Saturday, May 1, 2010

Vitsippia Made me Do It
So another story.

The vision of the spring forest and the lovely little white vitsippia is what romanced me into dropping everything and moving across the world.

We took these photos on a family walk in the neighborhood last week.
It was two years ago we decided to move to Sweden. Perhaps it began with the Vitsippia, or, we can go back a bit more and give credit to the babysitter. We had an uninterupted conversation one February evening. We had found a good local teenage baby sitter and finally got a night out after parenting for nearly three years. Over a real dinner out, we remembered we had said we would consider moving to Sweden when our daughter was three, and it was just a few weeks from her third birthday. It seemed like a nice time to try it, before she was school aged, and when SwedeDaddy's sister's kids were still young and at home. And his mother is aging, more likely to be needing help, so being closer would be good. We opened up ourselves to the possibility. We had really been preparing for years in a way, as I had structured my business so it could be sold if we wanted to move, and I had in fact already sold it sometime back.
I began checking out the logistics of resident visas and needed paperwork. In March, SwedeDaddy realized his Swedish passport was about to expire in just two weeks, and thanks to 9/11 security issues, he could only renew in New York City or Sweden. It cost as much to go to Sweden as New York on short notice, so we thought we could head to Sweden, renew the passport and check out the country. We had to plan a trip right away. I encouraged him to send a few job applications, and he sent several seven days before we left. I started looking into housing and apartments for rent, searched schools online and set up a few interviews for the Swedegirl at preschools, and for me in a language program. We thought we would just see how it all looked....

We flew out in April. By early May, SwedeDaddy had accepted a job, SwedeGirl had a spot at a great Waldorf daycare, I was set to enroll in a language program, we had found someone to buy our Florida house, and were ready to close on one in Sweden. In one month time, TheSwedeLife went from a distant option to a solid plan. We were loading a container in June, and boarded our plane July 21st. It happened so quick we questioned our sanity, and we were not alone, people all around us were surprised to be saying good bye so soon....
Two weeks before leaving, we realized we were also expecting a second baby. Just in time to tell my parents and family in person. We
were so lucky we choose to make such a bold move. Two months later, the economy crashed, real estate was a mess, and there were no jobs to found. Had we not made the move just then, it is likely we would not have at all.
When we came to visit in April, my impressions was Sweden was like a dreamland....modern technology and design in the cities, but the smell of farm poop from the freshly fertilized fields. Nature and culture married. Family friendly policies, and humane working conditions. When we got SwedeDaddy's job offer with 6 weeks of paid vacation time, we literally laughed out loud. Such a change from just a few days a year that had to be spent at Christmas.

As we dreamed of Sweden, we were emailing with the American photographer that was selling us our house. We sent her on missions into the forest to capture images of the woods behind our house, which at the time of our visit, had been full of the first flowers of the year, Vitsippia. I spent hours dripping with sweat in the Florida heat dreaming of walking in cool forests, and of living in the little red cottage in the woods situated just three houses away from SwedeDaddy's sister's family.

Now, it is my life. That forest has become a lovely place for my now 5 year old to practice her balance walking by on logs, and for us to explore with the baby. The little red house is the place we rest our heads each night. We are here, and it is home.

A hatched egg SwedeGirl found
Living the SwedeLife
We said we would try it for three years and see where that brings us.
One and half years down, and I can only wonder where life will ask us to follow.

I hope that whatever path lies ahead presents itself as clearly as the path to Sweden did, and that it unfolds just as effortlessly. So many important 'decisions' in my life have been made by merely turning my head, and noticing that that is where life seems to be going. And then having the courage to follow along.

1 comment:

Valarie said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Sweden is a like a dreamland. I remember feeling the same way the first time I saw it. The forest is lovely. Enjoy.