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Life in Sweden, Snippets of life

The Reality of Moving Abroad

The Reality of Moving Abroad

Moving to a new country is exciting, and we’ve seen the highlight reels. Exploring new places, meeting new people, being bold and trying something you’ve never done before… all seems fun and hassle-free.

But of course, it’s not always smooth-sailing.

A few days ago, I went to the tax office to apply for an ID card. When the officer said I couldn’t apply until my attestor (in this case, H) had his, I just lost it. To my embarrassment, my eyes started to well up, and I had to look away before they could see me cry. I walked away from the counter, leaving H to deal with his application. While he had his photograph taken, I waited on the seat, my head bowed so nobody could see the tears that were flowing down my cheeks.

I certainly didn’t expect to feel this low after moving to Sweden, nor did I expect to lose it at the tax office on a busy Thursday afternoon.

It all seems a bit ridiculous, if not dramatic. But at that moment, I suddenly felt so very tired. I was so excited to learn Swedish and do a language course. I applied for it and got rejected on the grounds that I was deemed not eligible (I actually am, so I filed an appeal and it’s now sorted out). My personal number application took a long time to process, which really limited my access to even the most basic and essential things here. I can’t open a bank account until I have this personal number and ID card. I have to call my sister every time I need to top up my phone credit, because my UK bank card doesn’t work for online transactions like this.

I was ready to deal with all the challenges of moving to a new country — it’s not easy and I know it. I was ready to hit the ground running, but I didn’t expect this many hurdles to jump through. In the past 3 months, while waiting for all of this to be sorted out, worries are constantly looming over me.

And that’s the thing about moving to a new country that I find hard to deal with: insecurities.

While I’m still trying to find my feet, navigating life and learning how things work here, I sometimes need an assurance that it’s gonna be okay. That I’m welcome and I will make it here. I don’t always feel like that, and most of the time I can brush it off, focusing on things that I need to do. I bounce back and move on when things don’t work out as I expected, but there are days when a small setback can really upset me.

And that day, hearing that I couldn’t apply for an ID card was a bit too much.

A few minutes after that, H called me and I walked back to the counter, surreptitiously wiping away my tears. The officer then told me that it was a mistake and apparently I could apply for an ID card. Her expression changed from serious to pity when she saw my glassy eyes and red nose. I had my photograph taken and scribbled my signature, before exiting the building as soon as possible.

According to the officer, my ID card will arrive in 2 weeks. My photograph will probably show me with smudged mascara and tear-streaked cheeks, and it will be one of those ID photos that makes me cringe. But whenever I look at that, I’ll remember this day and remind myself that moving here is not only about sunshine, bright walls, and swimming in the lake. It’s also about dealing with paperwork, frustration, and disappointments. Building a new life in a new country is hard, but it also teaches me to work harder and be more patient.

I have my personal number now, I’m back in the queue for a placement in the language course, and my ID card application is in process. I’m feeling a lot better, and I’m bouncing back.

Sometimes, all you need is a little cry and a few deep breaths, and you’re ready to take the bull by the horns again.

The Reality of Moving Abroad

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24 Comments

  • Reply nyonyasepatu

    Masalah dokumen2 ini selalu bikin stress dan lelah

    July 8, 2018 at 1:10 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Iya Mbak Noni, menguras emosi banget.

      July 8, 2018 at 9:19 am
  • Reply nyonyawhitfield

    Semangat Dixie! Mungkin aku kalo di posisi kamu nangisnya sampe tantrum HAHAHAHA.. aku aja, yang masih di Jakarta — suka insecure — makanya salut kyk kamu atau yg lain yg berani pindah.. just look out for rainbow after the rain, good luck ya semoga seterusnya dilancarkan aminn

    July 8, 2018 at 2:52 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Makasih banyak ya Stella! Kemarin kalo ga di tempat rame udah bakal nangis meraung2 sih hahaa. Amiiin semoga abis ini lancar semuaa.

