Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Djurgården & Strandvägen, Stockholm, Swdeden  |  Untethered on afeathery*nest  |
There were times at the beginning of this year when I really thought I had lost my mind.

A newborn baby and no sleep for days during the depths of a Swedish winter (which I had naively thought would be "cozy" with a cuddly wee one, but was actually debilitating and isolating), plus some physical problems we were having all combined into a Very Heavy and Overwhelming Period.

But then the combination of surpassing (and barely surviving) RF's 4-Month Sleep Regression, his ability to space out his mealtimes, his increased curiosity and awareness of the world around him (so much so that we did an early switch from the carry cot to the sit-up seat attachment of his stroller), and springtime finally rolling around meant that we were finally free to go on long, beautiful walks around the city with a contented baby and a less-stressed mamma who no longer had to constantly search for suitable places to nurse (and change diapers) in anticipation of a hungry baby's wails.

And let me tell you, this period right now is so, so good. Most days the sun is shining brilliantly and it's a delightful 70F outside, meaning we've been spending hours and hours walking, meeting friends, fika'ing, and playing outside the walls of our apparently very-boring-to-a-baby apartment.

Plus, this lovely weather means al fresco nursing and diaper changes are a breeze and has greatly reduced my anxiety when we're away from home. Below the stroller I've stashed blankets, toys, a bottle of water and an emergency chocolate bar (because you just never know), so we're always ready to stretch out in a patch of sun-dappled shade to play and relax in between running errands and strolling around the city.

We've been taking long walks along the edges of Kungsholmen, across the bridge to the grounds of the Karlbergs Castle park / Military Academy near Saint Eriksplan, all around Djurgården, winding through Vasastan, Odenplan (with obligatory stops at Cafè Pascal), and Norrmalm, and even hopping on a bus to go to Drottningholm, one of the palaces, to play on some royal grounds.

And much like our after-work pizza picnics in Vasapark last summer, this year we're doing a riff on that with early afternoon (because of someone's bedtime) barbecues in our backyard in Minneberg.

All this to say, someone's starting to get her groove back.

(Said groove will probably not be completely back until someone else starts sleeping for more than 2.5 hours in a row at night, but a partial groove is better than no groove at all.)

One year ago: Leaving Vasastan & An unwelcome lull & 365 days ago

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

The day I became an Italian citizen

Stadshuset Kungsholmen Riddarholmen, Stockholm, Sweden  |  The day I became an Italian citizen on afeathery*nest  |
My (at times excruciatingly) long journey to becoming an Italian / E.U. citizen is finally complete—a few days ago we went to the Italian Consulate on Djurgården so I could pledge my allegiance to the Italian Republic and officially become one of her citizens.

At the end of last year, three and a half years after I applied for citizenship, a certified letter arrived with the news that citizenship had been conferred upon me and I just needed to do a few final things to make it officially official, like, re-submitting translated and notarized documents from U.S. agencies that were included in my original application (yes, again), swearing my oath, and (naturally) paying another fee.

When R became an American citizen, he did so with a certain amount of pomp and circumstance (which I enjoyed in my exhausted and anxious state)—to be fair, he took his oath along with about a hundred other people in America.

I became an Italian citizen while living in Sweden and did so in a "ceremony" just for me.

The ceremony being: arriving at a very, very sad little building where nary an Italian flag was waving, waiting for one hour past our scheduled appointment time to be ushered up a rickety pair of stairs to an office filled with boxes of documents and lined with shelves of rubber stamp doohickeys, and reading the one-line oath off of a printout twice (as it took two separate tries to assemble the required number of witnesses).

That was it.

No Italian paraphernalia. No anthems. No miniature flag handed to me on my way out (R received a miniature American one in NYC and RF received one here in Stockholm when we took him to the US Consulate to register him as an American citizen).

When we walked out of the gloomy building, not even the gorgeous day on Djurgården (one of my favorite places in Stockholm) and RF's adorable drool-y smile as he looked up at us happily from his stroller could shake me out of the funk brought on after such a long-awaited day ended up being so disappointing.

But then R told me he had booked a celebratory lunch for us at Villa Godthem on the northern side of Djurgården, where we had a tasty, typically-Swedish lunch on the waterfront (which included the gifting of a very nice little gift). Afterwards we strolled across the lane to Flickorna Helin & Voltaire for dessert on the terrace (which was obviously a ridiculous slice of their decadent carrot cake for me).

Then, since the day was just so supremely sunny and beautiful (and because I had stashed you-never-know blankets in the stroller), we laid them out under a tree with a view of my favorite villa on Norra Djurgården and spent the rest of the afternoon lolling about lazily while watching RF practice his rolling over skills.

Turns out I had my very own personal Italian(s) to provide me with all the fanfare italiano I so desperately wanted.

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