I have now been living and working nine full months in Stockholm – one of the best moves I have ever done in my entire life. Yes, there is a lot of work to be done, both at the office and at home, but somehow I am swinging it. 🙂

I travel quite a bit on the job, so I actually have been both far North and far South in Sweden, and it seems to be continuing like that. I am slowly getting the hang of speaking publicly, at least for university students. I still have other audiences that I find harder to suffice for.

I am a proud mother of two, and even though it is challenging at times I do believe the boys also will prosper from this move up here. It is fun to follow their first impressions of so many different things I was accustomed to already growing up. For instance when the first snow fell, they immediately hoped for their schools to close the next day. In vain, of course. Home economics is another “new experience”; our oldest was very happy when he came home from school saying “mom, we made cinnamon rolls in class today, and I ate all but three for you to taste!”

We are also getting new habits – and new “regular” places we go to. We have everything we need – and more – here in our commune just 15 km outside of Stockholm. I can appreciate that we are very fortunate, but I do believe Stockholm and Swedes per se are very welcoming. I would like to go as far as to say that we are surrounded by good intentions – and on top of that everything is very well organized.

It is natural that my 22 years in Belgium have left its mark. And I do miss some of the Belgian ways of living. We had a great life there as well. But what I miss the most if of course the people; our friends, neighbours and colleagues. I went back for a week in January – for work – and it all came back to me. Those very same feelings I had when leaving the Åland Islands in 1995. It is the people who matter; it is the people one misses. And I have got quite a number of good friends who are now far away also in Belgium. And I only managed to see a handful of them while there…

I did escape on a wonderful Caribbean cruise in the fall thanks to one of my sweet nieces getting married over there. It was a totally out-of-this world-experience. Having seen all sorts of Baltic cruiseships I was not prepared at all for what was waiting onboard M/S Allure of the Seas.  And it is hard to explain, I might try in a separate post later on. For now I will admit it was an experience of a lifetime – and I cannot even say what was the best part. Probably the wedding, but the visit to the Bahamas is a close runner-up, so is the immense ship in itself and all its goodies onboard…

My only regret so far is that time continues to be limited; I have not had the time to visit the Åland Islands as regularly as I had thought I would. I have not even managed to keep up with – and even less to see – dear family and friends living in and around Stockholm.

But I too am getting better organized, so before too long I might be able to get a social life again – and even to blog more regularly.