Tag Archives: moving overseas

And so the Countdown Begins

Wow, it has been busy!

Between travel agents and computer technicians and vets and Easter… feels like I haven’t had a moment’s breath!  However, I can happily say that our flights are now all booked in.  To our family and friends, this is old news as we’ve been a bit slow getting it onto the blog,  but we’re all organised now, or at least, the technical side of things.  Johan arrives in Brisbane on the night of June 23 – just over two months away!  With any luck, the jet lag will be less bad for him as he will be able to sleep it off straight away… but I know it doesn’t work like that.  Even a week or two weeks into my last two trips, I could not stop myself from falling asleep the moment things got quiet.  But that could also have been because we filled our itineraries to bursting point.  In any case, he will have six weeks to recover before we fly back to Stockholm, together at last, on August 9.  Hopefully, with a cat.

I’m still in a bit of denial, I think.  I can’t believe it’s really finally happening.  I packed my first box last weekend, only a small 15x15x15cm box which was the perfect fit for a fragile item, and I dusted down all of my shelves and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m TOO organised.  I mean I’ve been thinking about this for over six months.  I feel I can’t pack because if I do, I’ll have it all done in a week, tops.  And I’m now not moving for another 3 and a half months so I’m telling myself to wait another 2 if I don’t want an empty unwelcoming room to live in.  I basically know what I’m doing with all my stuff, it’s just all matter of packing it into the right boxes, and jigsawing all my items into the suitcases.  I know the weight isn’t a problem, it’s just the volume they will take up and how to sandwich it altogether to meet those weight requirements.

So I’m back on focusing on my other commitments.  Finishing up all my craft projects, selling off the things I don’t want, and trying to learn Swedish.  Johan is back at school next week, and these next two months are surely going to fly before he’s finishing up, packing up his own apartment, and getting himself over to me.  64 days really isn’t that long at all.  It’s very, very close.  And we can’t wait.

It’s Been A Year

One year ago today, we submitted our application for my Swedish residence permit, a little earlier than expected, and so began this emotional journey.  Thinking back now, I’m glad we didn’t delay the process any further because here we are, 12 months later, still waiting and worrying and hoping.  But the decision has to be close now, any day.  We’re now in the estimated decision time frame, which is so exciting and terrifying.  Although most rejected applications hear back in a much shorter time frame,  you still can’t help wondering, “what if…?” And as much as we really want that decision so we can start making solid plans and book our flights before they get even more expensive than they already are, I’m also glad we haven’t received it sooner.

Once we have a decision, I am allowed six months to move over.  Of course, one can apply for an extension on that, but it would probably look better if you moved over as soon as reasonably possible. And as we’re still hoping for a July moving date after Johan finishes his course in June, this is still 4 out of those 6 months into the future.  In fact, I even mentioned this in our application, so the fact we haven’t received a decision yet isn’t worrying me as such, but it has started to get more nerve wracking and stressful these past couple of weeks, knowing that we will soon have that answer.  Another Brisbaner received their decision just this week, and they applied just after us and received their interview invitation at the embassy a day after us.  So it’s all very exciting!

Meanwhile on top of stressing about the decision, packing, the cat, where we’ll be living, where we’ll get jobs, when we’ll get jobs… I’m also stressing about how much I’m trying to get done before the move, and preferably,  before the decision.  Because I feel as soon as we get a decision, everything else will be blown from my mind and I’ll be in moving-prep mode.  But that also includes finishing half-started projects for our Etsy store, getting rid of as much stock as we can, deciding what I can and can’t live without and practising as much Swedish as I can, because it turns out SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) can sometimes take up to several months to get into.  There is so much to keep me busy and yet there are still days I just feel miserable with stress and longing.

Johan on the other hand is heading to Stockholm today to spend four weeks with his Mum while he attends practise work.  Next time he heads to Stockholm it’ll be to get on  a plane to see me.  We’ve never been so close to a visit without a known date. 😦 But hopefully soon, that will change.

