Journey to Another Country
An American Girl in Sweden
In 2012, I met a man online (seems to happen more often nowadays), that would forever change my life in ways I couldn't foresee. He proposed in 2013 and in early 2014, we were married. We originally planned for him to move to the US as my family is larger than his. I'm also very close to my family and the thought of moving away from them sent my anxiety into overdrive for a while.
In May of 2014, I traveled internationally for the first time by myself. I hadn't been on a plane since I was two and had no idea what to expect. I was also nervous about getting around the airport in Paris by myself when I wasn't use to traveling. About 16 hours after I left Ohio, I landed in Sweden and I immediately fell in love. The architecture was different and beautiful. The houses were colors you don't normally see in the states and the styles were vastly different and interesting. However, the scenery as we drove along the high way was comforting and the fields reminded me of my home state.
By the time I left Sweden, less than two weeks later, I was sold. My issue then became how to tell my family and how I would feel being so far away from them. I spent the summer going back and forth with my feelings. I talked for hours with my aunt Deb and mom (crying much of the time). Working long hours helped me keep my mind busy during the day. At night I would take long walks while listening to music to sort my feelings out.
My mom has a habit of choosing a song for each of us kids as her ring tone. Each song was a wish that she wanted for us. As I walked one evening after a long day at work, the song came up on my iPod and for the first time I listened to the message not just the words. The song my mom had chosen for me: "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womak. The song talks about not being afraid of taking chances and not fearing what's in the future. The next day my brother sent me a message telling me to follow my heart and that no matter where I went, we were always family.
I took one more trip to Sweden at the end of 2014, this time with my aunt and after I returned home I filled out my application to move to Sweden. The paperwork went quickly but the waiting took what felt like an eternity. I got my interview in June of 2015 and then the waiting game started again. Waiting for the decision was nerve-racking.
When I got the decision, on a very cold and snowy February morning, I remember breaking down and crying. They were tears of excitement, happiness, sadness and nervousness. In other words, I wasn't sure how to feel. I was excited and happy to be with my husband in a country I had fallen in love with, while at the same time, I was nervous and sad to leave my family and everything I had ever known. In April, I made my way across the pond and I couldn't be happier with my decision.
Now, two years later, I'm waiting once again as I await the decision on the extension of my residency permit. I still get homesick sometimes, the holidays are the worst, but I keep in contact with my family almost daily. My mom and stepdad came to visit this past summer and loved Sweden as much as I do. I feel lucky and blessed to live in such a beautiful country with such a rich history. And I'm very lucky to be on this amazing journey with such and amazing man.
To anyone else considering a move, whether it be to another city, state, or country, don't be afraid to follow your dreams. Life is a scary and wondrous journey. You might find just where you are meant to be when you follow your heart.