2018. What a year.
December last year, I explored Gothenburg as a tourist. It was my first time in the city. Excited and curious, I explored the city with my sister as the tour guide.
I experienced my first snowfall here in Gothenburg, at Skansen Kronan where the city lied below. I went to Christmas market at Haga and tried my first kanelbulle there. I went to Liseberg later that night, watched The Nutcracker ballet and felt my toes going numb and later on, hurting me.
I had no idea that a year later, I would be living in this city, working here, and speaking (little) Swedish. It’s crazy how things work out sometimes.
2018 was a hard year for me. For most of the year, the job search had consumed my energy, draining me emotionally. I lived in constant worries and insecurities, questioning my worth and capabilities in the career field, and at the same time, also wondering whether we’d made the right choice of moving here. For the first 5 months, it felt like it was a big mistake.
And then, for one thing and another, I couldn’t travel much. Travel has always been a respite for me, a lifeline that pulls me through in every chaos life has. The absence of it made things felt heavier; I had nowhere to escape to. Add the struggles of navigating life in a new place with a language that I couldn’t understand in the beginning, I touched low points many times over the course of this year.
But when I look back, I realize that 2018 isn’t about loud victories. I found my happiness in simple moments and small triumphs. I’m reminded that happiness doesn’t always come from big and fancy things, and that sometimes, it’s the little moments that leave me with profound feelings and memories.
And so, here are some of those moments:
Nothing much happened in this month. We celebrated a quiet new year in Brecon, a quiet little town in Wales where H’s parents live.
We went to Gothenburg for H’s interview with the company that would later be his employer. We were welcomed with snowfall and stunning views, in every corner of the city.
For the first time in my life, I experienced snow in Southampton, thanks to The Beast from the East. The whole city was transformed, and I was in awe. I built my first ever snowman whom we called Walter. It was the ugliest snowman on the block.
At the same time, spring was just starting, and we were busy with packing our lives as we were moving to Sweden.
We moved to Sweden, and my parents came as well for my sister’s graduation. I went to accompany my parents to Stockholm, seeing the city for the first time.
My honeymoon phase in Gothenburg was blissful. The weather was amazing, spring was well underway, and I explored the town that was my new home. It still felt surreal.
I started applying for jobs and even went to an interview.
June was glorious. I celebrated the National Day of Sweden, did barbecues, swam in the lake, tried kayaking, and soaking up the sun as much as possible.
I also went to my first midsummer celebration (during which I also tried the frog dance and sill for the first time).
In the job-searching area, as everything in Sweden slows down in the summer, I also slowed down. Instead of sending applications, I took online courses and certifications.
July wasn’t any less exciting than June, if not more. I went to Brännö and Galterö, the islands in West Sweden’s southern archipelago.
We celebrated my sister’s birthday with an amazing dinner at a Thai restaurant, and also a trip to an alpaca farm.
This month is also the lowest I’d felt since arriving in Sweden.
Another trip to the archipelago, this time to Styrsö and Köpstadsö.
I volunteered as a photographer at the Gothenburg Fringe, and had a blast watching amazing and thought-provoking shows.
H and I went for a daytrip to Marstrand, a beautiful seaside town which quickly became our favorite.
I had my first interview with the company that would later be my employer. I also got an internship in an e-commerce fashion company here, and resigned from my job as a Content Marketing Executive.
So many things happened this month.
The cherry on top was a weekend trip to Copenhagen to wrap up this wonderful month.
I started my new job as a Digital Marketing Consultant, and also decided at the last minute to take the exam in my Swedish course to go to the next level. After only 3 months of studying formally, I wasn’t feeling anywhere near ready, but everybody said my progress was quick and I should take it, so I did.
And finally, we’re here.
I feel nothing but gratitude and relief that things are starting to fall into place.
We enjoyed our low-key first Christmas in Sweden, and are now busy packing to move to another apartment.
In a little while, the clock will strike midnight and I will say goodbye to 2018. There’s not much to say to describe my feelings, except that I feel gratitude for all the opportunities that I’ve been granted, and immense pride for all my hard work and resilience.
Happy New Year!