Sweden is a country of extremes in my limited experience so far, from extreme cold winter to sunny and outgoing summer. My colleagues promised me that summer would be different and they were absolutely right. From the moment the first bit of sunshine arrived people lined up on street corners, parks or anywhere where the few rays were coming through and put their face and chest forward into the sunshine cherishing the much lacked vitamin B unavailable on those dark winter nights. Personally I found that habit quite funny to watch, but I guess it is understandable.
My experience of Sweden has been just as extreme as the seasons, some great highs and some mighty lows all culminating in another move to a new country in less than 12 months. In stress measurement terms, not quite recommendable and those of you that know my aversion to packing up will probably read well between the lines. The new destination is London and I do go with a mixture of bitter sweet emotions.First of all I didn’t come to Sweden to just be here less than a year, my minimum was 12 months, but realistically I had said 3 to 5 years in order to make a substantial difference and impact. The reason for coming in the first place was and still is sound and gainful employment has helped with generating security and normality.
What I came to do changed dramatically and this is where the emotional rollercoaster sort of comes to play, I am and always will be ambitious, so let’s just say to summarise that whilst I did my best to adapt maybe it wasn’t fast enough and possibly too drastic in a culture where not standing out from the crowd is treasured so dearly. So if you detect a hint of disappointment and even an element of perceived failure, I would echo that.It brings forward a whole lot of new questions, which will take some time to find answers to ranging from what is my true passion and what would I like to contribute long term to the very basic employment versus self-employment balance and control. Do I take a new route altogether or stick with the tried and tested? Time will tell for now.
In a way it is a pity I didn’t really get a chance yet to enjoy Stockholm, it is as if I am leaving with unfinished business. Thanks to some early networking meetings, I finally started making friends and because of a hectic work travel schedule I also have so many more things to see such as the archipelago, the northern lights and other delights this country has to offer. I did meet a great partner and being all philosophical if that is the only reason I ever came here, then again that would still be good enough.It is a strange time of adapting again and moving from one largely unknown to another unknown. Whilst London will offer a lot less language barriers and cultural change and I already have a network of friends in existence, I would still expect an element of change and adaptation to be uncomfortable and to be made the most of.
Maybe it is goodbye to Stockholm and all my new friends there or maybe it is until we meet again, just like in Ireland. Maybe I am just living the European experience in a culture of national differences, so maybe this is just the way it is meant to be.