Timst’s Happy Place

1000 Days in Sweden (well, almost)

by timst on June 28, 2015

This weekend, I’m celebrating my thousandth day – nearly three years – in Sweden. Or am I? I took a look at my calendar and realized that this is not exactly accurate. Instead, here is where I spent my last 1000 days:

Sweden 747
France 149
Norway 31
Belgium 16
Finland 13
Poland 10
Turkey 9
Portugal 8
Denmark 6
Italy 3
Lithuania 3
Hungary 3
Latvia 1
Estonia 1

So in actuality, I only spent three fourth of my time in Sweden, well, IN Sweden. Add another good chunk of time spent at home (during summers mainly), and the remaining 10% has been spent anywhere else. A lot of Norway, of course (I’ll explain why later), but also a bit of everything. Surprisingly, I’ve only visited Denmark three times, despite it being by far the closest country to Växjö. In this Ryanair era we live in, closer countries are not necessarily the easiest ones to reach.

This is a good time to reflect on what I’ve done during those near three years. The table above is a great example: of all those countries, before coming to Sweden, I had been to two (not counting France). Mainly through ESN, I have been able to see all those places that I will likely not have the occasion to see otherwise.

Sometimes I stop and think about how international my life has become. So here I am, a French guy living in Sweden, about to move again to his Norwegian-Polish girlfriend that he met in Lithuania, talking to his friends in Australia, Switzerland or in the US, traveling with them to the glass facades of the European Parliament or to the Luís I bridge of Porto… My world has become a blend of lands, languages, and landmarks.

 

This 1000 days milestone will be the last of the “xxxx days in Sweden” series, as I will be leaving the country within the next two months. “Oh! Are you returning to France?” is the question that usually follows here. Answer: no, I won’t, at least not in the foreseeable future. Instead, I’m going to Norway. A bit “more of the same”, but I have good reasons to go there.

 

Not pictured: 30 minutes of custom check on the norwegian side. Leaving the EU has disadvantages...

Not pictured: 30 minutes of customs check on the Norwegian side. Leaving the EU has disadvantages…

 

Now this comes with some challenges, not the least of which is that I have to sustain myself there. This will be difficult because even though Norwegians – like Swedes – pretty much all speak English, most of the jobs require Norwegian. This is how, even in IT, and even with a degree, you can end up struggling. So far I’ve sent 55 applications. How many positive answers did I get? One. Otherwise, it’s no reply, or a form rejection mail.

Although at least rejections mail are swift. This answer I mentioned above ended up being three interviews for a major company regarding a very exciting position. Every time I accessed another step, I felt more and more confident that I would get it. After one month in the process, you end up imagining what your life will be once you get it. You know you shouldn’t, but you still do it – thinking about so many small things, like when you would start, where you would eat lunch, or which bus you would take in the morning. Then the rejection comes and this world you’ve built bursts like a soap bubble.

As I’m sure many readers will confirm, applying for jobs is hard on the soul. Every application takes effort, and those efforts very often go unrewarded. Some jobs seems boring for the get go, and applying to them is a chore. Others look exciting and interesting, and then it hurts that much more when you get the bad news later. It’s a depressing enterprise.

But anyway, det löser sig (“things will be alright”, sort of, in Swedish. Should research the Norwegian equivalent…). It remains that those days are exciting ones, and that I would rather struggle here than live a boring life at home!