Welcome to the latest look at a normal day in an expat life and today we move to Europe and Sweden where we meet Lisa Ferland and her family. Lisa is a U.S. citizen who has lived in Sweden since 2012. Together with her husband, they have embraced the Swedish lifestyle and according to Lida are currently “raising a five-year-old Lego-lover and a two-year-old Pippi Longstocking fanatic”. Lisa also recently published the anthology about birth and parenting as an expat called Knocked Up Abroad featuring a chapter by yours truely and can be reached on Facebook and Twitter@knockdupabroad.
7:45 am—8:00 am Our morning began with a deer sighting in our backyard. The kids did their best to scare it away but this deer was experienced in the ways of shouty children and stayed to munch on our grass.
The golf course behind our house has a herd of sheep grazing in a fenced-off section of grass. We decided to go check them out before school.
No fish are in that pond. My son checked it out—all clear.
I’m not sure if the kids were impressed or bored with the sheep. Things got fun when the kids started shaking their rumpas at them. The sheep were a bit nervous with the display.
Very nervous sheep.
8:15 am – 8:30 am Time to head to school
Every bridge must be inspected for trolls. Troll-checking is a time-consuming activity but it’s for our safety, so it must be done.
Nope. No trolls here. No snakes either, despite a sign clearly depicting the presences of snakes. The kids were a bit disappointed.
Finally, we are on the way to school. A moped drove by and we stopped to wave hello.
Finally! After a long walk of touching every slug in sight, we make it to school relatively on time.
With the kids at school, I need to run some errands. First up—filling up the gas tank with diesel fuel. This is always a costly errand but we only use the car once or twice a week.
Total cost: 720.90 SEK for 55 liters (equivalent to $6.04/gallon—much cheaper than the $8.50/gallon we saw when we first moved to Sweden.)
Acquiring a Swedish driver’s license is incredibly difficult and expensive (for non-Swedes and Swedes alike). This sign says that you can park for 3 hours M-F 7 am-11:30 pm, Saturdays 7 am– 7 pm, and Sundays and holidays, 7 am – 7 pm. You must display a P-skiva on your window shield.
I received this notice that I had a package arrive and I can only retrieve it at the local post office, which is near the grocery store in town. Unless the package can fit within the dimensions of your mailbox, every package is kept at the central post office regardless if you live in a house or apartment.
The outdoor center of the shopping mall.
Inside the shopping mall—stores don’t open until 10 am, except for the grocery store and post office.
Ah, this box was larger than I anticipated. I had to carry it awkwardly through the grocery store while I did my shopping. Oh well.
I always check out the pastry section when I’m in the grocery store. I can’t help myself.
Delicious fikabröd or pastries for coffee breaks/fika
Due to my one arm being full of awkward box, I left with a pastry, a Swedish table top maypole flag (midsummer is coming up), and fun bandaids for my kids who like to use them as body art instead of covering cuts.
Swedes remove their shoes in the entryway. Sock fashion is very important in the winter.
9:30 am – 3 pm Sitting at my desk in my home office with a little treat and some coffee and I’m ready to work on my writing.
3:00 pm – 5:30 pm I picked up the kids from school at 3 pm and we are ready to go off in search of new playgrounds.
We pause at a construction site because they are dynamiting the granite rocks and the kids love the big booms
A new-to-us playground is nearby in a newly constructed neighborhood. This one made excellent use of the local rocks and they are perfect for climbing.
To reach the swing at the top, kids must climb up the hill.
A fun little hut that housed many spiders so the kids opted out.
Banana break in a shelter at the next playground
The last stop on our afternoon adventure was an outdoor exercise space that is the epitome of Swedish training. It is situated among the woods with a horse riding school nearby and people train by lifting logs on a fulcrum system.
The climbing wall was still under construction but we tried it out anyway
This exercise made me a bit dizzy as the logs went quite high.
Hey there, horsey. The local horses are always fun to watch.
And dancing on rocks
On the way home, we saw a cat sitting in the woods. Cats are given free range in our neighborhood and we see them all over.
5:30 pm – 6:00 pm So, what was in that large box that I picked up earlier? A wireless keyboard courtesy of my mother. Now I can get to typing up my second book!
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm For dinner, we had stir fried rice with eggs from our neighbor’s chickens. The entire day was spent outside playing in the beautiful weather. The kids were exhausted and collapsed into bed around 8 pm. Tomorrow begins another day of more of the same.
Thank you to LIsa for that glimpse into her life – those pastries in particlar look delicious. I am loving the fact that so many of these Days in an Expat Life have so much in common eg walking to school, yummy food and working at a lap top – even though they are all in very different places! If you want to see more posts in this series please click here, and if you would like your own day to feature then please comment below or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.