Rachel and her husband Simon moved from England in Nov 2015. She said,”the wet weather had just turned into freezing weather. A shock, even for my hardened north of England blood!” They moved as a result of her husband being offered a job with Klarna, the Swedish e-commerce giant. At the time, Rachel was on maternity leave but the couple had always been open to the prospect of a move abroad! They felt that moving to Stockholm came at the perfect time and to the perfect place.
What do you love about living in Stockholm?
I love the city itself and the different ’personalities’ of the islands that make up Stockholm. I love the weather – it has it’s own rules. I love the handy buggy / wheelchair tracks on stairs. I love the easy transport system especially the free buses when you have your pushchair.
What do you and your family miss most about your home country and why?
It’s obvious, I know, but fish and chips… no seriously… family and friends. It would be nice to see them more but we just have to make it count when we do see them now.
What has been the most challenging thing about moving and settling in Sweden?
Feeling like we’ve integrated. As I wasn’t going to be working I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make friends like I had done for the past 10 years (through work). So before I moved, I researched ways that I could make friends e.g. meet up / buggy tours etc. But the biggest help was being put in touch with another couple who had recently moved from the UK and using their connections and knowledge to meet people. As a result of them, I have met some great people and made some special friends. (Thanks, guys!!) But I’ll be honest, I still don’t feel part of Stockholm – perhaps that will come with a job or just naturally after time?
Have there been any aspects of your move to Sweden that have been surprisingly easy?
We were so lucky to be re-located by my husbands work – this made all of the initial moving side of things incredibly pain-free. And the culture shock hasn’t been as great as I had thought it might be. (My previous experience of living abroad was in Hong Kong and that was more like a “culture smack”.) I think that this is down to the ease that people slip into English here when they see you struggling but that has it downsides – you’re not forced to learn the language. Something I am desperate to do especially now that Harrison is in a Swedish pre-school.
What is your favourite thing to do as a family in Sweden?
Getting out and exploring Stockholm and the surrounding area. My son and I recently spent the weekend at a rental home in Archipelago and it was so peaceful and beautiful. And, only an hour outside of Stockholm!
Where is your favourite place to go as a family in Stockholm?
On a sunny day, Djurgården. The island is great for museums, walks and nature.
On a cold, wet or freezing day then Andy’s Lekland.
If there was one thing you and your family could bring from your home country what would it be?
More family but a very close second would be Waitrose / John Lewis (haha!)
If you had the option right now would you go back to your home country or continue to live in Sweden and raise your family here?
Umm that’s a difficult one. I really like Stockholm and feel very happy but there still isn’t anything ’anchoring’ us here. However, I think I would find it difficult to move back to the UK and not live in a city so close to crystal clear water and beautiful scenery. We would probably just keep on moving like the Littlest Hobo!
If you had one piece of advice for a family moving to Sweden what would it be?
Don’t move in the summer – everyone leaves! You’ll think that the cities are like ghost towns with only parts of them filled with tourists.
Any other pearls of wisdom about life in Sweden with kids?
Get used to being outside in any weather and make the most of all of the great parks, islands and forests. Especially in Stockholm. It is a city where you can get back to nature within minutes. Enjoy it!