The Swedish May
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Hej Hej!

This bouquet of wild flowers I gathered today on my forest walk. The colors make me so happy and watching all the different flowers bending in the wind in the sun, as well. Right now it started raining after the sun came out for a few seconds. The past couple of days it has been extremly warm which I enjoy but also made work much more exhausting since I moaned the grass this week and worked outside.

The days are warm, windy, cold and rainy. A mixture of everything right now. I really enjoy to get cozy and have some soup while watching some series and the rain outside, as well as a warm summer days at the lake, the sun bringing out my freckles and the smell of sun cream. It also makes it easier for me to let my salat and cucumber grow when I don’t need to water them because the rain does it for me. There are already a few leaves coming and I am so excited for it!!

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The Swedish Summer nights

The Swedish nights are magical as well. The sky turns all kind of rosy colors when the sun sets and I can watch the moon from my roof top window. The trees stand tall and I feel like they protect me while I sleep. They look like tall giants next to my window beside my bed and it is so soothing to watch them before I close my eyes. The nights are quiet and calm, before the sun rises early in the morning hours and with it earth awakes and starts a concert of all the forest birds. That’s the sound I enjoy to wake up to!

I haven’t been able to film properly the first week here in Smaland but I still wanted to share a few snippets of my first days!

Love, M.

My first week in Sweden
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Arriving to Sweden

I’m sitting here in front of my campervan right now, having a snack while watching the trees bending in the strong wind today. It’s been 9 days since I arrived in Småland and oh well, it has been a rollercoaster ride. I haven’t felt so many emotions in such a short time as I did the past week. My perspective shifted as my mood from one extreme to another. It has been a real up and down the past days. Right now, I enjoy my second free day after I’ve been working at the campsite my first three days already. It has been exhausting but also mind-distracting to learn all the new things that I need to know working as a receptionist and helper along the camping place. Struggling with homesickness and heartache at the same time, made me feel exhausted every night but it made me sleep deep and well. Even though I still wake up with the feeling of missing, the view out of my window where I can see the forest and the walks to the sea and through the woods make me feel better every day.

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Småland

It feels like the days are longer here, softer. Maybe it is because I just run up the hill to my campervan when I finish work and don’t need to travel home with bus or train for hours, so I can still enjoy much of the evening instead. Maybe it is because I can visit the sea and the forest everyday and hear the birds singing when I wake up from the sun. Maybe being on a campsite spreads the feeling of being on vacation instead of working. Maybe the contrast to my life in the city just makes it feel so much slower. But the days go by and I lose feeling of time. I feel like my thoughts are in a constant dance with the wind and the sun.

I am as conscious as I’ve never been before. Since the internet is not working very well here, I spent less time on my phone and computer, and wander around in the forests instead - and that feels very good. It makes me be with myself and nature and nobody else. I still feel connected with my beloved ones and sharing my adventures, but it became a smaller part of my life.

In the beginning it has been a bit of a change to live in a campervan, filling the water tanks every second day, getting rid of the gray water and everything that comes with a life as a “camper”. But I got used to it and now it feels pretty cool to be responsible to make your home work in a way, and to live so simple. I don’t need much, but some things I really like to have - that’s what I realized.

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About finding out who you are

I think I never explored myself more than I do right now. Being so far away from everything I was used to, I am all alone on my own - with the massive amount of thoughts and feelings. I feel lonely a lot and I miss people, but I decided to see this as a way to find out who I am and what I want in life. Since my life has changed completely the past months, I lost track of who I actually wanna be. My view of life and how it should look like changed as well, and so I ended up being all confused about myself and life in general. And since I am the only one who can do something about it, I have no other option than facing my crisis and getting out of it. So, I decided to take as much time for myself to find out what I need to know, getting to know myself better and deciding what I want for my future. Might it be staying in Sweden and building a life here, or going back to Germany and starting a life there. I don’t know how much time it will take, but I am sure it won’t be easy - I will feel lost and confused and sad, as I did the past week. I will feel heartache and indecisiveness, anger and love - but that’s okay. I am sure I will walk out of it stronger and wiser than ever before.

It feels so good to take care of myself again - mentally and physically. I went for my first run in a long while again, and also for a forest walk every single day since I arrived. There is much to explore inside of me and outside, and it just feels so good to be on the road, to see, smell and feel the wild again. I saw a stag running into the woods when I’ve been out for a run, heard one calling at night outside of my campervan and watched the birds hopping around in the trees. I watched the sunset at the sea, at a little lake in the forest and the moon greeting me from my roof top window. My mind and body are getting stronger again, and that feels so empowering!

“Wild, free and wonderful”

While I’m writing this it started raining and I can hear the raindrops on the roof which sounds so cozy and soothing. To be honest, it feels very surreal that it’s only been nine days since I arrived, it feels so much longer. There is still so much to come!

Now, I will spend the rest of the day very relaxed, enjoying the sound of the rain and some good food, maybe walk down to the lake again later tonight.

Until then, lots of love!

