2013…. you’ve been a rollercoaster. Man. I don’t even know where to begin. A year full of experiences. A year of adventure. A year filled with tears, of both sadness but mostly of happiness and joy. Most relatives and friends I know are currently Christmassing it up, but as Christmas here has already finished, I’ve spent the day on reflection. I was just in the supermarket, as it closes at ten and thought, ‘mennn, Dutch Christmas is so much better, I’d be wining and dining for hours’. Meanwhile the cold and harsh fluorescent lights were highlighting my cart full of half-priced bad Christmas-junk, kind of sad. The Swedes are back to their schedules, but I refuse to. Don’t care if Christmas here is over, I’m a Dutchie and Christmas is on the 25th, so I’m gonna stuff my face with all the tiramisu I can get my hands on while watching ‘All You Need is Love’ and reminiscing on the past year.It’s been a hectic year from start to finish. My year started off with a bang and romantic trips with the bf and basically since then, every week has been different. Normally I do not like these kinds of year-end posts very much, ’cause let’s be honest, my life isn’t all that interesting. But reflection is also nice, and it’s good to set the balance after 12 months. 12 months that flew by by the way. Also, who am I kidding, I love lists, so might as well jump on the blogging-bandwagon of year-end posts. So how to describe this year?
First and foremost, I have chased down my dreams. My dream to study, and now live, in Sweden. Doing the things I want, starting a small business, learning the language and soaking up the culture. My dream to emigrate from the Netherlands and my goal to find that dreamjob. I’ve also met amazing people, lived in beautiful places and visited new destinations where possible. But it comes with a price. I quite often hear the comments ‘oh it must be so cool in Stockholm’ or ‘It’s so brave of you to move away’ and ‘it must be amazing to start all over and meet all these new people’. Well in a way it is, but it’s also extremely tough and at times difficult.
Living in Stockholm, or Sweden, or any country for that matter, doesn’t automatically mean it’s all glitz and glamour. Unfortunately, the ‘sad’ part of growing up and adult life is that you’ll always have responsibilities. ‘More money, more problems’ is what a friend of mine always says and I guess it’s kind of true. But no money equals even more problems. And being away from a lot of loved ones can make it all the more daunting.
On the other hand, still living on a student budget makes you extremely creative with your time, money and energy. For years on end I refused to plan ahead and think of ‘larger workshemes’. I was the endless drifter, never really knowing what to do. But this year has shaken that all up and it has opened my eyes. It’s nice that I now have a future perspective, something to build toward. And don’t get me wrong, Stockholm still is an awesome place to live. But in general, for me this year can be re-capped with a lot of extreme ups, and a couple of extreme downs.
To give a summary of an eventful year:
- I have worked really hard. At school, with working out, in relationships and with applications. If anything, hard work has paid off.
- I’ve graduated my masters with distinction, who’d have thought it?
- Saw my gramps from the States for a quick visit in Copenhagen (yes!)
- Been in the Netherlands 4 times! All thanks to the Dutch governmental administration.
- Visited Latvia, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Norway, Denmark and of course a place I call home.
- Moved in with a boy, for the first time of my life
- Moved to Stockholm
- Started my own small business in honest and handmade goods; Swedish Yarn
- hiked Norwegian Fjords, something I always had wanted to do.
- felt extreme and utter loneliness
- started to therefore blog. Might sound cheezy, but any form of communication was good at the time. It has in return opened my (digital) world in new ways.
- Cried more tears than a river, both of happiness and sadness.
- Learned a buckload.
- Sent out 106 applications, and gotten 100 declines.
- Then I all of the sudden had 6 weeks of interviews. Robotic phone interviews, skype interviews, first meetings, second meetings, in English, Dutch and Swedish, 6 rounds, 2 rounds, assesments and obviously countless of nerves.
- But it was all worth it, as I have now landed my dreamjob!!
- Found myself a new healthy addiction in weighttraining, (and lost it a little bit in the end)
- Lost 6 pounds. This is actually a bad thing at the moment, since I lost all of my hard earned muscle mass.
- Am broke to the core of my bones and owe my parents shitloads of money (the Dutch government as well btw)
- Met amazing people in Lund, a couple of the most inspiring people I’ll ever meet, only to know after last June I might never see them again
- I love more, and more deeply with each passing day.
- Learned Swedish, or still learning it
- Written a master’s thesis in 2,5 months, it can be done. Don’t ask how though.
In essence so many good things have happened to me, and yes I have seen the top of the mountain, quite literally and figuratively last June. And then things rolled down, emotionally. After graduation and saying goodbye to some people whom you form closeknit relationships with in a year’s time, the black gaping hole of after-grad stress and poverty stared me right in the face. I can usually handle extreme changes really well, but moving to Stockholm has really been a challenge.
For 4 months there was so much insecurity and doubt. I didn’t see it. I didn’t see why I was here and what I was doing, and whatfor I was doing it. I though I’d get a job within a month, I mean, most Swedes did, why shouldn’t I? Turns out it’s quite the challenge to find a professional job as a foreigner in Sweden. But now after 4 months I see it, how it all happened. How the process developed.
Even though it was tough, it was all worth it. I’ve landed my dreamjob and I’m so looking forward to the coming time. I set out on my dreams, followed my heart and in the end, after long struggles, I managed to get it. I wanted to challenge myself and show myself that I can do this. That I can move away and survive. Doing all this at the age of 23/24 makes me rather proud of myself. Yeah, I said it.
I want to integrate into this culture for a while and soak it all up. The downside is that I therefore have to leave behind my own homecountry, my friends, my family and miss out on a lot. Something that’ll never be easy. But the scales definitely keep tipping towards Stockholm. What I’ve learned?
Work hard, be a better you and follow your adventures. No regrets, ‘YOLO‘
Even though this year has been hectic, I reflect back on it with a lot of positivity. For now I can’t wait for the new year. A new chapter is just around the corner. 2014 bring it on!