International Move: The Expectations 5 Months in Advance

So, we’re into March and the desire to pack has only increased since my last expectations post, where the estimate weight of all the items I’d weighed up until that point was 51.55kg.  It hasn’t helped I’ve been helping my brother and his family move house, nor has it helped travelling into Central station everyday where there is always tourists wheeling suitcases with them.  I’ve now had a chance to weigh some more of my belongings, and despite that estimate increasing quite a bit to 154.94kg, I am refusing to be disheartened, because it’s really not as bad as it sounds!

At the moment, we are looking at flying with Singapore Airlines, who offer 30kg checked luggage, any amount of bags, and 7kg hand luggage which excludes the weight of a small handbag, laptop or camera bag.  So that’s 74kg between us, plus a few extra kilos that we should be able to squeeze into unweighted bags.  We lose about 8.5kg straight away between the weight of empty suitcases and backpacks.  That still leaves us 66kg.

I’ve weighed almost everything I can think of, except for my jewellery (which let’s be honest I don’t wear a lot of!); moving paperwork; souvenir papers and brochures from Sweden; a few smaller HP collectibles; and my craft supplies (most of which will be replaced).  Oh, and a bunch of childhood toys and items, which I’m not including right now.  So definitely no more than 10kg there, and the only priority there is my paperwork.  The important thing is, I’ve now weighed all of my clothes (including coat hangers, underwear, socks, shirts,  pants, jumpers, coats, shoes) which is about 25.65kg.  This estimate will be less, however, when I take out some things I won’t be bringing with me (including the coat hangers), and decide on the heaviest clothing items to wear on the plane.  So that right there are my priority items for shipping, plus 1-2kg to toiletries and other necessities.  Johan won’t be coming here empty handed either, so let’s give him 10kg to work with.  He’s a guy, and it’s summer for him, so he probably won’t even need that 😛 That’s 46kg for priority items and bags, with still 28kg spare in our baggage allowance.  This leaves space for all the other fun things I want to bring… the biggest of that being my HP collection.

So I’ve gone through my list  to see what I’d most like to fill the rest of that 28kg with and I’ve come up with Priority List No. 2, mostly full of sentimental items, coming in about 23kg, which still gives me 5kg to play with, and I musn’t forget to leave room for the Aussie goodies – namely Vegemite.

After reading some reviews, I am still thoroughly looking into Australian courier company, Pack and Send.  For example, I can ship a 40x40x30cm, 10kg box for $161.80 which I think is pretty all right, or say a 70x60x40cm, 30kg box for $370.23 – and arrives within 5 business days.  Cheaper and quicker than Australia Post by far, and excess baggage at airport.

australiapost1

Or, so I thought.  Only this morning l I discovered that to send a 20kg parcel express with Australia Post to Sweden, including tracking and coverage worked out comparatively about the same as the Pack and Send prices, but with a 20kg limit instead of 30kg.  Don’t ask me how on earth this works.  $211 to send a 20kg parcel with all the extras, but $50 to send a 1.5kg parcel without tracking or cover, makes ZERO sense.  So now I’m sort of stuck between the two, because despite their every day regular mail absurd prices, I have been lucky in my dealings with Australia Post.  I have never had any mail go missing or get damaged, and I’ve only ever had 2 complaints from my Etsy customers about 2 delayed packages – both of which were during Christmas peak.  But I know a lot of people have had nightmares with them, only to be expected now and then, like anything.  So now I don’t know who to give my money to.

The point is, whichever company I go with, this will allow me to have my other items that I’d still really like with me to make me happy for a small price.  I wouldn’t want to ship more than 20-40kg excess.  And this saves me the worry, hassle, extra expense and long wait period for a shared container shipment.  Which leaves the rest of my moving check list (60kg) – all of which are non-urgent items, and stuff I’d like to have with me, but most of which I won”t want for years down the track when we’re well and truly settled (think – kids).  These are things that can easily be brought back with us on future holidays to Australia.

