Tag Archives: sweden

First day back to work!

11 Dec

Hey all!

Just thought I’d put up a little update about how my first day back to work went! It’s been quite some time since I’ve been at a “job” that “pays me money.” It’s been nice. It’s kind of amazing how well this time off has done me mentally.

Moving here was hard at first (for all the reasons you think), and sometimes Ben and I still get a little lonely. But we’re used to doing our own thing here, and now that Ben’s grant got accepted and I have a job, things are starting to feel a lot easier (even though there’s about two feet of snow on the ground!)

I babysat two little Swedes today, 5 and 9, and they were really cute and easy to get along with. I was a little nervous about it at first because the younger of the two doesn’t speak any English, and the older one only speaks and understands a little. It was enough though, to get us through the evening. We made some Advent calendars out of origami squares (thanks for the idea, Jenn) and then we played some games upstairs. The older one beat me at chess. He has a trophy and some medals from chess competitions he’s won! I’m going to try to teach him checkers.

I received another email from Upgrades yesterday that asked if I’d like to take on an assignment tutoring a high schooler once a week in English. I told them that it sounds grand! It’ll be nice doing a variety of different things here with English because I think it will make me more marketable as an English teacher in other countries when Ben and I are done here in Stockholm.

❤ That’s really all the updates we have for now!

Val & Ben


We’re here…figuring things out a little bit at a time!

8 Oct

Hej everyone!

I’m finally starting the blog I promised everyone I’d go to before we left! Our trip here as been interesting so far (starting with our 30 hour travel time just to get here.) My mom was right to warn Ben that when you travel with Val you are 95% guaranteed to have delayed flights. Which we did. BTW airport beer is expensive in every airport and they will kick you out with yr beer in a plastic cup as soon as the clock strikes 10pm, don’t let them trick you into thinking they’re as friendly as yr cuddly neighborhood bartender. Anyhow, here’s a buttload of pictures fr you all, and then a buttload of talking about what we’re doing will follow. ♥

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Sweden is great! It’s all been a really great adventure, but everything always seems a bit overwhelming at first, not being able to understand a damn thing happening around you. I.e. yesterday a crazypants woman came up to me in the train station while Ben was trying to figure out where our transfer was and I let her talk at me trying to figure out what she needed until I noticed that her eyes were glazed over and everyone else was just ignoring her. OH.

Another fun thing to do is try to go grocery shopping. True, a lot of things we can figure out what they are simply by looking at them, however when it comes to food being in a tube, we have to guess by the cartoon on the front. Also when it’s cartoons of different fish, is it paste or is it eggs? I’m not buying it to find out. At least not yet. And then there’s the cost of products. Ben and I are still thinking in USD and not SEK yet, hopefully this will change as soon as we start getting some kind of regular income in Swedish monies. Moral of the story, it’s annoying to try and divide things by 6.5 while the rest of the Swedes rush and push around you because they know which flour to buy. Dear iphone, please get here fast, we are in need of yr mobile translating powers.

On the plus side, we’ve been in our apartment three nights now, and I’ve managed to cook tasty dinner two nights while Ben shuffles the end of his Pittsburgh job and the beginning of his Swedish job. So far, salad wraps with salmon, pizza with tomato and pepper rings and fish soup (fisksoppa!)

We are still waiting for an appointment time from the Migrationsverket. We were told when we visited in August that all we needed to start applications on our personnummers (kind of like the Swedish version of a SSN) was a Swedish address and the letters showing we’ve been accepted for visas. This time we were told we needed to have our resident ID cards first. Wish we would have known that prior to moving, because we could have saved ourselves about a month by visiting our local Swedish embassy in the US!  OWELL. Now we have to make an appointment with these guys, which you can only do by sending an e-mail and they will text you an appointment time. Which you can’t get a phone plan here before you have a personnummber and 6 months of a Swedish bank account. Anyhow. We’re still waiting for them to get back to us about an appointment, we’ll have to re-email them tomorrow if we don’t hear anything. Then who knows when our appointment will be. After we get fingerprinted and photographed we’ll have to wait up to 6 weeks (I think) for our resident ID cards to get to us. Then we can start the applications for a personnummer at the Skatteverket (tax office for immigrants), then once those are in we have to wait about 4 weeks for our personnummer to get to us. THEN we can finally try to get things like a bank account, renters insurance, a Swedish credit card, and a job (for me). We’ve been getting frustrated with feeling so brushed aside by everyone. We just have to keep in mind that all these things take time and a LOT of running around.

Other things have been really fun. We found the for real Swedish IKEA, and we took a neighborhood Stockholm bus for the first time. (Which Pittsburgh could really learn a lot from the Swedes’ public transit system. Every bus stop is outfitted with a digital readout of then the next bus is coming, same as the train stations, and when that sign says yr bus is coming in a minute, it means that yr bus is coming in a minute.) Right by the IKEA we saw a “gigantic megastore” that we thought was hilarious but it just turned out to be exactly like a BestBuy. We also went exploring on a path behind our apartment yesterday and found this garden that looks like you can rent out a plot for the season, and also a little horse stable with some cute horses that have haircuts to match exactly where their saddles go.

We’ve been in touch with a lot of you guys, and we miss everyone a LOT. We miss seeing signs in English, although it’s fun to not have that as an option. Keep on keeping up with us, and I’ll do my best to keep up with with blog.
Val & Ben ♥

p.s. word on the street is that if you’re going to send us anything larger than an envelope, do it via USPS. Everyone else charges a VAT (value added tax) because Sweden rules.

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