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From Sydney to Sweden: Lou Lou Loves

28 November, 2013 10:04  Erin Erin

lou lou loves From sunshine to snow, my name is Lou Lou and 14 years ago I moved from Sydney to Sweden! Could I have picked a place more far away? I now live in Stockholm with my Swedish husband and our 2 cute girls.

1. Why did you move abroad?

To study classical trumpet. The University of Sydney offered a one year exchange program to study with a famous Swedish musician so I came over to do my Masters. One year has now turned into 14, so watch out! Beware, Swedish men are incredibly cute.

2. How do you make a living?

Well my life has taken many unexpected turns since leaving Australia. During my time studying trumpet I was also playing professionally and making a living that way. Disaster soon struck and I actually did nerve damage to my upper lip and thus couldn’t play anymore. This was a life changer and I actually went into a black hole of depression for 18 months where I did absolutely nothing. I didn’t even listen to Abba. Life without music? What else could I do? With the help of my now husband, I pulled myself out of the darkness and started my new life in Sweden. Without knowing the language, it was incredibly tough to find work. Luckily I found work at an International School that needed an English language music teacher and that’s how I got a foot in the door to employment in Sweden. It didn’t last long and soon I was on my way to earning a living as a writer. Currently I am head of creative services for a Swedish beauty company.

3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
Every day I text or speak to someone from home. I couldn’t survive without my phone. I also still read Australian newspapers and listen to Australian radio all the time so I am up-to-date with all that is going on.

4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Stockholm?
Stockholm is a very easy city to live in and very beautiful. Water and nature abound and getting around is super easy with a great public transport city. Previously I leaved in the south in a city called Malmo, this nearly killed me. I’m much happier in Stockholm for some reason. I also confess to enjoying being a bit different, everyone is always interested in me, simply for being Australian!

5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Stockholm?
The weather. The long dark winters with weeks on end of only seeing clouds! It’s not so much the cold, it’s more the darkness and lack of sunshine. This is something that I will never, ever get used it. I always try to book a sunny holiday during this time otherwise I would never survive.

6. What do you miss most?

My family and friends of course. And small talk. And beaches. And being able to understand everything everyone says. And my mum’s dog Cello!

7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
Nothing in particular. I was studying with a mix of Swedish and international students so we all socialised well together. Friendships formed rather naturally, I never felt I had to make an effort as such.

8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?

How everyone takes there shoes off before walking inside someone’s house. Which in winter is a great idea as you don’t trudge snow everywhere, but it does feel odd to get all dressed up for a dinner party and then walk around in your socks.

9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
That Swedish people can be rather cold. I have found them only to be warm and wonderful. It’s true that it can take a little while longer to crack their surface, but once you have, they are entirely delightful.

10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?

When I first moved here Sweden was very expensive, especially food and going out for a beer. However over the years, Australia has certainly caught up!

11. What advice would you give other expats?

Try to learn the language correctly, right from the start. I’ve learnt some bad Swedish and now just seem to repeat my mistakes. It would have been far more efficient to actually make the effort and get it correct from the beginning.

12. When and why did you start your blog?

I started my blog a year ago as part of my mission to become more creative. Well maybe notold town stockholm lou lou loves more creative, but to provide a forum for where I can be creative. Every year my husband and myself have a theme and the one for last year was ‘creativity’ so my blog was part of that movement. I love writing and really enjoy having a blog.

Blog LinkLou lou's blog, Lou Lou Loves

 

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