The last thing I’m looking at shipping is one of our cats.  She is 12 years old and we’ve had her since she was a kitten.  I’m not sure if it’s the wisest move, and my Mum is still perfectly able to look after her, but she’s still a youngster at heart, and it’s one thing to leave her for six weeks on holiday, it’s another to leave her for good.  Our two cats hate each other.  Always have and always will, as such they’ve sort of clinged one to Mum and one to me, and it’s a nightmare trying to find accommodation for both of them when we go on holidays.  If we were both to have one cat, this task would be easier.  That said,  trying to ship her to Sweden is not easy.

A lot of airlines will allow pet travel in the cabin at your feet, which saves money, but not into or out of Australia.  She would have to go in the cargo, and it’s cheapest to send her within 5 days of our travel.  From what I can tell, pet travel companies charge anywhere between $1500- $3500, but that’s from reading what few reviews I can find online and I am yet to get an actual quote as we don’t have travel dates yet.  There’s also the option of doing all the paperwork ourselves and avoiding the pet travel company altogether, probably saving a lot of money by only paying the excess baggage/cargo fees of about $1000, which doesn’t include the vet fees, but with that also comes added stress to ensure we get all of the paperwork correct.  So that’s one of the most important shipping options I’ve also had to consider!

The move is coming up fast (at least – we hope it is, if when we receive a decision it ends up fitting with our plans!) and I’m beginning to feel much more confident about how I’m going to move all of my stuff and how much I’ll be able to bring with me immediately, but there’s still the matter of space and volume, and I can’t know that until I can start packing.  Already I’m looking at getting a cheap, large wheeled duffel bag simply for transporting clothes and soft items (and it’s true, rolling clothes really does take up so much less space – but how much can I make it squish?!), but we’ll see how it goes when the time comes!  As always, tips and experiences are welcome, or maybe this has helped you!

The Wait Process

So, it’s been a while.  Honestly, there hasn’t been much to report.  It’s a waiting game, and it looks something like this every day:

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[Reads in rows, left to right]
But really.  There’s not much to tell.  Christmas was pretty lonely, but Skänninge missed out on having a white wonderland again, so I’m hoping this will be the year (third try lucky!).  Mum and I spent most of December and January reminiscing about where we were a year ago and watching through the 8 hours of footage I edited onto 2 dvds.  I’ve started a new job, Johan’s preparing to finish school in June, and we’re both hoping for a decision any day between now and May.  Just this week someone received their decision and they applied shortly after us, which is exciting!  Of course, there’s also the possibility that the decision doesn’t fall into the 13-14 month estimated time frame, either, but we’re living the hope that it will!

I’m starting to get frantic trying to organise some sightseeing for Johan when he comes to visit Australia for the first time (yes, he will see kangaroos and koalas :P), all the while looking up flights we can’t book yet and comparing prices we don’t have specific dates for.  And the desire to pack has become so strong I’m surprised the suitcase isn’t sitting open on my bed right now.

As our decision draws close, we’re going to keep you updated on the whole moving process because it’s going to be a crazy ride and one thing that has helped us is hearing the advice and experiences from others!  We hope to provide some to you, too.  Until then!

International Move: The Expectations 12 Months in Advance

I know, I know.  I’m thinking too far ahead.

But, for the longest time, I’ve been excited to start packing up my belongings, ready to make the move to Sweden.  I was ready to start packing in mid-2015!  But Johan said no, it’s too early 😛 I guess he had a point.  So in the end, I started photographing the things that I didn’t want to take with me, the things that I would try and sell second hand on places like Gumtree.  It would be a very slow process, and I refused to back down on my prices because I was in no rush to sell things – I had about 2 years to wait, after all, and I was willing to wait for the right buyers.

