?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
22 August 2016 @ 01:45 pm
Expat Stuff & Life Ramblings  


So, as you all may or may not know I moved to Sweden last year (Stockholm) to be with my hubby (he is German, and I think there's probably a post in my journal from when I was going to meet up with him in Europe for the first time).

Since 2012 my life has gone a bit crazy. I was accepted into my dream uni to study Scottish history but couldn't go because of financial reasons, so I went to my local uni instead (university of Washington isn't a bad school either, but St. Andrews 😭). I studied history and minored in archaeology and graduated cum laude (please forgive my bragging, I worked my ass off and it's one of the things I'm most proud of) in 2015. Uni was amazing. I met some wonderful people and learned a lot, including things like George III's poop was probably purple, that Hitler wore size 42 shoes (my size ☹️), and that Robin Hood probably did not exist. And more about King Arthur than I ever wanted to know (6 full weeks on King Arthur guys. 7 books in 6 weeks and countless theories and debates. It got so bad I had to stop reading Merlin fanfiction).

I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Spain on an archaeological dig and can now say 100% that I prefer the museology side of things, if only for the sake of my poor back. One of the most important things I learned there is how to sleep almost anywhere, including on a pile of incredibly pointy pebbles in 95(34) degree heat under a thin tarp so i don't burn to a crisp. After that experience no bed is too uncomfortable for a short kip! Also learned that turtles make THE FUNNIEST noises when they have sex.

Moving to Sweden was the best thing I've ever done in my life - and not just because I get to be with my husband. I really suggest that everyone try moving abroad at least once.

The feeling of being an immigrant is distinctive. My heart is torn in two. I feel incredibly vulnerable, and very humbled. I no longer have rights inherent to a citizen. I can't really speak the language (though most people know English and I am learning) and the customs and ideas are almost alien, such as the idea of "lagom" and the law of jante. And the country is incredibly different - there are no huge skyscrapers here...everything is open and (mostly) clean and has environmental/humanist focus. the system really works to benefit you as the individual, if only to make the people as a whole function to the best of their ability. As a poor American it's something that I've never experienced before now, even with Medicare and Medicaid and food stamps and shit. Parents with strollers ride free on the bus... and speaking of busses, easy access to public transportation (or anywhere really) for the handicapable is so much more easy than what I'm used to. Everything is much more efficient. I find myself getting annoyed if I have to wait longer than 7 minutes for a inner-city bus or train.

Another thing that profoundly changed was that I came out officially as agender. My husband has been very supportive, and I have a trans Canadian friend here who is going through similar gender revelations who I can chat with about it, which has been brilliant. He's also an excellent cook, which is a bonus. Sweden can be very ignorant about the trans community, unfortunately. I can't wait until there is a neutral gender option on passports and ID cards. I hope it happens in my lifetime.

Anyway, crazy happenings. Crazy life.

At the moment I'm stuck in limbo in Sweden. The migration board (illegally) has not processed my residency card request (I say illegally because the law says they must do it within 6 months of my application and it's been 14, almost 15 months) so even though I can work and go to school, I can't PROVE that I can work and go to school, or PROVE that I am allowed in Sweden even to border control, so I cannot leave. I can't see family or friends unless they visit me, and the wait is really starting to make me anxious and depressed. I can't properly settle until I have my card - there isn't even an issue with my rights to get it. I can't go to school (university of Uppsala has a masters program I'm very interested in) and I can only work odd jobs where people understand my situation instead of big corporations who require a letter that goes along with my residence card that says that I have residence because my German husband had residence and not because I'm here to work or study.

And at the same time my heart is torn in half. One half is Seattle, where my friends are and my grandmother, and my childhood and my old life...the other is here, in my new home, with hubs and my two babies cats, and new friends and new language and culture, and really awesome public transportation system. I desperately crave good, authentic Asian food Like I can get in Seattle and yet if I had to live the rest of my life without karlsbadkringlor, or präst and marmelade on knäckebröd, or food in a tube, I'd probably go crazy. Being an immigrant is definitely a unique feeling.

I'm really hoping I can bring this new kind of understanding to my art, even my fic. I can see how my experience might be similar to muggle born or raised coming to the wizarding world, and vice versa. St least they'd not have a language barrier!

Anyway, must watch some adorable dogs now! Hej då!