It’s been very difficult for me to write this last post on the Expat Blog. A lot has happened in the past six weeks, and I am happy to share that I have moved back to the United States with my husband to start a new adventure together – one in which we will switch roles so that I will be the knowing native and he will be the hapless expat (or something like that).
To be honest, over the last year and half of blogging for the Swedish Institute, this blog has become a little like my baby. I love it. I agonize over it. I try not to brag about it but find myself subtly working it into conversations. You know, very normal behavior. And now it’s time to say goodbye.
Springtime in Lund. Photo: Kate Reuterswärd
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I’m back after a much-needed hiatus for ten more posts here at the Expat Blog. After the next ten, you’ll get the great treat of experiencing Sweden through a different expat’s eyes. I am going to do my best to make these next ten posts great, but if there are any lingering questions or issues out there for expats in Sweden, just let me know in the comments and I’ll try to address them.
So what have I been up to during this hiatus? Lots. But one of the first things we did this August (right after panicking about the imminent end of summer) was head out to Simon’s family’s summer cottage on Öland, an island where the cows (and the bird watchers) run wild.
Cows. Everywhere. Photo: Kate Reuterswärd
In movies and in the self-help sections of women’s magazines, you sometimes hear people talking about “going to their happy place.” I was never really sure what that was supposed to be. A vacation destination? An imaginary enchanted forest grove? A spa?
Now that I’ve been to Öland, though, I know what the phrase is supposed to mean. For Simon’s family, their rustic countryside retreat has been the setting for a million happy childhood memories over the last 50 years — and thanks to Simon’s little nephew, the house is seeing a fourth generation of running, climbing, and playing.
Playtime is pants optional for certain members of the family. Photo: Kate Reuterswärd
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Before we left for vacation, I was feeling very skeptical about the fantastic Swedish summer that had been promised to me.
All through the cold, hard winter, the words “Swedish summer” were whispered like an incantation, a sure reward for suffering through months of minimal sunlight and maximal wind exposure. Swedish summer, Swedish summer, Swedish summer. There’s nothing better in the whole world.
In the last week of May, it seemed as though summer were just around the corner. The clouds cleared, ice cream shops opened, and old ladies draped themselves over park benches with their heads tilted up to the sky, already eager to scoop up any available rays.
And then winter came back. And then spring. And then it got cold again. And then people started telling me that once again, I just so happened to be here during “the rainiest June in Lund” since the 1920s or something like that. When we went to Italy on vacation, a cold front descended, making the much-heralded Swedish summer look a lot more like Swedish late fall.
It’s just not right, you know? We LIVE for this. But all is forgotten now because the weather has turned and we are finally experiencing SWEDISH SUMMER.
Here’s what my summer days have been looking like: Read more » >>
Here is something that most people know about me: I am the least sneaky person on this planet. I have no poker face. I can’t hide my emotions. I can’t cross a room without bumping into a chair or knocking something over. Not sneaky.
But now I’m on vacation in Italy, and I can speak Swedish. Holy moly, I have gone from speaking the most easily identifiable language ever (American English) to communicating in a secret language all of my own (shared with just 9 million people or so). I might as well be speaking Slytherin. A RIDDLE WRAPPED IN A MYSTERY INSIDE AN ENIGMA, I TELL YOU. And the key is Swedish.
My level of sneakiness: without Swedish. Photo: Simon Reuterswärd
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I poke. I push. I prod. I try to get people out of their cubicles and traveling the world… I show others that traveling doesn’t have to be expensive, that anyone can do it, and that your fears are unfounded… Judging by the emails I get from people, I think I’m successful at getting people onto airplanes and out into the world.
That’s how Matt Kepnes, better known online as “Nomadic Matt,” describes his day-to-day work. For the last six years, Matt has been a full-time traveler and travel blogger, roaming the globe in search of new adventures and experiences.
In that time, Matt has supported himself through his website, which has allowed him to travel around the world 3 times, create destination guides for other intrepid explorers for more than 200 destinations, and spend his winters on the beach of his choice (extremely appealing to me).
All good things must come to an end, though.
Matt Kepnes, aka "Nomadic Matt," blogger, world-traveler, and new expat in Sweden. Photo: Matt Kepnes
Matt has decided to give “semi-nomadic” life a try for the first time, and of all the places in the world to take the leap into being an expat, he’s chosen Sweden as his first destination. Read more » >>