In the meantime, I also began writing down a list of things in Excel that I would want to bring with me – things that would be Urgent to take with me on the plane; Shipped that I wouldn’t mind waiting for, but wouldn’t want to be without for overly long; & Non-Urgent for things that could wait until family & friends could bring them over for me, or things that could wait for visits back to Australia.  It was a nice thought, but basically everything on that list ended up as Shipped.  Not exactly the prioritization I had in mind.  Instead, I began measuring and weighing the items I thought to be the largest/heaviest/bulkiest and added these to my list.

My next visit to Sweden for Christmas 2015 would result in me leaving the vast majority of my winter gear with Johan, to save trekking it all back to Queensland where none of it was needed.  I left him 2 winter jackets, my snow pants, 2 pairs of long pants, a thick fleece jumper, thermals, heavy gloves, socks, scarves and beanies.  You can imagine how much space I had in my suitcase coming home without all that stuff, and I probably cleared at least 10kg off my moving list, a year and a half before the move.  I was quite happy with that, because even if things didn’t work out, they weren’t items I’d need at home.  I also left him a few select items – a few books I wanted to share with him, and some small soft toys (what can I say?  I always will be a kid at heart) which I’d also used as space-fillers and soft packaging.  My suitcase would barely close on arrival, because I made use of every little inch – and even though I’d bought a luggage scale off eBay for a few bucks, I did worry that I’d be over the limit.  In the end I think I was about 26/30kg for my suitcase, and had another 7kg to fill in my hand luggage.  It’s something I’d recommend if you’re seriously thinking of moving to your loved one, leave stuff with them on an earlier visit that you can live without if things go south, but will save you valuable space later on!  I’m usually quite a light traveler, but this is the kind of time to pack as much as you can, down to the last kilo.

Moving on, I applied for a residence permit, and still we’re about a year out from a possible move.  I say possible, assuming that our application is accepted, because if not, we might run into some trouble!  Might I also add that it’s the biggest pain in the butt to not know when we’ll receive an answer about that application – because at the moment we’re looking anywhere between May-Sept next year and can’t make any proper plans until then!  But still, I want to know HOW I’m going to move my stuff.  You’ll find a lot of international moving companies offering free quotes online if you fill out how much you have to move – 1 bedroom, no. of boxes, etc.  And this was what really frustrated me – how am I supposed to know how many boxes all my stuff will take up?  I also wasn’t planning on moving any furniture, which I was sure the “1-bedroom” option would entail.  I wasn’t even taking my PC.  There were also companies that would come to your house and give you a free quote, but that seemed a bit extreme for something so far in the future.

So I went back to my list in Excel.  I had always thought that because I wasn’t bringing any furniture, airfreight might be a suitable option.  Yes, it tends to be more expensive because it’s priced on weight and not volume, but we’re talking about items in a bedroom (and a half) that’s just 3x3m,  I’m not big on clothes, or shoes, so I don’t have a lot there to move, either.  It’s mostly books, dvds, things of sentimental value (and I’ve got to admit, I’m a hoarder), and of course my Harry Potter collection.  It honestly didn’t feel like a lot, but I knew to expect to be surprised, that it would more than likely add up.  Still, I lived under the impression that, for me, airfreight would work out cheaper, not to mention it tends to be more reliable, and would get to me much sooner!

The items that I had weighed in my moving list came out at 51.55kg. This was no where near a complete weighing – I hadn’t weighed everything on the list, and it didn’t include clothes… but it did include my treasured HP books, and honestly, how much more was really needed?  I could always rebuy all my art materials.  Throw in an estimate on clothes and things… But still, I was right.  I did NOT have a lot of stuff to move.  The plan was always that Johan would come out to visit me in Australia before I made the move, and he would come in our winter, the equivalent of a Swedish summer, so he would not have a lot to bring over here.  Not the winter gear I had to bring!  Which would also mean we had 2 suitcases to fly back with us, and 2 lots of hand luggage.  If we were to go with the bigger airlines again, that would mean 74kg between us.  Not bad considering my current estimate was sitting at just 50kg.

