold your life in your hands all alone, you are more master of yourself than at any other time. – Hannah Arendt, Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewess
i’ve got some big big news to share with y’all! i’ve been dying to tell you, but sometimes you just have to wait to share what’s on your heart. it’s been hard to stay quiet about it, but you just gotta wait until everything falls into place. but, now the wait is over. now is the perfect time… finally! so, here goes!
lina and i are moving to uppsala, sweden!
ok. here’s how things went down.
my love + i began talking about our future (as we do all the time) and wondering what would come next. when we realized that it just might be possible for lina to begin working as a graphic designer way earlier than we anticipated. this happened months + months ago. suddenly, we found ourselves pursing this thought seriously, while at the same time, weighing all of the pros + cons of living in the states and living in sweden.
in any case, while we were pondering all of these pros and cons, including access to travel the world (waaaaay easier in sweden), amounst of salaries + freedom to live and grow our own business, vacation times, family rights, health care… all of the signs led us to know that, in order to live the life that we want, it is much more beneficial to live in sweden. at the same time, there is no place in sweden that feels exactly like asheville – a place where our hearts beat a little faster. still, the lifestyle in sweden – cozy, outdoorsy, simpler, intentional, and fika-filled! – is one that we love too! tough decision to know where to live? hell yeah.
but, things rolled on with lina and a potential job, and very recently she was offered a job as a graphic designer – doing exactly what she wants to do! amazing! i, of course, can write + take photos anywhere, so that’s exactly what i am going to do. once again, we have dreams + goals and we intend to do nothing less than listen to our souls and follow them.
it feels so amazing to know that we are moving back to sweden, and it feels so heartbreaking to know that we are leaving asheville behind. but, this is the life of an international married couple. a huge blessing + a bittersweet curse. however, with our work, we will be much more mobile (work + vacation times in sweden rock the socks off of american work + vacation times), so the opportunity for long-term travel will be a huge part of our sweden-based life. for instance, americans, we will be able to spend lots of time here + the goal is to buy a tiny place in and around asheville in the future.
this move feels very different than my last move to sweden 4 years ago. ii already have a permanent residence permit for sweden, so i am welcome to move back without any paperwork or anything, just as lina can move back. we just have to do a change of address at the government offices. how amazing is that? plus, i already have a place in society, with our family, friends, and the biggest of all… i speak swedish!
we are leaving asheville in less than two months, so there is not much time left before the big move. we are in the midst of juggling balancing life int he present moment here – enjoying every single thing and every single minute, and making all of the necessary preparations for another move across the ocean – whew. so, in the height of all of the cozy holiday season here in asheville, we are also getting moving quotes, looking for a place to live in uppsala, and terminating all of our business here. it’s freaking crazy. but, i think we thrive on this kind of stuff.
my heart is filled with excitement + sadness, joy + pain. but, i know, with all of my soul that this is right. and i cannot believe the opportunities that lay ahead for us both! be sure to follow along here… the next few months will be a big mix of holiday fun, moving preparations, and lots of reflections as we make this amazing transition.
yep. i’m gonna pack up my american things and head back out to be an ex-pat once again! let the adventures begin!
happy tuesday! if you follow me on instagram, then by now you know that my love + i snuck off this past weekend for a little getaway in atlanta, georgia. it’s only three hours away, so it’s totally doable, but the real reason we left (besides just having some time to reconnect + have pure, simple fun), was to visit some amazing friends that we haven’t seen since new year’s!
so, we packed one little bag and headed down south on a gorgeous, beautiful, autumn day. traffic wasn’t too bad, and the excitement of driving in the big city again made me super happy. i totally love the challenge of driving on a big ass highway. weird, i know. and probably because i don’t have to fight traffic on a daily basis.
first up on our list – a little zombie adventure. so, we drove straight on through the city, right through all the big skyscrapers, and headed south – out of town. we were on a mission: visit the filming locations for the awesome series the walking dead!! lina and i had lists of places to go. i drove. lina navigated. we may have gotten a little lost + a teeny bit frustrated/worried on the rural roads of georgia, but i’ll never tell…
however, after driving and turning around and driving some more… jackpot! we suddenly spotted zombies outside a restaurant! gaaaah! be prepared for a lot of walking dead photos and lingo right now – so sorry if you are not a fan! and if you are, and aren’t up to the current episode, then there may be some spoilers here.
check this out: right behind that fence is the prison! of course, we never saw the prison, because there was a no trespassing sign since that area belongs to a filming studio. go figure. still. those woods. that fence. the prison!
so, we kept driving a bit more and ended up in the little bitty town of senoia, georgia. here we were planning to find some houses used in some scenes in the movie, according to our little map. what i did not expect was to see this when we turned onto main street:
what?! it’s woodbury – the sick little town that the governor set up. they filmed everything right here in the middle of town! senoia IS woodbury! soooo cool. ok. so, now we were officially geeking out. there was even a walking dead store on the corner underneath the water town. and in the basement of the store… a little museum of things using in filming episodes. like i said, we were geeking out, people!
after leaving terminus, we sped through downtown atlanta, making our way to the world of coca-cola (a museum about coke, which was invented by a pharmacist in atlanta). we spent about an hour there and then headed over to meet one of the friends we were staying with for some drinks in the funky little five points neighborhood – love that area.
the evening consisted of dinner, drinks, friends, + so much fun. back at our friends’ home, we had talked about the walking dead so much, we decided to all curl up on the couch and watch the first episode again – you know, just for the hell of it. so, two dogs, a cat, and two couples all snuggled in reliving the craziness of the beginning of an amazing series.
in the morning, we got up + began our morning with some coffee. one of our friends had to go to a work interview for a few hours, but we kept it cozy + real at home. i got lots of pooch snuggles, drank an insane amount of coffee, had delicious quiche and hashbrowns for breakfast, and enjoyed the company of my love + by blogging buddy, lanie. we talked and talked and talked and talked some more, catching up and having such a wonderful time together. you know, just simple, good ole friend time.
our friend’s wife returned and she was so shocked to still see us sitting there. yes, it had been about 4 hours, and we had not moved. but, we were getting in some major quality time together. but now that charlie was back, we decided to make a move and take the dogs on a walk.
it was a gorgeous atlanta day, and the girls showed around their neighborhood. we just wandered and strolled for about an hour or so. it was perfect. relaxing, hilarious, fun.
unfortunately, we had to leave mid-afternoon to get back to asheville. regular life and responsibilities called us back. but, i was so refreshed + energized by our 36 hour retreat to atalanta. we crammed a bunch in, but it didn’t feel stressed. and, i got to be with my love – focusing on her and enjoying her company. oh, she’s my everything – my best friend + my soulmate.
we had an amazing weekend, and it was oh so much fun to see lanie + charlie. we gotta get together soon again, girls – thank you so much for letting us crash! in the meantime, a beautiful north carolina sunset greeted us as we crossed the state line.
if you could do something fun for 36 hours, what would you do?!