Monday, March 2, 2015

An unwelcome lull

The last few weeks of my life have been defined by one word: waiting.

While I already knew that despite all the (well-founded) claims of efficiency and minimalism in Sweden things actually tend to move quite a bit slower here, I'm finding out firsthand (once again) just how slow that can be.

By last fall I was good and ready to get off the assimilation bandwagon, meaning, school and bicycling romps and exploring around town, and back to normal life, meaning a job and a routine that was a little more fulfilling. But given vacations and trips home and the holidays, it didn't make sense to start interviewing before 2015 rolled around. So we enjoyed ourselves and I tried to fill my days with meaningful, enjoyable, and pretty things while I waited. (It wasn't actually all contentment and snowflakes around here.)

Come the first week of January I was already setting up meetings and interviews, and while prospects look very, very good, nothing is inked at the moment so I can't share anything yet. Nor am I 100% positive that I will have something to share in the near future, as I still can't quite read the Swedish system. Insert hearty sigh here.

The job situation is just one hindrance to us feeling (and actually being) settled, though. The other is, of course, where the heck will we live?

The Swedish housing market has really thrown us—we had intended to sublease for a few months with the idea that as soon as we had figured out where we wanted to live more permanently, we'd buy an apartment. But the way the banking system works here, you can't use assets as proof of ability to pay for a mortgage, it's based solely (not jointly) on monthly salary. And as I don't yet have a job, we can't purchase the type of apartment we want with just one income.

(With immediate family in two separate countries, there's just no way we can buy a 1-bedroom apartment, and for a 2-bedroom in Stockholm you need 2 normal-sized salaries.)

Once we found out about the bank situation, which served as another (although completely unnecessary) reason for me to get back to work, we realized we'd need a temporary solution between our current temporary solution and a hopefully more permanent solution sometime in the future.

Which is why we'd been stalking all the apartment listings we could get our hands on for months, but they were either too expensive, too short-term, too bleak, or just didn't work for some other reason.

But, but!

A little progress on the housing front came this weekend when we finally, FINALLY, signed the contract on an incredible apartment. We'll be moving in in just a few weeks (more waiting) and can finally port those boxes out of storage, buy some furniture and start nesting!

More details to come because there are just enough that another whole post is needed!

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One year ago: When it rains & A bright, sunshiny day
Two years ago: Comings and goings & Signing on a new dotted line


  1. Patience, patience and more patience!!! It is not my strong point either. Hate WAITING!!! In time, all will fall into place. It does!!

  2. You know that that's ESPECIALLY never been my strong point... ;). Thanks, Mma! :)

  3. Mine neither. The apple does not fall far from the tree!!

  4. I have heard that getting a job in Sweden is about who you know, no what you know. I heard that it is very, very hard...maybe that is why I am not as happy as you were about moving to Sweden. But, the husband is swede and I will be in there at the end of April. I am really, really sad to leave my life in NYC. And getting an apartment is Stockholm is very hard as well!

  5. Hey Isabel! Oh wow, another New Yorker in Stockholm, yay! End of April is a good time to move, we arrived last April (and then went on a vacation for a month) settling in at the end of April/early May, just in time for a glorious summer.

    The apartment situation is definitely absurd—there's just no way around it, unless you buy, which puts you in a slightly-less absurd situation, so if you're able to, I suggest you and your Swede try that as soon as possible!

    On the job front, though, I didn't find it hard to make connections—the first few agencies I communicated with/reached out to me did so solely based on my e-mail or from having seen my resume (the NYC background helps!), not because I knew someone, but it may also depend on the industry. What I HAVE found hard is the time that passes between each round (weeks!) and even after having been offered a job it takes a few weeks before it's official!

  6. Hej there.

    I have been reading a lot of blogs with Americans moving to Sweden and unable to get a job so maybe you are one of the lucky ones.

    I moved to the State when I was 16 so I have gone through the assimilation process already so I had that experience but now I have to do it again in Sweden(no sure I will enjoy that again). I like NYC very much, thanks, especially that it is so diverse ..I love that. Anyway, I will be moving to Sweden and yes, my husband already bought an apartment for us (I like it but if (and that is a big if) I get a job there, we probably move again. And I am in the computer field and I do not have any hopes that I will get a job there....I can get interviews yes(and I will not tell you about that, because it was not pleasant! at least one), but an offer no...that is so much harder to come by in Sweden.(remember they have unions so they have to make sure you are good) In NYC, I can get a job faster because it is a bigger market and there are so many start ups now in NYC. I probably can get a job in 3 months here (that is what happened the last time!)

    Anyhow, good luck and keep us posted with your progress in the job market.

  7. Hi, I found your blog through your instagram account which I found through the hashtag Stockholm. Which is interesting because I am planning to move to Stockholm and I needed to do a research on a life over there. :) I heard a lot about the difficulties related to finding an apartment, I wish you and myself a lot of luck with that. But the other thing concerns me more and I wanted to ask you about it. Have you made new friends over there? I come from a small country in Eastern Europe where people are very friendly and I know people from US are similar and quite open. But what I heard about Swedish people is not all that wonderful in sense of them being cold and introverted. What are your experiences?

  8. Hey there, M!

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a note—I'm glad you found me (I love Instagram!)!

    It's great you already know about the craziness of the apartment market, so we can move right on past that to the friend thing ;).

    I think the first thing I noticed when I moved here was how different Stockholmers and New Yorkers interact with each other/strangers. To be honest: no, I haven't made *spontaneous* friends here, but I also haven't really been in the right environment TO make friends.

    Let me explain:

    Since moving here I've basically been in school full-time with other foreigners, so I've become friendly with some classmates, but that's not really what you meant, right? I think that will come (I hope!) when I begin working full-time in an office environment again (and all the socializing that comes with that), as right now I basically only meet people through school, Instagram (which has actually led to some very nice encounters/acquaintances!), this blog, and actually at a café once, too (the sole spontaneous friend so far). I was also lucky to know some people before I moved here, as my husband used to live here and I met his friends/their wives when we'd come here to visit family.

    But I wouldn't say that Swedes are cold and introverted, though it may SEEM that way (and I've more than once grumbled about that)—they have a different way of operating. Their mantra seems to be: "don't disturb anyone's day", which can manifest in situations where they don't stop to say 'excuse me' if they ram into you on the street (so as to not bother you as you hurry to the subway), or where they don't make small talk in line to get a coffee (again, so as not to intrude in your space).

    That being said, you do see groups of people laughing and having fun together everywhere (especially as the temps warm up!), so it's really more about being patient and willing to make a connection (and then seriously follow-up on that!). I do absolutely think an American (and a citizen of your Eastern European country) will be much quicker to warm up to and let someone in compared to a Swede, but I believe (and sincerely hope) that it's possible...if you're patient :).

    Once I'm back in a normal routine again I'll come back here and let you know how it's going...and hopefully I'll have some good news to share!

    Best of luck with your move prep, and seriously, let me know if you have any other questions/concerns, I'd love to help in any way I can with your upcoming move to Stockholm (woo!).



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