Of course, the next thing would be the bulk.  Not everything I had would fit its way into our two suitcases.  I had 2 large frames I had to decide whether to bring or roll up the posters and rebuy frames.  I had a 3rd, very heavy custom made shadow-box frame .  And I had my large but lightweight Hogwarts trunk.  Take those out of the equation, gives more room for the clothes to be rolled up in the suitcases!  And surely, surely I might only need 1 or 2 airfreight boxes which would no doubt have to be cheaper than a shared shipping container.  Just had to be.  But still I could find no where to price up unless I had the size of the box and the weight, and that was something I couldn’t do because I wanted it packed properly and wasn’t sure if they’d require separate boxes or not.  The other thing was my books – they’d easily take up a suitcase in themselves and I’m not sure that would be wise, but posting with Australia Post was never going to be an option, considering it’s about $40 to send a 1kg parcel uninsured to Sweden – though certainly postage would be a great option for other countries where postage is cheaper!  So I tried to put in rough box estimates, but still there was no where that could just give me a straight price estimate without having to get into contact with someone for a personalised quote.  I just wanted to know how much airfreight was!  $100?  $200?  $300?

So I went to the airline itself, and I went back to the Emirates website, simply because we’ve flown with them twice and I don’t know who we’ll be flying with this time, but I imagine they’re likely on the higher price scale so good for estimating. $108 per extra kg over.  Oookay.  Not so good.  Let’s pretend I’m looking at 10-20kgs extra.  For that price, I’d be better off buying another return ticket home and just filling that suitcase with the remainder!  Or shouting someone a trip and saying “on the condition you bring all my stuff!” All in all, not a bad idea, especially considering most of the items I wouldn’t mind waiting on, and I was hoping to return for a short visit to Australia just 8 months later.  Still, when I say I wouldn’t mind waiting, I’m very sentimental and as with anyone I’m sure sooner-rather-than-later would be the preferred option.  And surely the moving companies would know the ins and outs and give better deals.  It kills to think of the weighty stuff you can buy overseas with free postage… But did I need a moving company if I only had 20kg extra?  Fragile items, yes, but…

And STILL I wanted to pack – I wanted to see exactly how much I could squeeze into two suitcases.  Weight-wise I sounded very well off, but volume wise?  What if it was all too bulky and I couldn’t fit the amount of things I wanted to?  But it was too early, I kept telling myself.  Too early.  Then there was this note on the Emirates website: “You can check in as many pieces of baggage as you need, as long as the total weight is less than the maximum baggage allowance of your class.” Meaning, if we could fill a suitcase to the brim and still have it be a few kilos under the limit, we could take additional boxes for the bulkier items.  Could be perfect.

Then I looked up couriers.  Multiple websites, ranging $200-$450 for 20kg.  That’s sounding better.  A small fraction to pay for  my bulky, fragile items, that are no where near worth that in value, but sentiments.  It eased my worries a little.  I was sure, that whatever happened, I wouldn’t need to pay any moving company anything.  I might pack for a month trying to work out the best way to make the most use of two suitcases and hand luggage, but I had no furniture or appliances, and surely, it would be quite the affordable international move, minus, you know, the airline tickets.

Guess we’ll wait and see when the time comes… but hopefully this might help a few of you planning a move – when you’re on your own with nothing but your dreams and guesswork to occupy you for a move that’s too far in the future.  Do start deciding what you’ll bring and what you can start selling now.  Do buy a luggage scale to start weighing individual items and suitcases.  Do nurture those dreams.  And if you have any tips, comment below!

Why Would I Possibly Want to Move to Sweden?

When we first started dating and considering how this long distance would pan out in the end, I would never have expected to be the one to WANT to move.  We were at opposite ends of the globe, and couldn’t get too much further apart if we tried.  Johan had said he would like to move to an English-speaking country, and his family was more spread out over the country than mine was, so I’d always just expected for him to make the move, otherwise I wasn’t sure how long our relationship was going to last.  At least, that was my thinking for the first year of our relationship.