      July 8, 2018 at 9:20 am
  • Reply Puty

    Dixieee semangatttt…. you go, girl! <3

    July 8, 2018 at 3:34 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Putiii makasih yaa 🙂

      July 8, 2018 at 9:20 am
  • Reply Ria

    Beurocracy is such a pain, Dixie. But you’ll get sorted in the end. So hang in there love all your pics. x

    July 8, 2018 at 4:05 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      It is. I just need to be patient. Thank you Mbak Ria 🙂

      July 8, 2018 at 9:21 am
  • Reply anevriana

    Yaampun ngeselin bangeeeeeetttt. If I were you I would probably do the same 😫 semoga ke depannya semuanya lancar2 yaaaa… 🤗 and don’t hesitate to contact me if you need anything 🙂

    July 8, 2018 at 6:07 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Amiiin, makasih ya Alice. Sekarang kebantu banget krn ada Divie, kalo ga ada dia kayanya udah lebih parah nih breakdown nya huhu. Thanks for the offer Lice, much appreciated 🙂

      July 8, 2018 at 9:22 am
  • Reply Wati

    Hugs…..seiring waktu akan jadi lebih baik, Dixie! You two are brave. Moving to a new country is indeed not easy but you will make it. I am confident about it. Sabar ya….

    July 8, 2018 at 10:05 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Thank you Mbak Wati. Iya nih harus banyak2 sabar :”)

      July 10, 2018 at 3:04 pm
      • Reply Wati

        Kalau pengalamanku buat kartu id pas datang pertama kali, 15 menit sdh rampung. Kartunya datang pake pos seminggu kemudian. Tapi mungkin jaman 17an th dulu emang masih mudah. Sekarang lbh banyak pendatang. Semoga sih petugas yg gak terlalu paham itu summer substitute. Horor juga kalo petugas tetap tapi gk kompeten.

        Beberapa bulan lalu sim mobil ku ilang. Urus2 nelpon utk blokir personal number biar gak disalahgunakan, lapor polisi lewat web, urus sim baru lewat web, bayar lewat net dan seminggu kemudian sim baru dikirim lewat surat terdaftar.

        July 10, 2018 at 6:27 pm
        • Reply Dixiezetha

          Kayanya bukan summer substitute Mbak. 3 bulan lalu pas apply buat personnumer aku juga liat orang ini soalnya. Pengalamanku petugas2 di kantor pemerintahan sini banyak yang ga ngerti aturan EU, udah pengalaman sama Skatteverket, Migrationsverket, dan SFI juga. Sekarang kalo ngurus2 begini kita bawa printout aturan2 resmi dari EU biar bisa nunjukin (sering banget soalnya mereka ga tau apa2 atau salah ngerti). Udah kebukti berguna nih printout nya 😀

          July 13, 2018 at 1:47 pm
  • Reply aggy87

    I think it’s totally understandable Dixie. I’m really glad you have it sorted out in the end and hoping that all your other plans work out well too.

    July 9, 2018 at 2:36 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Thank you Aggy. It’s really frustrating to deal with these, especially when all you can do is wait, without certainty 🙁

      July 10, 2018 at 3:05 pm
  • Reply kutubuku

    It will be better once you get your person ID and start setting up everything. But everything takes slower in Scandinavia, I don’t know about Swedish bureaucracy (judging from how much my boyfriend complaining about stuff, it ain’t better than Danish one), but I lost my PR card in March because my bag was stolen and they still wouldn’t give me a new one because it’s not 4 months yet (max processing time is 4 month), and without the card, I have to get re-entry permits every time I get out of Denmark.

    Bureaucracy in here are disorienting and frustrating, but hang on, things will be a bit better.

    July 9, 2018 at 5:06 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      It’s so slow, and the staff members are so hard to get hold of. Many of them are not aware of EU regulations and laws, and I’ve learned to always bring printouts of these regulations so I can show them (and even then they don’t always accept it!). There’s also a time limit for my application under the EU regulations, so if by then I don’t hear anything I’m definitely going to something. Hope you get your PR card soon, it’s really a pain in the ass dealing with things like these 🙁

      July 10, 2018 at 3:09 pm
  • Reply Ditaa

    Hang on in there, girl. Swim some more 🙂

    July 9, 2018 at 7:05 pm
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Thanks Dita! Will do while the weather is warm and nice like this 😀

      July 10, 2018 at 3:10 pm
  • Reply Deny

    Dixie aku baru tahu kamu pindah ke Swedia. Wah pengalaman baru dan tantangan baru ya. Semoga sukses dan lancar ya Dixie kehidupan barumu di sana.

    July 11, 2018 at 2:12 pm
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Iyaa udah 3 bulanan di Swedia Mbak. Makasih ya Mbak Deny 🙂

      July 13, 2018 at 1:48 pm
  • Reply seraphsun

    I wouldn’t have the courage to move abroad on my own. Even though my hubby helped me with so much of the paperwork, there are still times when I feel so overwhelmed living in a new country. Stay strong.

    July 12, 2018 at 1:23 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Thank you! It’s always the hardest in the first few months, but eventually it will get better when everything’s sorted out 🙂

      July 13, 2018 at 1:49 pm

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