Saturday, April 5, 2014

Stockholm: Day 1

Typical saffron Swedish building in Vasastan  |  Stockholm: Day 1 on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com
This is where I live now. 72 hours in, I still can't believe it. After an understandably forlorn NYC exit and Stockholm entry, we woke up to a glorious morning on Wednesday—our first full day living here. The sun shone all day long, glimmering off the subtly-spiced buildings in hues of paprika, saffron, sage, and curry, and interspersed with creamy vanilla, butter, and lemon curd-colored ones.

Walking around in the 50F (oops, 10C!) weather, on almost every single block I stage-whispered to R, "we LIVE here now. I live in Europe!". If he grew weary of my childlike wonder, he mercifully didn't let me know.

We started the day with coffee, my milk (!), and a hard-boiled egg in the most charming of holders, with a profusion of tulips the color of the morning's sunrise nodding benevolently at us. (Note: why don't we do this in the U.S? My first attempt at opening my egg resulted in a shell-filled mess since I had no previous experience). Then, we headed off to take care of all the usual administrative things, accompanied by trusty Google and R's mother's partner leading the way.

First stop was Migrationsverket (the Immigration Office), where I showed the letter giving me permission to live in Sweden permanently, had my fingerprints scanned and my photograph and electronic signature taken to put the process of receiving a residency card in motion—which took all of 3 minutes, amazing! Then to Skatteverket (the Swedish IRS) to re-register R as a returning citizen. The tax office in Sweden handles the citizen registry, and besides re-registering R for general purposes, we also needed to do so so we could prove to the Italian consulate here that R/we live here now. As an Italian citizen, he has to inform the local consulate every time he switches countries (which of course for him happens quite often), and as the wife of an Italian citizen that has asked for citizenship and is patiently awaiting a response, I need him registered because when my paperwork comes through, they'll find me via him and unless we inform the consulate here, they'll be looking for us in NYC. Knowing the Italians, if they don't find me after their first attempt, they might just toss my paperwork aside.

By 1PM we finished everything and spent the afternoon surprising R's former boss and his oldest friend, both at the businesses they own (luckily we timed our visits during a lull so the reunions could be nice and long). At his old boss' shop we walked in and he pretended to be asking a question, to which the older Sicilian woman gestured wildly, with many exclamations of joy.

Then we went a few streets away to an espresso bar owned by R's friend who knew we were moving over, but not the exact day of our arrival. So when we walked in and he saw R approach him, he stood up slowly, his mouth dropped open and his eyes began to water. Which of course made me begin to tear up—seeing two grown men embrace and fight back tears murmuring in Sicilian (of course his oldest best friend from Stockholm is Sicilian) was something sweet indeed.

After a few hours there we wandered home on foot and I started to get a feel for which way was which—surprising myself, given all the islands and long-winded words (the Swedes, like the Germans, have an affinity for smushing words together to create new, longer ones). I couldn't have asked for a nicer first full day. I felt so "at home", despite not really understanding anything that was happening around me.

And now, before I get too comfortable, we're off to Sicily tonight!

4 comments :

  1. ah so the "honeymoon" begins I sagely nod... :) :) :)
    love the culinary buildings description!

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    1. Ha, yes it has! I miss Stockholm (even though I'm in a pretty spectacular place at the moment!). :)

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  2. HA - love the stage whisper. Even after living in HD for 3 years, when walking around the old town I still have to remind myself "I *lived* here..." And that's really funny that your first day began with a messy egg experience, because almost the exact same thing happened to me during our first day in HD 3.5 years ago

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    1. Ha :). We both lucked out with pretty, fairytale'ish places to live abroad! I like that we had similar eggy first days, too! :)

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XOXO,
J.