Then we had our first meeting, and it was love at first sight with that country (and the boyfriend, of course).  I could no longer imagine us living in Australia.  Which is a bit crazy, considering the number of things I consider the negative effects on the “Things to Know Before Moving to Sweden” lists.  Here’s why:

Title 1

No, don’t shoot me down for this one! Fika is Swedish for a coffee break that’s more about socialising than drinking coffee.  It is more than just a coffee break – it’s a lifelong tradition and social phenomenon – but that first part still makes me hesitate.  Coffee break.  I don’t drink coffee.  Or tea, for that matter.  I’m much more a water & occasional soft drinks (soda) kind of girl, with the odd hot chocolate maybe three times a year.  I fear turning down the cups of coffee that the Swedes may offer me, to the point where maybe I will start drinking this hot beverage to avoid the awkwardness.  Who knows, maybe I’ll start liking it?  But for now, I’ll stick with my coffee-free lifestyle.  Besides, there’s the other half of fika – all the sweets and cakes and buns and cookies and delicious sugary goodness to look forward to.  Mm-mmm!

Title 2

I am not a seafood person.  I do not like the smell; I do not like the taste, especially not REAL seafood – like caught from the ocean, shells, eyes and bones kind of thing.  I have no problem eating baby prawns (frozen & prepacked), smoked oysters/mussels (in an aluminum can) or seafood extender (the red stuff, also bought frozen).  I’ll also eat crumbed calamari rings, and fish fingers – only if they don’t taste too fishy.  But proper fish?  I steer well clear.  And Sweden is like the fish capital.  They have it on their National Day, Midsummer Day, Easter, Christmas… And they have the real stuff.  Salmon, pickled herring, crayfish (boiled alive) and of course, surströmming *shudders*.  They even have fish CAKES.  CAKES.  For birthdays.  Not sweet, fattening sponge cakes and cheesecakes and chocolate cakes, but FISH CAKES (which actually, if I’m perfectly honest, doesn’t look too bad.  Something I would eat.  Much less horrifying than the thought of trying to pull apart a crayfish).  I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle so much seafood.  But it will be a learning curve.  After all, Kalles kaviar wasn’t so bad.

Title 3

For my whole life, my Mum has told me to stay single and free and travel the world, because she didn’t.  For my whole life (…before I met Johan) I told her I didn’t care about travel.  And I didn’t.  I cared about going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the Studio Tour, but apart from that… no interest.  Then I went to Sweden.  Not for the travel, but for my boyfriend (okay, okay, and the snow).  And I loved every minute of it.  Finding out about the history of his hometown, the history of the capital city, the Vikings.  Australia seemed so new and has so much to learn, and yet here, this place had a history hundreds of years old, and buildings made before Australia was even put on the map.  It was fascinating.  And suddenly, my interest in travel peaked just a little.  I wanted to explore the rest of his country, up and down the entire stretch of land.  Then you start thinking, well, it’s so close to so many other countries and it’s so cheap to visit.  And Australia is so isolated and takes a small fortune to get outside of those boundaries and further than just interstate.  You know what?  I might have to bite my tongue and take back my word.  Maybe I DO want to travel.


Oh, and then there’s the things other people consider the negative effects, that I consider positive:

Title 4

Ever since I’ve started saying I want to make the move, my Nan has said that the  novelty of the cold air and snow as far as the eye can see will wear off.  I don’t believe that.  I’m a child at heart – always have been, always will be.  I’ll make snowmen and snow angels every year, enjoy the late morning sunrises and rugging up in about a dozen layers before stepping outside.  And when it seems dark, I’ll have someone to keep me company; a fireplace to tend to and fleece blankets all over the house.  I’ll get to the point where I’ll consider a Swedish summer hot and an Aussie summer hell (because of course an Australian winter only gets as cold as a Swedish summer).  I’m more worried about the midnight sun!  My Mum is absolutely right when she says Australia is the same all year round, at least in Brisbane where there is no snow.  No autumn leaves and trees losing their leaves, only to sprout fresh new ones in the spring, splashing the world in an abundance of colour once more.  The yard looks the same today, as it will next season, and the season after that and the season after that.  I mean, where’s the inspiration in that?  The excitement of the first snowflake, jumping in a pile of crunchy, autumn leaves… yep, I’ll have some of that please.

