Signs of the season: spring flowers, muddy sidewalks, balmy breezes and best of all—sun, glorious sun!
Two weeks ago, I was surprised to wake up one weekend morning because of sun shining into our bedroom, a first in this new apartment. Now the sun is up ahead of me even on weekdays, making it unnecessary for me to turn on the kitchen light as I groggily make my way towards the coffee pot in the morning.
And would you believe it, I’m finally down to wearing just one coat and one pair of socks instead of two of each.
Spring in Sweden is tricky, though. The first weekend of March was cool but sunny, and I went on a massive neighborhood search for “vårtecken,” or “signs of spring.” I was like one of those kooky old people at the beach, combing the sand with a metal detector and more than a hint of a maniac glint in their eyes. Thank goodness Simon was busy with something else and wasn’t there to witness it. On the other hand, well, now he’s stuck with me. Haha! Poor guy.
A week later, flowers be darned, we had a fresh dusting of snow, albeit accompanied by pretty warm weather. This past weekend, it was warm and sunny again.
Which brings me to a little admission I have to make:
Hello, my name is Kate. I’ve lived in Sweden for about a year and a half now, and I’m obsessed with the weather.
Oh well. It was bound to happen.
In any case, I am in good company here. It feels like everyone I know is emotionally engaged in watching the ebb of winter/the flow of spring with an intensity you normally only find in new parents, eager to mark every centimeter their child grows and every gram their child gains. Look! New buds where they weren’t any last week! and look! The last of the ice in the canal is gone!
It’s a wonderful, somewhat magical feeling to be so involved in this process of growth and new beginnings.
Besides the constant obsession with the onset of spring, it’s (expat) life as usual.
In January, I went from being a paid-by-the-hour employee at my day job to being a full time (and often overtime) employee, so it’s been busy but exciting as I try to figure out how to take care of my new responsibilities. I got to go on a business trip and lead a two-day seminar in Stockholm in early February, and two weeks later I did my first university lecture in Swedish at Malmö University. No eggs or rotten tomatoes were aimed at my head during or after the presentation, so I think it went well.
I’ve been up to some really fun things outside of work, too. Last week, Malmö’s local radio station asked if I could come in and discuss American politics on their news show… in Swedish. So I did it. In between work and blogging and eating and sleeping, I’m hanging out with friends, meeting new people, and reading, occasionally, when I get the chance. (Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls is the latest… so good!)
Last but not least, this March marks one year of writing this blog for the Swedish Institute. (You can read my first blog post, “Welcome to the neighborhood!” here.)
In that year, I’ve gone from a pretty clueless, under-employed expat with a tenuous grasp on Swedish to a fully-employed, halfway Swedified expat using Swedish every single day. Oh yeah, and then there was this little marriage thing…
It’s hard to believe all the changes that have happened in 12 short months. I can’t wait to see what happens next.