How to live in Sweden without really trying
Early on Monday morning, I got on a plane at Gatwick airport, and when I got off, I lived in Sweden.
It’s now Sunday night, so I’m coming to the end of my first week as a Swedish resident. It still feels a bit like a holiday rather than a new life. I’ve been approaching everything with caution – looking all over town to find the right tablecloth, for example – and I haven’t been integrating myself into my new home as much as I think I should.
In fact I’ve spent a lot of time at home in the flat. Some of that has been taken up doing some work remotely for my old employer, but mostly I just haven’t had enough things to go out and do. I’m not enrolled on the Swedish For Immigrants (SFI) language course yet; I don’t know anyone here who I could go and meet for a fika; I’m trying not to spend too much money, so if I walk into central Uppsala my options feel pretty limited.
All of which isn’t to say that I’m having a bad time. I’m starting to feel at home in Uppsala – much more quickly than I imagined I might – and everything’s been pleasant so far. Even the weather hasn’t been too bad. I just feel frustrated at myself for not making the most of my first week.
Why was I too shy to ask the staff at the English Bookshop about their book group? Why do I start conversations by asking “pratar du engelska?” instead of trying in Swedish first? Why haven’t I managed to go along to an SFI drop in information session yet?
So, if I’ve a goal for my second week here, it’s this: must try harder.
(And also stop sitting at home eating meatballs and potato salad all day.)