I wrote a few weeks ago about leaving Split. Well, now that I’ve told the appropriate authorities (i.e. my mother, who has been out the United States where cell phone service is…a nice idea) and I’ve put it on Facebook: it is official!
I am moving to Sweden! 💪💼✈️🇸🇪
…for a new job, new life and a new adventure!
WHEN I LEAVE: September 20th, 2016.
WHERE I’LL BE LIVING: Sweden, in the city of Göteborg (which is kinda pronounced “Jottah-borrey” or in English, Gothenburg).
Gothenburg, with 982,000 people in the metro area and 549,000 in the city itself, is the second biggest city in Sweden. There’s beautiful architecture, public gardens, a soccer stadium, a seafood market called the Fish Church and a public debate on whether or not to dismantle the giant port-side cranes that are now defunct, but also historical.
The city is a 3 hour train ride from Stockholm, a 3 hour train ride to Malmö (a major city in the south), and 3.5 hour train ride to Copenhagen, Denmark. (I know, I know- I’m about to move there and I’m already planning my escape.)
WHERE I’LL BE WORKING: Viktoria Swedish ICT, formerly the Viktoria Institute, a research institute that is part of the RI.SE umbrella of organizations. There are several research institutes in RI.SE, each with a different research focus. Viktoria’s focus is on transportation. Does it fly, sail, have wheels, go on rails? If it moves people and/or goods, Viktoria studies it, makes recommendations, and gives those results to cities, companies, or the EU.
WHAT I’LL BE DOING: I’ll be part of the Sustainable Transportation team. The first project I’ll be working on is the EMPOWER project, a study on transportation habits in Enschede, Manchester, Gothenburg and Helsinki. In Sweden, they developed an app to award points to users based on their transportation choices. Later, these points could be turned into real-money discounts in stores and with other partners. I’m the nerd that’s really, really excited to do site visits, surveys, and write long papers about the work.
HOW LONG I’LL BE STAYING: Unknown! I’ve been offered a work visa and so I pretty much can stay in Gothenburg and at Viktoria until my new co-workers figure out I’m just a kid in a Grown Up Suit. But from the open, friendly, and excited nature of my colleagues, I have a feeling they’re the right mixture of driven and weird- at least for me!
WHERE (IN GOTHENBURG) I’LL BE LIVING: Eriksberg, a newly developed residential area on the north side of the river that is becoming known for good restaurants and yoga studios.
WHAT I’M DOING WITH ATHENA: Yep, the service animal turned monster dog turned couch potato is going to Europe! She gets a stamp of approval from a USDA-certified veterinarian, then comes with me to Copenhagen, where we’ll take a train. (We can’t fly the whole way because the plane from Copenhagen to Gothenburg is, apparently, too small for a 65 lb shepherd.)
WHEN CAN PEOPLE VISIT: Anytime after September 20th! That’s when I split and go to Sweden, right after my cousin’s wedding on the 17th. (Hooray Roseanne and Grant!)
WHEN I’M FREE TO HANG BEFORE LEAVING: I’m going to Philly on August 13th, Norfolk Virginia at sommmme point in August, and then bouncing around DC in September until the aforementioned wedding (in Ohio). Call me maybe?
WHO TO THANK/BLAME FOR THIS: A Swedish guy, Viktoria Institute’s website, my mother (she’s been very supportive over the years, even if it’s a little Catholic/Jewish/passive-aggressive at times…remember kids, Mom’s scary and angry because she cares!), a wonderful therapist in Dupont Circle, and the friends that have been patient with the tantrums, crises, and bouts of no self-confidence that happen when you’re, well…human. If I actually listed names this post would be endless. But I’m doing my best to write and call each of them so that they know they are loved and appreciated!
Because the move to Sweden was sort of a crazy, fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity that fell into my lap along with all sorts of other wonderful things, it’s meant a sudden move away from the United States and east coast, which I hadn’t been expecting or planning for. So, to see friends, family, and more of this country, I just finished a 2 week road trip throughout New England. I’d never been, and if I didn’t do it now, I wasn’t gonna! I’m finishing up a post and photos of that unbelievably perfect, Norman Rockwell-level adventure- Swedish guy and Athena tagged along! -and I’ll link to it here when I’m done.
Thanks again folks. Comments, suggestions, and coffee dates welcome! I want as much face time with people as I can get before I jet away! 🙂