/ Michelle

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I am moving to Sweden
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A new beginning

Oh, how excited I am to finally write this post and share all the news with you! The past couple of months have been filled with writing applications, lots of waiting and a bit of New Years blues. Moving country has been more exhausting than I expected - not only because the job application process and all the waiting for feedback can really task your nerves but also because I underestimated my own emotions regarding to leaving my friends and family behind while starting a new life in Sweden. Having some stress related heart issues in addition, everything became a bit too much so I took a bit of time off to find back to myself and out of all the doubts and worries. I’d lie if I said that I am all okay again, but still I kept searching for jobs and writing applications until I found a job offer in Småland. Even though my dream is to live at the countryside in Norrland, I wanted to try everything for the beginning to put some roots in Sweden and did not care much if that means to live in the south of Sweden for the first couple of months. Also, Småland is very beautiful in the Summer and being close to the lake can make the warmer days so much more enjoyable as someone who tends to hide from the sun, so I wrote an application and crossed my fingers.

Only a few days later, I got an email from Karin, the woman who is owning a campsite in Småland and moved from Switzerland to Sweden with her husband herself many years back. We talked on phone, cleared a lot of initial questions and decided then that I’d love to come over for a couple of days to get to know each other and also get to know the place to see if I could imagine to work there for the next six months. So I flew over last month and visited them for a weekend. We had the most beautiful sunny weather which made it possible to explore the forests, watch the sunset at the lake and having a little trip to the sea.

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A weekend in Småland

They prepared one of there coziest cottages for me to stay in for the weekend and I enjoyed that so much, having the forest behind the cabin, seeing the lake in front of the window. In the Summer season they offer cozy cottages, simple and also more advanced ones, but also spaces for campervans so you can stay for a while and enjoy the idylle, maybe rent a boat or go for a hike through nature.

I really enjoyed my time there and was able to get to know the family running this place. I felt warmly welcomed as soon as I arrived and we spent the days crafting, talking and having dinner together. Their warmhearted being and the kind atmosphere really made such a difference and made me feel very comfortable around them.

Working at the campsite would offer me the possibility to get the personennummer which you basically need for everything if you wanna live in Sweden permanently, like getting a bank account, signing contracts, etc. This job would make it possible to get the PN and also having help with all the administration since Karin and Roger went through the same when they moved to Sweden. Just having someone around who has a helping hand if I need one feels less scary. Also, I would be able to slowly get into the Swedish language, since I finished the A1 classes at my university but wasn’t able to use the language so much here in Germany. So eventhough I would be forced to speak Swedish with the Swedish campers it is a more gentle way to get into it than maybe working at a “real” Swedish company right from the beginning, for example.

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My life at the campsite

While working at the campsite I will live in a campervan on a little hill at the property. First I was a bit sceptical since I was dreaming of a little cabin to live in, but now I think that it can be really cozy and nice for the Summer and it won’t be forever so for the beginning it will be fine. This way it might feel more like being on vacation than going to work.
The closest town is just three kilometers away so I can easily take a bike or go by foot if I need to get some groceries, or also take the bus to Västervik or Vimmerby if I need to run some errands. My work would be very diversified because I will help with whatever needs to be done and meet a lot of different people throughout this Summer. Most likely, I will work a lot at the reception or take care of the cabins, as well as work on the website and social media for the campsite which I’m looking forward to.

All in all, this seemed like a really good opportunity to start my life in Sweden and to put some roots, figuring out all the things in the beginning and then moving further up North in Autumn. So the other day I wrote to Karin that I would love to work at their place and spend the Summer in Småland. She was really happy and looking forward to me coming over and being part of the team.

After this decision the days have been a bit confusing. Suddenly everything I dreamt of for so long became real and that was exciting but also so very frightening, because it is so different to dream about something than actually doing it. I was totally overwhelmed by all the fears, doubts and anxiety that rolled over me making me feel totally confused about myself, my life and dreams. I was wondering if I was doing the right thing or maybe a huge mistake leaving everything behind and moving to a new country. I was feeling so very sad for days and just wanted to stay in bed.



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“Be brave, little heart”

But after I shared my worries and feelings, people reminded me that this IS a big step to take and it is totally normal that all my fears and doubts that were hiding inside of me while I was just dreaming showed up now when it became serious. I need to take my time and move in my own pace. There will be days that I will feel lonely and sad and miss my old home, and the beginning will probably be the worst. But I will settle at my new home and I will figure everything out that will come. I am so looking forward to being close to nature, having the forest right behind my campervan, the lake in front of the campingsite to cool down in Summer. I know I will feel safe and comforted being close to the trees again, which I missed so very much here in my hometown the past years. I know I will be alright and I will be happy. Of course it won´t be easy, but that`s okay.

Two weeks ago, I finally booked my flight for the 9th of May - in two days. The past couple of days I felt like a zombie, sitting in front of my suitcase unable to finish packing because everything seems so surreal. I spent lots of time with my beloved ones and my heart is constantly aching. I underestimated how much it would hurt me and right now everything feels sad. But I know this, too, shall pass. And nothing is forever. This is just another great adventure, an opportunity, and there is always a way back.

I cannot believe that it will happen now - my mind is just not able to understand. And it probably won´t until I am waking up in my camper in the morning for the first time.

Until then, lots of love to you!
- Michelle