Title 5

One of the things I’ve always admired about Johan is how fluent he is in English.  I didn’t have to teach him a thing (well, except for the Aussie slang).  That said, I also enjoy listening to him speak Swedish with his family even if I can barely understand a word.  The Swedish language sounds so pleasant to the ear, especially when softly-spoken.  Even before I wanted to move to Sweden, I wanted to at least learn the language to better communicate with his family – who for the most part speak fairly good English anyway, apart from his youngest sisters who will eventually learn it in school.  How hard could it be?  I mean, when I learnt Indonesian in school I was pretty good… not that I remember any of it now… Whilst I am learning bits and pieces of Swedish, it is harder than I perhaps expected, but I hope to one day be as fluent in Swedish as Johan is in English, and be able to sing the beautiful national anthem, loud and proud.

Title 6

Almost all the articles rattle off quotes about how Sweden is a very expensive country to live, particularly in Stockholm.  I mean, of course it’s going to be expensive in Stockholm, it’s the city!  Every city center is expensive.  Now if these articles are all being written by Americans who pay $10 for three course meals, then I understand.  But when comparing prices with Australia, it really wasn’t that much more expensive.  In fact, in some instances, Sweden was cheaper!  I regularly look at Swedish real estate sites with prices of approx. 1200000 – 2000000 kr ($183000 – $304000) – up and down the whole country mind, so some of those houses might be in the middle of nowhere, I haven’t worked out the geography of it all yet – but there’s some beautiful old homes that are drool-worthy.  Whilst many have been built  in the mid-1900s – some earlier, some later –  so many have had renovations inside to make the house modern, refreshing and new.  There are fewer new houses and housing estates being built, meaning more countryside.  Not to mention a much better (and cheaper) public transport system, meaning fewer cars on the road (and more expensive fuel), but more bicycles.  It may or may not have been my imagination, but the air smelt so crisp and clean outside.  Of course, then there’s avgift which confuses me beyond belief, but…

Overall, I think the biggest worry will be maintaining employment (specifically for a non-Swede) to be able to keep up with the cost of living.  I really want us to be able to move into a home sooner rather than later, but from what I’ve heard it can be harder to get loans over there – although there’s not supposed to be any restrictions for expats – but then, it’s also very hard to get into the renting market, at least in the city areas, unless you’ve been on a wait-list for years.  Hence we’re trying to save every cent and kronor we can now.  As long as I can job search before moving over there, and work on learning the language – the unemployment rates can’t be that bad.  I mean, it can’t be that different from Australia, and I was unemployed for almost two years, hunting down that first job.  I’ve been down that road, conquered it, and I’ll conquer it again.

Regardless, it makes more sense for me to move to him (we won’t even mention the ludicrous cost difference for a Swedish Residence Permit – which can be obtained without being married aka “sambo” – vs. an Australian Partner Visa).  His family is younger; he has younger siblings closer to my age who are yet to marry.  My family is older and slightly better off money-wise if ever they want to come for visits (and will surely love the novelty of snow as much as I do).  I want our kids to grow up in a multilingual country where education is free (and gender equality great) and they can speak with both our families from the time they can talk.  I want to change my lifestyle to a happier, healthier one, which I want to do outside of my home country and my creature comforts, in one of the greenest nations on Earth.

I have always hated and feared big changes in my life.  Now, I couldn’t be more excited to try, with the one I love to help me through it. ♥♥♥