Wooden building in the snow

Three Years in Sweden

Tre år i Sverige! Or “three years in Sweden”, in English. Year three felt like the point we really started to thrive here. Partly because we were less new and with the pandemic easing, we began living life in full again. Finally!!

Life in Sweden

We learnt you MUST take a ticket number, even if you’re the only person in a queue or shop, otherwise you won’t be served. Scourers are for cleaning the sink not the dishes, Swedes love keeping scraps of useful wood in their sheds, nudity is no big deal, you’re not supposed to bang your glasses together when saying cheers and it’s possible to go running on sheet ice during Winter (yes, really).

Man putting log on bonfire
Orange glow on building

Flowers in front of house

Wooden building in the snow

Most of the firsts

Ticking off most of the firsts probably contributed to the thriving feeling. I mean the awkward things like getting a filling at the dentist, seeing a doctor, transferring energy contracts for the first time, signing up for loyalty schemes, ringing 1177 for health advice, ordering a Covid test, arranging a trades person etc. All the small things that can easily throw you when you’re trying to figure out how to do them. Perhaps I’ve said it in previous years but coming across as a clueless idiot gradually becomes less uncomfortable over time.

Outdoor life

Couple holding mugs
Höga Kustenleden

As with every year of our lives here, we’ve had so many fantastic outdoor adventures! Hiking Höga Kustenleden (with friends we made in Sweden) was the largest because it was a multi-day trip that required a lot of preparation. We also swam in the sea, ate ramen in the snowate ramen again on Gotland at Christmas, visited Torö Stenstrand, (more ramen) celebrated my birthday on a frozen beach (yet more ramen) and went on many smaller hikes that didn’t make it onto my blog (probably even more ramen). I hadn’t realised instant noodles had become our cold weather hiking lunch of choice until I compiled this list.

Bag of dried noodles
Grumpy toad
Cloud by the water
Woman wearing hiking gear
Höga Kustenleden
Wooden shelter
Over the Edge, Kulberget
Man with sun on his face
Gotland (Jul)

Snowy trees

Man standing on snow covered rocks


We celebrated our first Midsummer without pandemic restrictions! Midsummer is one of the most important Swedish holidays, so this felt like a big milestone.

People dancing around pole
Midsommar pole
Woman wearing flower crown


Despite the length of time we’ve been living in Sweden, some people still refer to the UK as our “home”. Being born somewhere is one thing, feeling like you belong there is another. Now we’ve found a country we love, that is aligned with how we want to live, the UK doesn’t feel like home at all anymore and I don’t think it will again. Even more so given post Brexit Britain is not the same country we left. Sverige är hemma och jag är så så glad!

Side note: the fact that Britain doesn’t have multiple national days dedicated to eating baked goods, is also a real deal breaker.


We all need help sometimes! Tack tack.

We’re still plugging away at learning Swedish through our ELANS course. It’s so hard but I know we’ll get there eventually if we keep going.

What’s going well:

  • When we speak Swedish, people are replying in Swedish rather than reverting straight to English (which was the case last year).
  • We’ve been complimented on our pronunciation!
  • Our reading and listening skills — we’re managing to follow far more than we could last year. We can’t follow every word but we have enough knowledge to follow conversation in a basic capacity when Swedes are speaking at full speed.

What’s challenging:

  • Mental recall when speaking. This is without doubt the biggest hurdle for both of us. And from speaking to other non-Swedes, a shared struggle that can take a long long time. Maybe it’s the pressure of someone looking at you, waiting for a response, I don’t know.
  • Voice clarity varies from person to person.
  • Finding mental capacity for all the new information we’re stuffing into our tired brains (language as well as our jobs).

I think struggling to learn a language can leave you feeling a bit of shame, at least that’s the case for me. Especially when people ask how my learning is progressing or mention there’s nothing to hold me back now we’re on the other side of the pandemic. But the process depends so much on your natural learning strengths, your day to day environment and what else you are trying to balance in life at the time. It’s a very humbling experience and something I feel will help me support others, in a similar situation, in the future.

The Next Year…

Last year, I mentioned trying mayonnaise from a squeezy tube — we still haven’t done that because it feels too weird. But we did find the perfect Semla, although we had differing conclusions on that one. Mine was Hagabageri (nutty), and Scott liked Bröd & Salt (sweet).

Over the next year, we want to swim more, continue meeting new people, progress with language and just enjoy living 🙂 We’ve got into the habit of being new and having goals for each year but for now, we’re just content settling into Swedish life and enjoying all the things the Swedes do.

Thank you for reading and following our lives for another year <3

Categories Life

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