The buildup to this move was insane. We flew over to Stockholm twice — once in September 2009 to make sure we actually liked the country and again a month before the move to look at the apartment we're now living in to make sure it was what we wanted.
We've been thinking about this move since March 2009 — 18 months ago. After that flight a month ago, we confirmed the apartment and things kicked into high-gear. The last week before we left was one of the most draining weeks I've had in my life — literally every day I had several things to do and places to go, often miles away from each other. A couple of days before we left, we visited a friend's place and was greeted with "Bloody hell Daniel — you look knackered!"
Then, we packed everything we could into the car and undertook the longest road trip of my life — 1,500 miles from our house in Bedfordshire to our flat just south of Stockholm. The trip took four days of driving and camping in more or less constant pouring rain to complete.
Now, just over a week after our arrival, life is more or less completely back to normal. Yesterday, I went shopping for a fishing rod and some speakers for my computer. Then, we went to do the weekly food shop. Then, we watched Scrubs on TV before going to bed.
This isn't what I was expecting. We've moved countries, to a place with a completely different language and culture. The 1,500 mile drive really pushed home how far we've actually travelled, but now we're here there's hardly any culture shock at all. I was expecting to feel completely out-of-place, to be having a really hard time and missing home terribly. The worse it's been so far was a few minutes back in the UK when we dropped our dog, Chester, off at the kennels that'd be looking after him before his flight out to meet us — for a moment, before being shown his frisbee by the person looking after him, he didn't want to leave us and was trying to run back to me. At that moment, the magnitude of what I was doing hit me so hard there was a couple of minutes of uncontrollable floods of tears until I snapped out of it and carried on.
To be honest, now we're here it's a bit of an anticlimax. The months of preparation we did — the trips, the Swedish lessons, the weeks of reading and learning about Swedish culture made this place a second home to me before I even got here.
Which, to be honest, is the best thing that could've happened. I'm already enjoying and experiencing this new place, learning the area and getting horribly lost on the Stockholm ringroad (half of which is underground and foils the best of satnavs). Of course there's going to times when I miss my home and friends in the UK — especially so for my fiancée, who is much closer to her family than I am mine and less used to moving away — but I seem to have gotten the worst of it out of my system already. Bring on Sweden!